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Daoxuan (Chinese: 道宣; pinyin: Dàoxuān; Wade–Giles: Tao-hsüan; 596–667) was the Chinese Buddhist monk and patriarch of the Vinaya school,[1] who wrote both the Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks (續高僧傳 Xù gāosēng zhuàn) and Standard Design for Buddhist Temple Construction. In legends he is attributed with the transmission of the Buddha relic called Daoxuan's tooth, one of the four tooth relics enshrined in the capital of Chang'an during the Tang dynasty. He is said to have received the relic during a night visit from a divinity associated with Indra. [2]

Daoxuan wrote five commentaries on the Vinaya known as the Five Great Works of Mount Zhongnan. He also was part of the translation team that assisted Xuanzang in translating sutras from Sanskrit into Chinese.[3]:110

Daoxuan was also a noted and influential bibliographer.[4] His catalogue of Buddhist scriptures 《大唐內典錄》 Catalogue of the Inner Canon of the Great Tang aka Nèidiǎn Catalog (T2149) in 10 scrolls (卷) was commissioned by the Emperor Gaozong and completed in 664. The Nèidiǎn Catalog helped to define the shape of the Chinese Buddhist Canon in future years. Influenced by the apocalyptic Mo-fa or theory of the end of the Dharma, Daoxuan was particularly concerned to expose and denounce suspicious (疑偽) or fake (偽) sutras. He witnessed wholesale burning of texts suspected of being fake.[5] The Nèidiǎn Catalog is also notable for being the first bibliographical work to attribute the Heart Sutra to Xuánzàng who died the same year as the catalogue was completed.

Daoxuan is also noted for his admonishments to the Emperor Tang Gaozong for issuing an edict requiring monastics to bow before the emperor. His admonishments succeeded in the cancellation of that edict.[6]:2–3


  1. ^ Buswell 2013, p. 215.
  2. ^ Strong 2007, p. 187.
  3. ^ Wong 2018
  4. ^ Tokuno: 1990.
  5. ^ Tokuno 1990: 48–50
  6. ^ Jülch 2016


  • Buswell, Robert Jr; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 215. ISBN 9780691157863.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Jülch, Thomas, ed. (2016). The Middle Kingdom and the Dharma Wheel: Aspects of the Relationship Between the Buddhist Saṃgha and the State in Chinese History. Sinica Leidensia. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-9004309654.
  • Strong, John (2007), Relics of the Buddha, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-3139-1
  • Tokuno Kyoko . 1990. 'The Evaluation of Indigenous Scriptures in Chinese Buddhist Bibliographical Catalogues' in Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, edited by Robert E Buswell. University of Hawaii Press, 31–74.
  • Wong, Dorothy (2018). Buddhist Pilgrim-Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, ca. 645-770. Singapore: NUS Press National University of Singapore. ISBN 978-9814722599.

Further reading[edit]