Goto Egen (historical records of Chinese zen masters) (五灯会元)

Goto Egen is a toshi (historiography) of the Zen Sect established in the Southern Song Dynasty period of China.

It was compiled into 20 volumes by Fusai DAISEN in 1252.

Goto Egen was compiled to consolidate 5 different toshi collectively referred to as 'Gotoroku' including "Keitoku Dentoroku," "Tensho Kotoroku," "Kenchu Keikoku Zokutoroku," "Shumon Rento Eyou" and "Katai Futoroku" that had been accepted into the royal library by Imperial sanction.

The title of book 'Goto Egen' is a straightforward expression of this background. Toshi subsequently continued to be compiled for generations until the Qing Dynasty period but, with that book being the catalyst, books with different significance from the traditional genealogy of toshi began to emerge from the schools of Zen. Not only the genealogy books of Zen Sect such as "Busso Rekidai Tsuusai" and "Shakushi Keikoryaku" but also literary works on the history of the Buddhism on the whole were compiled. It is conceivable that emergence of the new books mentioned in the foregoing was propelled by the underlying rivalry against the historiography on the Buddhism "Busso Toki" (Genealogy of the Buddhist Patriarchs) which was compiled from the Tendai Sect perspective. On the other hand, it was also possible that, due to the decline of the other sects, there were the needs of the times for Zen Sect to lead the Buddhism establishment.

During the Qing Dynasty period, "Goto Egen Zokuryaku" (compiled by 遠門浄柱 in 1651) and "Goto Zensho" (Complete Book of Goto) (compiled by 霽崙超永 in 1693) were compiled as sequels to Goto Egen.

[Original Japanese]