Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Copying for the Kami: The Manuscript Set of the Buddhist Canon Held by Matsuno'o Shrine

Academic journal article Japanese Journal of Religious Studies

Copying for the Kami: The Manuscript Set of the Buddhist Canon Held by Matsuno'o Shrine

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

On 23 August 1993, Buddhist scriptures copied on behalf of the Grand Shrine at Matsuno'o -more commonly pronounced Matsuo-in Kyoto, Japan, were rediscovered on the second floor of the treasury house (hozo SÄ) that sits at the back of a stone garden at Myörenji 0^# (a Hokkeshū temple), located today just west of Horikawa dori, not far from Doshisha University's Shinmachi campus. Despite damage from water, humidity, insects, rats, and dust, 3,545 rolls (kan Ш) of mostly handcopied scriptures were found along with sacred works (shogyo ШШ)-including several distinctive copies of the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarīka-sūtra, Myoho rengekyo t. 262/z. 148)-copied by the gentleman who had put the scriptures in the treasury house in 1857: Shimada Yasaburö Shimada was apparently a prominent lay devotee at Honnöji (the temple where Oda Nobunaga ¡SHJnÄ [1534-1582] had famously been forced to commit suicide), where he came to know Nagamatsu Nissen ÄföHS (1817-1890), who is regarded as the founder of a pre-Soka Gakkai-like lay Buddhist Lotus Sūtra chanting group devoted to the teachings of Nichiren ... (1222-1282) called Honmon Butsuryū-shū ..., coincidentally founded in 1857 (Takeda 2009). The reason I say these scriptures were rediscovered in 1993 is because the Matsunoo shrine scriptures (Matsunoo-sha issaikyo ...) were first discovered in the treasure house of Myörenji in 1967, when the stone garden and storehouse were undergoing repairs.

The set of Buddhist scriptures copied both at and on behalf of the kami # enshrined at Matsunoo within the treasury house at Myörenji, comprise one of only eight (or nine) extant old Japanese manuscript Buddhist canons (Nihon kosha issaikyo that are considered reliable copies of Nara era (710-794) or eighth-century editions (Ochiai 2009).2 Like the far better-known collections from the Imperial Household Agency's collection from the Shösöin in Nara, the Shögozö Sl?Ä, as well as the collections from Nanatsu-dera U# and Kongöji #И#, in Nagoya and Osaka, respectively, the Matsunoo shrine scriptures are an invaluable resource for the investigation of the textual transmission of canonical and extra-canonical East Asian Buddhist literature because the greater part of this collection can be dated to the late Heian period (a.k.a. Insei period [Cloistered Rule epoch], ca. 1068-1156 or 1086-1192).3 Even though I have yet to actually see it, what initially alerted me to the existence of this collection is the fact that it is one of only three of the old Japanese manuscript canons that contains roll seven of the apocryphal (gikyo, weijing ШШ, or yijing ШШ) Chinese Book of the Hero's March (Shoulengyan jing, Shuryogongyo Й®ШИ, t. 945)-also known as the pseudo- or larger- ·Sūramgama-sūtra-, or the Book of the Buddha's Crown or Sinciput (Foding jing, Bucchokyo JAīMU), in good condition.4 But the Matsunoo Shrine scriptures provide far more than just another valuable resource for East Asian Buddhist philological research. Because 1,238 of the 3,545 extant rolls have colophons (okugaki ft#), we now know of: (a) the presence of at least three vowed canons (gankyo ШИ) contained within the Matsunoo Shrine scriptures copied during the twelfth century; (2) the fact that Shinto priests (for example, Kannushi #ft, Negi #ft, and Gonnegi ...) from the Hata clan copied or sponsored these Buddhist scriptures; and (3) that for roughly seven hundred years the shrine functioned as a [Shinto] shrine-[Buddhist] temple complex or multiplex (miyadera).5 A significant number of rolls were lost between 1647 and 1854 because when forty-five rolls were apparently repaired at Hönenin in 1631, a catalogue was compiled listing 4,712 rolls in 1647.6 Seen from a broader perspective, the chronicle of the ownership and provenance of this collection during the late nineteenth- and early-twentieth centuries ought to prove insightful for researchers investigating the crossroads between sectarianism, iconoclasm, and religious violence in the modern, digital age. …

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