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Dissertationsprojekt Kinadeter (Exposee)

The reception of Jizang's Commentary on the Twelve Gates Treatise (T 1825)
in medieval Japan. A Comparative Study of Buddhist manuscripts.

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Martin Lehnert

The Sanron Tradition made essential contributions to the development of Buddhist doctrine in
China and beyond. One of its three eponymous texts, the Twelve Gates Treatise (T 1568), was
extensively commented upon by the Chinese scholar-monk Jizang (549–623). His work received
considerable exegetical attention in Japan. The dissertation focuses on the comparison and analysis
of the extant commentarial manuscripts referring to Jizang's Commentary on the Twelve Gates
Treatise (T 1825). The manuscripts were composed, edited and subsequently altered by different
authors between the eleventh and fifteenth century, although the major textual production of the
commentaries is concentrated in the late Kamakura period, a time when Sanron is commonly
described as being in decline. The texts are characterized by a variety of exegetical techniques,
including quotations, references, annotations and interpretations, as well as their literary style and
context of commentarial practice. Furthermore, the scriptures represent different stages in the
production of a commentary, ranging from preliminary notes during a dharma lecture to the
revised copies for a printed Canon. The comparative analysis of their exegetical procedures as
well as the research of the materiality of the manuscripts will provide new insights into the context,
methodology and the hermeneutical features of the commentarial literature in the Kamakura
through Ashikaga period. The variety of source material over the centuries also sheds light on the
reception and transmission of Jizang’s work in Japan and the exegetical activity of the Sanron
tradition, relevant to the doctrinal and historical study of medieval Japanese Buddhism.