Toru Funayama

The Scripture of the Pure Divinities’ Netted [Banners]
A methodological consideration of the significance of variant readings

  • Datum: 9. März 2018, 13:00-14:30
  • Ort: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, 2. Stock Seminarraum (Raum 2.25)
  • Organisation: Yasutaka Muroya


The Fanwang jing or the Scripture of the Pure Divinities’ Netted [Banners] is a Chinese Buddhist apocryphon composed around the mid-fifth century. I have recently published an edition of the text in book form, by consulting over five earlier manuscripts dating from before the 10th century, two stone inscriptions, and ten woodblock print editions during the 12th-18th centuries. The Fanwang jing which is merely seven pages long in the modern Taisho Canon has as many as over six hundred variant readings. More importantly, a large majority of variants suggest not scribal errors but intentional emendations of ‘awkward’ or ‘ambiguous’ words of the earlier text. In this talk I will consider the reasons such copious amounts of variants were produced and examine the characteristics of textual emendation found in this text, classifying the types of variant readings into several kind. I will also briefly mention the basic nature of Chinese Buddhist apocrypha in comparison with Mahayana texts in India. Finally I will try to draw a conclusion regarding whether medieval Chinese Buddhists intended to correct the Buddha’s words.


Toru Funayama is a professor of Buddhist studies at Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. His research covers two areas in the history of Buddhism. One is Chinese Buddhism from the fifth to the seventh centuries, a period from the late Six Dynasties up to early Tang, with the focuses on the formation of Chinese Buddhist translation and apocrypha, spread of the notion of Mahāyāna precepts, and more. The other is philological and philosophical issues in Buddhist epistemology and logic in India from the fifth to the tenth centuries, particularly Kamalaśīla’s (the late eighth century) theory of perception. His most recent publications include the study and edition of the Fanwang jing: Higashi Ajia bukkyō no seikatsu kisoku Bonmō kyō: saiko no katachi to hatten no rekishi 東アジア仏教の生 活規則『梵網経』─最古の形と発展の歴史 (The Scripture of the Pure Divinities’ Netted [Banners] (Fanwang jing), Mahāyāna Code for Daily Life in East Asian Buddhism: The Oldest Form and Its Historical Evolution), Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 2017, 528p.