Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale > 53 | 2017 > Multiple Layers of Transmission

Multiple Layers of Transmission

Gasan Jōseki and the Goi Doctrine in the Medieval Sōtō school

Marta Sanvido    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



Scholars have investigated Gasan’s role in the so-called ‘popularization’ of the medieval Sōtō school. What is noticed less often is Gasan’s doctrinal role in the shaping of medieval Sōtō Zen. This article sheds light on the particular importance given by Gasan to the transmission of the Five Ranks through an analysis of the San’unkaigetsu and the two Muromachi variants. The three texts share some common features in the analysis of the Five Ranks, which are at the center of the transmission process in Gasan’s group. I suggest that the rediscovery of the Five Ranks attempts to legitimate Gasan and his group of disciples. San’unkaigetsu achieves this through three different layers: the textual layer, the cosmogonic layer and the secrecy layer which endow Gasan’s group with the legitimacy of past tradition. My analysis collocates Gasan and San’unkaigetsu in the complex scenario of the medieval Sōtō school, providing a nuanced understanding of the influential role of Gasan.

June 20, 2017
March 14, 2017
Nov. 25, 2016

Keywords: Gasan JōsekiKirigamiSōtō SchoolFive Ranks

Copyright: © 2017 Marta Sanvido. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.