Climax Paradigm

John R. McRae

in Seeing through Zen

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780520237971
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937079 | DOI:
Climax Paradigm

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In the Song dynasty (960–1279), Chinese Chan Buddhism reached something of a climax paradigm (conceptual configuration by which Chan was described in written texts, practiced by its adherents, and, by extension, understood as a religious entity by the Chinese population as a whole). The individual images of Bodhidharma, Huineng, and other early Chan figures no doubt continued to change as time went on, but the overall framework in which their examples were used was based on the conceptual paradigm that matured in the Song. Recent scholarship on both Chan and Chinese Buddhism is unanimous in holding that the overall activity level of Buddhism in China actually rose to a peak during the Song. This chapter explores the exemplary career of Dahui Zonggao and his “viewing the phrase” Chan, “silent illumination” and the teachings of twelfth-century Caodong Chan, trends in Song-dynasty Neo-Confucianism, intersubjectivity in Song-dynasty Tiantai practice, and the role of Chan Buddhism within the Chinese social order of the Tang through the Song dynasties.

Keywords: Song dynasty; Chan Buddhism; climax paradigm; China; Dahui Zonggao; Caodong; Tiantai; social order

Chapter.  14699 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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