Imagining Indian Zen

Michel Mohr

Edited by Dale S. Wright

in Zen Classics

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195175257
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784608 | DOI:
 Imagining Indian Zen

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This chapter examines the reasons Tōrei Enji’s Darumatara zenkyō settsū kōsho has been neglected despite its importance, bringing up the debate between the sectarian self-understanding and ideology of the present Japanese Zen schools, each of which claims the highest degree of authenticity as the true recipient of the historical Buddha’s legacy, the famous “special transmission outside [scholastic] teachings” (kyōge betsuden). The Ta-mo-to-lo ch’an ching, the Chinese translation of a canonical text primarily concerned with essential Buddhist meditation techniques, is a little-known sutra that has nevertheless played an interesting role in the development of the Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions, particularly the Ch’an/Zen schools. The Indian meditation treatise was translated into Chinese in the early fifth century CE, which attracted renewed interest among Sung Ch’an people as a text associated with Bodhidharma, and that was transmitted to Japan and later “rediscovered” by the eighteenth-century Japanese Zen teacher Tōrei Enji (1721-1792). The result of this encounter is his voluminous commentary entitled Darumatara zenkyō settsu kōsho, first published in 1784. Despite the importance of Tōrei in Rinzai Zen and the erudition of his commentary, there is no modern printed edition of the text and, seemingly, no in-depth study of it.

Keywords: meditation; Bodhidharma; Ta-mo-to-lo ch’an ching; Tōrei Enji; Darumatara zenkyō settsū kōsho

Chapter.  14142 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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