ISBN 9788121512121,How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute Over Enlightenment And The Formation Of Chan Buddhism In Song -Dynasty China

How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute Over Enlightenment And The Formation Of Chan Buddhism In Song -Dynasty China



Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd

Publication Year 2009

ISBN 9788121512121

ISBN-10 8121512123

Hard Back

Number of Pages 299 Pages
Language (English)


How Zen became Zen takes a novel approach to understanding one of the most crucial developments in Zen Buddhism : the dispute over the nature of enlightenment that erupted within the Chinese Chan (Zen) school in the twelfth century. The famous Linji (Rinzai) Chan master Dahui Zonggao (1089-1163) railed against "Heretical silent Illumination Chan" and strongly advocated Kanhua (Koan) meditation as an antidote. In this fascinating study, Morten Schlutter shows that Dahui's target was the Caodong (Soto) Chan tradition that had been revived and reinvented in the early twelfth century, and that silent meditation was an approach to practice and enlightenment that originated within this "new" Chan tradition. Schlutter has written a refreshingly accessible account of the intricacies of the dispute, which is still reverberating through modern Zen in both Asia and the West. Dahui and his opponents arguments for their respective position come across in this book in as earnest and relevant a manner as they must have seemed almost nine hundred years ago. Although much of the book is devoted to illuminating the doctrinal and soteriological issues behind the enlightenment dispute, Schlutter makes the case that the dispute must be understood in the context of government policies toward Buddhism, economic factors, and social changes. He analyzes the remarkable ascent of Chan during the first centuries of the song dynasty, when it became the dominant form of elite monastic Buddhism; and demonstrates that secular educated elites came to control the critical transmission from master to disciple ("procreation" as Schlutter terms it) in the Chan School. How Zen became Zen seeks to understand developments in Chan Buddhism from an angle that is radically different from most studies, which tend to depict this religious tradition as a closed system that is internally motivated. Scholars, Zen practitioners, and others interested in Chan and Zen thought will welcome this ground breaking study. Contents Introduction 1. Chan Buddhism in the Song: Some Background 2. The Chan School and the Song State 3. Procreation and Patronage in the Song Chan School 4. A New Chan Tradition: The Reinvention of the Caodong Lineage in the Song 5. A Dog has no Buddha Nature: Kanhua Chan and Dahui Zonggao's Attacks on Silent Illumination 6. The Caodong Tradition as the Target of Attacks by the Linji Tradition 7. Silent Illumination and the Caodong Tradition Conclusion