An eminent Chinese monk who lived through the persecution of Buddhism instigated by the Emperor Wu of the Northern Chou dynasty (r. 561–78). During these difficult times, Hui-yüan was the only monk who dared to debate with the emperor directly and openly on Buddhism's right to exist in Northern China. Although the emperor was silenced by the cogency of Hui-yüan's arguments at several points, the persecution remained in effect until the emperor's death. Hui-yüan is also known for his literary output, which consisted of commentaries on at least fifteen Mahāyāna scriptures and treatises. Because the words ‘Hui-yüan’ are written with the same Chinese characters, and because both men were involved in the early development of Pure Land thought and practice, he is sometimes confused with Lu-shan Hui-yüan (334–416).