The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

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The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp (traditional Chinese: 景德傳燈錄; simplified Chinese: 景德传灯录; pinyin: Jǐngdé Chuándēnglù; Wade–Giles: Ching-te Ch'uan teng lu; Japanese: Keitoku Dentō-roku), often referred to as The Transmission of the Lamp, is a 30 volume work consisting of putative biographies of the Chan Buddhist and Zen Buddhist patriarchs and other prominent Buddhist monks. It was produced in the Song dynasty by Shi Daoyuan (simplified Chinese: 释道原; traditional Chinese: 釋道原; pinyin: Shì Dàoyuán; Wade–Giles: Shih Tao-Yüen).[citation needed] Other than the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall, it represents the first appearance of "encounter dialogues" in the Chan tradition, which in turn are the antecedents of the famous kōan stories.

The Transmission of the Lamp

The word Jingde (景德), the first two characters of the title, refers to the Song dynasty reign name, which dates the work to between 1004 and 1007 CE. It is a primary source of information for the history of Chan Buddhism in China, although most scholars interpret the biographies as largely hagiography. The lives of the Zen masters and disciples are systematically listed, beginning with the first seven buddhas (Gautama Buddha is seventh in this list). The "Lamp" in the title refers to the "Dharma", the teachings of the Buddhism. A total of 1701 biographies are listed in the book. Volumes 1 to 3 are devoted to the history of Indian Buddhism, and the history of Buddhism in China starts in chapter 4 with Bodhidharma. Volume 29 is a collection of gathas, and volume 30 is a collection of songs and other devotional material.

List of PatriarchsEdit

The Seven BuddhasEdit

  1. Vipashin Buddha
  2. Shikhin Buddha
  3. Vessabhu/Vishvabhu Buddha
  4. Krakucchsnda/Kakusandha Buddha
  5. Kanakamuni/Konagamana Buddha
  6. Kasyapa Buddha
  7. Gotama Buddha

The Twenty-Eight Indian PatriarchsEdit

  1. Mahakasyapa
  2. Ananda
  3. Sanakavasa
  4. Upagupta
  5. Dhritaka
  6. Michaka
  7. Vasumitra
  8. Buddhanandi
  9. Buddhamitra
  10. Parsva
  11. Punyayasas
  12. Ashvaghosa
  13. Kapimala
  14. Nagarjuna
  15. Kanadeva
  16. Rahulata
  17. Sanghanandi
  18. Gayasata
  19. Kumorata
  20. Jayata
  21. Vasubandhu
  22. Manorhita
  23. Haklena
  24. Aryasimha
  25. Bashyashita
  26. Punyamitra
  27. Prajnatara
  28. Bodhidharma

Six Chinese PatriarchsEdit

  1. Bodhidharma
  2. Huike
  3. Sengcan
  4. Daoxin
  5. Hongren
  6. Huineng

In addition to the acknowledged Chan patriarchs, the Transmission of the Lamp includes biographies or anecdotes involving a number of other figures known in the Chan/Zen tradition, including members of the Oxhead school, Layman Pang, and influential disciples of Chinese masters who were not recognized as patriarchs.[1]


  1. ^ Daoyuan (2015). Records of the Transmission of the Lamp. Translated by Whitfield; Randolph S. Books on Demand. ISBN 9783738662467.

External linksEdit

The complete text (in simplified Chinese) of the Transmission of the Lamp is available from Beijing Guoxue (北京国学).