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In this paper I will offer a context-driven re-reading of Ven. Seongcheol’s classic and controversial book, Orthodox Path of the Seon School (Seonmun jeongno), published in 1981. As the new supreme patriarch of the Jogye Order, Ven. Seongcheol launched a vehement critique of the founding patriarch of the order, Bojo Jinul (1158-1210). Seongcheol’s critique of Bojo, largely doxographical in nature, focused on the latter’s supposed advocacy of the notion of sudden awakening followed by gradual cultivation. Rather than rehash this well worn debate, this paper will set Ven. Seongcheol’s critique of Bojo against the backdrop of the historical path that led the former from the history-making Bongam-sa retreat of 1947 to his appointment as supreme patriarch in 1981. Critical to understanding Seongcheol’s critique, this paper shows, is the effort to establish the individual and her personal experience of awakening as the only source of authenticity in a country where authenticity or religious authority was considered to be largely lacking. This paper also hopes to show how Seongcheol’s efforts resonate neatly with the much earlier efforts to redefine the nature of the precepts with so-called subitism in early Chan.
This paper examines how Chan literature from the Song dynasty cast the ideal Chan master as a cosmic sovereign. In the study of Buddhism, the notion that liberation involves becoming a buddha with sovereign authority over the universe is most closely associated with esoteric or tantric Buddhism. In Daoism and Chinese religion, as well, the spiritual world is often envisioned as a vast cosmic bureaucracy topped by a sovereign deity. But the invocation of sovereignty tropes by Chan Buddhists has, with some exceptions, been largely overlooked. When Chan Buddhists in the Song discussed Chan mastery as a form of cosmic sovereignty, they drew on neither esoteric Buddhist texts nor on Chinese descriptions of an otherworldly bureaucracy. Instead, they combined Mainstream and Mahayana descriptions of the Buddha as a “Dharma-king” and “lion” among men, on the one hand, with a variety of tropes from China’s mainstream literary and philosophical heritage concerning ideals of temporal sovereignty, on the other. I suggest that Chan Buddhists wove together this tapestry of ideas about the Chan master’s sovereign authority not to challenge the authority of temporal rulers—on whose patronage they relied—but to negotiate answers to the question of how to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate claimants to the lofty religious authority that elite society during the Song invested in the status of Chan master.
This paper argues that we need a new paradigm for early Chan Studies. The current paradigm, largely defined by the work of John McRae and Bernard Faure in the mid-1980s, imagines that Chan Buddhism emerged in China in the 5th or 6th century as the “semi-legendary” Bodhidharma and his disciples began sharing their wisdom and meditation styles with a set of “practitioners,” in the Chinese hinterland. In time, these proto-Chan groups then supposedly left their lives of rural simplicity in order to set themselves up in the capitals of Luoyang and Chang’an in the late 7th century where they promoted a whole new style of practicing Chinese Buddhism—with a focus on meditation—that came to be known as the “Chan school” (禪宗). However, the surviving textual and epigraphic evidence, when read more critically, would seem to put this scenario in doubt. In particular, the evidence suggests that what we have come to call early Chan emerged from a cycle of genealogical writing in which an increasingly bold set of authors competed with one another to present the reading public with convincing histories in which this or that master was presented as a direct spiritual descendant of the Indian Buddha, and thus suitable to be worshiped as the current king-of-Chinese-Buddhism. Moreover, and here is where many readers have gone astray, these genealogies work at making these attempts to create and deploy ultimate forms of Buddhist authority look innocent, unmotivated, and altogether attractive by cloaking the newly minted Chan masters in the garb of the rural ascetic and/or the Daoist sage, figures known to have no interest in fame, status, or authority. Thus, surprisingly, the most famous early Chan masters—such as Hongren and Huineng—appear rather Daoist in style and action, even as they are vaunted as the unique holders of the whole of the Buddhist tradition. The final section of the paper explores the irony whereby this struggle over Buddhist leadership in the Tang dynasty came to be seen in the modern era as proof of the emergence of a new, democratic form of Buddhism, one largely free of political machinations—and even free of Buddhist literature and ritual—dedicated solely to enlightening every-man-in-the-street in the most direct and tradition-free manner.
Dōgen’s view of “self” and “world” is a continuation of the concept of “true self” of Tathāgatagarbha tradition as found in Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna and other works, and at the same time, it renders the concept more practical and less substantial. This presentation aims to reconstruct Dōgen’s “self/world,” which is both practical and insubstantial, as something that can be connected to contemporary philosophical discussions, by using the tools of analytic philosophy.
To this end, this presentation will first focus on Dōgen’s concept of “Buddhahood” in the chapter “Buddhahood (Bussho)” of “Shōbōgenzō” and confirm that it means “impermanence” as a property common to all phenomena. Next, based on the fact that Dōgen refuses the existence of the universal for this common nature, we interpret it as a “particular/instantiated abstract” or “trope” in analytic metaphysics (see the figure below).
In addition, this presentation will take up the “Being-time (Uji)” chapter of “Shōbōgenzō” and find that “being-time” or “events” limited in space-time, are posited as the most fundamental ontological entities, or in other words, that Dōgen takes an ontological position that can be called “fundamental eventism”. Furthermore, in line with such phrases as “somatic manifestation (shingen)” in the “Buddhahood” chapter and “Do being-time!” in the “Being-time” chapter, it is argued that the paradigm of events for Dōgen is nothing other than “action”.
Based on the above interpretation, this presentation argues that for Dōgen, the “true self” to be attained is the “impermanent trope” and the self to be “dropped” is the “concrete particular” or “concrete individual”. In other words, Dōgen’s “true self” is neither the “totality” (which takes all things as parts) nor the “universal” (as in Platonism), but the “arbitrary person” who can be any individual, that is, the “arbitrary individual” who can be replaced by anyone (anything), or more specifically, the act of a concrete individual making itself arbitrary (abstract). In other words, it is the entity that can be called Self as Anyone (or Anything).
Abstract Concrete Universal Platonistic universal A conjunction of all the properties of an individual thing Particular Trope (Arbitrary Individual) Concrete Individual
Spatial orientation, such as “at the south-east corner”, “facing north”, and “putting up on the south side of the front door”, has been immensely emphasised in the ritual procedures of Song-Yuan (Song 960–1279 CE, Yuan 1271–1368 CE) Chan monastic codes (qinggui 清規) with step-by-step directional instructions of body movements. This focus on the four cardinal directions/quarters (sifang 四方) was hardly seen in Indian Buddhist traditions or early Chinese Buddhist practices but was shared by the narratives of Chinese state rites.
The cosmology of four cardinal directions can be traced back to the Shang (c.1600–1046 BCE) oracle bone inscriptions, where the Shang rulers divined changes in the four directions and their influences on the central state. The Shang kings made di-sacrifice (di 禘) to the four directions and reached their ancestors — the messengers between the god and the king. Thus, the embodiment of ruling legitimacy has lied in the sacrifice to proper orientations. The ritual enactment of this cosmology has been strictly carried on in medieval official rituals, with the inherited ritual forms of di-sacrifice and xia-sacrifice (xia 祫), the consistent layout of the ancestral hall (taimiao 太廟), as well as the rigorous regulations of spatial positions and facing directions among figures of various kinships.
Correlatively, a significant proportion of the medieval Chan monastic rituals followed the hierarchical order of spatial orientations in state rites with moderate adaptation in the monastic context. This paper will investigate the layout of the sangha hall, the preparation of event announcements and seating arrangements, as well as the moving sequence for monks of different monastic posts and dharma ages on certain occasions. It will offer a new perspective on the effort of the Chan school in organically combining Chinese spatial cosmology and Buddhist enlightenment ideals in a unified form of ritual practice.
After the rediscovery of the Dunhuang text titled Dasheng dunwu Zhengli jue 大乘頓悟正理決 attributed to Moheyan, scholars quickly realized that the so-called “Samyé Debate” depicted in Tibetan historiography is a mythologized event that differs from the account in the Zhengli jue in many respects. However, the doctrinal distance between the positions of the Zhengli jue and Moheyan’s claims in Tibetan historiography has not been critically assessed. As a result, the tendency to conflate two Moheyans has persisted in secondary scholarship. This paper argues that the Tibetan imagination of Moheyan, different from Moheyan as a Northern Chan master found in the Zhengli jue, mostly reflects doctrinal concerns within Tibetan Buddhism.
My submission to this conference is the Introduction to a forthcoming book entitled Histories of Chan (Zen). What I present in the book is a radical rethinking and reorganization of the field of Zen studies. My aim is not simply to correct or revise particular aspects of modern scholarship in the field, although I do a fair amount of that. More importantly, I wish to provide a new conceptual framework within which all the existing pieces of a very complicated historical puzzle — a diverse set of stories about the origins, development, and essential characteristics of Chan Buddhism that have been told for different reasons at different times and places — can be sorted out and related to one another in a manner that makes sense and is consistent with all the evidence that we have today. To that end, I divide my approach to the history of Chan into five distinct lines of inquiry, devoting a separate part to each:
Part One: A Lexical History of the Word “Chan”
Part Two: Traditional Histories of the Chan Lineage
Part Three: Modern Histories of the Chan Lineage/School
Part Four: Proto-Histories of the Chan Lineage
Part Five: An Institutional History of the Chan School
The titles of these parts are not self-explanatory. That is to say, they do not provide sufficient information for the reader to deduce their respective contents or to grasp my reasons for presenting five different histories of Chan instead of just one. In the this Introduction, therefore, I define all of the terms used in these titles, elucidate the various objects and methods of study represented in each of the five parts, and explain why I have not written a straightforward “history of Chan Buddhism,” as if that were an unambiguous thing that could be treated in the singular.
As some of the earliest examples of Chan texts survived in the Dunhuang library cave, they have been studied extensively in modern scholarship as textual witnesses of texts that were to become influential throughout East Asia. With their commonly cited emphasis on being transmitted outside the realm of words and letters, Chan texts present an intriguing perspective on how they were copied, transmitted, and used in practice. This paper is an attempt to bring to the study of Chan manuscripts the methods of codicology and palaeography, trying to use these in a way that would complement the work of scholars working on textual criticism and religious history. The fundamental question is what the manuscripts can tell us about the way these texts were used beyond what we already know. Can they teach us anything about the identity and background of the persons and communities involved in copying and using these texts? Do the physical features of the manuscripts support our understanding of their use? Essentially, the approach I am advocating also entails a shift from the transmission of texts to their use in concrete situations.
In the context of widespread environmental grief today, the field of Buddhist Eco-Chaplaincy has emerged as a way to support the suffering occasioned by this confrontation. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which the roots of this movement can be found in 13th century Zen (especially in Dōgen), which in turn rely on the developmental intersection of Daoism and Buddhism in Chan.
Kyoto University, as an important base for Chinese studies in Japan, has attached great importance to the study of Chinese religion and has achieved many results so far. However, there has been little exploration in the scholarly community so far as to the characteristics they have presented in the study of Chinese Chan Buddhism. This paper focuses on the performance of three scholars, Bunzaburo Matsumoto, Yoshitaka Iriya, and Seizan Yanagida, and analyzes the characteristics of their research on Chinese Chan Buddhism.
Compared to its bibliographical counterpart, chanjing 禪經 (meditation texts), the concept of chanshu 禪數 (numerical categories of meditation teachings) received a lot less scholarly attention. This often made us forget the fact that chanshu is another important indigenous concept organizing meditation knowledge which only took shape in China. The present paper reexamines its significance in our understanding of the transmission and interpretation of translated Buddhist meditation knowledge. It argues that the lasting impact of this indigenous concept lies in its efficacy in representing a habit that Chinese monks resort to while approaching textual studies with the purpose of learning the practice of meditation. It shows that, as opposed to doctrinal studies, whose transmission usually proceeds by the unit of individual work, the textual learning of meditation knowledge proceeds mostly by the unit of individual numerical category or meditation genre. This characteristic has resulted in the tendency of cross-textual comparison of variant teachings in exegesis of the “same” meditation category, the extraction and independent circulation of portions of individual work, as well as their reorganization in gradual order. It has also made the transmission of textual knowledge on Buddhist meditation less sensitive to genres: vinaya, abhidharma, meditation manual and Mahāyāna sutras are all regarded as equal in the face of the shared numerical meditation category.
Zhenru Monastery 真如寺 in Jiaxing 嘉興was a famous lecture monastery in the Tang and Song. As Chan Buddhism became dominant in the late Ming, Zhenru Monastery sent a letter inviting the Chan master Hanyue Fazang 漢月法藏 (1573–1635) of the Sanfeng lineage 三峰派 to serve as a lecturer during a winter retreat in 1630. After the retreat, Hanyue’s disciple Lingyan Hongchu 靈巖弘儲 (1605–1672) , who was an influential Chan master in the Jiangnan area, continued to play an important role in the activities of Zhenru Monastery. Later, thirty years after Hanyue’s death, two disciples of Lingyan Hongchu, Sengjian Xiaoqing 僧鑒曉青(1629–1690) and Yi’an Shanzan 翼菴善酇 (1625–1700) became abbots of Zhenru Monastery from 1668–1679 for a total of eleven years. This paper uses several newly discovered rare texts and other historical materials to tell the story of Zhenru Monastery’s conversion to the Sanfeng lineage, which has important implications for the development of Sanfeng lineage in the late Ming and early Qing.
Traditionally, Huineng (慧能) has been regarded as the legitimate successor of Chan. According to the Platform Sutra (壇經), a record of his sayings and deeds, Huineng was recognized by his master Hongren (弘忍) as a successor who understood the correct teachings of Chan as the result of competitive presentation of verse with Shenxiu (神秀). In modern times, however, a completely new view was proposed. Hu shi (胡適), who discovered Heze Shenhui’s (荷澤神會) wrorks in the Dunhuang manuscript, noted that these works contained intense criticism of the Northern school of Zen and ideas that were common to the Platform Sutra, and he positioned Heze Shenhui as a revolutionary of the Zen school. He also concluded that the Platform Sutra was made by Shenhui himself. Later, there was also a counterargument that the true revolutionary was none other than Huineng, and that the Shenhui merely succeeded and developed Huineng’s ideas that had been expressed in the Platform Sutra. But in any case, the view that Huineng’s and the Shinhui’s ideas were decisively different and revolutionary from those of the past was shared.
However, a careful reading of Shenhui’s works and a detailed comparison of these contents with the earlier literary works of the Northern school reveals that this view is not necessarily correct. In other words, most of the concepts and ideas that have been considered to characterize the Shenhui can already be found in the Northern school literature. Certainly, it is possible to understand these commonalities as originating in Hongren. However, it should be noted that Shenhui’s early work, Shizi Xuemaizhuan (師資血脈傳) was based on Du Fei’s(杜朏) Chuan fabao ji (傳法寶紀), and that the concept of “Buddha’s knowledge (佛知見)” emphasized in Shenhui’s works and the “eight patriarchs in India (西天八祖)” in the Puti damo naozong ding shifei lun (菩提達摩南宗定是非論) were also taken from the Chuan fabao ji. So, most of Shenhui’s ideas should not be regarded as something learned from Huineng in the south, but as something learned and formed in the north after Huineng’s death. In other words, Shenhui’s distinctive feature of his ideas was not in its newness, but in the way it made old ideas appear new.
In any case, Shinhui caused a great upheaval in traditional Zen. So, he was drived out from Luoyang (洛陽), and died in Jingzhou (荊州). From this time on. his deciples around Huijian (慧堅) started Shenhui’s rehabilitation movement. In this process, they incorporated their master’s teachings into the Platform Sutra, which became the standard text of Chan Buddhism in later generations. In this sense, the historical significance of Heze Shenhui and the Heze School is extremely significant. It should be noted, however, that their ideas were not revolutionary at all.
“Zen” is used in European languages as an omnibus term for Chinese Chan, Korean Sŏn, and the Vietnamese Thien, as well as Japanese Zen because Zengaku 禪學, the scholarly study of Zen, was developed in Japan and came to prominence just as Japan was opening to the West. This coincided with the creation of the modern idea of religion in the West, which was assimilated by the modern Zengaku scholars. The Zengaku scholars promoted Zen to the West as a religion or rather a form of philosophy and as essentially Japanese, largely dismissing or ignoring Chan, Sŏn, and Thien. Within East Asia, the works of Zengaku scholars pioneered the academic or scholarly study of Zen, Chan, and Sŏn, and some wrote the first English books on Zen. Zengaku scholars produced the first dictionaries of Zen, the earliest histories (not just of Zen in Japan, but also of China and Korea), bibliographical studies and text editions.
This essay will attempt to overcome the narrow concern with a “transcendental” Zen by examining the scholarship that modernised Zen and brought it to the attention of the modern world outside of East Asia. It will examine the condition and status of Zen in East Asia from the 1870s to 1920s and then the knowledge available to non-East Asian readers in that period. Then it will briefly describe the promotion of Zen to the West by Zengaku scholars before turning its attention to the precursors of Zengaku, in particular the work of Mujaku Dōchū (1653-1745) and how he contributed to the scholarly study of Zen in more recent times.
This paper examines a Sŏn debate in the late Chosŏn. Sŏn Buddhism overcame the earlier decline and thrived again in this period. Different understandings of Sŏn developed in the Sŏn community, which led to the debate involving some renowned masters of the time. Paekp’a Kŭngsŏn (1767-1852) initiated the debate with his unconventional interpretation of Chan and Sŏn notions. Ch’oŭi Ŭisun (1786-1866) rejected Paekp’a’s interpretation from a more conventional perspective. Later, Sŏltu Yuhyŏng (1824-1889), Udam Honggi (1822-1881), and Ch’ugwŏn Chinha (1861-1925) joined the debate, presenting their own understandings of Sŏn. Although these masters at times took on an overly scholastic turn, their different ideas demonstrate the existence of diverse views of Sŏn in the late Chosŏn, rather than the dominance of the Linji version.
The theory of mind is the core issue of the debate between Confucianism and Buddhism in the Song Dynasty. This paper focus on the concepts Mind and Awakening, which are shared by Neo Confucianism and Buddhism，and analysis the difference between “Awakening is Buddha Nature”and “Zhi Ju Yan Ren (知觉言仁)”.The fundamental principle of distinguishing Confucianism from Zen is that whether there is the noumenon beyond mind and awakening. After Cheng brothers, there is a tendency of focusing on mind and awakening, which is similar to Zen. The field of the debate transferred from Confucianism and Buddhism to different Neo Confucianism schools.
“Inducing Buddhist Wisdom with Literature and Art” was a popular narrative among monastic poets in China’s east coastal area in mid-late Tang Dynasty. This paper traces its origin by investigating the relationship between Tiantai meditation practice and the concept of “the language samadhi.” The paper first examines the concept of “the language samadhi” in the Mahayana scriptures, including how early consciousness-only texts supports Tiantai’s perception of language. Next, the paper investigates the argument of “language being identical to suchness” in Tiantai doctrines and meditation practices. Further, based on the case study of several monastic poets including Huicheng and Jiaoran, the paper highlights the complex nature of consciousness and language, demonstrates the distinctive personal and flexible nature of Buddhist practice, and shows the complex relationship between meditation practice and literature engagement by Tiantai Buddhists during their different stages of practice and based on their different personal choice. In addition, Chan and Tiantai are seen as two Chinese Buddhist Schools with close relationship with “the language samadhi.” By contrasting their different attitudes towards literature, this paper also discusses how the Chan School sees “the language samadhi”.
When Song period Chan teachings arrived in Japan, they were far from readily comprehensible. Rather, their new religious idiom and the claims forwarded in it had to be made to make sense by being elucidated in terms of the doctrinal “lingua japonica” shared among local practitioners. Unlike on the continent, Japanese Buddhist discourse was to a significant degree structured by the tensions between the Esoteric and the Lotus teachings, two religious paradigms held in balance under a delicate truce brokered by the great scholiasts of the classical period. During the early medieval period, this truce became undone, and the interest in, as well as the eventual arrival of, continental Chan teachings can be seen as both a consequence of, and adding to, the intellectual volatility of the age.
This paper explores some of the novel doctrinal patterns arising from interpreting the Chan teachings from within the shifting frameworks of medieval Japanese Buddhism, focusing on the notion of Zen being the non–teaching of the central esoteric deity Mahāvairocana, an understanding developed within the Shōichi lineage derived from Enni 円爾 (1202–1280). Unlike his ultimately victorious contemporaries such as Lanxi 蘭渓 (1213–1278) or Dōgen 道元 (1200–1283), Enni rejected the notion that to transmit what he had learned on the continent necessitated slavishly adhering to Song precedent. In Enni and his successors, we can catch a glimpse of what Zen might have been had it not succumbed to the temptation of becoming a Japanese Chan.
This paper presents the gist of observations made after having translated the first fascicle of the Dámóduōluó chánjīng 達摩多羅禪經 (Meditation Sutra of Dharmatrāta, hereafter abbreviated as MS, included in volume 15 of the Taishō Tripiṭaka, no. 618). The MS has puzzled scholars for centuries thanks to its obscure background, because of the lack of a Sanskrit original for what is presented as a “translation,” and because of its cryptic language. While abstaining from speculation about the possible origins of this scripture completed around 413 CE, this paper focuses first on new discoveries made about its compiler Buddhabhadra (Fótuóbátuóluó 佛馱跋陀羅, 359–429) while conducting field research in China, before unpacking the eight sections of the Chinese text that discuss mindfulness with breathing.
Regarding Buddhabhadra’s birthplace, the source providing the richest information is the Gāosēng zhuàn 高僧傳 (Biographies of Eminent Monks, T 50 no. 2059) compiled in 519, less than a century after his death. This text clearly identifies his birthplace as Nagarahāra (Nàhēlì chéng 那呵利城), corresponding to present-day Jalālābād in Afghanistan. This allows us to problematize the usage of the word Tiānzhú 天竺, which included a broader geographical scope than what the English word “India” suggests. The above-mentioned source begins with a passage about Buddhabhadra’s origins in Kapilavastu (Jiāwéiluówèi 迦維羅衛)—tentatively identified with the Greater Lumbini Area in present-day Nepal—explaining that he was a descendant of King Śuddhodana (Gānlòufàn wáng 甘露飯王), Śākyamuni’s father. It suggests that, after the invasion of Kapilavastu, portions of the Śākya clan emigrated to areas located in present-day Afghanistan and would provide a plausible explanation for his “ethnikon” -bhadra, indicating a native from Bactria.
About mindfulness with breathing (ānnàpánnà niàn 安那般那念), the text of the MS describes its progression in four main stages, rendered as Stepping back (tuìjiǎn 退減), Lingering (zhù 住), Progress (shēngjìn 升進), and Mastery (juédìng 決定). We will follow along these lines to see how Buddhabhadra describes some of the obstacles encountered on the path toward mastery, according to the preliminary way (fāngbiàn dào 方便道) and to the advanced way (shèngdào 勝道). Although this exposition of the practitioner’s trajectory is not necessarily constructed in a way that could be applied here and now, and implied direct instructions by a teacher, it follows Buddhabhadra’s Sarvāstivāda background. It nevertheless also highlights insights relevant to cultivation in different contexts. I contend that the appropriation of this text by the Chan and Zen traditions largely disregarded its content and rather aimed at demonstrating their venerable roots.
The liturgical genre of kōshiki developed in the late tenth century in the context of Pure Land belief within the Japanese Tendai tradition. In the following centuries, it spread throughout all Buddhist schools in Japan, and also Sōtō clerics composed rituals in this genre, starting with Dōgen, the school’s founder, who wrote a Rakan kōshiki 羅漢講式 (Kōshiki for the Arhats). Over the centuries, Sōtō clerics have performed over twenty different kōshiki.
This paper will study the two kōshiki composed in commemoration of Keizan Jōkin 瑩山紹瑾 (1264/68–1325), the great popularizer of Japanese Sōtō Zen and founder of the head temple Sōjiji. The first one, entitled Butsuji kōshiki 仏慈講式 (Kōshiki on Zen Master Butsuji), was written in the 17th century and was performed at both Sōjiji and Yōkōji on the Noto peninsula. In the Meiji era, a Sōjiji-affiliated monk composed a new kōshiki for Keizan, the Tōjō dentō kōshiki 洞上傳燈講式 (Kōshiki on the Transmission of the Light in the Sōtō school), which replaced the Butsuji kōshiki at Sōjiji. At the same time, monks at Yōkōji revised their earlier Butsuji kōshiki. I will examine the differences between these different kōshiki and show how they functioned not only to repay benevolence but also to contest status and to establish a collective memory of a particular temple or lineage.
In this presentation, I will argue that the Chan practice of kanhua can be best thought of as a type of connoisseurship of higher mental states, in many ways similar to the connoisseurship of wine, cheese, music or art. That is to say, based on descriptions in secondary literature of the practice, I see Chan, in particular so-called kanhua Chan and gong-an Chan as a method aimed at developing a deep appreciation of, and a desire to experience, understand, and discuss what can be described as higher, more subtle, or more refined states of mind. In this sense, the practice of kanhua is similar to how a connoisseur of fine food or beverages would aim to develop a deep appreciation of, and a desire to experience, understand and discuss their chosen object of expertise.
However, I will also argue that the difference between kanhua Chan and other types of connoisseurship is not merely the subjectivity of the object of appreciation, (i.e. inner states of mind vs. external sense-experiences), but also is based on the self-discipline and training required to attain and experience such objects. Thus, this ability to attain and appreciate such mental states is not aimed at experiencing the rarefied mental sensations that accompany such ‘states’ (i.e. the mental ‘high’ or calmness that often accompanies meditation), nor is it even necessarily aimed at obtaining the understanding or ability to experience or discuss such states of mind, but rather acts as a sort of incentive or motivation to live in a manner that can give rise to this unique object of connoisseurship, enabling this sort of deep appreciation and knowledge. In other words, the point of kanhua practice appears to be not merely the cultivation of higher states of mind, but to promote a way of life that sustains the ability to appreciate, understand, and attain such states of mind.
To explain how I see kanhua as related to the concept of connoisseurship, I will use descriptions of the practice found in secondary literature, as well as some specific and famous gong-an and kanhua cases to illustrate this point.
What makes Zen “Zen”? D.T. Suzuki seemed to know the answer to this question when he labeled an overlooked Zen lineage, the Genjū stream 幻住派, as “anomalous Zen” (hentai Zen 変態禅). According to Suzuki, Genjū monks certainly embodied what Zen was not: allegedly influenced by the Shingon heterodox branch Tachikawa-ryū 立川流, their approach to Zen practice and kōan interpretation was tainted by notions that did not originate within Zen. Likely hinged on the myth of “pure Zen” (jun Zen 純禅), Suzuki’s analysis of the Genjū lineage is relevant to shed new light on the concealment of the cross-fertilization characterizing premodern Zen in favor of the creation of modern Zen as a pure entity.
This paper investigates the historical and doctrinal evolution of the Genjū stream during the premodern period to argue that later (mis)representations of this forgotten group are essential to illuminate the process that led to the modern construction of Japanese Zen’s normativity. Drawing on the evidence from Genjū’s manuscripts preserved at the Matsugaoka Archives in Kamakura, this presentation positions the Genjū lineage in the broader context of premodern Zen development by comparing the historical Genjū with the depictions of this lineage crafted by modern Buddhologists.
In sum, the present paper demonstrates how the rewriting of Zen’s past through the lens of normativity vis-à-vis anomaly was essential in the making of modern Japanese Zen’s orthodoxy.
It is well known that there was a kind of debate between two approaches to meditation and enlightenment in 12th-century Chinese Chan Buddhism; with silent illumination 默照 (mozhao, Jpn: mukoshō), especially associated with the Caodong master Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺(1091–1157), on the one side, and kanhua Chan看話禪 (Jpn: kanna, literally “Chan of observing the key phrase”), associated with the Linji master Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (1089–1163), on the other. However, as I point out in my book, How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008) there is little evidence of a debate; rather Dahui vehemently attacked what he called the “heretical silent illumination” as a dead-end form of meditation that was lacking in wisdom and enlightenment, contrasting it with his own kanhua Chan which was designed to lead to a sudden breakthrough of awakening. We have no response from the other side, but in my book I argue that a certain vocabulary that denotes complete stillness and refers to inherent Buddha-nature was used widely by Hongzhi and other Caodong masters going several generations back. However, this kind vocabulary was also occasionally used outside the Caodong tradition, and it has been suggested that in fact this vocabulary is not unique to Caodong and that its association with Caodong represents a bias that can be traced to Japanese sectarian scholarship. According to this critique, which will be detailed in my paper, this scholarship has unfairly cast the Caodong tradition as passive and quietistic, and has been repeated by Western Scholars of Chan/Zen. My paper will reevaluate the silent illumination/kanhua meditation “debate” and reexamine the use of vocabulary normally associated with the Caodong tradition in other traditions of Chan, and asks the question: How much has scholarship in English on these topics been informed by a specific Japanese reading of the evidence?
Tangut Buddhism includes three clearly identifiable clusters: Sinitic, Tibetan and Sino-Tibetan, which represents Tangut local development. While we possess certain, although limited material for reconstructing the history of Tibetan Buddhism among the Tanguts, there is not such evidence for Sinitic Buddhism. At the same time, the repertoire of received texts indicates on substantial presence of a specific tradition associated with the teaching of Huayan Chan 華嚴禪. Tangut texts generally gravitate around the compositions by Guifeng Zongmi (780-841). Another group of texts, connected with this lineage includes compositions by the Liao Buddhist masters, esp. Yuantong Daochen 圓通道㲀 and Tongli Hengce 通理恆策, which have long since become the subjects of scholarly scrutiny. However, several texts available among the Khara-Khoto appear to be outside this framework, and thus might provide some additional materials for the study of Chan Buddhism in Xixia and in Northern areas of China.
These texts are two manuscripts of the “Teaching of Hongzhou Masters”. One manuscript is a root text whereas the other one is a version with an expanded commentary. The tenor of the text is to reconcile the teaching of Heze Chan and Hongzhou teaching of Mazu Daoyi. Comparative study of the language and terminology of these texts reveals that some standard phrases discovered in Zongmi works are translated differently in the Hongzhou texts. We believe this to be the evidence of independent transmission of these texts, i.e. that the translations were produced by a translation team independent from the one responsible for the translations of Zongmi and other Huayan works.
Another case is the “Twenty Five questions on Buddhist Principles asked by the saṁgha while the Tang State Preceptor Huizhong stayed in Guangzhai Temple”. This text is so far available only in Tangut translation. The text again circulated in two versions: basic one and the one with commentaries. While Chinese materials are generally uniform, in terms of content Tangut texts represent a transmission lineage deviating from the Chinese. More importantly, two Tangut texts, despite their identical titles, demonstrate substantial deviation from each other, and are therefore traceable to different source texts. The above allows suggesting numerous pathways of penetration and spread of Sinitic Buddhism in Xixia. Typologically speaking, similar situation is observed for many Tibetan texts, such as Mañjuśrīnāmasamgīti, which also circulated in two independent translations.
In this paper I use prominent examples from the modern and contemporary philosophical reception of Dōgen in Japan and the Anglophone world to analyze how his thought has been related to modern questions and modes of argumentation. I argue that reception to this end inevitably involved a process of translation.
Dōgen is among the few authors from historic Japan who have received substantial attention in modern philosophical discourse. His thought on time figures prominently in this regard; it has been discussed in conjunction with that of Kant, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, MacTaggart, Merleau-Ponty, and others. It is customary in this literature to treat Dōgen’s writings in a fairly straightforward manner as philosophical texts. This, however, is less innocent than it seems, because Dōgen himself did not see his teachings as part of a philosophical discourse or field of knowledge. The declared aim of his writings, which were often edited versions of ritualized verbal teachings, was to guide disciples on the Buddha Way—a practical path to salvation that was clearly defined and delimited by an authoritative tradition. He therefore tried to preclude rather than foster the open-ended discussion of essential problems of human life that is otherwise usually associated with the concept of philosophy. Dōgen, therefore, spoke a language of persuasion that was guided by aims and rules of discourse different from those of philosophy. This, or so I argue, is an aspect that is often lost when his thoughts are transferred into philosophical debates. The result is in many instances a rather facile alignment with the recepients’ own preconceptions.
To substantiate my hypothesis, I start from factual observations concerning the modern philosophical reception of Dōgen’s teachings on time in Japan and the Anglophone world, focusing on the semantic shifts occurring in interpretations by prominent authors such as Tanabe Hajime, Ōmori Shōzō, Rein Raud, and others. I then turn to the theory of translation to analyze the seminal factors at play in this observed process of transformative reception. In conclusion, I reflect on how conceiving of the transfer of Dōgen’s thought into philosophical discourse as a process of translation can help to build interpretations that are both hermeneutically sound and philosophically interesting.
A cornerstone in the development of Chan literature and one of the important sources of the Zutang ji 祖堂集, the Baolin zhuan 寶林傳 primarily survives through two incomplete textual witnesses. Its last section, on Huineng’s 慧能 (638–713) first and second-generation disciples, is therefore lost (Yang Zengwen 1999, 584, 590–91). In 1980, however, Shiina Kōyū 椎名宏雄 published two articles in which he discussed surviving fragments of the Baolin zhuan retrieved from quotations found in five later texts, among which the well-known Zuting shiyuan 祖庭事苑 (Shiina 1980a; 1980b; see also Shiina 2000). The present paper investigates the quotations contained in one of these texts, the Keitoku dentō shōroku 景德傳燈抄錄, with a focus on the materials related to Huairang 懷讓 (677–744) and their relation to the Zutang ji.
Based on a comparative philological analysis of the extant fragments, I show that the hagiographical materials contained in the Zutang ji’s entry for Huairang did not form in the early decades of the eleventh century, as suggested recently by Albert Welter (2019, 136), but were most likely already circulating by the time of the Baolin zhuan at the turn of the ninth century. As a result, I contend that these excerpts were omitted or removed from the Jingde chuandeng lu 景德傳燈錄 in line with the editorial policies outlined in Yang Yi’s 楊億 (974–1020) second preface. Eventually, I elaborate on the editorial practices of the Zutang ji’s compilers and show that they integrated the Baolin zhuan’s account of Huairang’s youth and early career as a monk in a relatively faithful manner.
Chan Buddhism was taught and transmitted at Dunhuang in both Chinese and Tibetan languages. Manuscripts from Cave 17 in both languages are our best sources for understanding what Chan meant in practice during the 9th and 10th centuries. In this talk I look at the range of meditation practices found in these manuscripts, and trace the shared culture of meditation practice across Chinese and Tibetan languages. These include the practice of observing the mind, sitting in non-thought, and contemplating brief dialogues between master and student. They also include practices usually considered to belong to other schools of practice, including pure land and tantric Buddhism. I argue that the Dunhuang manuscripts show surprisingly little overlap in the Chan texts in Chinese and Tibetan, suggesting to complementary traditions of teaching and meditation practice.
This paper looks at the vexed relationship of doctrine, or teaching 教 (C. jiao, K. kyo, J. kyō) in the three kindred traditions subsumed under the rubric of the Sino-East Asian graph 禪, known through their distinctive pronunciations in modern languages as Chan, Seon, and Zen. While the stipulation of these traditions as “a special transmission outside the teachings” (jiaowai biechuan 教外別傳) presumes independence from Mahayana doctrinal teachings, the reality was much more complicated. Using Yongming Yanshou 永明延壽 (904-975) as a barometer, I look at how doctrinal engagement and disengagements are regarded throughout each tradition. Perspectives on Yanshou, a figure at once revered and marginalized, unlock key features of each of these three interconnected traditions, what they share and how they disagree. Fundamentally, perspectives on doctrinal engagements and disengagements are rooted in seminal Chan disputes over the nature and value of Buddhist teaching. Yanshou is a conduit of these seminal Chan disputes. Given the theme of the conference, “How Zen Became Chan,” I also look at the discrepancies these disputes reveal between modern Rinzai Zen orthodoxy’s defining of Zen in the modern world and the practice of Chan in China and Seon in Korea. The options that these discrepancies reveal are indicative of the relevance of doctrinal entanglements and disentanglements to the contemporary Chan, Seon, and Zen worlds.
The research is devoted to deepening knowledge about two issues: firstly, it is an attempt to interpret the justification for the existence of non-canonical motifs in the poetry of Hanshan, Shide, and Fenggan. Secondly, it provides an analysis of the reception of The Poems from the Cold Mountain. The work is divided into three main chapters preceded by a short introduction with methodological commentary and basic information about the three poets and their poems.
The first chapter analyzes the place of Hanshan shi (寒山詩) within a wider poetic discourse. It introduces the most important terms related to Buddhist poetry, describes the methodological and taxonomic problems that arise in the study of this area, and presents the history of Chinese Buddhist poetry in the 8th-10th centuries. It aims to determine how Hanshan shi fits into the patterns and tendencies developed both within Buddhist poetry and its particular periods of development.
The second chapter deals in detail with the issue of Hanshan shi‘s reception. It is divided into three parts: the first part describes the reception in Chinese discourse, the second – in Japanese discourse, and the third – in North American and European discourse. The chapter examines also the reasons for the differences in the reception of Hanshan shi in these three places, and in the case of Chinese reception, also the difference in reception within the secular and Buddhist discourse.
The third chapter discusses poems in which non-canonical motifs appear. The motives were divided into four thematic groups: 1) Poems discussing the legitimacy of Buddhist poetry; 2) Poems with hedonistic motives; 3) Poems about women; 4) Poems with Taoist and Confucian motifs. Apart from the commentary and translation, Hakuin Ekaku’s Kanzan shi sendai kiki constitutes an important tool for literary and doctrinal analysis. Introducing these non-canonical motifs aims to create a textual and substantive basis for further analysis of these texts in the following chapters. Although this chapter is primarily a translation, the translations of the poems are also cited in other chapters.
The term “Way” or “Dao 道,” shared by all Chinese religious, intellectual, and political discourses, was often chosen to translate the Sanskrit term Mārga, which is a soteriological concept ubiquitous in Buddhist literature. In the process of assimilating Buddhism in Chinese culture, some cultural elites, including educated monks, tended to put the Buddhist Mārga also in the framework of the Chinese learning, thus adopting a common appellation—learning the Way (Xuedao 學道)—to justify their pursuit of a foreign religion and to describe themselves as the learners of the Way (Xuedaoren 學道人) with variations such as Xuedaozhe 學道者, sometimes abbreviated as Xuezhe 學者 or Xueren 學人, etc, which I prefer to translate as Dao-learners. In this paper, I would like to focus on the use of the term “Dao-learners” in mid-Tang Chan master Huangbo Xiyun’s 黃檗希運 (?-850) Essentials of the Transmission of Mind (Chuanxin faya 傳心法要). Because in the fourteen references to this term Huangbo Xiyun mostly addressed to the editor and compiler Pei Xiu 裴休 (791-864), I will use Pei Xiu as an example of the Dao-learners in the mid-Tang Chan history and examine the common characteristics of this group of spiritual seekers.
Lidai fabao ji, a kind of Chinese Chan texts found in Dunhuang, has attracted so many scholars around the world. There are abundant and significant studies on this text and Chan in Bashu, which confirm the important influence of Jingzhong-Baotang School’s pioneer Wuzhu in Chinese Chan history. Although some of these researches doubt the authenticity of Lidai fabao ji’s narrative, its fundament information is adopted. Based on meticulous analysis of Wuzhu’s true situation after the turmoil happened in Bashu during mid-eighth century and the differences between Baotang si and Jingzhong si, both of which were neglected in existing works, this study argues that Wuzhu and his so-called Baotang School did not have firm support from Bashu’s governors, which means that Baotang School may be overemphasized and overinterpreted. Moreover, the history of Jingzhong School has been shrouded in mystery.
Many scholars in the field of Buddhist Studies have focused on the historical, theoretical, didactic, and soteriological aspects of kanhwa Sŏn. Prior research has, however, paid little attention to problematic issues in regard to the actual living tradition of kanhwa meditation. Despite the favor in which kanhwa Sŏn has been held in Korean Buddhism over the last eight-hundred years, there have been alternate voices that have been critical towards the technique. Even the first proponent of kanhwa Sŏn in Korea, Chinul 知訥 (1158-1210), betrays his own struggle in adapting the radical subitism of kanhwa Sŏn to his preferred soteriological system of sudden awakening followed by gradual cultivation (tono chŏmsu 頓悟漸修). However, this kind of critical appraisal of kanhwa Sŏn has received little attention in the field of Buddhist Studies. The appraisal, adaptation, and re-invention of kanhwa Sŏn by Sot’aesan 少太山 (1891-1943), the founder of the Korean new religion of Won Buddhism, addresses directly some of these important issues in the actual practice of this meditative technique.
This paper has two aims: first, to examine Sot’aesan’s critical appraisal of kanhwa Sŏn’s applicability and accessibility to the public; and second, to explore Sot’aesan’s re-structuring of kanhwa meditation in the historical context of Korean Buddhist reform movements during the early twentieth century Korea. Through this examination of the Won Buddhist interpretation of kanhwa Sŏn practice, I seek to explore how this technique, which has been transmitted in Korean Sŏn as a living meditative tradition, has continued to be transformed into new forms relevant to contemporary people and society.
The literary tradition of miscellanies, or random notes, initiated by the Records from the Chan Groves by Huihong, constituted a new textual form of Chinese Chan and an integral part of its discursive system during the Song-Yuan dynasties. After a brief presentation of the corpus and the characteristics of the genre, we will focus on its transmission to Japan, examining the various activities of assimilation and exploitation that the Zen school carried out in particular during the Edo period, since this Japanization process has largely shaped our current understanding of these premodern Chinese texts.
At the end of Yuan Dynasty (1333 – 1368), Xiaoyin Daxin, a master of Linji Chan, trained a group of budding disciples, who made their mark in both religion and literature world. Among them were Jueyuan Huitan and Jitan Zongle, who were in close contact with Zhu Yuanzhang’s Jinling regime, and Zhongming Kexin, who was active in the Jiaxing area under Zhang Shicheng’s rule for more than ten years before the fall of Yuan. All three were famous in history for their missions to the west. There was much speculation among researchers about their being sent on a dangerous journey by Zhu Yuanzhang. However, unlike the two brothers who, after all, went as leaders of the Chan school of Ming China, Zhongming was sent to Tibet, where the war had not subsided, because some of his speeches displeased Zhu, and he eventually died in Lintao. The incident was only fragmentarily recorded in the book “Jishi Lu” (紀事録, The Chronicle of Events), which seemed to be quite accidental. But a lot of circumstantial evidence surrounding Zhongming Kexin can still outline it more clearly. In the process of tracing the cause, a broader historical picture of the intersection of literature, religion, and politics can also be revealed. Zhongming was a late disciple of Xiaoyin, and by the time he entered the school, his teacher’s teaching methods had already matured, therefore, he had acquired a special tradition of Xiaoyin’s poetic method besides Chan teachings. While the fact that Xiaoyin’s style of shu (疏, ‘lipi’ in Sanskrit) had spread far and wide to Japan and had become a model for the si-liu (四六) writing in Zen school has long been known, the transmission of his poetic method in China has not received much attention from researchers. While some of Xiaoyin’s disciples who were promoted from shuji (書記, the Secretary) to abbots, achieved remarkable achievements in poetry, others promoted from shouzuo (首座, the Chief Seat) or zhizang (知藏, the Chief of Sutra Repository) were described as having high attainments in Buddhist doctrine rather than literature. After Zhongming became the abbot of Zhisheng Temple in Jiaxing, he followed the example of his master at Longxiang Temple by recounting the history of the temple in which the persecuted heir to the throne was protected, rebuilding the cultural landscape for visiting and inscribing poems, and further, making literary and scholarly contacts as a way to run the temple. At the end of Zhizheng Era (1341 – 1368), he compiled the texts of letters he had collected in his bookcase into three volumes of “Jinyu Bian” (金玉編, The Compilation of Gold and Jade), which has been studied in bibliology by researchers, but its historical value has not been fully exploited. The book presents a comprehensive picture of Zhongming’s network of associates, many of whom were Zhang Shicheng’s subordinates or guests. Zhongming was involved in local communities because of his literary talent, and his political inclination was willingly close to the Suzhou regime of Zhang Shicheng. After the change of dynasty, his inherent experience and knowledge became a burden that prevented him from quickly integrating into the Jinling regime, which had confronted Suzhou and the west of Zhejiang for more than a decade.
This paper focuses on a special section entitled “Sages and Worthies as Buddhist Incarnations (yinghua shengxian應化聖賢, abbr: Incarnation section)” in the Five Lamps series in Song China. The Incarnation section incorporated a rarely noticed group of individuals who were from diverse religious backgrounds and identified them as earthly manifestations of Buddhist deities. The Incarnation section appeared in four of the six denglu works in the Five Lamps series, where the section “Distinguished Chan Masters outside the Lineage but Renowned in Their Times” in the Jingde chuan denglu served as a prototype because nine of the ten figures were developed into the later Incarnation sections. Since the Chan denglu works were customarily used for preserving genealogical information of Chan lineages and essential teachings of Chan masters, the incorporation of the Incarnation section implied a remarkable change of this era. This research is conducted from three angles: 1) an examination on the different nature of the denglu works, through which I explain its impact on the writing styles of the Incarnation sections; 2) case studies on selected figures, where I present how the Chan compilers adjusted the images of the individuals to fulfill the agendas of the Chan school, and reveal the significance of promoting the individuals as Chan ideals to the Chan school; 3) a chronological investigation on the development of the Incarnation sections, by which I argue that the strategy of the Chan school to claim superiority was shifted from emphasizing its uniqueness to demonstrating its comprehensiveness. The objective of this research is through investigating the historical and fictional dimensions of the Chan denglu works to prove that the Chan school in the Song dynasty was more open and inclusive than we thought.
The Platform Sūtra 六祖大師法寶壇經 is a fundamental text in the Chan literature. As the surviving earliest manuscript versions, the Dunhuang edition of the sutra played an essential role in the early development of Chan Buddhism. Through the theoretical lens of ‘thick translation’, this paper compares three seminal English translations of the Dunhuang Platform Sūtra (Chan, 1963; Yampolsky, 1967; Red Pine, 2006), which are rarely covered in the previous research. After an analysis of translators’ preface, notes and treatment of key Buddhist terms, it suggests that Wing-tsit Chan (1963) presents Chan as part of the Chinese cultural triad and his interpretation is influenced by Neo-Confucianism, while Yampolsky (1967) who is recognized as “the dean of American zen scholars”, attempts to restore a demystified image of historical Chan. Different from the two translations produced in the 1960s of America when Chan/Zen was conceived as a popular cult and countercultural alternative, the more recent version by Red Pine (2006) implies a transition in modern Chan/Zen which seeks a return to one’s individual spiritual pursuits.