Medieval Zen Texts


  • The purpose of this database is to make available to the public complete digitalized text for Zen-related works of the medieval era. Currently it provides the full text of the priest Gidō Shūshin’s (1325–1388) Kūge rōshi nichiyō kufū ryakushū, a work in the Nichibunken collection consisting of excerpts from Gidō’s diary covering the period 64 years from his birth to death. The database will gradually be expanded mainly with quotations and poetry collections that have not been transcribed and published.
  • When publishing research (scholarly articles, etc.) or including citations in other works based on this database, please indicate the source as the “Nichibunken Medieval Zen Text Database.” If errors or problems are encountered in the course of its use, please let us know at database* (Please replace * with @).
  • The database may be searched by key word or by date.
  • When searching for more than one keyword at once, choose the tab for “or” or “and” at the right of the search window.
  • Dates may be searched using the nengō (era names) of the Southern and Northern courts in kanji (with the figures in either 1-byte or 2-byte Arabic characters or kanji, e.g., 応安5, 応安5, 応安五, 文中元, 文中1, 文中1) or as dates in the Western calendar (with the figures in either 1-byte or 2-byte Arabic characters or kanji, e.g., 1372, 1372, 一三七二).
  • In this database, the font used is in principle the honji (old form of kanji) or font close to honji, regardless of what form of kanji is used in the original text, except in cases where original form carries specific meaning. For searches, the digital text accommodates searches involving variant characters (itaiji), informal variants (tōriji), and iteration characters (odoriji; e.g., 々、ヽ、ゝ). For example, 獨我山中一點無、々々々處些子有 may also be found by typing 独我山中一点無一点無処些子有. It does not accommodate searches using the simplified Chinese characters used in China.
  • Tōten (commas) and nakaguro (middle dots) have been added to the text. Inserted notes and annotations are set off with 〈 〉 and emendations are enclosed in brackets [ ]. Headnotes and marginal notes are indicated with parentheses ( ). Kaeriten marks and furigana in the original are not included. Characters that cannot be displayed are indicated with a geta mark (〓) followed by an explanation.
  • In this database, it is possible to search for a string of characters even if emendations have been inserted. For example, the passage “孟于[才]有詩” will be found by searching for either 孟于有詩 or 孟才有詩. In searching, you can search without using tōten (commas) and nakaguro (middle dots), inserted notes, headnotes, etc. and the notes may be searched separately. For example, the passage浩・相〈圓鑑梵相、嗣普明、〉二首座傳國師命來 will be found with either 浩相二首座 or 円鑑梵相嗣普明 but not with 相円鑑梵相 or 普明 二首座.

Notes on the Kūge rōshi nichiyō kufū ryakushū:

  1. The original text is in four volumes in the Nichibunken Library (call number HM/175/Gi). The entire text has been reproduced in digital text, but emendations have been added by referring to “popular versions” (rufubon). The dividing line between the third and fourth volumes differs between the Nichibunken collection copy and the rufubon, with the Eitoku 3 (1383) and Shitoku 1 (1384) entries appearing in the fourth volume of the Nichibunken collection work. Regarding this, the following is displayed: 巻4(流布本巻3相当)Volume 4 (corresponding to volume 3 in the rufubon).
  2. The original work at Nichibunken was formerly part of the collection of Kiun’in, a subtemple of Nanzenji temple in Kyoto and carries the seal of its collection: ”Ryūzan / Kiun’in” (square seal stamp). As it also bears the square seals “Kanda-ke zō” (Kanda Family Collection), “Nobuatsu shi-in” (Private Stamp of Nobuatsu), and “Meiji nijū-san nen in” (Stamp of Meiji 23), it appears that the work passed into Kanda Nobuatsu’s (1854–1918) hands in 1890. Also, the annotation of the character拉 in the third day, fifth month of Eitoku 1 (1381) has an inserted note reading “拉、力答切、折也、字典、諺言邀入同行曰 拉,” a note not found in the rufubon. Since it would appear that the “字典” here refers to the Kangxi Dictionary compiled in 1716 by the Kangxi Emperor of Qing China, it appears that the Nichibunken edition of the diary was copied in the late Edo period, between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
  3. Works consulted: Tamamura Takeji, “Kūge nikkōshū kō: Betsu-shōbon oyobi ryakushū ihon ni tsuite” [A Study of the Kūge rōshi nichiyō kufū ryakushū] in Nihon Zenshū shironshū [Collection of Historical Treatises on Japanese Zen], part 1 of vol. 2 (Kyoto: Shibunkaku Shuppan, 1979), and Enomoto Wataru, “Nikki to sōden no aida” [Between Diaries and the Biographies of Monks], in Kuramoto Kazuhiro, ed. Nikki, kokiroku no sekai [The World of Diaries and Old Accounts] (Kyoto: Shibunkaku Shuppan, 2014).

Data Count:
1,290 items
(As of November 2014)

Viewing this database

Please access the following link.