Quotations of Ancient Zen Masters


Gu zun su yu lucun er shi wu jia, san shi er (Quotations of ancient Zen masters) is a collection of important quotations by Zen masters of the late Tang dynasty, Five Dynasties, and early Southern Song (circa 700−1150). The expression zun su in the title means respected men of older generations. It is a synonym of zhang lao (elders) and da de (great virtues). Yu lu in the title means a collection of wisdom cultivated by the Zen patriarchs. The work records teachings of Zen masters of special virtue who were greatly respected, and their sayings at various places they stayed, at different occasions, and in different formats, such as in public appearances, handed-down information, or in debates. The work also includes chants, praise songs, divinations, short essays, records of lives, dedicatory inscriptions, and the prefaces to collections of quotations associated with these men. Because the work contains so much detailed information about the Zen masters, it is an important resource for studying these masters and gaining an understanding of the main ideas of the most representative masters. It is also an important document for studying Zen Buddhism at its height. The earlier titles of this work were Gu zun su yu yao (Important quotations of ancient Zen masters), Gu zun su yu (Sayings of ancient Zen masters), or Gu zun su lu (Records of ancient Zen masters). It was originally in four juan. Later additions and supplements extended it to 48 juan, the extent most seen nowadays, and it records quotations of 37 masters. The general view is that Zezang, the Southern Song Zen master, was the editor of the work. This copy is a Song edition, printed, as indicated in the work, at Guangli Zen Temple, Mount Ayuwang, Mingzhou Prefecture. It contains quotations of 25 Zen masters, in 32 juan. Shown here is a preface and the first part of the work entitled “Public speeches by Monk Longmen Foyan, Shuzhou.”

Date Created

Publication Information

Guangli Chansi, Mt. Ayuwang, Mingzhou Fu


Title in Original Language

古尊宿語錄 : 存二十五家, 三十二卷

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

32 juan, 20 volumes

Last updated: June 25, 2015