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Tz'u-min Hui-jih

(680—748)


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(680–748).

An early thinker and apologist for the Pure Land movement in North China.known mainly for his defence of Pure Land thought and practice against Ch'an attacks. Originally from Shantung Province, he entered the monastic order at a young age, and had the opportunity to meet the monk I-ching (635–713) after the latter's return from India. He was deeply impressed by I-ching, and resolved to study in India and Sri Lanka himself, which he did between 702 and 719. While there, he found many erudite masters who praised the merits of rebirth in the Pure Land; he also had a vision of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara as he prayed for seven days before his image, and the Bodhisattva instructed him in Pure Land thought and practice in this vision. Upon his return to China bearing many Indian texts, he was distressed to find Ch'an school critics attacking the Pure Land path, and decided to devote himself to rebutting their aspersions. However, because the style of Pure Land philosophy and practice he sets forth in his apologetic works differs significantly from the practices of Lu-shan Hui-yüan (334–416) and from the founders of the ‘main line’ of Pure Land thought—identified with T'an-luan (476–542) and his followers—scholars of Chinese Pure Land history have spoken of a separate ‘Hui-jih line’ of Pure Land.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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