An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Putuoshan zhi 普陀山志

Oct 6, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Putuoshan zhi 普陀山志 is a book on Mt. Putuo, one of the sacred Buddhist mountains of China. It is also called Mt. Butuo 補陀山 or Mt. Butuoluojia 補陀羅迦山 and is located on an island east of Dinghai 定海, Zhejiang. The name is derived from that of sacred moutains mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. Putuo 普陀 is the Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit word Bodhisattva, otherwise transcribed as Pusa 菩薩.

The book was written by Xu Tan 許琰 (jinshi degree 1727), courtesy name Yaozhou 瑤洲, from Tong'an 同安, Fujian. The earliest book on Mt. Putuo was compiled by Hou Jigao 侯繼高 (1533-1602) during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644). In 167l Zhou Yingbin 周應賓 (d. 1626) revised the book, yet two years later the abbots of Puji 普濟寺 and Fayu Monasteries 法雨寺 asked Qiu Duanyu 裘殷玉 to carry out a further revision which was then printed. Zhu Jin 朱謹 supplemented the book in 1616.

A hundred years later, Xu Tan compiled an updated and enlarged version of 20 juan which was printed in 1740. The differences to older versions are considerable. Xu's book includes much more detailed information and carried out a critical review of the sources. He left out the chapter on historic sites (Guji 古跡) with the argument that in fact, all monasteries and temples of the island were historic, and not just a few.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1079.
Song Jinqin 宋金芹 (2017). "Putuoshan zhi zhengli, yanjiu yu bianzhuan guanjian 普陀山志整理、研究與編撰之管見", Zhejiang Haiyang Daxue xuebao (Renwen kexue ban) 浙江海洋大學學報(人文科學版), 2017 (8).