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Chinese Literature
Yiqiejing yinyi 一切經音義 "Sound and Meaning of All Sutras"

The two books called Yiqiejing yinyi 一切經音義 "Sound and meaning of all sutras" are phonetic and semantic commentaries to Buddhist writings and also for some vernacular works. The first was written by the early Tang period (618-907) monk Xuanying 玄應, the second by the mid-Tang period monk Huilin 慧琳.
Xuanying's book is 25 juan "scrolls" long. It is also called Xuanying yinyi 玄應音義 "Xuanying's Sound and Meaning". In various catalogues it is also called Zhongjing yinyi 眾經音義 "Sound and meaning of the many sutras". Xuanying was known for his mastering characters and their pronunciation. He commented 450 different Buddhist writings by indicating the pronunciation of difficult characters or characters transcribing Sanskrit terms, and explained their meaning. The pronunciation is indicated with the help of the fanqie system 反切. At the beginning of each juan a list is presented informing the reader which books are dealt with in that chapter. Each book is then dealt with, following the sequence of the chapters. The arrangement of the particular lemmata is similar to the Jingdian shiwen 經典釋文. For the explanation of the meaning, Xuanying also quotes from a lot of Confucian Classics and their commentaries, but of course also from dictionaries like the Cangjie 倉頡篇, Ge Hong's 葛洪 Ziyuan 字苑, the Zilin 字林, Li Deng's 李登 Shenglei 聲類, Fu Qian's 服虔 Tongsuwen 通俗文, or the Shuowen yinyin 說文音隱, a commentary to the Shuowen jiezi 說文解字. There are in total more than 100 books from which Xuanying quotes. A lot of these are long since lost. Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholars therefore used the Yiqiejing yinyi for the reconstruction of such lost books, like the Zilin or the Cangjiepian. Xuanying's book is not only interesting from the Buddhist viewpoint, but also for the study of historical phonology, or of the ancient Chinese vernacular language, which had a great incluence on Buddhist translations and writings. Another book of similar importance is a commentary to the "Garland Sutra" Huayanjing 華嚴經, the Huayanjing yinyi 華嚴經音義 by Huiyuan 慧苑.
The shortcomings of Xuanying's book is that he confounds rhymes and lists some redundant words. The book has long been regarded as only of mediocre quality and therefore did not attract the attention of later scholars. It is transmitted in two versions, one being included in the Buddhist Canon Taishō Tripitaka 大正新脩大藏經, with a transmission in 25, and one in 26 juan, the other being the "Confucian" (neutral scholarly) version. This version is totally restructured because the Buddhist writings were of no meaning for worldly literati. This version has survived in three editions, namely Zhuang Xin's 莊炘 version from 1786, the version from the Haishanxian Studio 海山仙館 printed during the Daoguang reign 道光 (1821-1850), and Cao Zhou's 曹籀 version printed in 1869.
There are commentaries by the Qing period scholars Sun Xingyan 孫星衍 (Yiqiejing yinyi jiaozheng 一切經音義校正) and Chen Zuolin 陳作霖 (Yiqiejing yinyi tongjian 一切經音義通檢).
The other book with this title is 100 juan long and was written by Huilin 慧琳. His book is also called Dazang yinyi 大藏音義 "Sound and meaning of the Grand Canon" or Huilin yinyi 慧琳音義 "Huilin's Sound and Meaning". It has two prefaces, one written by Gu Qizhi 顧齊之 and one by Jing Fan 景審. According to this preface the book was begun in 783 and finished in 807. Huilin came from Shule 疏勒 (Kašgar), a city state in the Tarim Basin, and could understand Chinese as well as Sanskrit. He compiled the Yiqiejing yinyi as a kind of extension of Xuanying's book. He commented 1,300 Buddhist writings, for about 300 of which he copied and revised Xuanying's commentary. For some other books he could resort to earlier phonetic-semantic commentaries, like Huiyuan's commentary to the Huayanjing "Garland Sutra", Yungong's 云公 commentary to the "Nirvana Sutra" Dabanniepanjing 大般涅槃經, or Kuiji's 窺基 commentary to the "Lotus Sutra" Miaofa lianhua jing 妙法蓮華經. For more than 100 Buddhist writings, Hulin's commentary was the first commentary at all. For the phonetic and semantic commentaries he made use of earlier dictionaries like the Shuowen jiezi, Zilin, Yupian 玉篇, Yang Chengqing's 陽承慶 Zitong 字統, Gujin zhengzi 古今正字, Wenzi dianshuo 文字典說, Kaiyuan wenzi yinyi 開元文字音義, Yunquan 韻詮, Yunying 韻英, and Kaosheng qieyun 考聲切韻. For characters not included in those books he quoted from other sources. In total he made use of 750 books for his research, a great part of which is long since lost, like the Cangjiepian 倉頡篇, Tongsuwen, Zhang Yi's 張揖 Picang 埤蒼, the Gujin zigu 古今字詁, Shenglei, Ziyuan, Lü Jing's 呂靜 Yunji 韻集, He Chengtian's 何承天 Zuanwen 纂文, Ruan Xiaoxu's 阮孝緒 Wenzi jilüe 文字集略, Yan Zhitui's 顏之推 Zhengsuyin 證俗音, or the anonymous Zishu 字書. A very interesting fact is that a lot of the books he made use of are not listed in ancient catalogues, like the Gujin zhengzi or the Renlun guijing 人倫龜鏡. Besides dictionaries, Huilin also used commentaries to the Confucian Classics and other books, like Bao Xian's 包咸 Lunyu zhu 論語注, Zheng Zhong's 鄭眾 Kaogongji zhu 考工記注, the Chunqiuzhuan zhu 春秋傳注 by Jia Kui 賈逵 and Fu Qian 服虔, Xu Shen's 許慎 Huainanzi zhu 淮南子注, Jia Kui's 賈逵 Guoyu zhu 國語注, the Erya zhu 爾雅注 by Li Xun 李巡 and Sun Tan 孫炎, or Sima Biao's 司馬彪 Zhuangzi zhu 莊子注. Some quotations by Huilin are not identical to the received version. This is true, for instance, for the Shuowen jiezi and the Yupian. The Qiqiejing yinyi is therefore a very important source for the reconstruction of ancient texts. His scholary work concerning the semantic of characters is also of great importance. His book was therefore in 851 officially included into the Buddhist Canon.
In 987 the monk Xilin 希麟 wrote a kind of supplement called Xu yiqiejing yinyi 續一切經音義. The book was also, on request by the courts, transmitted to Korea and later to Japan. It was printed there in 1737 and came back to China where it was first printed in 1912 by the Pinjia jingshe press 頻伽精舍, which is the most widespread version, together with that in the Taishō Canon.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 1, p. 677. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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May 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail