Notes on the Transmission and Dating of the Senchakushu


According to Shogei's Senchaku dengu ketsugisho jikitetsu, vol. 7, "someone" said that chapters 1 through 3 were written down by Junsai; chapters 7 through 12 by Kansai; and chapters 13 to 16 by another, unknown, hand. Finally, this "someone" said, the end was again written down by Kansai (JZ. 7, 547a). However, the identity of this "someone" remains unknown, nor is it known whether or not this description refers to the writers of the Rozanji manuscript, the oldest extant version of the Senchakushu. Ueda Ryojun has recently suggested that Honen's disciple Shoku was the unknown person who transcribed chapters 13 to 16 (Ueda, 74-81). This opinion is supported by the fact that Shoku's handwriting, of which there are other samples, appears to match that of these last four chapters in the Rozanji manuscript. However, according to the Senchaku micchoketsu, written by Shoku and transmitted through the Seizan branch of the Pure Land sect (Seizan Jodo-shu), Kansai was the disciple whose role was to pose questions to Honen about his teachings and their basis in the scriptures; Shoku was the one who located and verified quotations from the sutras and commentaries, and Junsai was the one who actually wrote down Honen's answers. This work contains no mention of Shoku taking Honen's dictation.


There are different opinions as to when the Senchakushu was actually written. Jodo Shu has traditionally maintained that it was written in 1198. This is stated in the Honen Shonin gyojo ezu, the Honen Shonin denki, the Kurodani Genku Shonin denki, the Shijuhachi kanden, Ryochu's Senchaku dengu ketsugisho, and Gyokan's Senchaku hisho. On the other hand, the Shui kotokuden ekotoba claims that it was written in 1204. The Shogen myogisho, published in the Edo period, places the work earlier in 1197 and the Kurodani shonin den written by Shinzui claims that it was written later in 1205.


Ueda Ryojun, "Senchakushu sokobon dai sanpitsu wa Seizan shonin Shoku" in

Indogaku Bukkyogaku kenkyu, 30-2, March 1982.

Gyokan, Senchaku hisho, JZ. 7, 336a.

Ryochu, Senchaku dengu ketsugisho, JZ. 7, 625a-b

Biographical References:

Kurodani Genku Shonin denki [Jurokumonki], HDZ. 49-50.

Kurodani Shonin den, HDZ. 989-993.

Honen Shonin gyojo ezu, JZ. 16, 210-211.

Honen Shonin denki [Kukanden], HDZ. 363b-364a.

Shijuhachi kanden [Forty-Eight Volume Biography], HDZ. 803a.

Shogen myogisho, HDZ. 815-909.

Shui kotokuden ekotoba [Kotoku-den], HDZ. 624b.

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