The Future of an Illusion

Alan Cole

in Fathering Your Father

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780520254848
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943643 | DOI:
The Future of an Illusion

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This chapter examines Du Fei's Record of the Transmission of the Dharma-Jewel (Chuan fabao ji) to present an example of an effort to reinvent the lineage of Bodhidharma—a process of rewriting the truth-fathers. Du Fei's Record comes after Faru's biography at Shaolin Monastery, and as such he has worked from it, and reproduced many of its elements and assumptions in a calculating manner, taking liberty with sources. The past was written into existence not just for the present but for denying the actual past, along with the specific way that the contrived past had been written into existence. Du Fei's text represents a crucial node on that track of aggressively reading and rewriting the history of truth, which, throughout the eighth century, was to produce the genres and literary tropes that would be recognized as Chan Buddhism. The door had been opened for the Chinese to remake Buddhism with a new kind of freedom based on the image of having supposedly received it all already via Bodhidharma.

Keywords: Du Fei; Chuan fabao ji; Bodhidharma; Chan Buddhism

Chapter.  24781 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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