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Jizang(549 - 623)

Jizang. (J. Kichizō; K. Kilchang) (549–623). In Chinese, "Storehouse of Auspiciousness"; Chinese Buddhist monk of originally Parthian descent and exegete within the San lun zong, the Chinese counterpart of the Madhyamaka school of Indian thought. At a young age, he is said to have met the Indian translator Paramārtha, who gave him his dharma name. Jizang is also known to have frequented the lectures of the monk Falang (507–581) with his father, who was also [an] ordained monk. Jizang eventually was ordained by Falang, under whom he studied the so-called Three Treatises (San lun), the foundational texts of the Chinese counterpart of the Madhyamaka school: namely, the Zhong lun (Mūlamadhyamakārikā), Bai lun (*Śataśāstra), and Shi'ermen lun (*Dvādaśamukhaśāstra). At the age of twenty-one, Jizang received the full monastic precepts. After Falang’s death in 581, Jizang moved to the monastery of Jiaxiangsi in Huiji (present-day Zhejiang province). There, he devoted himself to lecturing and writing and is said to have attracted more than a thousand students. In 598, Jizang wrote a letter to Tiantai Zhiyi, inviting him to lecture on the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra. In 606, Emperor Yang (r. 604–617) constructed four major centers of Buddhism around the country and assigned Jizang to one in Yangzhou (present-day Jiangsu province). During this period, Jizang composed his influential overview of the doctrines of the Three Treatises school, entitled the San lun xuanyi. Jizang's efforts to promote the study of the three treatises earned him the name "reviver of the San lun tradition." Jizang was a prolific writer who composed numerous commentaries on the three treatises, the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, Sukhāvatīvyūhasūtra, etc., as well as an overview of Mahāyāna doctrine, entitled the Dasheng xuan lun. ("Jizang". In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 395. Princeton University Press, 2014)

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Affiliations & relations

  • San Lun Zong (Three Treatises school) · religious affiliation
  • Falang · teacher