Traditional Japanese Buddhist schools developed doctrinal interpretation through the method of question and answers called “Rongi” or “Dangi.” This method of “Rongi” became popular during the Insei period and a variety of theoretical documents were composed within the Kegon School.
Among the various Rongi texts, the Tangenki Kanyōshō is rare in that it was established in the early Kamakura period and was continually copied for over 600 years until the Edo period. By examining the various copies of this text, one can learn how Kegon Rongi was established.
Initially there were no well-formed topics that were organized into four character titles. However, later the first question of the topic was posted as a table of contents at the beginning of the book, which developed into the current form during the Edo period, and is thus transmitted until today.
Although the title of this text suggests that it is concerned with the essentials of the “Tangenki,” in actuality, rather than being concerned with the essentials of doctrine, it is essential in the sense that it became the standard form for Rongi texts. This can be considered one of the major reasons why the text was copied over such a long period of time. Moreover, by tracing the establishment of Kegon Rongi through this text, it can be inferred that the process through which other schools developed Rongi is similar in methods to the Kegon school.