The Institute For Zen Studies

Japanese Site

  • Study groups
  • Publications, etc.
  • Scholarly resources
  • Software

Present study groups:List of Groups Studying Goroku (Zen Recorded Sayings) and Chinese Zen History

Ever since the Song dynasty in China, the collections of comments, dialogues, and sermons known as goroku (recorded sayings) have been regarded as the pinnacle of Zen literature. The Institute for Zen Studies has, from the time of its founding in 1964, supported groups specializing in the study of these texts. This research is based on a sound understanding of the colloquial language of the eras in which the texts were recorded and of the changes that have occurred over the course of Chinese history in vocabulary, literary style, and philosophical outlook. The study groups’ findings have provided new perspectives on the development of Tang and Song language and thought. The groups meet in a spirit of interdisciplinary cooperation, with memberships comprising scholars of Buddhist studies, philosophy, literature, Chinese linguistics, and other academic fields, as well as ordinary laypeople with an interest in Zen literature.

The Annals of the Ancestral Hall (Zutang ji) Study Group

Description The Zutang ji 祖堂集 (Annals of the Ancestral Hall) Study Group focuses on clarifying the background of the early goroku known as the Zutang ji, with a special emphasis on the Xuefeng-lineage masters who compiled it.

Recorded-Sayings Literature of the Tang Dynasty: The Recorded Sayings of Shenhui (Shenhui yulu) Study Group

Description The Shenhui yulu 神會語録 (Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Heze Shenhui) Study Group is compiling a new recension of this important Northern Zen text, based on the Dunhuang Museum manuscript and numerous recently discovered fragments. A modern Japanese translation and detailed commentary are also being prepared.

Recorded-Sayings Literature of the Tang Dynasty: The Jingde-era Record of the Lamp Study Group

Description The Jingde chuandeng lu 景徳伝灯録 (Jingde-era Record of the Lamp) Study Group is reexamining this fundamental text from the perspective of modern scholarship on Tang-dynasty colloquial language, with the goal of clarifying the meaning and intent of its numerous koans.

Former study groups:List of Groups Studying Goroku (Zen Recorded Sayings) and Chinese Zen History

Recently, the study group was being held at the Institute, but the list has already ended.

The Song-Dynasty Zen Records Study Group

Description The Song-Dynasty Zen Records Study Group welcomes everyone, whether lay or ordained, with an interest in reading the ancient Zen records. The text currently under study is the Linjian lu 林間録 (Zen Forest Records).

Zen-Text Colloquial Language Study Group

Description Zen-Text Colloquial Language Study Group. This group, comprising specialists on the grammar of various regions in China, published their findings in five issues of their journal, Zenseki zokugogen kenkyū (Journal of Colloquial Language in Zen Texts).

Yunmen guanglu Study Group

Description Yunmen guanglu Study Group. This group, headed by Prof. Iriya Yoshitaka, met biweekly from September 1991, to continue Iriya’s lectures on the Yunmen guanglu 雲門広録 (Extensive Record of Yunmen) following his retirement as professor at Hanazono University.

Hanyu Dacidian Indexing Committee

Description Committee for Indexing the “Hanyu Dacidian.” This committee commenced the project of databasing all of the vocabulary items appearing in the Hanyu Dacidian 漢語大詞典, a twelve-volume unabridged dictionary of the Chinese language. Its work was used in compiling an index for the dictionary.

Taiping Guangji Database Group

Description Taiping Guangji Database Committee. This committee worked on a text database for the Taiping Guangji  太平廣記 (Extensive Records of the Taiping Era) between 1992 and 1994.

The Foundational Text Database Committee

Description Foundational Text Database Committee. This committee indexed vocabulary and produced text databases for foundational texts of the Zen school.