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Huai-kan


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(7th c. ce).

A Chinese Pure Land monk who was active during the T'ang dynasty (618–907). He resided in the capital city of Ch'ang-an.and early in his career specialized in ‘consciousness-only’ (citta-mātra) thought and monastic disciplinary studies. He became quite proud of his attainments, and disdained the faith (śraddhā)-based practice of Nien-fo.or invocation of the name of the Buddha Amitābha. However, when he met the monk Shan-tao (613–81), the latter impressed him with his combination of both learning and piety, and he converted to the school Pure Land. At first he attempted practising austerities in order to gain a vision of Amitābha, but after three weeks with no success, he lamented that his past guilt was simply too great, and resolved to fast to death. Shan-tao dissuaded him, and after three more years of effort, Huai-kan finally attained a vision of Amitābha with golden skin and jade hair, and after further efforts achieved the Nien-fo samādhi (trance). He is best remembered for the highly influential apologetic work Shih ching-t'u ch'ün-yi lun (Treatise Explaining the Mass of Doubts about the Pure Land), even though he died before its completion.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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