Keitokudentoroku (books of the genealogy of Zen Buddhism, consisting of biographies of priests in In (景徳傳燈録)

Compiled by Dogen in the Baisong Dynasty era in China, Keitokudentoroku (written 景徳傳燈録 or 景徳伝灯録 in the modern kanji, 30 volumes) is a history book representative of the Zen sect.

It contains biographies of Zen priests and the other Buddhist monks from Kako Shichibutsu (Seven Buddhas of the Past or six Buddhas who came prior to Shaka) to those studying under Tendai Tokusho. As it contains biographies of numerous Zen priests, Keitokudentoroku is commonly referred to as the '1700 Koans' (koan is a puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening) but, in fact, it includes records of 965 persons.

In 1004 (Keitoku 1), Dogen presented the collection of koans to the Imperial Court. In 1011, after proofreading performed by some officials including Yo Oku, it was accepted in Zokuzo and was put into circulation throughout the country whereby it became known as Keitokudentoroku after the era name of the time. The Chinese Zen sect subsequently continued to publish one history book after the other and these history books eventually developed into koans.

Even today, Keitokudentoroku is considered as a representative material for the Zen sect research and requisite but some of its contents are not necessarily consistent with the historical facts.

With respect to the compiler, there is a theory that 拱昻 originally compiled the book and Dogen stole it during the trip to the Imperial Court to submit it as his work; however, this theory has been denied by a Chinese Buddhist scholar, Chin En.


Contents of the 30 volumes are as follows:

Volume 1 covers the Seven Buddhas of the Past including Shakamuni to Nagarijuna, the 14th Zen Buddhist Patriarch in India.

Volume 2 covers Kanadaiba, the 15th Patriarch, to Hannyatara, the 27th Patriarch in India.

Volume 3 covers Bodai Daruma to Konin, the 5th Patriarch in China.

Volume 4 covers the Niu-tou sect, the branch of the 4th Patriarch Doshin, and priests including Jinshu (Shen-hsiu) of the Northern school (Baisong) of Chinese Zen Buddhism (Chan) who belonged to the schools other than the Southern school (Nansong).

Volume 5 covers the disciples of the 6th Patriarch Eno. Those disciples included Jinne KATAKU, Ejo NANGAKU, Gyoshi SEIGEN and Enchu Kokushi.

Volume 6 covers disciples of Nangoku. Daoyi MAZU and the other disciples. Disciples of Mazu are also included. Ekai HYAKUJO is among those included.

Volume 7 is a continuation of the previous volume covering biographies of the disciples of Mazu. It covers Mazu's disciples such as Chizo SEIDO, Saian ENKAN and Chijo KISO.

Volume 8 is a further continuation of Volume 7 covering biographies of the disciples of Mazu. It covers Fugaku NANSEN and the other disciples of Mazu.

Volume 9 covers disciples of Hyakujo. Reiyu IZAN, Kiun OBAKU and Daian FUZHOU are among those included.

Volume 10 covers disciples of Nansen. Jushin JOSHU and the other disciples of Nansen are included. Also included are Kyoi HAKU and the other disciples.

Volume 11 covers disciples of Izan. It covers Ejaku GYOZAN, Chikan KYOGEN, 王敬初 and the like.

Volume 12 covers disciples of Obaku. Those disciples covered include Gigen RINZAI and Haikyu. This volume also includes disciples of Gyozan.

Volume 13 covers the Nangaku line. It includes Ensho FUKETSU and Shonen SHUZAN.

Volume 14 covers disciples of Seigen. It includes Kisen SEKITO as well as his disciples such as Dogo TENNO, Tennen TANKA, Donjo UNGAN and Daido TOSU.

Volume 15 covers Seigen III. It includes Senkan TOKUSAN, Keisho SEKISHO, Ryokai TOZAN and Zenne KASSAN.

Volume 16 covers disciples of Tokusan. It includes disciples such as Zenkatsu GANTO and Gizon SEPPO. It also includes disciples of Sekisho such as 九峯道虔.

Volume 17 covers disciples of Tozan. It includes Doyo UNGO and Honjaku SOZAN.

Volume 18 covers disciples of Seppo including Shibi GENSHA, Eiryo CHOKEI and Dofu KYOSEI.

Volume 19 is a continuation of the previous volume covering disciples of Seppo including Juten HOFUKU and Bunen UNMON.

Volume 20 covers disciples of Ungo as well as Sozan such as 育王弘通.

Volume 21 covers disciples of Gensha such as Keishin RAKAN.

Volume 22 covers Seppo III.

Volume 23 covers disciples of Unmon.

Volume 24 covers disciples of Rakan such as Moneki HOGEN.

Volume 25 covers disciples of Hogen such as Tokusho TENDAI.

Volume 26 is a continuation of the previous volume covering disciples of Hogen.

Volume 27 covers those who practiced Zen meditation and were not followers of the Zen sect. It includes biographies of Baozhi, Fu Daishi, Kozan Eshi, Zhi-yi, sangha (priest), Mane, Bukan, Kanzan Jittoku and Hotei. It also includes short dialogues.

Volume 28 contains long dialogues.

Volume 29 contains ge (gaathaa [sanskrit]).

Volume 30 contains inscriptions, poems and writings.


"Keitokudentoroku, Tozen-ji Temple Edition" (The Institute for Zen Studies), old edition

"Shibu Sokan," volumes 104 and 105

"Keitokudentoroku, Goryeo Edition" (Chubun Shuppansha)

"Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo" (Taisho Revised Tripitaka) (A collection of the Buddhist Scriptures consisting of 100 volumes), Volume 51, 'Histories' 3, Original Edition.

"Chuka Daizo-kyo Sutra" (Chinese Tripitaka) Keitokudentoroku, relief print

"Keitokudentoroku" (新文豊出版公司), 民国常甯寺本

As mentioned above, there are various editions of the text of Keitokudentoroku whereby the process of its revision alone could make up one field of research and numerous study findings have been published to date.

[Original Japanese]