Friday 4/20/2018: Talk by Brian Ruppert, "Examining Scriptural Networks Through the Lens of Textual Practice and Transmission"

The Columbia University Buddhist Studies Seminar, the Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion and the Columbia University Seminars present the following talk:

Examining Scriptural Networks Through the Lens of Textual Practice and Transmission: The cases of Great Notes (Maka shō) and Raishin’s Notes (Raishin shō)

Brian Ruppert
(Bates College)

Friday, April 20th, 2018, 6:00 PM

Columbia University, Faculty House (Room TBD)


This talk explores the role of the production and dissemination of ritual scripture in the geographical and social spread of esoteric lineages of Buddhism in medieval Japan. To do so, it focuses on the contents and use of two such examples in Shingon esoteric Buddhist lineages. One is Great Notes (Maka shō; Ninnaji Tatchūgura Shōgyō Archives), compiled by Kōzen (1121-1203), the Kajūji teacher of the iconographic encyclopedist Kakuzen (1143-ca. 1213), which includes the ritual scriptures transmitted to him by one of Kōzen’s teachers, “Great Dharma Master” Jitsunin (1097–1169). I examine the production of this rare collection of complete ritual-transmissions from a single master in medieval Japan and its status as an “Ono-Branch” scripture; and I investigate its entreasuring in Ninnaji, which came about through the interactions between monastic networks active in the Kyoto area. The other work, which I turn to in shorter order, is Shingon Raishin’s Notes (Shingon Raishin shō), authored by Raishin (1281–1336), a temple-network monk in medieval Japan within the traditions at Negoroji and Tōdaiji. Raishin’s Notes, held in Hagiwaraji archives in Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, is a manuscript that dates to the mid-14th century. Raishin lists, one by one, the major ritual works into which he—and presumably everyone else in his tradition of Raiyu’s (1226–1304) ritual-scriptural lineage—was initiated. Examining Kōzen’s and Raishin’s works, along with the networks that enabled their copying and entreasuring, enables us to understand the connection between the appearance of ritual scriptures and their role in the spread of esoteric ritual scripture in medieval Kansai and other parts of Japan. 


For directions to the Faculty House, see the following PDF: