The old manuscript of the Zhenyuan lu 古本『貞元録』 preserved in the Nanatsu-dera collection, which represents a recension based on the text transmitted to Japan immediately after its compilation, records three verions of the Muhuan jing 『木〓經』. On the other hand, the Taisho recession of the Zhenyuan lu registers only two versions of the Muhuan jing. Furthermore, volume 17 of the Taisho Canon contains only one text entitled Muhuan jing.
It would appear that Amoghavajra's translation was considered a similar rendering of the same text, which was not essentially different from the recension attributed to the unknown translator and therefore not used as the basic text of the printed versions.
The Taisho edition of the text, the Fo shuo muhuan jing 『佛説木〓子經』, which also adopts the recension attributed to an unknown translator, relies on the text of the Korean Canon, and its footnotes collate it with the variant readings found in the printed versions as well as in Amoghavajra's translation of the Sanjujo sasshi 『三十帖冊子』. One is, however, struck by the fact that for a short text consisting of only 33 lines in the Taisho Canon, we have no less than 39 footnotes and 13 variae lectiones different from the Sanjujo sasshi version. It would thus seem unreasonable to regard the rendering attributed to the unknown translator and Amoghavajra's translation as being similar or identical renderings of the same text.
In this paper, I examine the three versions of the Muhuan jing recorded in the old Zhenyuan lu on the basis of the three Nanatsu-dera manuscripts of the text, copied in the Heian Period.