Establishing the Chan <i>Zong</i>

Albert Welter

in Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199760312
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897322 | DOI:
Establishing the Chan Zong

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This chapter places Yongming Yanshou’s interpretation of Chan within the context of tenth century China and forces shaping Buddhism and Chan at the time. Modern Zen interpretation, assuming Song sources regarding Tang Chan masters were reliable, tended to reduce Yanshou’s understanding of Chan to an anachronistic afterthought. In actuality, the Tang Chan revisionism promoted in Song sources was a work in progress, and Yanshou’s view of Chan, rather than an anachronism, was a vital contribution in the exchange of views over Chan’s direction. A noteworthy aspect is the important role that scriptures play for Chan masters, even Tang masters who others contend placed little value in scripture study or recitation. In this regard, Yanshou forces us to reconsider long held assumptions regarding the principles Tang Chan actually stood for, and Yanshou provides valuable validation for much of the revisionism regarding Tang Chan that is taking place in current scholarship.

Keywords: Yongming Yanshou; zong; Chan revisionism; Song Chan; Tang Chan; Zongjing lu

Chapter.  11035 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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