Tao-an ［道安］ (PY Daoan; Dōan): (1) (312–385) A priest and scholar of Buddhism in China. At age twelve, he became a priest and studied Buddhism under Fo-t’u-teng. He won renown for his lectures on the Wisdom sutras. In 379, when Fu Chien, the ruler of the Former Ch’in dynasty, invaded Hsiang-yang, where Tao-an was living, Tao-an went to Ch’ang-an at Fu Chien’s request. He also exhorted Fu Chien to invite Kumārajīva to Ch’ang-an, which he did. In Ch’ang-an, Tao-an lived at Wu-chung-ssu temple and devoted himself to the study and propagation of Buddhism. He compiled The Comprehensive Catalog of Sutras, an index of existing Chinese translations of the Buddhist scriptures together with the names of the translators and the dates of the translations. This work, which is no longer extant, was the first catalog of Buddhist scriptures in China and served as the basis for the catalogs of Chinese-language Buddhist scriptures made thereafter. Tao-an also systematized the precepts for priests and nuns, devoted himself to the translation of Buddhist scriptures, and wrote commentaries on various sutras. In addition, he is credited with having established the concept of three divisions of a sutra, or the practice of dividing the content of a Buddhist sutra into three parts: preparation, revelation, and transmission. He had several hundred disciples, among whom Hui-yüan was the most prominent.
(2) (n.d.) A priest of China during the sixth century. He lectured on the Nirvana Sutra and The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom by Nāgārjuna. He submitted to Emperor Wu (r. 560–578) of the Northern Chou dynasty The Treatise on the Two Teachings (Buddhism and Taoism), in which he asserted the superiority of Buddhism over Taoism and criticized Confucianism. In 574, however, Emperor Wu issued a decree proscribing Buddhism and Taoism, and called for the destruction of Buddhist temples, images, and scriptures. Tao-an avoided persecution and devoted himself to instructing his disciples.