The Completion of Mere Ideation


In Japan temples were the center of publishing until the Middle Ages. The Kasuga edition of the Buddhist scriptures was produced at the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara. These scrolls, from that edition, contain the text of Jōyuishikiron (The completion of mere ideation), a commentary on the work by the Indian scholar Seshin (Vasubandhu in Sanskrit) known as Yuishiki sanjūju (Triṃśikā-vijñapti-kārikā in Sanskrit, Weishi sanshi song in Chinese). The commentary was translated into Chinese during the Tang dynasty by a Chinese monk named Xuanzang. It was a canon of the Hossō school of Buddhism in Japan and is thought to have been published several times at the Kōfuku-ji Temple. The small but beautiful lettering imitating the style of hand-copied sutras and the pitch-black ink indicate that these scrolls were published at the end of the Kamakura period or the Nanbokuchō period (14th century). The red marks were added by hand to aid Japanese readers in deciphering the Chinese text.

Last updated: February 26, 2014