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Hung-jen

(601—674)


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(601–74).

An early Ch'an monk revered as the fifth Chinese patriarch of the line established by the first patriarch Bodhidharma. He was the head of a large monastic community on Tung Shan (East Mountain) first established by the fourth patriarch Tao-hsin (580–651). Little is known of his life, his teachings, or his style of practice, although a manuscript found at Tun-huang is attributed to him. If this attribution is correct, then it shows a man devoted to the teachings of the Laṇkāvatāra Sūtra whose practice concentrated on preserving the original purity and clarity of the mind using methods derived from the Pure Land-oriented Meditation Sūtra. He is also traditionally remembered as the last patriarch of a unified school of Ch'an, since in the next generation his disciples Shen-hsiu (606–706) and Hui-neng (638–713), based on the positions of gradual andsudden enlightenment, established the Northern School and Southern School respectively (whether this account is historically accurate is highly disputed).

Subjects: Buddhism.


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