perfect teaching ［円教］ ( en-gyō): Also, round teaching. A teaching lacking in nothing, one that is full and complete. The supreme teaching of Buddhism. Buddhist sutras were introduced from India to China virtually at random over the centuries, and many attempts were made to organize and classify this vast array of teachings into coherent systems. In such systems of classification, the sutra that was ranked highest was called the perfect teaching. For example, Hui-kuang (468–537) divided the Buddhist teachings into three categories—gradual, sudden, and perfect—and designated the Flower Garland Sutra as the perfect teaching. T’ien-t’ai (538–597) also classified Shakyamuni’s teachings according to content and established the four teachings of doctrine. In this system of classification, he termed the last of the four teachings of doctrine the perfect teaching, the other three being the Tripitaka teaching, connecting teaching, and specific teaching. In addition, he defined two categories of perfect teaching: that expounded in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and that taught in the Lotus Sutra. Though both teach the concept of the attainment of Buddhahood by ordinary persons, T’ien-t’ai points out that the former teaches it in name only, that is, with no example of it ever having occurred, and draws various distinctions and exceptions; the latter teaches that all people can without exception attain enlightenment, illustrating it with examples. The term perfect teaching is synonymous with the Lotus Sutra in traditions stemming from T’ien-t’ai’s, including Nichiren’s. See also four teachings of doctrine.