mo-chao Ch'an

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A Chinese term meaning ‘silent illumination Ch'an’. This term refers to a style and orientation of Ch'an practice as having no goal beyond itself. In seated meditation.one simply realizes that one was a fully enlightened Buddha all along, and that there is no goal to attain and nothing into which one need transform oneself. This was the dominant style of the Ts'ao-tung school of Ch'an, and was opposed to the ‘k'an-hua Ch'an’ (‘Ch'an that contemplates the words’) of the Lin-chi school, in which the latter phrase refers to the use of kōans in practice with a view to attaining the goal of enlightenment (bodhi). This distinction was carried forward by the Japanese inheritors of these traditions: the Sōtō school continued the practice of silent illumination (Jap., mokushō zen), while the Rinzai school continued to practise kōan contemplation (Jap., kanna zen).

Subjects: Buddhism.

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