In Korean, temples and palaces are painted in a particular style called “Dancheong”. Tanch’ong means “red and blue”, the principal colours used in these colourful cosmic designs. Originally arriving with Buddhism when it was brought from China, the patterns of tanch’ong were modified in Korea. Dancheong preserves the wood from insects and the elements and adds glory and richness to the buildings.

The outside eaves, the inside rafters and the ceilings are covered with intricate Dancheong patterns. On the main temple beams and among the rafters, interwoven between the patterns, you will find pictures of spirits, ancient monks, Bodhisattvas and dragons, to name a few. It is said that during the Shilla period, Dancheong was even found on commoners’ home. Now it is limited to temples and palaces as well as some musical instruments.

Buddhist paintings are not only beautiful but also full of meaning. Symbols are included in the paintings; beauty and meaning are interrelated to instruct the visitor on his spiritual quest, reminding him of the path.

On the outside ends of big buildings, up towards the roof, you will see three circles. These represent heaven, earth and man, the three important things that Dangun, the mythological founder of Korea, is supposed to have brought with him. They have come to represent the Buddha, his teaching and the community of Buddhists.

Lotuses, are another common symbol found in Buddhist paintings, are to be seen in many forms. The lotus grows from mud (representing ignorance) up to the clear sunlight (representing enlightenment).

The symbol of the fish is often painted on the main Buddha table. It represents the effort and determination necessary for attaining enlightenment, for the fish supposedly, never closes its eyes.

If you look closely, you will find swastika everywhere: on the outside of buildings, woven into patterns, even in the decorations in the subways and in roadside railings. The swastika is an ancient Buddhist symbol of peace, harmony and good luck.

Buddhist Painting, Dancheong

Buddhist Painting, Dancheong

The Ten Oxherding Pictures

Ten Oxherding
1 ◀The Search for the Bull▶
The bull never has  been lost.  What  need is there to  search?
Only because of separation  from my true  nature, I fail to  find
him.  In the confusion of the senses I lose even his tracks.  Far
from home, I see many crossroads,  but which way is the  right
one I know not.  Greed and fear, good and bad, entangle me.

Ten Oxherding
2 ◀Discovering the Footprints▶
Understanding the  teaching, I   see the footprints  of  the bull.
Then I learn  that, just  as many  utensils are  made from  one
metal, so  too are  myriad entities  made of  the fabric  of self.
Unless I  discriminate, how  will I  perceive the  true from  the
untrue?  Not yet having  entered the gate,  nevertheless I have
discerned the path.

Ten Oxherding
3 ◀Perceiving the Bull▶
When one hears the voice, one can sense its source.
As  soon  as  the  six  senses  merge,   the gate   is entered.
Wherever one enters one sees the head of the  bull!  This unity
is like salt in water, like color  in dyestuff. 
The slightest thing is not apart from self.

Ten Oxherding
4 ◀Catching the Bull▶
He dwelt in the forest  a long time, but  I caught him today! 
Infatuation for scenery interferes  with his direction. 
Longing for sweeter  grass, he wanders away.
His mind still is stubborn and unbridled.
If I  wish him to submit, I must raise my whip.

Ten Oxherding
5 ◀Taming the Bull▶
When one  thought arises,  another thought  follows.
When  the first thought springs from
enlightenment, all subsequent thoughts are true.
Through delusion, one makes everything untrue.
Delusion is not caused by objectivity;  it is the result  of
subjectivity. Hold the nose-ring
tight and do not allow even a doubt.

Ten Oxherding
6 ◀Riding the Bull Home▶
This struggle is over; gain  and loss are assimilated. 
I sing the song of the village woodsman, and play the tunes
of the children.
Astride the bull, I observe the clouds  above.
Onward I go,  no matter who may  wish to call me back.

Ten Oxherding
7 ◀The Bull Transcended▶
All is  one law,  not two.  
We only make  the bull  a  temporary subject.
It is as the relation of rabbit and trap, of fish and net.
It is as gold and dross, or the moon emerging from a cloud.
One path of clear light travels on throughout endless time.

Ten Oxherding
8 ◀Both Bull and Self Transcended▶
Mediocrity is gone.  Mind is clear  of limitation. 
I seek no  state of enlightenment.
Neither do  I remain  where no  enlightenment exists.
Since I linger in neither condition, eyes cannot see me.
If hundreds of birds strew my path with flowers,
such praise would be meaningless.

Ten Oxherding
9 ◀Reaching the Source▶
From the beginning, truth is clear. Poised  in silence,
I observe the forms of integration and disintegration.
One who is  not attached to “form” need not be “reformed.”
The water is emerald, the mountain is indigo,  and I  see that
which is creating  and that which is destroying.

Ten Oxherding
10 ◀In the World▶
Inside my gate, a thousand sages do  not know me.
The beauty of my garden is invisible.
Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs?
I go to  the market place with my  wine bottle and
return home with my staff. I visit the wineshop and the market,
and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.

The Role and Significance of Korean Son in the Study of East Asian Buddhism

Lewis Lancaster
University of California
The Role and Significance of Korean Son in the Study of East Asian Buddhism


The role of Korean Son Buddhism in the study of East Asian Buddhism has yet to be fully defined or identified. This is, in part, because we are still struggling with the problem of what strategies to use in the study of this religion that spread across vast reaches of the Eurasian land mass. In the process of expansion, Buddhism moved from the land of its origins and transcended linguistic, political, cultural, religious, and physical boundaries. The ability to spread far and wide made Buddhism into a world religion and created a complex history of development which scholars are still attempting to untangle. There are many questions about the nature of our study, the evaluation of the sources to be used for it, and the issues of cultural perceptions which belong to those who do this work.

From the earliest times, the Buddhist traditions have produced their own narratives about the founding, history, and basic teachings of the religion. These accounts have been standardized and put into written form and preserved in all the languages of the Buddhist communities of Asia. Academic study of Buddhism emerged from the institutions of higher education in Asia and Europe. In many ways the field of Buddhist studies has been the results of the interaction between scholars in Europe, Japan, China, South and Southeast Asia, and North America. Unfortunately, the inclusion of Korean Buddhist studies, within this developing scholastic movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries, was delayed. As a result, the study of Korean Buddhism has had an entirely different history than that of Chinese or Japanese Buddhism. The lack of comparable study of Korean Son with that of Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen has obscured the importance of the history of Buddhism in Korea in relationship to the rest of East Asia. Therefore, as we look at the role of Korean Son in the study of East Asian Buddhism, we must first take note of the academic developments. After seeing the development of the field, we can turn our attention to some of the issues which have been overlooked because of the past neglect of the study of Buddhism in Korea.

The study of Ch’an and Zen Buddhism in China and Japan has come about from a complex geopolitical development over the past centuries. European involvement in Buddhist studies was initiated by three groups (1) the colonial administrations in Asia, (2) the mercantile community that went back and forth to Asia, and (3) the Christian missionaries. From these diverse groups of people, European scholars received manuscripts and descriptions of the religious practices of the people in the eastern part of the Eurasian land mass. When we look at the bibliography of published materials in European languages, listed by date of publication, we have one view of the way in which Buddhism was studied. However, bibliographical research often tells us more about the people doing the research than about the reality of the tradition being studied. The earliest academic reports and research on Buddhism came from Russia and Catholic missionaries. Russia was a natural place for research on Buddhism because the eastern borders were inhabited by Buddhists. The pioneering Catholic missionaries first sent back reports from China, then under the control of the Mongols. It an interesting twist of history that both of these groups first came into contact with the Mongolian forms of Buddhism, at the court of the Khans in Beijing and among the eastern tribes of Russia. Only when the missionaries moved beyond the Mongol court and started to reach out to the Han peoples was there any information about the form of Buddhism that was being practiced by most of the population. The Mongols may have ruled the nation but they were a small minority in terms of numbers. We now know that the practice of the Han Buddhist monastics at the time when accounts were being made to European audiences, was Ch’an. The history of the practice was preserved in lore that described the early introduction of the meditation technique by the Patriarch Bodhidharma.


II. Early Reports on Ch’an

The first reports to reach Europe concerning Ch’an were made by Catholic missionaries who were competing with Buddhism. Opponents never make the best histories of one another, and these two great world religions were natural opponents. They had many practices in common, monastic life with celibate monks and nuns, rules of conduct for those who entered the monastery, vows of poverty for ascetics, shaven heads, special dress, reverence for relics of esteemed dead, pilgrimage to sacred sites associated with the esteemed, and use of images. It would seem that the two had enough common ground to stimulate an interest in the practice of the other. Unfortunately, the competition kept the Catholic missionaries from making note of similarities. A study of Christian monasticism by Chinese Buddhists was out of the question since they had no missionaries in Europe at that time and only saw individual monks and priests living in China, an alien environment for the Christians.

The initial description of Ch’an was through the person of the Catholic missionary Ricci, who was housed at one time in a Buddhist monastery. Ricci made great contributions to the study of China and involved himself in the cultural and religious debates of that time. However, he was a missionary and his goal was the conversion of the Han to Christianity. It was impossible for him to see Buddhism as anything other than a barrier to his mission. When he explored some of the teachings of Ch’an, he focused on the doctrine of sunyata, which he took to be nihilistic. The later community of French Jesuits also complained that the Ch’an monks of China held to the doctrine ” a vacuum or Nothing is the Principle of all Things, that from this our first Parents had their Origin.”It is not difficult to spot the source for this particular attack against Buddhism. As early as the 11th century, Chang Tsai of the Sung dynasty had put forward the proposition that Buddhism was a nihilistic teaching. His treatise was well known and the attacks against the doctrine of sunyata continued through out the 11th and 12th centuries, with Chu Hsi joining in the fray. This negative view of the teachings of the Ch’an tradition was Confucian in origin and it was this Chinese position that was transmitted to the Catholics and from them on to Europe. The prejudice against Ch’an was not limited to the early missionaries. Contemporary scholars such as Kenneth Chen have echoed these ancient attacks. In his important and influential study of Chinese Buddhism, Chen states that Buddhism declined in China because of the popularity of the Ch’an and Pure Land Schools during the Sung. This type of statement, still finding its way into print a few decades ago, is a demonstration of the persistence of certain ideas, however inaccurate or misleading they may be. That we still find reflections of the ancient battles between competing Chinese groups in the literature of the current century, alerts us to the fact that a clear and objective history of Ch’an is difficult to achieve. We are still trying to write this history and it is precisely for this reason that Korean Son, as a integral part of this story, must be studied and included in the mainstream of scholarly research on Ch’an.


III. Search for the Origins of Ch’an

When the Europeans started to discuss the intellectual history of China, they soon heard that there was a distinct difference between the Confucian philosophies and the Ch’an teachings. Since Buddhism has originated in India, it was natural to assume that the differences between these two systems of thought reflected the fact that the teachings had been transmitted from South Asia to China. Since this was the case, then it was important for scholars to focus attention on India in order to fully understand the doctrines of Ch’an. One of the early scholars, Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire took this approach and saw Ch’an as a form of Vedanta. However, when he was introduced to the idea of the Koan, he could see that it had no counterpart in Indian philosophy and practice. The missionary scholar Edkins also tried to find the Indian source for the Ch’an Buddhism that he encountered in China and he concluded that it was from Jainism. The Chinese Confucian community was not adverse to such study of Buddhism, since they considered Indian culture to be inferior to that of China. Chu Hsi saw Ch’an as the teachings of the Indian Bodhidharma, who he described as a charismatic figure. The notion that Ch’an had its roots from India was an old one among the Confucians, it was not a discovery of the missionary scholars. From the opposite side of the equation, Prof. Kalupahana looks at Ch’an from the ancient patterns of South Asia and finds many elements that have precedence in the Indic textual tradition. Dumolin presents the opposite view. He states that Ch’an was a Chinese movement in “their thoughts and feelings. They were Chinese Buddhists, stepped in the spirit of Hua-yen philosophy–very different from the Buddhist disciples of the Pali canon” The eclectic nature of Chinese Ch’an makes it difficult to sort out the origin of its various elements.

The source of the Indian elements in Ch’an was understood to be the first Patriarch, Bodhidharma who brought the meditation tradition into China. In the study of the founders, whether it is Sakyamuni or Bodhidharma, a problem arises from the interpretations that are given to these individuals by some of the Western scholars. Western approaches to the study of Buddhism has been recently challenged by anthropologists in Sri Lanka. Obeyesekera has coined the word “protestant Buddhism” to describe one of the ways in which the tradition is viewed. Tambiah has joined Obeyesekera in speaking out against “protestant Buddhism.” Prothero in his study of the matter gives us a good definition. “Protestant Buddhism” is the idea that the essence of Buddhism is to be found in the texts and by implication not in the practice. This leads to misunderstandings, since the extraction of textual selections as a way to define a normative Buddhism, can never be fully supported when we look at the religion in a given place at a certain time. Buddhism in local practice may appear in a quite different guise from that described in Sanskrit and Pali texts of past centuries.

A second part of “protestant Buddhism” is the belief that Buddhism is primarily an ethical system and must be defined as such. By seeking for textual evidence, this ethic can be defined. It is usually judged to be a proper ethic when it agrees with the Western system, especially that of the Protestant cultures of Europe. Tambiah and Obeyesekera both feel that this has been a betrayal of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, a cutting away of practices that have been long the heart of the tradition for people. The magical, the rituals of fortune and for the dead, do not get included in “protestant Buddhism.”

“Protestant Buddhism” creates a number of problems for the study of Ch’an. The emphasis on ethics in society calls into question the value of meditation as a lifelong career. Monasticism was severely criticized by the Protestants in Europe and the missionaries and scholars were equally strong in directing attacks against this practice in Asia. Not only was popular practice, such as those aspects directed toward health and prosperity, overlooked by the reliance on text study, but so was Ch’an meditation. Another tendency in “protestant Buddhism” was the delight in making all major historical figures into reformers. Buddha was seen as a young Luther, a reformer who spoke out against the establishment of his time; Bodhidharma as one who rejected institutional Buddhism in China, and even Shen-hui gets accolades for being a later reformer of Ch’an itself. Seeing the important figures of Buddhism whether in India or in China, as reformers is often misleading. Bodhidharma and Sakyamuni can be better described as individuals of their own time, expressing values and ideas that were part of the collective perceptions of the era. While they may have helped bring about change, it was not the highest goal of their life. The focus on reformers is a definite sign of “protestant Buddhism.”


IV. Zen Orientalism

Bernard Faure describes the next stage of study as Zen Orientalism, when Zen came to be an object of discourse in the West. The interest was a result of the work of D.T. Suzuki. He had enormous influence in the introduction of Zen and Ch’an ideas to an English reading public. In Japan he was never part of the major academic community of Buddhist specialists in national or sectarian universities. For this Japanese scholarly community the Zen study that attracted the most attention was that of the philosopher at Kyoto University, Nishida Kitaro. The question which emerged from the work of these two scholars and those who used their works, was whether the teachings of Zen are outside of any historical or cultural context as constrasted with being a part of a historical lineage of masters. Nishida tied Zen philosophy to pure experience. This pure experience is free of cultural context. However, the role of the lineage of teachers in Ch’an and Zen has never been replaced by the philosophical approach.

In China, an important figure among the intellectuals of the first part of the 20th century was Hu Shih. He had studied in the U.S. and returned to China with his academic training combined with the classical work that he had done within the traditional system of study in his country. Hu Shih had a strong sense of the history of China and he saw Indian Buddhism as a “virus” which had infected the nation. Ch’an was the Chinese correction ofthe Indian excesses of mysticism. Ch’an was practical. His work in the U.S. may have shown most clearly when he declared that Shen-hui was a revolutionary figure–another reformer. When Hu Shih started to look at the Ch’an documents of the Dunhuang collection, he negated the traditional histories and looked to construct a true history of Ch’an. His attempt to contruct a true history pointed toward the importance of the Chinese cultural influences within Ch’an and the turn away from the older Indian forms of the religion.


V. Choson Period Son Buddhism

When we turn out attention to the Choson period in Korea, we can see how the local situation helped to determine the way in which Buddhism was studied. Each culture of East Asia gave Buddhism a different position at given times and places. The Mongols gave it a very high place in their court life and provided support for the practices which they had inherited from Tibet. Among the Han people, the attitude toward the religion was mixed. There was a bias against the teachings and practices, especially among many of the officials and literati. At the same time, there was a willingness to have a variety of religious expressions existing side by side within the general practices of Chinese religion. Buddhism had a secure place among the people and for certain issues, it was a primary focus. While some of the elite of the learned community considered the teachings to be inferior to the Chinese philosophies, monasteries, where Ch’an was practiced, abounded and received great support from a wide spectrum of society.

Japanese Buddhism had been adopted by the court during the Nara period and thereafter retained a place in the center of Japanese intellectual and religious life. Unlike China, there was no elite community that considered it to be inferior. This meant that Japan was to be the nation with the best scholastic basis for the study of Buddhism. The tradition has been a part of the curriculum of universities for centuries, including the national system of higher education.

How different was the case of Korea. The Chu-hsi School of Confucian thought came to dominate the official life of the Choson Korean court and the leaders in the provinces of the nation. Buddhism, the religion of the previous Koryo dynasty, was rejected and in many ways the recording of Korean Buddhist history was suspended. The tradition was seen as a decadent remainder of the power it had held in the preceding dynasty. Monks and Nuns were forbidden to enter the capital and other major cities, the educational system no longer included the Buddhists, and support from officials ceased. Korean historians who were part of the dominant Confucian supporters, gave scant attention to Buddhism in the national annals. For those who based their understanding of the history of Korean on these records, it appeared that Buddhism was a rejected and minor aspect of the life of the people. This characterization of Korean Buddhism continued into the 20th century and so Europeans and North Americans found little to interest them. Until more recent times, Korean Son was not a part of the research of scholastic endeavor either in universities or colleges of Korea or those abroad.


VI. Contemporary Studies

There has been an improvement in this scholarship during the last quarter of the 20th century, and we have seen the publication of a series of monographs that have advanced our knowledge about Ch’an, Zen and Son far beyond the previous understanding. Paul Demieville was an important person in making the study of all available documents for an understanding of the Ch’an history in China. He followed the French approach to look at the ethnographic as well as the textual sources for a study of the tradition. This was a reconstruction of the history not totally dependent upon the received tradition of the Ch’an movement. Of great importance was the discovery of Ch’an texts in Cave 17 at Dunhuang. These Dunhuang documents have helped scholars to revise the history of Ch’an and to see it as a much more complex and multifaceted movement than was previously thought. Other scholars have pursued similar strategies of looking at the full range of available documentation for the study of particular aspects of the Ch’an, whether it be the teachings of a particular master, the rules of conduct, or the cultural application of the practice. Some of these, and this is not a complete list, include Carl Bielefeldt, Martin Collcutt, Bernard Faure, Luis Gomez, Griffith Faulk, John McRae, Philip Yampolsky and others who are present at this conference. We have moved far beyond the previous understanding of Ch’an.

In most instances contemporary study of Ch’an has developed in Japan and these scholars were strongly influenced by contacts with the important Japanese scholars who looked to the Chinese material. There was no comparable study to this Chinese work for Korea among the Japanese scholars. A few good works were done such as those of Prof. Kamata, but no critical mass of scholarship has ever developed in Japan for the Korean tradition. The Japanese approach to Ch’an has also had some limitations. Because Zen in Japan is sectarian with separate ordination from other Buddhist groups, Ch’an in China is viewed as the forerunner of what happened in Japan. It is the history of Ch’an which was of interest and not the practice or the fact that Ch’an had a widespread and continuing pattern of development. After the introduction of Ch’an into Japan, and the establishment of the institutions of the Zen monasteries, less attention was paid to the subsequent developments in China. Japanese scholars have produced few studies of contemporary Ch’an or even Ch’an of the period after the Sung. Once the transmission was complete, attention was turned to Japan itself and not to the continuing developments of other forms of the tradition in China and Korea. This is one of the reasons why the study of Ch’an has seldom been extended to the contemporary practices and development.

The work of breaking through to a new era of study for Korean Buddhism and the Son tradition has come from a small group of scholars. In the 1960s and 70s, dissertations were written that provided the first substantial information on the history and practices of Son. The first was done by So Kyong-bo who made a study of the Chodangjip in 1960 and nearly two decades later Shim Jae Ryong followed this up with a first introduction to Chinul and in the same year Sung-bae Park dealt with the role of Wonhyo in the development of Korean Buddhist schools and Hee Sung Keel investigated the role of Chinul. Work on Chinul continued with the publications of Robert Buswell. This group of scholars received their training in Korea and North America. They were not part of that group of North American and European scholars who did part of their graduate research in Japan. This small band of scholars had to develop their own approach and they have pioneered in the creation of the literature that has allowed students to begin the discovery of the importance of Korean Son. We owe them a debt of gratitude for providing the scholastic entry into the study of this aspect of Korean Buddhism. The publications of these scholars gave a dimension to the study of Korean Son which had never been known in Europe or North America. This focus on those who published in English is not intended as a judgement of the work that was beginning to appear in Korean. Without the editions, translations, and histories that were published in Korean language volumes, the international community would not have been able to make the advances that they accomplished. Scholars such as An Chi-ho, Rhi Ki- young, Kim T’an-ho, Han Ki-du, Yi Chong-ik, and others have given us invaluable aid in the hard task of mastering the textual material related to Son.

From these works done in the last half of the 20th century, we have a description of the history of the Son movement. Robert Buswell has pointed out that the early introduction of Ch’an to Korea came before the Sixth Patriarch or the battles which followed between the Northern and Southern Schools. If this history is correct, then Pomnang received his study under the Fourth Patriarch Tao-hsin. His student studied in the linear of the Second Patriarch of the Northern School. While the Korean Son group of the Chogye Order now traces its origins to the Southern School of Ch’an, the teachings were being transmitted in Korea at an earlier date than the time when this school came to dominate. The of study of the ancient documents and the reconstruction of history based on all available sources has brought about a new understanding of how Korean Son developed.


VII. Korean Son

This brings us to the main point of our inquiry: the significance of the Korean Son for the study of the Ch’an tradition in China. I would like to make a few observations and suggestions for future work. The thrust of these comments will be to examine the history of the introduction of the Ch’an approach to Korea. As we consider the materials coming from those early practitioners, it should at the very least provide us with supporting documentation for the studies that center on China. In order to follow through with this type of research, we can note that there were eight famous Korean masters who went to China during the Tang dynasty and returned to Korea to start their own lineages in mountain monasteries. These masters are of interest to us, not only because of their activities in Korea, but also because they were trained in China. Receiving the instruction of Ch’an monks, the Korean Son masters represent one way of looking at the ideas and methods that were contemporaneous in the Tang dynasty. As we look at the biographies of the eight Silla dynasty Son masters, we have the following information about them:

The first one to go to China was Toui. He stayed in China for 34 years returning to Korea in 818. His teacher was Hsi-t’ang Chih-tsang from the lineage of Ma-tsu. He studied with this master for 20 years. When Toui returned to Korea, he lived for seven years and during that time started his training of local disciples, who established a center at Porim Sa more than three decades after the master’s demise. At the same time that Toui was working with Hsi-t’ang Chih- tsang, two other Korean disciples went to be trained. Hongch’ok arrived in 810 and Hyech’ol in 814. Hongch’ok stayed in China for 16 years and Hyech’ol for 25. Only after the death of Hsi- t’ang Chih-tsang in 814 did any of them leave China. When Hongch’ok had returned to Korea in 826 at the age of 54 he soon established his center at Silsang Sa.

After the three Koreans had gone to study with Hsi-t’ang Chih-tsang, a fourth followed them to China in 821; Muyom went to work with Ma-ku Pao-ch’e. Muyom stayed in China for 24 years, going home in 845 and setting up his center of mediation at Songju Sa in 847. Three years later Hyonuk set out for China and was to stay for 13 years doing study with Chang-ching Huai-hui. After his homecoming in 837, he lived and taught for 32 years and his disciples established a center for the continuation of the school in 897 at Pongnim Sa. The year following the departure of Hyonuk for China, Toyun arrived in the Tang kingdom and choose Nan-ch’uan P’u-yuan to be his master. He also had a long stay– 22 years– before going back to Korea in 847 and establishing a center in 850 at Hungnyong Sa.

From these examples of Son masters who studied in China, we see that there was a steady stream of Korean monks going and returning from China with contacts among a variety of Ch’an masters from 784-911. They lived in China and studied until after the death of their Chinese masters. They had a protracted stay in China, all for more than a dozen years and some for three decades. When these monks returned to Korea, they were themselves mature people. For example Hyech’ol was 54 on his return, Hyonuk 50, Toyun 50, Iom 42. We see that the Son monks of Korea usually went to Masters who were well known and already aged. The first three Korean students of Hsi-t’ang came to him in his later life. Toui joined Hsi-t’ang when he was 50, Hong Ch’ok when he was 75 and Hyech”ol during his last year of life at 79. Pomil joined his master when Yen Kuan was 81, and Toyun met Nan Ch’uan when the master was 77. This means that Korean Son monks were being taught by mature and revered masters of the Tang Ch’an tradition. They sought after the established leaders.

The impact of the group was great for Korea. Within a 50 year period, seven of the Nine Mountain Son monasteries were established as places where their heritage was continued by generations of disciples. Thus the Chinese Ch’an was transplanted in the 9th century into the main fabric of Korean Buddhist institutions. While the older scholastic schools of the Unified Silla had been the center of Korean life during the 7th and 8th centuries, Son carried the day in the 9th and Korean Buddhism was never the same.


(A) Transmission of the Dharma

It is important that we understand the importance of these monks in looking at the history of the Tang Buddhist developments. The teachings of the eight Korean Son monks constitute a major source for our study of Ch’an, but one which has been little used by Chinese scholars. During the 9th century, we can track the developments in China which must have been part of the experience of the Son monks. There were five distinct groups of the Southern School of Ch’an. Shen Hui the founder of this school had been victorious over the so called “Northern Schools”. The disciples of Shen Hui held to the principle that the transmission of the Dharma was one of the most important and sacred moments in Buddhism. Without a clear understanding of the way in which this transmission occurred there could be no assurance about the authenticity of it. There is some indication in the older Indian tradition of the transmission of the teaching from one teacher to another. We have the example of the Sakyamuni giving the dharma over to his disciple Mahakasyapa. But even in the Indian materials, the idea of single transmission is eroded when we look at the Astasahasrikaprajnaparamita Sutra, where the transmission for that text is given from Sakyamuni to Ananda, not to Mahakasyapa For the newly emerging Southern School, there was the idea that transmission could only be given to one individual in a generation. They used the analogy of kingship, saying that a nation could not have more than one king, and Ch’an could not have more than one master in one generation.

The Venerable Taiwanese Master Yin Shun has challenged this view of a single transmission. Yin Shun recognizes that a major issue was over the idea of whether there was one transmission of the Dharma in every generation. This would mean that it was crucial to know exactly which disciple received the transmission from Hui Neng in order to decide on the authentic passage of the teaching. But as Yin Shun shows in his research, the idea of one transmission in each generation was not a central practice before the school of Shen Hui made it so. He reminds us that there are many expressions found in inscriptions and texts that indicate the multiplicity of the transmissions. Hung Jen, the Fifth Patriarch, is quoted as saying: “I have taught many people in my life–the ones who transmit my dharma becomes masters in their own places.” Fa Hai, another famous master, is said to have had ten disciples who received the transmission. The study of Korean Buddhism shows us that as the tradition of Ch’an was being passed into the peninsula, it came from a number of sources and transmissions. Once we see the Korean along side the events of China and Japan, we can begin to spot just how multiple the transmissions were. The fact that the Korean Hung-chou School of Son had as it’s founder Nan Yueh Hai Jong (677-740), a little know disciple of Hui Neng immediately alerts us to fact that there was no one single transmission in the generation following Hui Neng, just as Yin Shun points out that there was no single transmission before Hui Neng’s time. Two of Hui-neng’s disciples Nanye Huairang and Qingyuan Xingsi, who died in the 8th century had formed the major transmissions. Two were linked to Nanyue Hairang (Yumen and Caodong) and three to Xingsi (Weiyang, Linji, and Fayan). While the idea of single transmission was put forward by the followers of Shen Hui, the idea did not take hold. It is an example of a concept that appears in the writings but not in practice.

Korean Son history is a good way to investigate the reality of how transmission was accomplished in the 9th century. It shows us that Buddhist history records multiple leaders, and a group of masters, all living and practicing at one time. Without multiple transmissions, it is hard to see how Ch’an could have been spread to Korea or Japan. .There was no feeling that the transmission from Hui Neng had to come through Shen hui. Huai-jong and other disciples received and passed along the Dharma. As Yin Shun points out, Hui Neng was just one of the many who received the transmission from Hung Jen the fifth Patriarch.

Huairang was of great importance to the development of Chinese Ch’an. From his lineage came the Weiyang, Linji and Fa Yan schools, all dominant in the Southern Sung. The Fayan school kept close ties to the court and thus when the dynasty shifted, they were pushed aside as belonging to the past. Ven.Yifa in her dissertation from Yale indicates that the Linji came to the fore because they had no ties to the government and thus were free to spread. Once again, the fact that Huairang is so important in the development of the Ch’an in China and that his tradition spread to Korea, means that the Korean Son is a valuable tool to looking backward to China to see the heritage that came to Korea in the Hung-chou school


(B) Anti-Textual Positions

If we accept the idea that the words of the Korean Son masters who trained for many years in China in the 9th century must accurately reflect the teaching that was being given at that time, then the words of Toui and Muyon are of importance.

Toui confronted Chiwon, a scholastic, with the statement:

Hence, separate from the five scholastic teachings, there has been a special transmission of the dharma of the patriarchal mind-seal. ….even though one recites in succession the Buddhist sutras for many years, if one intends thereby to realize the dharma of the mind- seal, for an infinitude of kalpas it will be difficult to attain.

Muyon echoed this distinct difference between the scholastic schools and Son:

As the [Son teachings] are not overgrown by the weeds of the three types of worlds, they also have no traces of an exit or an entrance. Hence they are not the same [as the scholastic teaching].

From these Son masters, we have an indication that the Ch’an of the 9th century was making a distinction between the two approaches. While this is usually explained as part of the spiritual understanding of the Ch’an practitioner, I think it is important to take a look at the history of Buddhism at that time. In particular, the role of textual work in monastic life needs to be examined for that period. One significant element stands out when we review the events.

During the 9th century, there were no translations being made of Sanskrit texts into Chinese. The recorded dates for the translated texts contained in the Koryo Canon tell us that translations came to a halt in 798. This endeavor was not reestablished until 983, when the Northern Sung court, aware of a number of Sanskrit texts that were not in Chinese, set up a bureau to continue the work. Our histories of Chinese Buddhism pay little attention to this 185 year period when new translations were no longer appearing. No effort was made to continue the activity which had been a major part of court and monastic strategy since the middle of the second century. For more than six centuries, missionary monks from Central Asia and Chinese pilgrims had been devoted to the task of finding all available Sanskrit Buddhist texts and making them available in Chinese. As long as the translation work continued, the focus of attention was directed toward the new discoveries and the fuller picture of the words of the Buddha. The thousands of texts that came into China and the ones being written in China claiming to be from Sanskrit originals, dominated the scholastic side of the religion. From the great volume of texts which were appearing in translation, monasteries had to give attention to the written word. Schools were developed to handle the flow of manuscripts and ideas that were being constantly supplemented with new discoveries. It was an exciting time, a time for Buddhists to collect every single work that contained the words from the “Golden Mouth of the Buddha.” The so called “Textual” schools were a direct result of the centuries of focus on translations.

When the Silla monks went to China to be trained in the rising Ch’an school of meditation, textual translation was no longer an issue. As the translations came to an end, it left room in the Buddhist monastic life for a focus on practice rather than the texts. The window of opportunity for Ch’an development came in part because of this shift in emphasis within the Buddhist community. The many schools that were based on textual study had arisen in China primarily in the 6th century, with the Fa Hsiang in the 7th and the Tantra in the 8th centuries. These were the years when the translations were being made in large numbers and catalogues compiled to handle the housing of so many volumes. The cessation of the translations in 798 was a very major change in Buddhist life and efforts. It reflected some of the political changes that were occurring. First, in 755 the An Lu Shan rebellion had weaken the Tang dynasty and was a symptom of shifts in society that would plague the successive rulers of that era. The government suppression of certain aspects of foreign religions in 845, indicated an unwillingness to have closer contacts with Central Asia. The Parthians were a menace and there was no desire to see them have an impact on the religious life of China. When we look at our group of Silla monks, it is interesting to note that three of the eight returned to Korea at the time of the suppression. Minyon went home in 845, Pomil in 846 and Toyun in 847. Since their masters were dead and the religious climate in China had changed, it was not surprising to find them deciding to return to their native land. Of the founders of Silla Son, only Iom went to China after the 845 events. His trip in 895 was long enough after the hard times to indicate that once again monks could find a place to study in the Chinese environment.

From this point of view, I am suggesting that the rejection of a textual basis for Buddhist thought, could occur in a time when there was a break in the translation work. This is not to say that the Ch’an masters were dependent on the cultural environment for their insights. However, when the insights were being put forth at a time when interest in the continuation of the translations had fallen to a low ebb, it is understandable that the selection of Ch’an meditation over scholastic textual reading would be more acceptable.


(C) Harmonization of Texts and Meditation

At the time when the great masters of the Korean Son tradition were studying in China, that is the 9th century, we can note that there was already a concern about the role of mediation in relationship to texts. One of the individuals who attempted to address this problem was Tsung- mi. Tsung-mi died in 841, at a time when eight of the Silla monks had already arrived in China. He had entered the Buddhist monastic life in 807 as a disciple of the Ch’an master Tao-yuan. Later he also studied with a Hua-yen master and in his training indicates that Chinese monks were able to train in more than one group. He is associated with a movement to find common ground between the Ch’an and Hua-yen schools. When we look at the Korean Son tradition, Tsung-mi’s approach does not seem to be reflected in the Silla developments. It is not until the time of Chinul, some two centuries later that we have the work becoming important. If the assumption is correct that the Silla masters brought back the dominant paradigms of Tang Ch’an, then the harmonization movement was a marginal one. Toui’s comments about the supremacy of Ch’an transmission over textual study, are strong statements. He does not give a focus to the idea that this transmission must be matched with the recorded words in the sutras.

There were many changes which swept through East Asia in the 10th century. The Tang rule came to an end in 907 and for more than 50 years there was a chaotic political situation. It is understandable that erudite occupations such as translations came to a standstill. The Khitan Empire followed the downfall of the Tang and they also were to have influence on the Korean world. When the Northern Sung finally was able to establish central authority for the Han peoples, the court gave unprecedented support to the Buddhists. First, they had a xylography collection carved for the entire canon. It is thought that this took place from 971-983. After completing the project in Sichuan, the court had created a standard set of texts that could be distributed as rubbings to the copy centers around the nation. The new technology of reverse image printing gave new interest to Buddhist textual study. The government then turned it attention to the problem of Sanskrit manuscripts which were available but had no counterpart in the printed edition. Therefore, in 983 the year when the printing blocks were delivered to Kaifeng, the work of translation was resumed after nearly two centuries of neglect.

When we look at the time of the first group of Ch’an Silla monks in China, we can note that they came at a time when the textual tradition was at its lowest ebb. When they returned to Korea, it was to carry the message that texts were not as important as the practice of meditation. The rejection of the textual approach mirrored the times. We can understand better the larger view of Chinese Buddhist life during the 9th century, if we study the teaching which these monks has received.

When we consider the experience of Iom who went to China in 895 and stayed until 911, then we have a monk who witnessed the final years of the Tang dynasty and the upheavals of the Wu-tai period (907-960). As things began to change after the establishment of the Northern Sung dynasty, Ch’an again reflected in its development the issues of the time. Printing brought an exciting new dimension to Buddhist textual tradition. New translations open up the possibility of seeing the final innovations of the religion in India. It was in this environment that the talk of harmonization of Ch’an and texts came to be an issue. Yen-shou (904-975) was one of the early proponents of the attempt to make use of the texts alongside meditation.

In Korea, we can follow this attempt at harmonization. In the first decade of the 11th century, a set of rubbings from the Northern Sung block print edition of the Chinese canon was brought to Korea. The importance of this printing technology was not lost on the Koreans and they were to excel in the later development of movable type. They made a set of printing blocks for themselves, apparently by making a tracing of the Sung prints. In 1063, the Liao court send another set of rubbings made from their own printing blocks and based on manuscripts that were different than those of the Northern Sung. Other prints arrived over the years from the Northern Sung representing the additional new translations that were being made. In other words, the 11th century was a revival of interest in Buddhist texts. It was at this time that Koreans began to think about the integration of texts with meditation practice. Uich’on (1055-1101) was one of the first in that century to speak of this reunion of the two aspects of Buddhism. One century after Uich’on birth, one of Korea’s most outstanding monks was born, Chinul. While Uich’on was seeking for harmony as one who stood firmly in the scholastic camp, Chinul worked for the same goal from his position within the Son tradition. We know that the printing of the canon remained important to Korea, because when the Mongols invaded in 1231 and burned the printing blocks, the exiled court made the replacement of them a national priority.

This review of history tells us that the Koryo Son masters moved away from the fierce rejection of the scholastic schools that had been a characteristic of the Silla masters. The work with texts that emerged after the introduction of printing, gives us an indication that while religious ideas may not be generated by events outside of the training, these ideas may well be intensified by trends and innovations. Thus we can see a parallel between translation projects, printing technology and the rise and fall of the importance and prestige of texts in the Ch’an and Son traditions.


D. Korean Son and Religious Suppression

Up to this point we have mainly discussed the ways in which Chinese patterns can be studied by looking at the Korean Son masters. There is another aspect of Korean Son which is unique and deserves attention. The story of Korean Buddhism during the Choson period is quite different from that of China or Japan. It is unique in the shift from significant government support to the opposite situation of extreme government repression. The result of the Neo-Confucian rejection of Buddhism was devastating to the established order of the religion. Monasteries were closed, lands confiscated by officials, serfs removed from the work force, ordination restricted, donations from wealthy followers limited, and public rituals no longer allowed to be performed. As the 14th century came to a close, the Buddhist were not just fending off attacks, the struggle for the very survival of the tradition had begun.

If we look at the situation in spatial terms, the Confucian group has appropriated social and family structure, leaving no room for any other approach. One definition of orthodoxy is the total control of a certain space in religion or society. Being orthodox means that no other system can share the same space in religion or society. Once such orthodoxy is in place, the rejection of any alternative is necessary. In the Choson, once the Neo-Confucians had established an orthodoxy for society, there was no possibility for the Buddhists to claim that they could share the social space.

The question for the Buddhists was what to do in these circumstances. With fewer resources, it was quite natural that the conflicting claims of supremacy of the scholastic and meditation schools would be put forward. Even as this matter of how to deal with the two aspects was still being debated in the monasteries, the collapse of urban Buddhism swept away much of the support for the scholastics. In 1471, the court stopped printing Buddhist books and all publication of doctrinal materials moved to monasteries.

The only monasteries that were open and managing to stay so, were located in rual areas. The remaining centers were not even in the villages and towns of the provinces, they were in the mountains. Away from communities that might give donations, at first glance it would seem that the surviving monasteries were too remote to attract followers. Life was difficult and the monks and nuns were required to farm and gather food in the forests. In these mountain monasteries, a form of Buddhism persisted that was quite different from that of the Koryo or the earlier times of the Choson. The scholastic schools were for all practical purposes gone and only the Son was left. The Son schools preserved in the mountain monasteries had an agenda and a strategy of practice that differed from the past centuries. The masters of that practice hoped to achieve in one moment of thought, the freeing of the mind from all attachments. When this occurs, then they believed there would be the revelation of the principle of the One Original Mind. In order to enter into this true meditative state, it was necessary to forsake the study of doctrine. We find the ideal being expessed in the Simbop yocho, where the Original Reality was described:

Heaven and earth cannot cover its body, mountains and rivers cannot hide it light. Nothing of it accumulates on the outside or the inside. Even the 80,000 texts cannot contain or make a record of it. No scholar can describe it, the intellectuals cannot know it, the literati and writers cannot recognize it. Even to talk about it is a mistake, to think about it is an error.

Buddhism has been put into a marginal position in the Korean society, where it had once been a major force. Treated with disrespect, criticized as destructive elements in society, the ordained members of the Buddhist order has little or no access to the social institutions of the time. While this was a dark moment in Korean Buddhist history, it was not without solutions. The answer for the monks and nuns was meditation. It was mediation that could be practiced by all, even those with little or no education. Meditation allowed practitioners in the mountains to achieve states of mind which could sustain them and their tradition. The practice did not need any of the government institutions; it did not require learning. Even the words of the Buddha, written in Chinese characters and difficult to read and understand, could be bypassed. One could proceed by meditation to achieve the same state as that of the Buddha and therefore have the highest experience. Had the Korean Buddhist attempted to maintain a scholastic Buddhism in the face of government proscriptions, it would have been impossible to compete with the learning of the secular world. Only in the practice of meditation could these despised practitioners find something that was beyond the control of officials. It was meditation that sustained the spirit of Buddhism during those dark centuries of the Choson period. There were many problems with the remnant of the monastic tradition during the last century of the Choson period, but it has survived one of the longest religious persecutions of all times. Rather than assuming that the Son tradition of the late Choson was a weak and beaten institutions, we perhaps should look for the strength which had allowed it to remain a part of the culture and to revive as conditions improved.

By making a more careful study of the Choson Son tradition, I believe that we will have ways of seeing Ch’an in China with new perspectives. There are many issues which need to be considered in both China and Korea. Since it is the Son school which survives in Korea and it is the Ch’an that dominates Chinese monastic life, we must consider the role of this meditation school in recent centuries. The Buddhism of East Asia traces its roots back to the Ch’an groups, whether in China or Korea. If we are to understand and deal with the contemporary situation, we must give thought to Son. The rejection of the textual tradition among many of the late Choson masters, has been influenced by political and social events. The role of meditation for a rural religion, whether in China or Korea, is worth careful consideration. The Son tradition of the Choson dynasty when studied in this way can be of great importance for our understanding of Korean life and society and it can give us a clearer picture of East Asian developments over the centuries.

Bodhidharma’s Practice of Recompense and Formation of Chan Buddhism

Kiyotaka Kimura(木村淸孝)
University of Tokyo

Bodhidharma’s Practice of Recompense and Formation of Chan Buddhism
: An Angle to the Radical Problem of Chan Tradition


1. Classification of Chan

2. Chan of Tathaagat and Chan of Patriarchs

3. Bodhidharma’s practice of recompense and its succession



It is said that Chan tradition began from Bodhidharma who was born in Persia or south India and came to China around the early days of the sixth century. However, concerning his life, we find out not a few fictions in Chan texts made in the later times in succession. For example, there is a famous story that Bodhidharma met with the emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty and answered him “you have no marit “, when asked about his contributions to the prosperity of Buddhism. We also know a story that Bodhidharma had been sitting for nine years to deepen his meditation. These stories are very significant to recognize true characteristics of Chan Buddhism. But, we can not believe them as historical facts. They seem to have been skillfully drawn up by Chan Buddhists of the southern sect, who stood in the row of Chan of Patriarchs, in order to make Bodhidharma the perfect founder of Ch’an tradition.

Then, what was Bodhidharma in fact ? What did he consider ? what did he teach? Has the Chan thought of Bodhidharma properly been accepted and succeeded to by Chan Buddhists who were proud of successors of Chan of Patriarchs ? Were there any essencials of it that were thrown away ? I would like to pursuit these questions from a historical viewpoint in this presentation, focussing on Bodhidharma’s practice of recompense and its succession in Chinese Chan tradition. I would be very glad if it gives a clue to see through the modality of Chan movement in the new millenium to lots of Chan researchers and Chan Buddhist.

1. Classification of Chan

The word of Chan originates in jhaana in Paali, dhyaana in Sa^nskrit, or some languages of central asia coresponding to them. It means concentration or calmness of mindin meditation as well as samaadhi or the like in general. But, it would be sure that there are various ways and degrees of meditation. Therefore, the scholars of the Yoga school in India classified meditation into three grades of meditation, that is to say, dhaara.naa, dhyaana, and samaadhi. They further classified the last one into two kinds of samaadhi named sampraj~naata and asampraj~naata, or biija and nirbiija (The Yoga-suutra). In Buddhism, however, strict classification of grades and degrees of meditations by words themselves does not seem to have been made anytime and anywhere. Probably, any of schools of Buddhism prefered to use one or some among many words which meant meditation by choice.

Then, what was a Buddhist scripture that classified meditation through using a word “dhyaana” and gave serious influences to the formation and development of Chan Buddhism in East Asia? In conclusion, we think that it is the La^nkaavataara-suutra.

This suutra has three kinds of Chinese versions. The first one was translated by Gu.nabhadra in the middle of the fifth century and loved for a long time by lots of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, even after appearance of other two versions. So, let me introduce the teachings of it along with Dr. Daisetsu Suzuki’s translation.

復次, 大慧, 有四種禪. 云何爲四.
謂愚夫所行禪(baalopacarika.m dhyaana.m)
觀察義禪(arthapravicaya.m dhyaana.m)
攀緣如禪(tathataalambana.m dhyaana.m)
如來禪(tathaagata.m [^subha.m] dhyaana.m).
云何愚夫所行禪. 謂聲聞緣覺外道修行者, 觀人無我性, 自相共相骨鎖, 無常苦不淨相計著爲首, 如是相不異觀, 前後轉進, 想不除滅. 是名愚夫所行禪.
云何觀察義禪. 謂人無我, 自相共相, 外道自他, 俱無性已, 觀法無我彼地相義, 漸次增進. 是名觀察義禪.
云何 攀緣如禪. 謂妄想二無我妄想, 如實處不生妄想. 是名 緣如禪.
云何如來禪. 謂如來地, 行自覺聖智相, 三種樂住, 成辨衆生不思議事. 是名如來禪.
Further, Mahaamati, there are four kinds of Dhyaanas. What are the four? They are: (1)The Dhyaana practised by the ignorant, (2) the Dhyaana devoted to the examination of meaning, (3) the Dhyaana with Tathataa (suchness) for its object, and (4) the Dhyaana of the Tathaagatas.

What is meant by the Dhyaana practised by the ignorant ? It is the one resorted to by the Yogins exercising themselves in the discipline of the Sraavakas and Pratyekabuddhas, who perceiving that there is no ego-substances, that things are characterised with individuality and generality, that the body is a shadow and a skelton which is transient, full of suffering and is impure, persistently cling to these notions which are regarded as just so and not otherwise, and who starting from them successively advance until they reach the cessation where there are no thoughts. This is called the Dhyaana practised by the ignorant.

Mahaamati, what then is the Dhyaana devoted to the examination of meaning ? It is the one [practised by those who, ] having gone beyond the egolessnessof things, individuality and generality, the untenability of such ideas as self, others, and both, which are held by the philosophers, proceed to examine and follow up the meaning of the [ various ] aspects of the egolessness of things and the stages of Bodhisattvahood. This is the Dhyaana devoted to the examination of meaning.

What, Mahaamati, is the Dhyaana with Tathataa for its object ? When [ the Yogins recognise that ] the discrimination of the two forms of egolessness is mere imagination, and that where he establishes himself in the reality of suchness (yathaabhuuta) there is no rising of discrimination, I call it the Dhyaana with Tathataa for its object.

What, Mahaamati, is the Dhyaana of the Tathaagata? When [ the Yogin ], entering upon the stage of Tathaagatahood and abiding in the triple bliss which characterises self-realisation attained by noble wisdom, devotes himself for the sake of all beings to the [ accomplishment of ] incomprehensible works, I call it the Dhyaana of the Tathaagatas. ( D. T. Suzuki, The La^nkaavataara Suutra)

As known through these teachings, the La^nkaavataara Suutra groups four grades of dhyaana, intending that a Buddhist should proceed his religious step from observation of anaatman of personality to that of anaatman of dharma, further enter in the stage of negation of anaatman itself, finally reach to the Buddha’s modality. This ultimate stage is named the dhyaana of the tathaagatas. In addition, it is said that the ^sraavakas, the pratyekabuddhas, and non-buddhists are all left at the first step as the observers of anaatman.

Well, standing on the classification of Chan above-mentioned, Shenhui(686-760) is likely the first person who called Chan of Bodhidharma’s lineage the dhyaana of tathaagata ( cf. 鄭茂, 祖師禪について, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 34-1). Regarding the aim of Chan as exproitation of praj~naa with no impurity, Zongmi (780-841) accepted this concept and clarified how to see Chan thought in China. His opinion is as shown below.

又眞性則不垢不淨, 凡聖無差. 禪則有淺有深, 階級殊等.
謂帶異計欣上厭下而修者, 是外道禪. 正信因果, 亦以欣厭而修者, 是凡夫禪. 悟我空偏眞之理而修者, 水乘禪, 悟我法二空所顯眞理而修者, 是大乘禪, 若頓悟自心本來淸淨,元無煩惱, 無漏智性本自具足, 此心卽佛, 畢竟無異, 依此而修者, 是最上乘禪, 亦名如來淸淨禪, 亦名一行三昧, 亦名眞如三昧.
此是一切三昧根本. 若能念念修習, 自然漸得百千三昧. 達磨門下展 相傳. 是此禪也.
Furthermore, the truth is neither impure nor pure, just same for both ordinary persons and saints. On the other hand, there are some kinds of Chans from shallow one to deep one. They would be classifiied into five.

That is to say, non-Buddhist meditators have evil thoughts and seek for more pleasant situation, desiring to avoid unpleasant one. Their Chan is called non-Buddhist Chan. Worldly meditators believe in the theory of cause and effect in correct way, while also seek for more pleasant situation, desiring to avoid unpleasant one. Their Chan is called Chan of ordinary persons. There are meditators who only awaken ^suunyataa of the self, an aspect of the truth. Their Chan is called HInayaana Chan. There are meditators who awaken the truth of ^suunyataa of both the self and dharmas. Their Chan is called Mahaayna Chan. There is a modality of meditation based on the enlightenment in which one awakens original pureness of their own minds, not with any affliction, but with perfect withdom, if changing the words, awakens that anyone has Buddha’s mind itself. When one practices such a meditation, it is called the supreme Dhyaana, the Tathaagata Dhyaana, the concentrated Samaadhi, or the Tathataa Samaadhi.

This one is the root of all meditations. Practicing such a Dhyaana, one can gradually obtain thouthands of meditations without fail. This is the Dhyaana that successors of Bodhidharma’s Chan have maintained since the begining.

Here, we have to pay attention to the next three points. First ly, the non-Buddhist Chan was located on the lowest level through being cutted off from combination with Hiinayaana meditation in the La^nkaavataara Suutra. This would mean that Zongmi differenciated non-Buddhism from Buddhism and regarded the former as the religion to be strongly denied.

Secondly, Zongmi newly stood up the concept of Chan of worldly persons, who believed in the theory of cause and effect in correct way. For him, “worldly persons” were just believers of Buddhism. The word La^nkaavataara Suutra fundamentally means a worldly person. Therefore, it is clear that Zongmi looked worldly persons with another eyes.

Thirdly, Zongmi says that Dhyaana of the Chan school is the best among some kinds of meditation, which is called the supreme Dhyaana or the Tathaagata Dhyaana. Further, defining this meditation as the root of all meditations, he insists that one can obtain the enlightenment that one’s own mind is originally same as Buddha’s pure mind. We see here one of the typical interpretation of Dhyaana by a Chan Buddhist.

In addition, as known from using the word Tathaagata Dhyaana, Zongmi’s interpretation above shown was influenced by the La^nkaavataara Suutra. However, it was also influenced by the Awakening of Faith, because we can find out the words of the concentrated Samaadhi and the Tathataa Samaadhi as very important ones in it. We should keep in mind this fact too.

Well, ,Zongmi also made another classification of Chan from a viewpoint of what the purpose or the goal was in the same book, the Douxu. According to this theory, the Chan is devided into the next three kinds; one that aims at endeavoring to cease illusive activities of mind, one that has no ground to be relied on, and one that directly realizes the true mind same as Buddha’s. These three respectively correspond to Chan of the northern school, Chan of Shitou and Niutou’s lineages and Chan of Mazu and Shenhui’s lineages. And the first is lesser than the second, the second is lesser than the third. Changing the words, the last one is the best and ultimate Chan, though all of them are included in the Tathaagata Dhyaana above mentioned.

Then, what is the best and ultimate Chan? Zongmi interprets it as follows.


一切諸法, 若有若空, 皆唯眞性. 眞性無爲, 體非一切. 謂非凡非聖, 非因非果, 非善非惡等. 然卽體之用, 而能造作種種. 謂能凡能聖, 現色現相等.
於中指示心性, 復有二類. 一云, 卽今能語言動作, 貪瞋慈忍, 造善惡, 受苦樂等, 卽汝佛性, 卽此本來是佛, 除此無別佛. 了此天眞自然, 故不可起心修道. 道卽是心, 不可將心, 還修於心. 惡亦是心, 不可將心, 還斷於心. 不斷不修, 任運自在, 方名解脫. 性如虛空, 不增不減, 何假添補. 但隨時隨處, 息業養神, 聖胎增長顯發, 自然神妙, 此卽爲眞悟眞修眞證也.
二云, 諸法如夢, 諸聖同說. 故妄念本寂, 塵境本空. 空寂之心, 靈知不昧, 卽此空寂之知, 是汝眞性. 任迷任悟, 心本自知. 不籍緣生, 不因境起. 知之一字, 衆妙之門. 由無始迷之, 故妄執身心爲我, 起貪瞋等念. 若得善友開示, 頓悟空寂之知. 知且無念無形, 誰爲我相人相. 覺諸相空, 心自無念. 念起卽覺 , 覺之卽無. 修行妙門, 唯在此也. 故雖備修万行, 唯以無念爲宗. 但得無念知見, 則愛惡自然淡薄 , 悲智自然增明, 罪業自然斷除, 功行自然增進, 旣了諸相非相, 自然修而無修. 煩惱盡時, 生死卽絶. 生滅滅已, 寂照現前,應用無窮, 名之爲佛.
然此兩家, 皆會相歸性, 故同一宗.
All dharmas, beings or non-beings, are just of the truth itself. The truth is beyond any artificialities and its essense can be named by no words. That is to say, it is neither secular nor holy, neither related to the cause nor related to the effect, neither good nor evil, and yet it works in accordance with its essence, making up various things. For instance, it has an ability to get secularity or sainthood freely, also making a thing specially colored and shaped.

There are two groups to be distinguished concerning thinking way of the mind. The first one explains the mind as follows; Now, you speak and act. Just at the time, ,you desire something, you get anger, you are tender, or you are patient. In effect, you would get either good merit or bad reward, and receive either pleasure or suffering. The real state of your mind at each time is due to the buddhadhaatu, which proves that you are originally Buddha. Other than this mind, there is no Buddha anywhere. Getting aware that we have it by nature, we do not need to rouse the mind up and pursue any religious practice for attaining Buddhahood. As the way to attain Buddhahood is innate for the mind, it is impossible that we purify the mind by the same mind. As the evil also takes root in the mind, it is impossible that we cut off the evil mind by the same mind. Moka is exactly that we can behave in a state of nature beyond both cutting and purifying the mind. The mind itself is like the space by nature. It does neither increase nor decrease, and need no complements, nonetheless it works on a good timing in a suitable situation, cultivating the personality. In effect, the mind same as Buddha’s has marvelous and very effective mental functions, then naturally develops and realizes. Realization of these functions of the mind is the true awareness, the true practice, and the true enlightenment.

The second one interprets the mind as follows; A lot of saints have preached that all dharmas were like matters in dream. According to their teachings, any of momentary moving of the mind is in quietude by nature, and any of objects for our senses and conciousness is ^suunya by nature.The mind that is quiet and ^suunya has bright wisdom in its true meaning. This wisdom is the truth of your mind. Delusion or enlightenment, whichever you may submit to, your mind is wise in itself. It does neither arise by relying on any conditions, nor occur by depending on any circumstances. The letter Zhi, which means wisdom, is certainly the gate, from which all of marvellous matters appear. In the uncountable past times in sa.msaara, anybody in this world deluded himself. So, he accounts that his body-mind is himself, further getting desirous or angry to keep himself. If we meet with a good friend able to open the door of mystery of the mind and listen to him, we would be at once aware of this wisdom that is ^suunya. As the wisdom has no reflction and no shape, no one can differ the self from the others. Enlightening that all of phenomenal matters are ^suunya, we know the original modality of mind as that of no reflection. If any reflection occurs in your mind, be aware of it. As soon as you are aware of it, it would disappear at once. The crucial point of Buddhist practice is just in here. Therefore, just the state of no reflection of mind has to be aimed and attained, although lots of right conducts are recommended for Buddhists. Only in case that the knowledge of no-reflection is gotten, egoistic feelings of love and hate naturally decrease, compassion and wisdom naturally increase, evil karmas are naturally removed, and good karmas naturally develop. Already understanding that all of phenomeral matters have no substantial characteristics, one can practice as a true Buddhist with no efforts. that practice is of no purpose. When we remove all of delusions, even our lives in sa.msaara come to an end and the ultimate wisdom not only comes out but also works without limit. At this time, any of us becomes a Buddha. These two groups hold together that we should conform ourselves not to the phenomenal matters but to the very truth of mind that is essencial. So, we can deal with them as included in one school.

According to this argument, it is insisted on the standpoint of the ultimate Chan schools that the sole truth is exactly the true mind from that all of phenomenal matters come out. We can count two kinds of them. The first is the Chan in which the truth is regarded as buddhadhaatu every being has by nature. Here, the right way of life is considered to live in a state of nature as a son of Buddha. The second is the Chan in which the truth is asserted to be the wisdom of the mind with no reflection by nature. It is here said that any one should be aware of it to become a Buddha. Actually speaking, the former means Mazu’s lineage and the latter means Shenhui’s one. However, these two are included in the ultimate Chan, Ch’an of TathAgaata mentioned in the La^nkaavataara-suutra.

Anyway, Chan of Tathaagata defined as the ultimate Chan in the La^nkaavataara-suutra was linked with social schools of Chan through Zongmi’s classification and interpretation. Needless to say, it is not right that all of Buddhists after his era have accepted his idea. But, it seems to be sure that Zongmi’s idea urged Chan Buddhists of later generations to probethe Chan of Tathaagat. In effect, the problem that what the actual modality of Ch’an of Tathaagat was would have gotten an important issue to be solved by them. I believe that the concept of Chan of Patriarchs must have arisen from their coping with this issue.


2. Chan of Tathaagat and Chan of Patriarchs

As pointed out in the paper titled Soshizen-no-Gen-to-Ryu, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 10-1, by Professor Seizan Yanagida, the word Chan of Patriarchs appeared on the chapter of Xiangyan Zhixian ( 香嚴智閑. ?-898 ) of the Zutangji ( 祖堂集 ).

Here, Zhixian confesses his stage of mind to Yangshan Huiji (仰山慧寂. 803-887) ,” Last year, I was not yet poor. But, this year, I fell in poverty. Last year, I have no place to stand up an awl. But, this year, I do not have even an awl itself.” Then, Huiji criticizes it and says, ” My brother, you never know that there is Chan of Patriarchs, while just know Chan of Tathaagata.”

It would be certain that Chan of Patriarchs means higher stage of mind than Chan of Tathaagata in the dialogue above mentioned. Through this fact, we can guess that the concept of Chan of patriarchs must have widen to some degree in the Buddhist society in the later harf of nineth century, when Huiji has played an active part as a leading Chan Buddhist.

However, Mazu Daoyi ( 馬祖道一.709-788 ), grandfather in dharma for Huiji, considers that Chan of Tathaagata the ultimate modality of Chan, as known by the following preach.

The original is now realizing without doubt. So, we need neither meditation nor any other religious practices. It is just Chan of Tathaagata that no religious practices such as meditation can be chosen for training. ( The Mazu-yulu)

Adding to, he does not use the word of Chan of Patriarchs. Using it may have begun, I suppose, from the era of Chan Buddhists belonging to the generation of Mazu’s desciples, who learned the classification of Chans by Zongmi.

Then, what is the content of the concept of Chan of Patriarchs? About this issue, Doctor Yanagida says as follows, holding his ground on the Bodhidharma’s definition of the patriarch stated in the Baolinzhuan.

People who asserted to hoist Chan of Patriarchs named the traditional way of meditation Chan of Tathaagata, and called the true standpoint at which the very truth is alive in a daily life Chan of Patriarchs, considering the latter higher than the former in quality.

But, it would be doutful whether his summerization here shown is correct or not.

Generally speaking, both asking about Chan of Patriarchs and defining it directly seem to be rare in the history of Chan thought. So, the next one, which is described as an episode successive to above-introduced dialogue in the fifth volume of the Zongmentongyaoji (宗門統要集), is extremely valuable to clarify this issue.

香嚴後又呈一偈云, 吾有一機, 瞬目示伊. 若也不會, 別喚沙彌, 師云, 且喜師第會得祖師禪.

Afterward, Xiangyan presented a poem again ; As I have one function, I would show it to him with a blink. If he did not yet understand it, I should call him a ^sraama.nera to distinguish him from the other. The teacher said, “I am glad to know that you mastered Chan of Patriarchs.”

To this episode, two Chan Buddhists added some words respectively . That is to say, Xuanjue Xingyan (玄覺行信 ) commented, “Please answer , whether Chan of Tathaagata and Chan of Patriarchs should be devided or not.” On the other hand, Zhangqing Huileng(長慶慧稜. 854-932) simply commented, ” Throw off all of them in a moment.”

Through those episode and commentaries, we can recognize that Chan of Patriarchs was regarded as the Chan which gave importance to our usual activities. Further, we can also know that two kinds of Chans, the one named Chan of Tathaagata and the other named Chan of Patriarchs, are not necessarily classified from a viewpoint of estimating which is superior at least for a term in medieval China. Daihui Zonggao (大慧宗고 1089~1163 ), the founder of so-called Kanhuachan (看話禪 ), also stands in this row, because he talked about the original dharma as follows.

Not-halting at the present is named dhyaana. Not-attaching the future is named praj~naa. Not-taking the past is named j~naana. Taking such manners is also called Chan of Tathaagata, also called Chan of Patriarchs. When you can master and enlighten that in your daily life, dhyaana, praj~naa, and j~naana as your activities themselves are all similar to the space, having no limitation. ( Daihuiyulu, 2 )

It is clkear that he used those two words about Chan in the same meaning here.

As known from these matters, it seems to be a subtle issue how to distinguish Chan of Patriarchs from that of Tathaagata, and it is difficult to define Chan of patriarchs clearly. But, we would be able to indicate the next two points; (1) Chan of patriarchs is the concept that is applied to the basic character of Chan of the southern school from Bodhidharma. (2) the most important purpose of using it is to represent the modality of the truth itself alive in a daily life of everybody.

Anyway, the concept of Chan of Patriarchs must have been effective to remind people of the value of daily life. On this side, we should appreciate the advocation of it.


3. Bodhidharma’s practice of recompense and its succession

Then, did Ch’an of Patriarches success to Bodhidharma’s Ch’an properly? We do not think so. For us, it seems to be most problematic how it concerned itself with the practice of recompense, which Bodhidharma taught as one of crucial practices.

At first, we have to set eyes on what is the Ch’an advocated by Bodhidharma. Now-a-days, this question is generally answered that it is the theory of two ways to the enlightenment and four practices (二入四行論). We agree with this opinion in such a meaning as we can regard it as the thought attributed to him, though it is uncertain whether he preached it systematically or not as we see now.

Well, according to this theory, ” two ways ” means Meditational Way and Practical Ways. ” Four practices” means Practice of Recompense, Practice in Proportion to Conditions, Practice of Nothing to be desired, and Practice of Correspondence with Dharma, each of which is indicated as one of the practical way.

Then, what should be payed attention from a viewpoint of succession of Ch’an of Bodhidharma’s Chan? It would be, we believe, the first one of these practices. Because it seems to be the most fundamental. So, we would discuss it in the following part.

According to the text, The Practice of Recompense is interpreted as follows by Bodhidharma.

Chan Buddhists should consider like this, when he has sufferings; I have been not only bearing grudge and hate against lots of people but also wounding and killing them for uncountable kalpas in the past, repeating rebirth into various fields of existance one after another. Even if I am not guilty at present and conducting myself well, it must be due to my own evil karmans in the past that I have now sufferings. But, Neither persons nor gods can see it. Therefore, I have to be patient to accept all of those sufferings with sincerity and should not accuse anyone. A stra says that a saint laments for nothing, because he knows the deep root of sufferings. When one gets such awareness of sufferings, his mind accords with the truth and goes in Buddha’s world in spite of grudge and hate in himself.

As known through this passage, Bodhidharma recommends deciples to be deeply conscious of their own karmans and to be only patient of sufferings at present. He would consider, I guess, that one can not achieve Buddhahood, if not being conscious and patient of karmic sufferings. The Dhammapada, a famous suutra of Early Buddhism, says; a person who is brave-minded and patient of being abused, beaten, and punished by others in spite of innocence — him I call a Braahmana (gaathaa, 399 ). We may regard Bodhidharma as a Braahmana in this meaning.The Luoyangjialanji reports that when Bodhidharma came to China and saw the Yongningsi temple in Luoyang for the first time, he joined his palms in pront of the breast, chanting “nama.h” day by day. Is not his behavior like this related with the practice of recompense above mentioned? We believe that he could behave just simply as if he was a naive devotee from the country, because he was deeply conscious of his own karmans and endeavored sincerely after the practice of recompense. In my opinion, the practice of recompense is quite an indispensable element of Bodhidharma’s Chan.

By the way, generally speaking, the importance of consciousness of karmans is especially stressed in Pureland Buddhism. For example, Shandao (善導. 617-681) in China solely relyed upon Amita Buddha, grounded on the consciousness that we were all foolish and have repeated life and death as many as uncountable in the stream of sa.msaara ( cf. The Commentary to the Guanwuliangshou-jing, vol.1). Shinran (親鸞. 1173-1262), the founder of Jodoshinshu in Japan, confesses his own spiritual life as follows in his last years.

淨土眞宗に 歸すれども, 眞實の心はありがたし. 虛假不實のわガ身にて, 淸淨の心もさらになし. …….惡性さらにやめがたし, こころは蛇 のごとくなり. 修善も雜毒なるゆへに. 虛假の行とぞなづけたる. 無慙無愧のこの身にて, まことのこころはなけれども, 彌陀の廻向の御名なれば, 功德は十方にみちたまふ. 小慈小悲もなき身にて, 有情利益はおもふまじ. 如來の願船ぃまさずば, 苦海をぃかでかわたるべき. (「愚禿悲歎述懷」)

Although I have already believed in teachings of Pureland Buddhism, it is difficult for me to make my mind true. As I am of vanity and insincerity, I can not make my mind pure at all. —- It is hard for me to lieve from evil spirit. Therefore, my mind resembles to snake’s or scorpion’s. Even if trying to do something good, that results in something wrong. So, any of my acts is named practice of vanity. Because not ashamed of anything, I have no mind of sincerity.

However, the merit of chanting the name of Amita Buddha prevails everywhere of all of the worlds and reaches to every being, for the name of Amita Buddha is transfered to all of beings by Amita Buddha himself. As I have not even a little bit of maitrii and karu.naa, I never want to work for the sake of beings. Without Amita Buddha’s ship of vow, why can I cross the ocean of sufferings? (The Gutoku-hitanjukkai)

Bodhidharma would probably want to root the consciousness of karmans as comparable to these thoughts on the ground of Ch’an Buddhism.

Then, did the Ch’an Buddhists, who hold their own as the successors of Ch’an of Patriarches, have practiced the recompense Bodhidharma advocated? Did they have valued it at least? To my regret, I can hardly find out such Ch’an Buddhists. But, there is an exeptional one as far as I know. His name is Yongjiaxuanjue(永嘉玄覺. 675-713).

According to the Jingdechuandenglu, Xuanjue visited the sixth patriarch Huineng as a result of recommendation by Tiantai scholar Xuanlang, after learning the teachings of the Tiantai school. It is reported that they met and talked with each other as follows.

初到振錫携甁 , 繞祖三. 祖曰, 夫沙門者, 具三千威儀, 八方細行. 大德, 自何方而來, 生大我慢. 師曰, 生死事大, 無常迅速. 祖曰, 何不體取無生, 了無速乎. 曰, 體卽無生, 了本無速. 祖曰, 如是如是.
時大衆無不愕然. 師方具威儀參禮, 須臾告辭. 祖曰, 返太速乎. 師曰, 本自非動, 豈有速那. 祖曰, 誰知非動. 曰, 仁者自生分別. 祖曰, 汝甚得無生之意. 曰, 無生豈有意耶. 祖曰, 無意, 誰當分別. 曰, 分別亦非意. 祖嘆曰, 善哉善哉. 少留一宿. 時謂一宿覺矣.
When Xuanjue visited the patriarch, he walked around the patriarch three times, while ringing a khakkhara and holding a pot for a travel. The patriarch asked; The Buddhist should keep three thousands of behaviors and eighty thousands of minute actions based on the precepts. An honorable, where are you from and why are you arrogant ? Xuanjue replied; The issue of life and death is most crucial, and imparmanent matters come to me rapidly. The patriarch asked again; If so, why don’t you realize non-arising of anything and attain to non-rapidity of time? He replied; Realizing is just non-arising, and Attaining is originally non-rapidity. The patriarch agreed; That’s right.

Hearing the dialogue like this, many of Ch’an Buddhists around them were all surprized. then, Xuan jue greeted to the patriarch with right manners and was about to go out at once. The patriarch said; You quit very rapidly, don’t you? Xuanjue replied; Everything is originally beyond moving. So, rapidity itself does not exist. The patriarch asked; Who knows not-moving? He replied; You have just discriminated between moving and not-moving without perception. The patriarch said; You do not seem to have already got the meaning of non-arising. He asked; What meaning does non-arising have? The patriarch said; It has no meaning, of course. However, who can discriminate non-meaning from meaning? He replied; Discrimination itself is also beyond meaning. The patriarch praised him; Quite fine! Please stay here one night.

That is the reason why people in those days called him “one night stayer Jue”.

Here, we can understand that Xuanjue made up his theoretical standpoint on the philosophy of ^suunyataa. But, his thought is neither idealistic nor nihilistic. There is a sentense in the Poem of Enlightenment, one of his works, which insists that even attaining enlightenment of ^suunyataa, if one denied the reason of cause and effect, he would bring upon unfortunate matters one after another. As proved by this passage, He has thoroughly tried to hold his ground on the real world in the link of cause and effect and rejected conceptualization of enlightenment of ^suunyataa. It is quite reasonable that Dogen (道元. 1200-53), the founder of Sotozen in Japan, highly estimated Xuanjue’s thought of cause and effect in a fascicle named Jinshin-inga of the Shobogenzo of 12 volumes in his late years.

Then, what is the base of such thought by Xuanjue? In conclusion, we think that it would be his correct acceptance of Bodhidharma’s practice of recompense.

We find out the following passage in succession to the description of Ch’an tradition in India and China in the same work above mentioned.

末法惡時世, 衆生福薄難調制. 去聖遠兮邪見深, 魔强法弱多恐害, 聞說如來頓敎門, 恨不滅除令瓦碎 . 作在心殃在身, 不須怨訴更尤人. 欲得不招無間業, 莫謗如來正法輪
In the evil age of dharmas declined, all beings have little good merits and are difficult to be rightly controled. As they are extremely far from the time of saints, they have false views deeply rooted. Because devils are strong, while right dharmas weaken, there occur many of dreadful things. Although Buddha’s teachings of direct path to promptly realize enlightenment are preached, to my regret, they have no power to break up to the end. On my reflection, any of our actions are caused by our own minds, any of bad matters we meet are due to our own bodies. Therefore, we should neither bear grudge against anyone nor accuse anybody. If not want to make karmans to the hell, we should never blame Buddha’s teachings of right dharmas.

As clearly known from this passage, deploring miserable circumstances of the age, Xuanjue considers that everyone has to receive all of deeds related to himself on his own responsibility. Here is a reason why we call him a true successor of Bodhidharma, though he stayed only for one night under the sixth patriarch Huineng.

Of course, it is problematic to interpret Xuanjue’s standpoint only by linking with Bodhidharma. We have to pay attention to the following two points at least concerning the process of formation of his thought of karmans.

The first is the life in his youth. According to the Zutangji, when he was young, he lived at the Kaiyuansi temple and took care of his mother and elder sister, incuring great blame. In those days, it would be a sort of necessity for him to refrect his own karmans and select the best behavior day by day.

The second is that he has mastered Tiantai’s doctrine, as well acknowledged through the Yongjiaji. Then, What work of the Tiantai school is the most relative with Xuanjue’s thought of recompense? I believe it is the Anlexingyi by Huisi(慧思. 515-577), for he discusses on three kinds of endurances and states about the meaning of endurance to sattvas, the most intimate one among those three, as follows.

衆生忍者, 有三種意. 第一意者, 菩薩受他打罵輕辱毁咨 , 是時應忍而不還報, 應作是觀. 由我有身, 令來打罵. 譬如人的, 然後箭中. 我若無身, 誰來打者. 我今當動修習空觀. 空觀若成, 無有人能打殺我者. 若被罵時, 正念思惟, 而此罵聲隨開隨滅, 前後不俱. 審諦觀察, 亦無生滅. 如空中響, 誰罵誰受. 音聲不來入耳, 耳不往取聲. 如此觀已, 都無瞋喜.
There are three meanings on the endurance to sattvas. The first meaning is that a Bodhisattva entirely endures and never revenges to anybody when beaten and blamed, observing like this; Because I have a body, I am beaten and blamed by others. It is as if an arrow hits a mark because of a mark existing. If I have no body, who comes to and beats me? I must practice the observation of ^suunyataa in meditation. If it realizes, anyone can not beat and kill me. When blamed by others, a Bodhisattva rightly considers like this; One voice of blaming is now appearing, but it would disappear at the next moment. One voice and the next never exist at the same time. If observing it furthermore, the voice itself neither appears nor disappears. It is alike sound in the sky. Who blames and who is blamed? The voice never comes to any ears, while the ears never catch any voice. When already observing like this, there is neither anger nor delight.

Huisi’s thought here quated pets stress on realization of merit ofendurance through the practice of observation of ^suunyataa Therefore, it is different in quality from Bodhidharma and Xuanjue’s which has a direction to deepening the consciousness of karmans. However, these three are almost same in an aspect of endurance with no revenge. Further, it has a sinilarity with Bodhidharma’s the third and fourth practices in some respects, though I could not explain them in detail. We believe that Xuanjue accepted Bodhidharma’s practice of recompense under the influence of Huisi’s thought of endurances.


After the transmission of the La.nkaavataara-suutra to China in the fifth century, there occured the formation ofso-called Ch’an Buddhism in which Bodhidharma was regarded as the first patriarch in China , supported by rising of interest in what Ch’an was. Then, by the ninth century, a group of Ch’an Buddhists belonging to Huineng’s Nanzong lineage began to advocate Ch’an of Patriarches as the ultimate Ch’an in Buddhism and lots of other Ch’an Buddhists have followed them. However, exept Xuanjue, they do not seem to properly success to Buddhism that Bodhidharma tried to plant in the soil of China. This point is probably shown most clearly, I am sure, on the issue of acceptance of practice of recompense above discussed.

That is to say, the practice of recompense Bodhidharma attached impotance to has been made light of or neglected in tradition of Ch’an Buddhism in general. Changing words, Bodhidharma has not been rightly recognized as the founder of Ch’an Buddhism in spite of being called such.

But, I believe that the practice of recompense is extremely significant, when we consider Ch’an from a practical poit of view. It should not be admited to throw away the practice of recompense in light of original ground of Mahaayaana Buddhism or soteriological standpoint of the religion itself. Is it a wrong opinion that Ch’an Buddhism would be a school of Mahaayaana Buddhism and have power to save all of beings, only in case that the practice of recompense is an indispensable element of it ?

Anyway, it seems to be sure at least that we have to reconsider about the meaning of the practice of recompense Bodhidharma advocated at the beginning of Ch’an tradition, especially when we hope to revive Ch’an Buddhism as an effective religion in the modern world.

The Tun-huang Text of the Platform Suutra : Reflection on and Prospect of Its Study

Former Professor at the Academy of Korean Studies
Translated by Jong-myung Kim 2) 
The Tun-huang Text of the Platform Suutra : Reflection on and Prospect of Its Study  

Yabuki Keiki(1879-1939) was the forerunner in the study of the Tun-huang version of the Platform Suutra (hereafter, PS) of the Sixth Patriarch (Stein No. 5475). In 1930 Yabuki compiled and published Reverberations of Wailing Sand (Meisha yoin) . In it he included the photolithographed Tun-huang text of the PS, an important part of Buddhist sources excavated from the Tun-huang area under the aegis of Keimeikai (Association of Enlightenment), thus initiating a substantial research on the work. Before that year, Yabuki already introduced the Tun-huang text to Japan which was included in volume 48 of the Taish? shinshuu daiz?gy? (hereafter, T), the Japanese edition of Chinese translation of Buddhist literature. However, the textual analysis of the PS was initiated in the year of 1930. Thereafter, studies of the provenance of the text and its thought have flourished, producing many works including “Issues of the Tun-huang Version of the PS of the Sixth Patriarch” (Dank? rokuso danky? no dai mondai) by Yanagida Seijan in 1980  3) . Scholarly accomplishments of the subject are as follows:

(1) Suzuki T. Daisetz and Kuda Rendar?, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch Excavated from the Tun-huang Area (Tonk? shutsudo rokuso danky?) (Tokyo: Morie shoten, 1934);

(2) Yi N?nghwa, A Copy of the Tun-huang Text of the PS. How to Mark Punctuations to the Copy (Tonhwang pon sabon T’an’gy?ng. T’an’gy?ng tugy?l) (Keij? [Seoul]: K?mgyesanbang kyogan, n.d.);

(3) Ui Hakuju, “A Study of the PS” (Dank? g?), in the Second Volume of a Study of Zen History (Dai ni Zens?shi kenkyuu) (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1941);

(4) Wing-tsit Chan, The Platform Scripture, the Basic Classic of Zen Buddhism (New York: St. John University Press, 1963);

(5) Philip B. Yampolsky, tr. with notes, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the Text of Tun-Huang Manuscript (New York & London: Columbia University Press, 1967);

(6) Yanagida Seijan, “The PS of the Sixth Patriarch” (Rokuso danky?), in the Recorded Sayings of Zen (Zengoroku) (Tokyo: Tokyo chuu? g?ronsha, 1974), pp. 93-179;

(7) Komazawadai Zens?shi kenkyukai, A Study of Hui-neng (En? kenkyu) (Tokyo: Taishuukan shoten, 1978).

Among these works, Yanagida emphasized the importance of A Study of Hui-neng in the study of the PS while saying, “A rare work but the worst text on the PS came to be re-illuminated in this work,”4)  thus indicating that a new area was begun in the history of research on the PS.

1.2. Yanagida views the publication of the A History of Hui-neng in 1978 as the point of departure for the latter period in the history of research on the PS. Then, what other elements can be considered for the periodization of the research history of the PS? One such element is the socio-economic background to the composition of the text. It is also necessary for us to reexamine conventional scholarship on the text because traditional research was primarily based on the K?sh?ji edition of the PS, which was different from the Tun-huang text in the context and logic. In addition, we need to broaden our scholarly horizon through an extensive survey of diverse fields relevant to the text. Unfortunately, since the publication of A Study of Hui-neng, only a few serious studies of the subject have been done. Two such works published after A Study of Hui-neng are: Kuo P’eng, Collation and Interpretation of the PS (T’an ching chiao shih) (Peijing: Chung-hua Shu-chu, 1983); and S?ngch’?l, ed. and tr., The Tun-huang Version of the PS (Tonhwang pon Tan’gy?ng) (Hapch’?n [Korea]: Haeinsa Changgy?nggak, 1987). However, these two works do not meet the standard as representatives of works published after 1978. It was not until 1987 that a new age opened in the research history of the PS. Yang Tseng-wen, Head Professor of the Buddhist Studies program of the Chinese Institute of Social Sciences, reported that two more important works in relation to the PS were preserved in the Tun-huang Museum. One work is another Tun-huang edition of the PS known as Supreme Great Vehicle Platform Suutra of the Southern School Which Advocated Sudden Teachings (Nan-tsung tun-chiao chui-shang ta-ch’eng t’an ching, hereafter, SGVPS), and the other is Treatise of Promoting the Southern School of Bodhidharma (P’u-t’i ta-mo Nan-tsung ting shih-fei lun, hereafter TPSCB). Yang also stated that comparative research between the SGVPS and the S. 5475 PS, and between the TPSCB and the revised text by Hu Shih was in progress. 5) Later, Yang published his research achievement of this subject as a book, in which Yang wrote an epoch-making chapter for the study of the PS. Japanese scholarship had dominated the scholarly field of the subject before the publication of Yang’s work. Therefore, it is said that Yang’s work also offered a momentum for Chinese scholarship to take an initiative in that field in lieu of the Japanese counterpart.

What will be the prospect of the future research on the PS? It is not an easy question to be answered. However, it is certain that the PS was also a historical product. Nevertheless, few studies examined the text from the historical perspective. Therefore, we first and foremost need to reexamine the conventional scholarship concerning the work which neglected the historical background to the composition of the PS.

I already presented a paper on a Tun-huwang text of the PS in 1966, when the 17th conference on Indology and Buddhist Studies was held at K?yashan University in Japan, sponsored by the Association of Indology and Buddhist Studies.  6)  Since then, my scholarly concern with the subject has continued, regretfully without fruitful result. In the following, I will discuss some points at issue with a critical viewpoint which I have faced through my perusal of works on the PS by my fellow scholars, followed by an examination of the prospect of the future research on the subject.

2.1. The First issue is concerned with the meaning of the title words Platform Suutra (T’an Ching). The complete title of the PS has two versions. One is Southern Doctrine for Seeing the Nature and Becoming a Buddha through Instant Awakening: The Platform Suutra, Definitive and Doubtless Record of Dharma Jewel, Preached by the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng, the Great Master, in Mount Ch’ao-ch’i (Ch’ao-ch’i shan ti Liu-tsu Hui-neng ta-shih shuo chien-hsing tun-chiao chih liao ch’eng-fo chu-ting wu-i fa-pao chi t’an ching), which is presumed to have been compiled by a monk named Hui-hsin, of whom nothing is known. 7) The other is Southern School Sudden Doctrine, Supreme Mah?y?na Great Perfection of Wisdom: The Platform Sutra preached by the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng at the Ta-fan Temple in Shao-chou, one roll, recorded by the spreader of the Dharma, the disciple Fa-hai, who at the same time received the Precepts of Formlessness (Nan-tsung tun-chiao tsui-shang ta-ch’eng Mo-ho-pan-jo po-lo-mi ching: Liu-tsu ta-shih yu Shao-chou Ta-fan ssu shih-fa t’an ching), which is the title of the extant Tun-huang edition of the PS.

Therefore, we can recognize that the title of the PS was long in the initial period of its compilation and as time passed by, its title became shorter. This is the same case with the ?uura^ngama Suutra (Chn. Leng-yen ching), whose complete title is Ta fo-ting ju-lai mi-yin hsiu-cheng liao-i chu p’u-sa wan-hsing shou leng-yen ching. Over the course of time, its complete title was shortened to the Leng-yen ching.

As for the meaning of the term t’an ching, scholars maintained different views of the letter t’an. Hu Shih interpreted it into d?na, or almsgiving of goods or the doctrine with resultant benefits, in d?nap?ramit? (perfection of almsgiving).  8)  Suzuki viewed it as an earthen platform. 9)  However, scholars agreed that the letter ching stands for a Buddhist suutra. Yanagida even said, “The fact that Chinese monks identified recorded sayings of patriarchs with Buddhist suutras refers to that they equated the patriarchs with the Buddha in spiritual matters, thus revealing a special feature of Zen Buddhism.”10) Long before Yanagida, in his “Eulogy on the PS” (T’an ching tsan), Ch’i-sung (1007-1072), the Great Master Ming-chiao, of Northern Sung (960-1126) already said,

“What is called [T’an] ching was named so by the dharma descendants of the Sixth Patriarch in honor of his teaching, although it was contrary to the patriarch’s original intention. Following that ancient tradition, I dare not to change its meaning.” 11) 

However, we may say that Ch’i-sung’s statement is not convincing. This is because the equation of Hui-neng’s teaching with that of the Buddha is unacceptable in terms of common sense. If so, can we say that people of later generations braved their ignorance and absurdity? It seems not so. The title of the PS recorded at the end of the text is Southern School Sudden Doctrine Platform Sutra of the Supreme Mah?y?na Vehicle, one roll (Nan-tsung tun -chiao chui-shang ta-ch’eng t’an ching-fa i chuan). The term ching-fa (“scriptural teaching”) in this title is a definitive clue to solving this riddle. This title coincides with the title at the beginning of the PS preserved in the Tun-huang Museum (Nan-tsung tun-chiao chui-shang ta-ch’eng t’an ching) thus suggesting that the original title at the beginning of the Tun-huang text must have been the same. In addition, the term ching-fa refers to Hui-neng’s teaching, as was pointed out by Suzuki and Kuda in their joint work.12) However, the ching-fa was changed to Fo-ching (“Buddhist Scripture”) in the K?sh?ji edition. 13) It is a common idea among scholars who are conversant with Buddhist terminology in translated works that ching-fa and Fo-ching are different terms. In Buddhist texts translated into classical Chinese, ching means suutra, while the term ching-fa or simply ching was chosen to stand for the Sanskrit term dharmapary?ya or pary?ya, 14)  the doctrines of the Buddha regarded as the door to enlightenment. Although the letter ching with the meaning of suutra and the word ching as the abbreviation of ching-fa are expressed by the same Chinese character, their definitions are different. Therefore, the ching-fa in “ching-fa of Mah?y?na platform (ta-ch’eng t’an)” or the ching in “ching of lecture platform (shih-fa t’an)” is the translation of the Sanskrit term dharmapary?ya into Chinese and refers to the teaching of Hui-neng. It is sure that the author of the PS did not regard ching-fa or ching as suutra, but as Hui-neng’s teaching. The fact that the Platform Suutra employed many words used in doctrinal teachings also supports this argument. However, the K?sh?ji edition and the “Eulogy on the PS” interpreted ching-fa or ching as suutra and conventional scholarship has uncritically followed suit.

2.2. The term kuan-tien in the biography of Hui-neng is important for identifying the dating of the PS. In his “A Study of the PS” (Danky? g?), Ui Hakuju questioned about the meaning of the term while saying, “Kuan-tien was also called k’o-tien in the works composed after the Te-i edition of the PS. However, its meaning is not clear. Does it refer to a lodging house or an official residence?” 15)  Scholars also interpreted it as a government store,  16)   or the lodging house for officials, 17)  or an inn (lu-lung), 18)  or a lodging house run by the government, all of which were not supported by solid textual evidence.

The textual origin of kuan-tien is the Old history of T’ang (Chiu T’ang-shu), which says,

“In the ninth month of 846, by royal edict chio-ch’u (breweries run by the government) were established in Counties and Prefectures of eight Provinces. In addition, kuan-tiens were also set up and sold wine …” (chuan 49, “Shih-huo chih”).

According to this record, a kuan-tien signifies a liquor store monopolized by the provincial government. It is also presumed that the person who purchased firewood from Hui-neng before he was ordained was an official who worked for a kuan-tien.

From the record of kuan-tien in the Old History of T’ang, we can get important information concerning the dating of the PS. Akira Fujieda, Professor of the Research Institute for Humanistic Studies, Kyoto University, and the leading expert on Tun-huang calligraphy, argued that the PS was composed during the period between 830 and 860. 19)  However, its dating should be changed to the period between 846 and 860.

2.2.2. The Tun-huang text of the PS was closely associated with the lineage of Shen-hui (670-762) during the era when Wu-chen was active, which is mentioned at the end of the text as appendix (Suzuki and Kuda, sec. 56-57). Their close relationship can also be proved from comparison between the Tun-huang text of the PS and the Tun-huang edition of the Songs of Wisdom Which are Sudden and Unproduced (Tun-wu wu-sheng pan-lo sung, hereafter, SWSU), 20) an alternative title of the Record of Manifestation of Themes by Great Master Ho-tse (Ho-tse Ta-shih [Shen-hui] Hsien-tsung chi). 21) 



Wu-chen resides at the Fa-hsing Temple at Mount Ts’ao-ch’i in Ling-nan, and as of now he is transmitting this Dharma. When [in the future] this Dharma is to be handed down, it must be attained by a man of superior wisdom, one with a mind of faith in the Buddha-dharma, and one who embraces the great compassion. Such a person must be qualified to possess this Sutra, to make it a mark of the transmission, and to see that in this day it is not cut off. This monk [Fa-hai] was originally a native of Ch’ü-chiang District in


Meritorious virtue and wisdom, both of which are glorified, were transmitted generation after generation and in this day they are not cut off.

After the Tath?gata entered Nirv??a, the teaching of the Dharma flowed to the Eastern Land. Among all, non-abiding was transmitted; even our minds do not abide. This true Bodhisattva spoke the true doctrine and practiced [in accord with] the real parables.

Since the death of the World-Honored One, twenty eight patriarchs of India transmitted the mind of non-abiding in common and they all explicated the knowledge and view of the Tath?gata…Bodhisattvas’ great compassion was transmitted without cessation. The purport of the teachings is like this…Its meaning is to awaken people (te-jen) (Does this only indicate the mutual

transmission of robe and Dharma?)

To the one who vows to save all, practices continuously, does not retrogress in the face of disaster, perseveres under any suffering, and thus possesses the deepest of blessings and virtue, to such a man should this Dharma be handed down. If a person’s talents are inadequate and his capacities do

not suffice, he must seek this Dharma. This Platform Sutra mustnot be haphazardly assigned to a person who betrays the precepts and has no virtue.

Eventually, he could establish [the dharma].

Finally, do not transmit the dharma haphazardly [to a person who betrays the precepts and has no virtue.]

The above-cited passages of the PS manifest that the PS cited terms and phrases from the SWSU, thus emphasizing that Wu-chen transmitted the PS in the right way, and that the orthodox teaching should be continued without cessation.

As for the term ho-shang (monk) in the phrase “Ho-shang was originally a native of Ch’u-chiang District “scholars have argued that he was Hui-neng, 22)  or Fa-hai.23)    However, it is assured from the context of the PS that the ho-shang was Wu-chen. The reason why the monk’s identity was mistaken was because the joint work by Suzuki and Kuda, the first of the revised and annotated texts of the PS, unreasonably divided sections of 55 to 57 into three, thus separating section 56 from other parts.

2.3.0. The essential ideas of the PS are of two kinds: (1) no-thought (wu-nien), which is found in sections 16 and 17 in the Suzuki and Kuda’s joint work; and (2) thirty-six confrontations of activity (san-shih liu tui fa), the practical aspect of no-thought, which appears in section 56 of the same work.

2.3.1. Limited space does not allow us to conduct an in-depth analysis of the contents of no-thought. However, for convenience, let’s compare parts relevant to the concept of no-thought between the Tun-huang text of the PS and the K?sh?ji edition of it.

Tun-hung Text

K?sh?ji Edition

Good friends, in the Dharma there is no sudden or gradual, but among people some are keen and others dull. The deluded recommend the gradual method, the enlightened practice the sudden teaching. To understand the original mind of your-self is to see into your own original nature. Once enlightened, there is from the outset no distinction between these two methods. [Those who are not enlightened will for long kalpas be caught in the cycle of transmigration.] Good friends, in the orthodox teaching there is originally no sudden or gradual. There is sharp or dull in human nature itself. The deluded attains enlightenment gradually, and the enlightened practice the sudden teaching. To know his original mind by himself is to see into his original nature by himself. There is no distinction between these two methods.

[This is why the pseudonyms of sudden and gradual are established.]

Good friends, in this teaching of mine, from ancient times up to the present, all have set up no-thought as the main doctrine, non-form as the substance, and non-abiding as the basis. Non-form is to be separated from form even when associated with form. No-thought is not

to think even when involved in thought.

Non-abiding is the original nature of man.

Successive thoughts do not stop; prior thoughts, present thoughts, and future thoughts follow one after the other without cessation. [If one instant of thought is cut off, the Dharma body separates from the physical body, and in the midst of successive thoughts there will be no place for attachment to anything.]

Good friends, in this teaching of mine, from ancient times up to the present, the form of no-thought, which is what is set up first, is to be separated from form even when associated with form. No-thought is not to think even when involved in thought. Non-abiding is the original nature of man. When you distinguish good from evil, beauty from ugliness, and grudge from affection, and conflict, slander, deceive, and fight in words, do neither think of doing harm others and nor think of prior objects in successive thoughts.

If prior thoughts, present thoughts, and future thoughts follow one after the other without cessation, then you are fettered.

If one instant of thought clings, then successive thoughts do not cling, then you are fettered. Therefore, non-abiding is made the basis. Good friends, being outwardly separated from all forms, this is non-form. When you are separated from form, the substance of your nature is pure. Therefore, non-form is made the substance.
If successive thoughts do not cling to all dharmas, then you are free.

Therefore, non-abiding is made basis. Good friends, being outwardly separated from all forms, this is non-form.

When you are separated from form, the substance of dharmas is pure.

Therefore, non-form is made the substance.

To be unstained in all environments is called no-thought. If on the basis of your own thoughts you separate from environment, then, in regard to things, thoughts are not produced. If you stop thinking of the myriad things, and cast aside all thoughts, as soon as one instant of thought is cut off, you will be reborn in In order for mind to be unstained in all environments is called no-thought.

If on the basis of your own thoughts you always separate from environment, in regard to things, thoughts are not produced. If you stop thinking of the myriad things, and cast aside all thoughts, as soon as one instant of thought is cut

Tun-huang Text

K?sh?ji Edition

another realm. Students, take care! Don’t rest in objective things and the subject mind. If you do so, it will be bad enough that you yourself are in error, yet how much worse that you encourage others in their mistakes. The deluded man, however, does not himself see and slanders the teachings of the sutras.

Therefore, no-thought is established as a doctrine. Man in his delusion has thoughts in relation to his environment.

Heterodox ideas stemming from these thoughts arise, and passions and false views are produced from them.

off, after death, you will enjoy your life in another realm. Students, think of this.

Don’t rest in objective things and the subject mind. If you do so, it will be bad enough that you yourself are in error, yet how much worse that you encourage to others. Man in his delusion does not see and slanders Buddhist scriptures.

Because of this, no-thought is established as a doctrine.

[Good friends, what is it that no-thought is established as a doctrine? Only in relation to environment, seeing into nature is explained in words.

The deluded has thoughts in relation to his environment. Heterodox ideas stemming from these thoughts arise, and passions and false views are produced from them.

[Self-nature is originally not attached to any single dharma. Attachments produce the false duality of weal and woe, which is none other than passions and perverted views.]

However, this teaching has established no-thought as a doctrine. [Men of the world, separate yourselves from views; do not activate thoughts. If there were no thinking, then no-thought would have no place to exist.] ‘No’ is ‘no’ of what?

‘Thought’ means ‘thinking’ of what? ‘No’ is the separation from the dualism that produces the passions.

Therefore, this teaching has established no-thought as a doctrine.

[Good friends, no-thought means no discursive thought. Thoughts stand for perverted views. ‘No’ refers to non-duality and the mind of no passions.

[Thought means to think of the original nature of suchness.]

Suchness is the substance of thoughts; thoughts are the function of suchness.

Suchness is none other than the essence of thoughts; and thoughts are none other than the function of suchness.

[What gives rise to thoughts is not your eyes, ears, nose, and tongue, but your self-nature of suchness. Because your self-nature of suchness gives rise to thoughts, there is no eyes, ears, form, and sound in suchness. Good friends, think of this instantly.]

If you give rise to thoughts from your self-nature, then, although you see, hear, perceive, and know, you are not stained by the manifold environments, and are always free.

If you give rise to thoughts from your self-nature of suchness, although your six sense-bases see, hear, perceive, and know, you are not stained by the manifold environments, and your self-nature is always free. The ideas of no-thought and non-abiding in the Tun-huang text of the PS refer to getting rid of false views of the nature of existence in concrete reality. The Tun-huang text explicates no-thought and non-abiding as follows:

What is called non-abiding means that the original nature of man does not exist in successive thoughts. Prior thoughts and future thoughts follow one after the other without cessation. If one instant of thought is cut off, the dharma body separates from the physical body.

This passage means that we should observe successive thoughts intuitively without being obstructed to a temporal sequence. It also signifies that truth, the origin of existence, is inseparable from the physical body, the foundation of existence. The Tun-huang text also said,

In the midst of successive thoughts there will be no place for attachment to anything. If one instant of thought clings, then successive thoughts cling; this is known as being fettered. If in all things successive thoughts do not cling, then you are unfettered.

According to this passage, the Tun-huang text emphasizes that a practitioner should not be attached even to one instant of thought. This position is also supported by the subsequent passage:

If, on the basis of your own thoughts, you separate from environment, then, with regard to things, thoughts are not produced. If you stop thinking of the myriad of things, and cast aside all thoughts, as soon as one instant of thought is cut off, you will be reborn into another realm.

Therefore, we can say that the Tun-huang text of the PS is aimed at clarifying the true feature of all existence, which cannot be recognized by the ordinary dualistic way of thinking, based on one’s subjective interpretation of all things. The two sentences, “On the basis of your own thoughts you separate from environment,” and, “in regard to things thoughts are not deluded,” do not mean that deluded thoughts actually exist, but that one erroneously assumes the nature of existence, thus producing discursive thoughts.

However, unlike the Tun-huang text, the K?sh?ji edition states the cutting off of thoughts from the negative viewpoint: it equates successive thoughts with subjective attachment, interpreting successive thoughts only from the psychological perspective without an ontological premise.

The K?sh?ji edition also touched up its contents: it added “good and evil, beauty and ugliness, etc., in the secular world…[They] do not think of prior objects” which is absent in the Tun-huang text; and it deleted. “Prior thoughts and future thoughts follow one after the other without cessation…This means that the dharma body is separate from the physical body,” which exists in the Tun-huang text. Moreover, the K?sh?ji edition states, “If prior thoughts, present thoughts, and future thoughts follow one after the other without cessation, it is known as being attached…. In regard to things, mind is not produced,” which is contrary to the statement of the Tun-huang text.

The terms, “without cessation” (pu-tuan) and “no-abiding” (wu-chu) appear to be synonyms in the Tun-huang text, whereas they are considered antonyms in the K?sh?ji edition. This produces a great disparity in interpretation of the issue of meditation (sam?dhi) and wisdom (praj~n?) between the two editions of the PS. In the Tun-huang text, it is also said :

Suchness is the essence of thoughts and thoughts are the function of suchness. If you give rise to thoughts from your self-nature, then, although you see, hear, perceive, and know, you are not stained by the manifold environments, and are always free.

This passage signifies that suchness and thoughts are the same from the ontological aspect. In addition, the relationship between the subject and object of thoughts is explained by the theory of essence and function. Therefore, the Tun-huang text does not regard suchness as a substantial entity, but as the state where thoughts are cut off. However, this is not the case with the K?sh?ji edition, in which successive thoughts are viewed as attachments to be cleared away. It posits that the self-nature of suchness is separable from the six sense bases (the physical constituents of successive thoughts). Therefore, the K?sh?ji edition admits the existence of unrestricted freedom, but it does not view suchness and thoughts in terms of essence and function of the same thing. Instead, it interprets them as different entities that exist in mutual dependence. This means that the K?sh?ji edition is based on the theory of dependent origination, which Mah?y?na scholiasts viewed as an inferior teaching to the theory of nature origination.

In the Tun-huang text, meditation is not different from wisdom. They each signify the true feature of existence, which stands for the non-duality between the dharma body and the physical body, between sa?s?ra (production and extinction) and suchness, and between defilements and enlightenment. However, the K?sh?ji edition represents a theoretical discrepancy with regard to the issue of the non-duality of meditation and wisdom. I believe this was the point that Nan-yang Hui-chung (?-775) and Chinul (1158-1210) criticized.24)  However, we are left without knowing whether the corrections in the K?sh?ji edition were planned in advance expecting a result. I believe that the touch-ups in the K?sh?ji edition were not a result from a response to the doctrinal teachings, but that of literary rhetoric, thus changing the particular grammatical style of the Tun-huang text without textual grounds. For example, shih tzu pen-hsin (“to know one’s original mind”) was changed to tzu shih pen-shih (“to know original mind by oneself”). However, the term tzu in the examples of shih tzu, chien tzu, ch’eng tzu, chang tzu, ling tzu, and wo tzu (all of which appear in the Tun-huang text), does not have the meaning of “by oneself” or “of self,” but has only the nuance of “such.” If we revert these terms to tzu shih, tzu chien, etc., the term tzu functions as an adverb, thus changing the original meaning of these essential doctrines. Moreover, unlike in the K?sh?ji edition, the term tzu-hsing in the Tun-huang edition does not mean “self-nature,” but rather “from the nature” in most cases. If we interpret chen-lu tzu-hsing in terms of “the logical geography of the knowledge which we already possess,”25) we may be fallacious with regard to its real purpose. Hui-neng’s poem reads :

Bodhi originally has no tree,

The mirror also has no stand.

Buddha-nature is always clean and pure.

Where is there room for dust?


However, the K?sh?ji edition changed the “Buddha-nature is always clean and pure” in this poem to “originally there is not one thing.” Wasn’t this change caused by the “logical geography” employed in the K?sh?ji edition?

As for this, a Korean monk named S?kch?n (1870-1948) criticized as follows,

Tzu-shih Fo-hsing ch’ang ch’ing-ching (“from this Buddha-nature is always clear and clean”) in the Tun-huang text of the PS was changed to pen-lai wu i-wu (“there was originally not a single thing”) [in the K?sh?ji edition.] 26)

In the literary sense, Fo-hsing ch’ang ch’ing-ching appears to be a more refined expression than pen-lai wu i-wu. However, this change can be likened to a person who was toppled into the mud while enjoying oneself on top of a lotus flower. Therefore, we can say that the K?sh?ji edition took literary beauty at the sacrifice of religious truth, making S?kch?n’s criticism convincing. It was not only the Zen Buddhist school that was interested in discussing the issue of meditation and wisdom. This issue also attracted concern from Western philosophers, in particular, from Existentialists who discussed it by the concepts of “existence and reason”. Pak Chong-hong (1903-1976), whose penname was Y?ram, an eminent Korean philosopher and former professor of Seoul National University, once met Karl Jaspers (1883-1973) in Basel, Switzerland, on a certain summer day in 1956, and asked him the following question,

As an existentialist, you have argued that reason is innate in existence and it still exists even after the destruction of the existence. How could you say so? It is sure that if there is no existence, there will be no reason. How could you argue that reason can exist alone?…For example, if a mother who bears her child on her back is fallen to the ground, can the child on her back be safe?…If reason can radiate its own color without depending on others, why do you need to explicate the inseparable relationship between experience and reason? 27) 

After listening to this question, Jaspers kept in silence for a long time and finally responded to Y?ram by saying,

“Do you know about Asian Buddhism? The color of wisdom addressed in Buddhism is identical to that of the reason at issue.”28)

Later, it is said that Y?ram thought that Jaspers was fallen into the fallacy of Ipse Dixit, or the Argument from Authority (Argumentum ad Verecundiam), in which one cites a person whom his opponent respects to win the opponent’s assent to a conclusion. We can say that Y?ram premised in his question that meditation and wisdom were not two, and thus, inseparable; whereas Jaspers was fallen into the fallacy of the duality of the two, which I presume was the reason why Jaspers separated existence from reason.

2.3.2. We don’t have enough space to conduct a detailed analysis of the thirty-six confrontations of activity. Sekiguchi Shindai already pointed out the importance of this issue. 29) However, its importance does not simply rest in the fact that Hui-neng emphasized its significance to his ten disciples at his death bed. This part was probably added around the time when the conflict between the Northern school and the Southern school (after the death of Hui-neng) was at its peak. Therefore, its real importance lies in the fact that it mirrored the thought of the Chieh-yung t’ung ching of the Southern school, which was composed in reaction to the Fang-pien t’ung ching of the Northern school.

As was indicated by Suzuki, the essential thought of the Northern School is wu fang-pien, in which fang-pien does not refer to skill-in-means, but to the essential teachings of the Northern School. 30) With regard to this, Suzuki and Kuda (sec. 30) state:

Confrontations of activity are expressed by words in pairs.

Going and coming are in mutual relationship. Finally, two dharmas are both eliminated and there is no place to go….The understanding and function of the thirty-six confrontations of activity penetrate into all the scriptures.

Therefore, the Northern School is based on the notion of apekaya (kuan-tui) of the M?dhyamaka School in which it approaches truth through three categories: existence (senseless outer objects), essence (self-production), and concept (language used to express the characteristics of dharmas). 31)  The Tun-huang text says :

The confrontations of outer phenomena, which are apathetic, are five….There are twelve confrontations, including confrontations between language and speech and between phenomena and their characteristics….In the activities to which your self-nature gives rise there are nineteen confrontations….In language and the characteristics of things there are twelve confrontations. In the external environment, which is apathetic, there are five confrontations of natural phenomena. In the three bodies, there are three confrontations, making all together thirty-six confrontations.

According to this passage, there are confrontations of existence and concept, of essence and function, and of existence and concept combined with essence and function, totaling thirty-six confrontations. The K?sh?ji edition deleted the phrase “in the three bodies, there are three confrontations” (san-shen yu san-tui) from the above citation. However, the meaning does not change32)   because the term “body” (k?ya) is diverse in its meaning: a physical body, a group, a kind, and a scope.

2.4. Let’s return to Hui-neng’s autobiography and examine the scene of his farewell to his master, Hung-jen (594-674). The Tun-huang text describes it as follows,

neng te i fa san ching fa ch’u wu tsu tzu sung neng yu Chiu chiang i teng shih pien wu tsu ch’u fen ju ch’u nu li…. 能得衣法三更發去五祖自送能 於九江驛登時便五祖處分汝努力…. (Suzuki and Kuda, sec. 10).33) 

This citation remains to be an issue among scholars. Due to the difficulty in marking punctuation, the passage is cited without punctuation marks or spaces between letters. There is no problem with ” neng te i fa san ching fa ch’u” More important is the position of “teng shih pien wu” from the citation and scholars state different views of this part:

(1) Suzuki and Kuda, Ui, and Chan connect the teng shih pien wu with tsu ch’u fen, i.e., teng shih pien wu tsu ch’u fen (“I was instantly enlightened and the Patriarch instructed me.”).34) 

(2) Yampolsky views it as an independent phrase, thus teng shih pien wu/ wu tsu ch’u fen ju ch’u nu li (I was instantly enlightened. The Fifth Patriarch instructed me, “Leave, work hard….”).35)

(3) Yi N?ng-hwa deletes the letter wu after the letter pien, thus reading it as t?ng (teng) si (shih)/ py?n (pien) ch’?bun (ch’u fen)/ y?·(ju) g?· (ch’u no (nu) ry?k (li) (“The Fifth Patriarch immediately instructed me. “Leave, work hard…”). 36) 

(4) Yanagida adds the letter ch’u after the letter pien and changes wu (五) to wu (吾): “They instantly left (The two men arose instantly). My master treated them well…”37)

It is said that Hui-neng attained sudden enlightenment and followed the instruction of the Fifth Patriarch. If the patriarch’s instruction indicates the phrase “If you stay here there are people who will harm you. You must leave at once,” it means that Hui-neng’s understanding of the instruction was too late. If the instruction points out the phrase “Leave, work hard….,” it signifies that Hui-neng’s response was too rapid. Some works even corrected letters from the citation. However, this was not conducive to clarifying the meaning of the passage. The Biographies of Liang (Liang ch’uan) describes the life of Hui-yuan (334-416), the great monk of Mount Lu, as follows:

For over thirty years, his shadow was not viewed outside of the mountain and he did not leave his footsteps in the secular world. He said good-bye to his guests always at Stream Hu.

Mr. Chen’s Record of Mount Lu (Lu-shan chi) also mentions a story of Hui-yuan with relations to T’ao Yuan-ming and Lu Shou-ching,

The master Hui-yuan was on his way to sending the two off. The three reached the place of farewell, but they passed it unknowingly while walking and talking. When they finally recognized it, they all laughed loudly, hence the picture that depicted the laughs of the three people, which is currently circular in the world. 38)

However, this record is not a fact, but is an episode that was composed at the end of the T’ang dynasty (618-979). 39)  This indicates that the composition of such an episode about famous spiritual leaders was common. In addition, the Ecumenical Center of the East Mountain, which was founded by Hung-jen, was not far from the East Forest of Mount Lu. While Hung-jen’s master Tao-hsin (580-651) devoted himself to spiritual practice in Mount Shuang-feng for more than thirty years, Hung-jen taught his disciples in Mount Chin for thirty years.40) Therefore, in the passage, “His shadow was not viewed outside of the mountain and he did not leave his footsteps in the secular world,” “he” can refer to Hung-jen. If so, this means that Hung-jen and Hui-neng’s initial acquaintance developed into a master-disciple relationship. Hung-jen’s style of instructing Hui-neng lacked visible affection. For instance, Hung-jen ordered Hui-neng to pound grains for eight months. However, even Hung-jen could not protect Hui-neng from unpredicted danger of those who were jealous of Hui-neng’s religious ingenuity. When it came time for Hui-neng to depart, Hung-jen followed him as far as Station Chiu-chiang, and there he was aware that he came along seventy li.

Wu-tsu tzu sung neng/ yu Chiu-chiang i/ teng-shih pien wu

五祖自送能/ 於九江驛/ 登時便悟 (The Fifth Patriarch himself sent Hui-neng off./ At Station Chiu-chiang,/ the patriarch was instantly aware [that he was there]).

Therefore, the subject of pien wu is not Hui-neng, but Hung-jen. In addition, the object of pien wu is sung neng yu Chiu-chiang i, i.e., the fact that Hung-jen followed Hui-neng to Station Chiu-chiang without knowing it. Placing the letter chih (至) between the characters neng and yu would clarify the meaning of the cited passage. However, the absence of chih does not adversely affect our understanding of its meaning.

The term teng-shih became a Korean term, and is now found in Korean language dictionaries, 41)  and often appear in historical novels. Teng-shih is pronounced in Korean as t?ngsi. It refers to both “immediately or instantly” and “on the spot.” Its lexical meaning can be examined by using t?ngsi t’asal. T?ngsi t’asal refers to killing the person who committed crime on the spot.

The issue of teng-shih includes an interesting fact of Yin-shun, a Chinese Zen scholar-monk, who interprets teng-shih pien wu into teng-ch’uan shih pien wu (“While boarding a ship, the master was instantly aware”).42)  Didn’t he know the term teng-shi? Didn’t the same case occur in time of composition of the K?sh?ji edition? By adding i-chih ch’uan-tzu (“a ship”), The K?sh?ji edition reads,

Wu-tsu hsiang sung/ chih (直) chih (至) Chiu-chiang pien/

yu i-chih ch’uan-tzu/ Wu-tsu ling Hui-neng shang ch’uan…43) 

五祖相送/ 直至九江便/ 有一隻船子/ 五祖令惠能上船…

(The Fifth Patriarch sent [Hui-neng] off/ He directly arrived at the vicinity of Chiu-chiang/ There was a ship and the Five Patriarch let Hui-neng board the ship.)

3.1. Let’s go back to our discussion of the reflection on and prospect of the study of the PS.

As for the issue of the reflection on the topic, first, conventional scholarship has primarily depended on the K?sh?ji edition for the textual analysis of the PS. Of course, the Tun-huang text, which is neither a xylographic work nor a copied text, is not a good one, for the same reason. However, because the Tun-huang text was a product of a particular time and place. Therefore, there are phraseologies and terminologies unique to it, which are not found in the K?sh?ji edition. In addition, the Tun-huang text is clearer than the K?sh?ji edition both in the context and in logic. Accordingly, I believe that “the worst edition of the PS” is not the Tun-huang text, but the K?sh?ji edition. Therefore, the contextual revision of the Tun-huang text on the basis of the K?sh?ji edition can be likened to move the target to the flowing arrow. We have to bear it in mind that the best commentary on the Tun-huang text is the Tun-huang text itself.

Second, with regard to the prospect of research on the PS, we need to broaden our scholarly horizon to diverse fields relevant to the work. Traditional scholarship has primarily depended on Buddhist texts, poetry, poetic tales, and songs for research on the subject. However, an in-depth investigation of the social, economic, and intellectual background to the composition of the PS is a must subject. This is because words used and topics discussed in the Zen Buddhist tradition have diverse meanings according to the situation under investigation.

Third, the Zen school initially had elements of doctrinal teachings in both terms and thought. Therefore, a better understanding of the context and the essential themes of the PS will be impossible without a thorough analysis of the relationship between the Zen school and doctrinal teachings. I believe that a clarification of the contextual relationship between the Tun-huang text of the PS and doctrinal Buddhist texts will be one of the most important subjects of research on the PS in the future.

3.2. In his “Prolegomena” Imanuel Kant (1724-1804) said, “Human beings build up a pagoda of reason over and over again. Then, they destroy it in order to examine whether its foundation was firmly settled or not.”44)  In conclusion, in my discussion of the reflection on and prospect of the study of the PS, I share a common view with Kant.

Select Character List

Akira Fujieda 藤枝晃

Ch’ao-ch’i shan ti Liu-tsu Hui-neng ta-shih shuo chien-hsing tun-chiao chih liao ch’eng-fo chu-ting wu-i fa-pao chi t’an ching 曹溪山第六祖惠能大師 說見性頓敎直了成佛決定無疑法寶記壇經

chang tzu 障自

Ch’i-sung 契崇

chen-lu tzu-hsing 眞如自性

ch’eng tzu 呈自

Chieh-yung t’ung ching 解用通經

chien tzu 見自

ching-fa 經法

Chinul 知訥

chio-ch’u 卓麴

Chiu T’ang-shu 舊唐書

Dai ni Zens?shi kenkyuu


Danky? g? 壇經考

En? kenkyuu 慧能硏究

Fang-pien t’ung ching


Fo-ching 佛經

Ho-tse Ta-shih Hsien-tsung’chi


Hu Shih 胡謫

Hui-hsin 惠昕

Hui-neng 慧能

Hui-yuan 慧遠

Hung-jen 弘忍

Keimeikai 啓明會

K?sh?ji(bon) 興聖寺(本)

kuan-tien 官店

kuan-tui 觀對

Kuda Rendar? 公田連太郞

Leng-yen ching 楞嚴經

Liang ch’uan 梁傳

ling tzu 令自

Liu-tsu t’an ching 六祖檀經

Lu Shou-ching 陸修精

lu-lung 旅籠

Lu-shan chi 廬山記

Meisha yoin 鳴沙餘韻

Nan-tsung tun-chiao tsui-shang ta-ch’eng Mo-ho-pan-jo po-lo-mi ching: Liu-tsu ta-shih yu Shao-chou Ta-fan ssu shih-fa t’an ching 南宗頓敎最上大乘摩何般若婆羅密經六祖大師於韶州大梵寺施法壇經 卷

Nan-tsung tun-chiao chui-shang ta-ch’eng t’an ching


Nan-yang Hui-chung 南嶽慧忠

P’u-ti ta-mo Nan-tsung ting shih-fei lun 菩提達磨南宗定是非論

Rokuso danky? 六祖檀經

san-shih liu tui fa 三十六對法

Sekuchi Shindai 關口眞人

shih tzu 識自

shih tzu pen-hsin 識自本心

Shuang-feng (shan) 雙峯(山)

S?ngch’?l 性徹

Suzuki Daisetz 鈴木大拙

T’an ching chiao shih 壇經校釋

T’an ching tsan 壇經讚

T’ao Yuan-ming 陶淵明

Taish? shinshuu daiz?ky?


Tao-hsin 道信

te-jen 得人

teng-shih 登時

Tonhwang pon tan’gy?ng


Tonk? shutsudo rokuso danky?


Tun-wu wu-sheng pan-lo sung


t?ngsi 登時

t?ngsi t’asal 登時打殺

tzu chien 自見

tzu shih 自識

tzu shih pen-shin 自識本心

Ui Hakuju 宇井伯壽

wo tzu 悟眞

wu fang-pien 五方便

Wu-chen 悟眞

Yabuki Keiki 矢吹慶輝

Yanagida Seijan 柳田聖山

Yang Tseng-wen 楊曾文

Yi N?ng-hwa 李能和

Zengoroku 禪語錄


1). Former Professor of the Academy of Korean Studies.

2) The translator owes much to Philip B. Yampolsky’s the platform sutra of the sixth patriarch (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), for the translation of the Tun-huang text of the Platform Suutra cited in this presentation paper, however, if applicable, with some revision.

3) Yanagida Seijan, Buddhist Texts Founded in Tun-huang and Zen (Dank? Butsuden to Zen) (Taid? shupansha, 1980), pp. 19-50.

4) Yanagida Seijan, ibid., p. 49.

5) Chung-wai jih-pao, October. 23, 1987 (mien 11). The two texts were originally owned by Jen Tzu-i. Hsiang Ta, Professor of Peijing University, introduced them in his Hsi cheng hsiao chi in 1950.

6) Kim Ji-kyon, “Kory? Chinul no Tan’gy?ng Palmun ni tsuite,” Indogaku Bukky?gaku kenkyuu 15-1.

7) Ennin, Nitt? shin kyuu seiky? mokuroku, T 55, p. 1083b)

8) Hu Shih, “I-chu liang-chung,” p. 862: Hu-shih, “An appeal for a systematic search in Japan for long-hidden T’ang dynasty source-material of the early history of Zen Buddhism,” in Hu Shih Ch’an-hsueh an (Cheng-chung shu-chu, 1975), p. 66.

9) Suzuki Daisetzu, Zen shis? shi kenkyuu dai san (Iwanami shoten, 1968), p. 290 and passim. This is a common opinion among scholars.

10) Yanagida Seijan, “Goroku no rekishi,” in Toy? kakuh? 57 (1985): 404.

11) Hsin-chin wen-chi, chuan 3, T 2115.52.662c.

12) Suzuki and Kuda, Tonk? shutsudo rokuso danky?, p. 17.

13) Yanagida Seijan, ed., Rokuso danky? daibon chuusei (Juumon shupansha, 1976), p. 53.

14) Dakasaki Jikido, Ry?kaky? (Taish? shupansha, 1980), p. 175. As for an example of translation of this term, refer to King?ky? (Iwanami bungobon), p. 210.

15) Ui Hakuju, Dai ni Zenshuu shi kenkyuu, p. 186.

16) Wing-tsit Chan, The Platform Scripture, p. 27.

17) Philip B. Yampolsky, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 126.

18) Nakagawa Takashi, Rokuso danky? (Tsukuba shobo, 1976), p. 18.

19) Philip B. Yampolsky, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 90, note 2.

20) Hu Shih, I-chu liang-chung, pp. 879-882; and Hu Shih, Shen-hui ho-shang

i-chi (Hu Shih chi-nien kuan, 1968), pp. 193-195, pp. 396-399.

21) Ch’uan-deng lu 30, T 2076.51.458c-459b.

22) Chan, The Platform Scripture, p. 22.

23) Philip B. Yampolsky, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 64; Yanagida Seijan, “Rokuso danky?”, pp. 178-179.

24) Yanagida Seijan, Shoki Zenshuu shi no kenkyuu (Zen bunka kenkyuusho, 1966), p. 164.

25) Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (New York: Barnes & Noble Inc., 1949), p. 7: “The Philosophical arguments which constitute this book are intended not to increase what we know about mind, but to rectify the logical geography of the knowledge which we already possess.”

26) S?kch?n Pak Han-y?ng, S?kch?n mun soch’o (Seoul: P?ppow?n, 1962), 3b-4a.

27) Pak Chong-hong, Chis?ng kwa mosaek (Seoul: Pagy?ngsa, 1967), p. 127.

28) Pak Chong-hong, ibid., p. 128.

29) Sekiguchi Shindai, Zenshuu shis? shi (Sangibo bushorin, 1964), p. 131.

30) Suzuki Daisetz, Zen shis? shi kenkyuu dai san, p. 35.

31) This can be compared with Hegel’s theory of the dialectical development of existence, essence, and concept in his Wissenschaft der Logik.

32) Yampolsky viewed the san-shen yu san-tui as pleonasm and deleted it from his translation (The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 172, n. 257).

33) “I set out at midnight with the robe and the Dharma. The Fifth Patriarch saw me off as far as Chiu-chiang Station. I was instantly enlightened. The Fifth Patriarch instructed me: ‘Leave, work hard…’ (Yampolsky, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 133).

34) Suzuki Daisetz and Goda Rendar?, Tonk? shutsudo rokuso danky?, p. 10; Ui Hakuju, “Danky? g?,” p. 122; Wing-tsit Chan, The Platform Scripture, the Basic Classic of Zen Buddhism, pp. 42-43.

35) Yampolsky, The Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, p. 133.

36) Yi N?ng-hwa, Tonhwang Tang sabon Tan’gy?ng. Tan’gy?ng tugy?l, p. 7b.

37) Yanagida Seijan, Zengoroku 3, p. 105.

38) Lu-shan chi, T 2095.51.1028a.

39) Matsumoto Bunzabur? Bukky? shi zakk? (Tokyo: Sh?ensha, 1943), p. 65.

40) Sekiguchi Shindai, Zenshuu shis? shi, p. 90.

41) Sin Ki-ch’?l, Sin K?m-ch’?l, Uri mal k’?n saj?n, vol. 1, p. 975.

42) Yin-shun, Chung-kuo Ch’an-tsung shih (Taipei: Kuang-i yin-shu chu, 1997), p. 191: “Wu-tsu tzu neng yu Chiu-chiang i teng (ch’uan) shih pien wu-tsu ch’u-fen…”

43) Yanagida Seijan, ed., Rokuso danky? daibon chuusei, p. 52.

44) I. Kant, “Prolegomena zu einer jeden kunftigen Metaphysik,” Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1969), p. 2: “Denn die menschliche Vernunft ist so baulustig, daß sie mehrmalen den Turm aufgefuhrt, hernach aber wieder abgetragen hat, um zu sehen, wieden Fundament desselben wohl beschaffen sein mochte.”

The Role of Zen Buddhism in the Modern Scientific Era

Yongjeung Kim
Emeritus Professor
Dongguk University

The Role of Zen Buddhism in the Modern Scientific Era

1. Our Scientific Era and its Doomsday Effect

I want to begin to write this essay with mentioning Prof. Seonglae Park, who is the famous scholar in the history of science. Prof. Park carefully explained in his heading remarks of the quarterly journal, “Gwahak Sasang”(The Thought of Science) how the West occupied the East, and how the moral civilization of the East has been changed by the Western mechanic civilization and anticipated the situation of the coming 21st century world as follows:

I dare to say that human beings would be disappeared just before 3,000 years. As dinosaurs disappeared in the past, human beings, who reigned during a few million or ten thousand years and ruled this world with their absolute power, would be completely disappeared in the earth too.1) 

Even though what he said suggests a direct warning for human beings who live in this modern world, his warning must be seriously considered due to his thoughtful scholarship. He is very cynical about the real contribution to our capitalistic and individualistic society. He continues to say:

The coming 21st century will begin in a chaotic condition with the fever of capitalism and individualism. we tend to interpret the word ‘ism’ as an expression of will of human beings….However, capitalism and individualism are not ‘isms’ by which we, human beings, consciously remake our world. They are nothing but the results of the thought in which we let our nature leave, namely, the give-up of our will. In the past a thousand years, the fact that capitalism or individualism has been survived among other thoughts means that we gave up our attempt to improve our society with our will.2)  

Any body would agree that the crisis of our modern world occurs because of the unlimited enlargement of human beings’ nature, the unlimited economic development, and the accompanying the destruction of environment and the falling-down of our natural humanity. Of course, I do not ignore the advantage that capitalism and technology have given us. In other words, its flourishing material growth. But, the problem is the material civilization radically flourished, while the mental civilization is decreased. Furthermore, men forget what nature gives us and what freedom they really have to enjoy.

Karl Jaspers once pointed that the modern history of the West has been made with a “false enlightenment.” According to him, the spirit of the modern Europe tended to go ‘either-or’ direction, namely, going into a mechanic view of nature but not a harmonious view. Hence, the modern spirit of Europe becomes falling into insincerity. 3) Here, the ‘false enlightenment’ means that our knowledge, will, and act are based on the mechanic view of nature by which our intellect becomes insincere.

According to Jaspers’ criticism, Descartes did not see the limit of science and forgot its practical aim. And, he attempted to construct ‘universal science.’ However, his idea was dogmatic and was based on a mechanic mythology. 4)  In other words, in the beginning the spirit of Europe aimed to a kind of balance between organic and mechanic views of nature. But, Cartesian ‘universal science’ overemphasized the mechanic view and a technological knowledge and finally mechanic control of natural environment. Hence, man, who is often symbolized as ‘the son of nature’ or ‘the humanity of internal nature,’ is buried with the destruction of external nature.

Today the limit of science is shown in the world here and there; that is, the destruction of natural environment and the collapse of humanity as well as the limit of science itself. The American science critic, John Horgan, says how the limit of science is going on as follows.

Moreover, science itself, as it advances, keeps imposing limits on its own power. Einstein’s theory of special relativity prohibits the transmission of matter or even information at speeds faster than that of light; quantum mechanics dictates that our knowledge of the micro realm will always be uncertain; chaos theory confirms that even without quantum indeterminacy many phenomena would be impossible to predict; Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem denies us the possibility of constructing a complete, consistent mathematical description of reality. And evolutionary biology keeps reminding us that we are animals, designed by natural selection not for discovering deep truths of nature, but for breeding. 5) 

Science itself does not give men a complete truth but a partial truth by which men are destined to satisfy. In his book, Horgan presents ten kinds of eschatology; eschatology of development, philosophy, physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, social science, neuro science, and et cetera. For him, the radical development of science itself shows the end of science. Quoting Gunther Stent, Horgan argues the paradox of development and the end of science.

“If there is a limit of science and a difficulty by which there cannot be any development of science, science will be developed in a very speed just before meeting such difficulty. When science is shown successful, powerful, and effective, it means the end of science coming close. Stent said in his book The Incoming of the Golden Age that this speedy development of science makes us think such development and will be stopped in our life or one or two generation.” 6) 

The above quotation predicts that the end of science is coming close in proportion to the speed science develops.

Science has a double-value, positive and negative. If science is employed in a negative way, for example, the war using atomic bomb, the earth and our world would be ruined. In addition, the moral consciousness of human beings would be crashed.

In modern society, the life of men is getting comfortable and wealthy, but they are interested in seeking after pleasure. What is worse, they make a mistake the effect of drug and virtual reality for the true reality. Stent cynically ended his argument in his book that sooner or later our scientific development will be stopped, …and all our attempt for art and science during 1,000 years finally will let our life seem a true result by a just impromptu happening. 7)  Although we do not much need to worry all these negative phenomena, we still have to keep in mind these phenomena because the negative phenomena are getting serious.

The principal problems of our modern techno-scientific society are rooted from intellectuality, measurement, quantification, symbolization as well as bureaucratization, materialization, economicalization, business-making. Although the industrial society has been developed by the above items, these items, which come from the reason-based thoughts, are nothing but mechanic systems which are against our true life. The systematic and mechanic power of the modern techno-scientific society respects the dignity of humans, while such power debilitates the value of life and is indifferent to the dignity of our human life.

Therefore, A. N. Whitehead earlier found that although matter itself lacks sense, value and aim, the mechanic and materialistic view of nature comes from the classical view of physics because it is supposed that matter is absolutely real. 8)  So, Whitehead called such materialistic view of nature as a lose of value and aim, and attempted to change it into a holistic view of nature.

Erich Fromm, who was the greatest of psychoanalysis, realized that the mechanic power of modern technological civilization wrongly guided our true life into senseless thing and finally drew our life into a material death. 9) This disease of necrophila is made by the external power of modern environment in which the bureaucratic, technocratic information system consists. What is worse, school system and education are easily involved in such a negative modern system.

Among all these difficult conditions, the information society alienates and isolates human beings, and finally transforms the moral men into the machines. Today we live in the period of great change that we have not experienced. In the name of the frontier science, the development of technology established the invention of new materials with the super-computer and the satellite communications. Besides, by the genetic science, we became to make a new kind of species and a radical development of agriculture and livestock farming, and the medical science.

But, the unlimited flood of mas media and the computer game guide young men to be given to the intemperance for their sexual instinct and make them the playful murder. The problems of information society are shown in other cases: for example, the problems of virtual reality on the dimension of cyberspace, computer hacking, and the outflow of information and etc: all these cases make us consider moral questions we have not experienced in the past.

Especially we cannot properly cope with our technological crisis, because we realize that with moral treatment, we cannot well control the technological problems of computer. For example, because the organism of long-range gun, missile or atomic bomb is absolutely unhuman, even any coward can kill a million people at a moment only using buttons without a serious conscience. In fact, in the modern automatic machine, computer chips and automatic sensors are attached, and so we easily forget our responsibility about the results when we operate the buttons of the machines. Then alienation from using the machine is made. In next chapter, I will discuss such alineation problem with the information engineering.

2. Information Engineering and Alineation

The modern society establishes its network system through autonomy, separation, or cooperation. For example, each robot, which has relatively a simple tool functioning independently and cooperating with other parts of it, establishes a given aim.

Since 1990s, people have been interested in the artificial life (AL) rather than the artificial intellect (AI). That is, beyond the artificial intellect, they have researched making a kind of artificial life. The research of AL goes a step farther than the research of AI. Christopher Langton is the scientist who used the word ‘artificial life.’ He presumed that if the ability of ‘self-copy’ might be defined ‘life,’ with a relatively simple model an artificial life can be made. In his model of AL consists of a cellular automaton which is a two dimensional grid. Each grid means a cell and each time transforms into a new cell responding to the mixture of a current condition and others. At this moment, a collection of each grid-cell is defined as life. 10)

The alive image through a computer graphics is also considered as a kind of artificial life because through the graphic image, real or unreal life can be depicted in a given space-time condition without any difficulties. The live expression through the computer graphics has an ‘elementary meaning’ among the several visualization of simulation. For example, a high quality of technology is necessary in order to express the move of human body with the computer graphics. If this technology can be acquired, a high quality art can be made only by the computer graphics. Then, a real machine like an alive animal can be an area of artificial life.

Now we meet a new era treating a life without a real life, namely, an artificial life. At the late 20th century, the leading technology is information by computer, while the beginning 21st century will be laid with the science of artificial life as the leading technology. Recently by the robot technology, a micro-precision machine goes into the human body and then treat the disease of human body. DNA simulation is possible even on the computer, and by the life information technology, the reproduction of sheep becomes possible. At the moment, agriculture and livestock farming and medical science contributes for human welfare by the DNA simulation and the technology of reproduction.

On the other hand, negative phenomena of life science happens to young generation: for example, a possibility of virtual reality which harms their personality and make them be in a chaotic state. The confusion of virtual reality and true reality are paradoxically made by the development of science. Another example of the negative phenomena is a third kind of life and an absolutely new kind of bacteria which are produced by the extravagant use of the reproduction technology.

The more urgent problem is the human alienation by the increase of information system. Today most young generation spend their time playing the computer game, and so they do not have enough time to talk with their family. In a certain sense, computer is a machine which helps to isolate humans. Computer, as a machine which is a phase of a given game, offers an isolate space to people: personal computer offers a series of discontinuous scenes. All these scenes are the thing given but not a chosen by people consciously. In it, there is a given rule, but people operate the given scene by a programmed rule.

By the development of the information technology of the computer, labor is replaced by robot and plants are robotized. According to this robotization, men’s labor is restricted and isolated by automation. Men work with a fixed order and a given information which are already programmed by the production and sales fields.

Although all these programmed information originally are set up for men’s welfare, they feel, in a sense, anxious to the given machine-like ordering. A reasonable question what nature and humans are become meaningless by such development of science, in which humans are proved as a limited entities. The anxiety was due to the development of warfare, which was possible by the scientific civilization through the 1st and 2nd World wars. Human anxiety is not due to a special object or event but a limited existence of humans which is rooted from the power of science. Furthermore, the anxiety comes from the increase of much freedom which is made by the progress of industrialization and a misguided democracy.

For Kierkegard, men feel anxious to the possibility of freedom, namely, the free choice of picking up the fruit of good and evil, when Adam and Eve heard God’s order “Not to eat that fruit.” 11) According to J. P. Sartre, man cannot escape from his existence because he is a man. Hence, anxiety comes from man’s existent choice. But, nowadays people get losing the feeling of anxiety by the progress of information society. 12) Such lose must be ‘oblivion’ which is different from Heideggerian ‘existence forgetfulness’ or J. Derrida’s. (which was mentioned in his speech published in 1968’s book The End of Man.) Men just act according to the programmed order of computerized database. When they perform any work depending upon computer, they are overwhelmed by it, and finally get forgetting their existence and losing their personality.

In fact, insects and animals do not feel anxiety. instead, it is right if they just live following their natural equipment or their own information system. But, now men act by a given programmed information when they use computer and cannot live without computers. Hence, they do not feel any more existential anxiety and a sense of death, and finally do not need to feel such assumed anxiety.

Men become busy with the development of information media rather than taking a rest. They spend most time using beeper and handphone, and invest more time watching television, typing on the computer, sending facsimile to others. Although the development of multimedia gives them a great advantage, such development take their valuable time and energy.

Norbert Wiener, who invented cybernetics, claimed that if the modern man is interested in ‘know-how’ by which a method of establishment is acquired and neglects ‘know-what’ with the question “What is the value and aim of man’s life?,” he won’t help kill themselves. 13) He also warns: “The time is too late, and the choice of good and evil knocks at our door. Human atoms are knit into an organization in which they are used, not in their full right as responsible human beings, but as cogs and levels and rods.”14)  

In any way, in this modern information society, men must choose from the programmed menu of computer. If most works we have to treat are practical things in our ordinary life, we cannot have much time the important problems, “what the ideal life we must pursuit.” What is worse, we cannot escape from the network system because we spend a lots of time for making program and using the given programmed data on the computer.

In a short word, the modern man falls into a programmed system, like in a cage and alienates himself. The question is how man can recover such alienation. It is possible through the Zen meditation by which he becomes a ‘true man.’ The only way to become the true man is acquired by the Zen meditation.

3. The Recognition of the Quantum Theory

Although I have criticized the negative side of the modern science and its culture, I also have to point out a positive side. For the positive side, I will consider the philosophy of the Middle Way of Buddhism and the thinking method of quantum physics in terms of their epistemic way. It is because the quantum theory can help for mediating religion and science, and East over West: the quantum theory will present an absolutely different thinking method from the traditionally existing causal determinism.

In the beginning of 20th century, from the fact that the micro materials of electron and photon tend to have a double qualities of particle and wave at the same time, the quantum physicists began to understand the quality of quantum: that is, they realized the quality of wave from that a quantum makes diffraction and an intereference fringes. But, when they realized that a quantum reflected an electron from the surface of metal by the photoelectric effect, they also must accept that a quantum is a particle. When they found the double quality of particle and wave of a quantum, they had to change their existing understanding of nature.

As you see, in the beginning of 20th century two radical development of the relativity theory and the quantum mechanics changed the traditional views of matter and world. Since the quantum mechanics has been born, the opposed theories of particle and wave are modified into a unified theory for a quantified particle and wave. That is, the quality of particle and wave for light is not a separate character, rather shows a double character of an identical substance: in other words, the double character is considered as a ‘wavecle.’ Matter consists of the continuum of particles which oppose and mediate each other, and matter finally reveals a complementary property of micro material. Supposing the existence of a photon, the wave of light is accompanied with a particle which holds a quantum units of energy, and then matter and energy become to have a double character of wave and particle. It is by the complementary function of the double character that a new understanding of physics is made. In a macro way, both matter and light consist of a continuous wave, while in a micro way they also consist of a discontinuity of particles. N. Bohr’s theory of complementation is the result that men attempted to understand the double character of wave and particle without any difficulty.

By this double character of wave and particle, it is possible that an uncertain element lies in the micro world of the photon, electron, and atom. In 1927, Heisenberg measured this uncertainty in which he tried to measure the position and speed of the quantum particle at the same time. We want to get an exact measurement of the position of an electron, while we cannot get any knowledge about the momentum of the electron. In the other hands, if we can measure the momentum of the electron, we cannot do its position. This paradox happens because if an electron is fixed in a certain position, the process of ‘fixing the electron’ makes an effect for the momentum of the electron. The attempt to measure the momentum of the electron also makes an effect for us to realize exactly the position of the electron because the momentum shakes the position of the electron.

This paradox is due to the original meaning of nature rather than the limit of human recognition accompanied by technology. That position and momentum of an electron cannot be measured at the same time shows that in a micro world a causal determinism is meaningless. 15) 

By N. Bohr and Heisenberg, we become to know that the position and momentum of a particle cannot be measured at the same time, because the atoms of matter and light are resulted as the phenomena of particles in a certain experiment, and as the phenomena of waves in the other experiment. Consider a more logical answer why these different phenomena occur. Hans Reichenbach explains the problem of this paradox mentioning L.V. de Broglie. While the classic physicists had been involved in the two-valued logic for the double character of particle and wave, de Broglie dared to think a possibility that light could consist of a particle as well as a wave. For him, the two-valued logic, ‘either-or’ logic, must be replaced by ‘both-and’ logic in which a complementary theory would be made. He set up a three-valued logic which consists of ‘true (T),’ ‘false (F),’ and ‘indeterminate (I),’ and then considered a true result by an experiment of a momentum of a particle as an indeterminacy. What a particle is in a state of indeterminacy means that when a momentum of a particle is determined, the determinacy is uncertain. That is, when an utterance is true, the other utterance must be in an indeterminate state from the given condition. Furthermore, de Broglie’s ‘both-and’ character of particle and wave makes us interpret a possibility that particle and wave exist at the same time. Of course, such existence does not mean that they are real in a certain condition, rather real only in an interpreting condition. That is, both particle and wave are true all the time.  16) 

His argument is to divulge a limit of human recognition, and makes us imagine the thought of the middle Way in buddhism. For N. Bohr, it is meaningless to ask what the electron is. And, according to Paul Davies, with the development of Bohr’s idea, the Western philosophical view of the whole and part, and the macro and micro world is radically changed.

“So the quantum reality of the microworld is inextricably entangled with the organization of the macroworld. In other words, the part has no meaning except in relation to the whole. Thus holistic character of quantum physics has found considerable favour among follows of Eastern mysticism, the philosophy embodied in such oriental religions as hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Indeed, in the early days of quantum theory many physicists, including Schrodinger, were quick to draw parallels between the quantum concept of part and whole, and the traditional oriental concept of the unity and harmony of nature.”17)

With the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat which is understood by Paul Davies and J. Brown, I will show a similarity of quantum mechanics and Zen Buddhism.  18) 

A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following diabolical device. Suppose that the probability of radioactive substance half in a given period. If the radioactive substance flows out, the counter tube discharges, and moving a hammer by an attached cord shatters the flask which holds hydrocyanic acid. Then, the hydrocyanic acid comes out and the dies.


According to the quantum theory, matter consists of a double-laid state in which radioactivity can flow out or not. Then, we can suppose that the probability of life and death of the cat is half. The probability of alive and dead state is half if we express the cat in terms of the quantum mechanics. How to understand this strange state is expressed by the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat.

In our common sense, the cat should be dead or alive. There is no choice between alive and dead. Because each probability of alive and dead state of the cat is half, we cannot say that the cat is alive and dead. If we, however, observe these states, one of the states occurs in a real condition. If we suppose that the cat is alive, and open the steel chamber, the cat is found alive, while if we suppose that the cat is dead and open the chamber, the cat is dead. That is, according to our chosen will, the cat is alive or dead. Technically saying, we can say that a wave function is broken and each state has its own value.

Although all these results happen in a micro state of an electron, when we understand nature, these results have a significant meaning in which our subjective recognition works. This curious relationship between particle and us is found as the spin state of particle.

The particle of neutrino and electron have a kind of internal rotation, namely, a spin (of course, all elementary particles have a spin). If we make an experiment apparatus to find the direction of spin and choose a certain direction for a co-ordinates, we discover that the spin is pointing a field-direction. That is, the spin of the particle is always pointing the direction we choose. A particle always points a direction as we want to point. In the micro world of the elementary particles, our subjective element is mediated. This state is very similar with the cases of ‘a smile with the flower shown’ and ‘an immediate communication from mind to mind’ in Buddhism in which people can intuitively feel a co-understanding without any word. In the case of the quantum mechanics, particles of electron work like human beings pretending to communicate by the mind. Of course, we do not know why this happens.

Davies and Brown argues that the significant role of observation in the quantum mechanics lies in dealing with the relationship between matter and mind. That the wave function suddenly changes when we observe the quantum shows the idea that mind is over matter. This idea is similar with the Buddhist idea ‘Buddha nature all over the world’: the physical state affects the spiritual state and vice versa.

P. Neumann uttered that anything cannot ‘break’ the wave function. The wave function, however, is broken when man’s consciousness is involved. In other words, when a result of measurement enters into man’s consciousness, the complex pyramid organization of quantum is easily shown as a distinct reality.

For Eugene Wigner, mind plays an important role in which mind determines the nature of measurement and makes happen an irreversible change of the quantum state of matter.

As Davies and Brown says, the relationship of mind and matter in the quantum physics is very similar with the thinking method of Eastern religion in many ways. In Zen Buddhism, there are some important arguments: ‘language beyond language’ and ‘a secret beyond canon.’ A true reality is understood only by mind from mind and the canonical truth is understood just by our self-reflection but not by the Buddhist canons themselves. All external things and events are only the mirror-like thing of our original nature and all canonical principle are just the musical echoes of our true nature. Therefore, we should not identify our original nature with such a mirror-like thing or echoes. We can identify ourselves only if we directly observe our original nature.

The reality of Zen Buddhism is well understood by the relationship between Buddha and K??yapa. 19)  K??yapa is known as the founder of the Indian meditation. Originally ‘dayana’ meant a concentrated meditation. On the other hand, the Chinese meditation meant the sudden enlightenment. Hence, the real nature of meditation means the revelation of self and self-proof.

According to D. T. Suzuki, the Zen meditation presents a method in which we go into an object itself and realize the object as it is. To know what a flower is a means for us to become the flower, blossoming with the flower and getting wet with rain and being exposed to the sun. Hence, the flower wants to talk with us and at the same time I share, with the flower, joy and suffer. Now I can understand the phase of the flower, namely, its life. Not only I know the mystery of the universe with enlightenment but also I know the mystery of itself. 20) At this moment, universe and I are unified: in this unity universe becomes me and vice versa.

Here, the Zen meditation and the quantum mechanics meet each other. That is, the quantum mechanics cannot be explained by the two-value thinking as the Zen meditation cannot do. Although in a sense the quantum mechanics is a new way of recognition, it indirectly is to show as what the Zen meditation is. In next chapter, I will explain the Buddhist thought of the Middle Way with ‘language beyond language’ of the Zen meditation. When we understand that thought, we also can find the logical ground of the intuitive world of the Zen meditation in which life and death are unified as one.


4. The Epistemology of the Middle Way

Nagarjuna unfolded his philosophy of the Middle Way by paramartha-satya and lokasamvrti-satya: Nirodha-?ryasatya belongs to the param?rtha-satya and suffering, attachment, and way belong to lokasamvrti-satya: that is, the paramartha-satya means a state of salvation, while lokasamvrti-satya means its previous state or a means of the paramartha-satya. Therefore, Nagarjuna said that paramartha-satya cannot be required without lokasamvrti-satya, and without such paramartha-satya, we cannot get nirvana. 21)   The point we have to keep in mind here is that paramartha-satya is divided into both an expressible absolute and an unexpressible absolute, and that lokasamvrti-satya must be considered reasonable as well as non-reasonable.

Param?rtha-satya of an unexpressible absolute is the true suchness beyond language’ as a truth, while param?rtha-satya of an expressible absolute is the ‘true suchness depended upon language.’ The latter belongs to the lokasamvrti-satya because ‘satya’ depending upon language cannot be an experience of salvation. The Hegelian dialectics proceeds in a reasonable way depending on language. So, such dialectics cannot deal with ‘the transformation of reasonableness into un-reasonableness.’ Nagarjuna’s ‘dialectics of negation’ does not accept reasonable thinking. To negate reason, we have to be reasonable which is a self-negation of reason. Through a reasonable thinking we discover a paradox and throw it away. The self-negation of reason is performed by the paramartha-satya which is expressible by language; that is, negating language by language. Hence, T.R.V. Murti calls this form of logic as ‘reductio as absuridum.’22)   Although the expressible stage might be reasonable, this stage is still unreasonable because it has a paradox in which a reason has to be explained by reason. So, we must reveal the unreasonableness and then we can transcend from the limit of language and get nirvana.

Won-Hyo (617-686) said: “To cut all kinds of problems of the world with wisdom is a secular law but not a principal law. It is because in the emptiness there is no dying thing and no making thing die, and so everything is empty and is in a state of nirvana.23)  In other words, for him there is no division between truth and falsity, which are not different. His idea is analogous to the idea that ‘stopping observation’ is two wings of birds and two wheels of carriage.

Although Won-hyo criticizes some parts of the thought of the Middle Way, his original idea of truth and falsity is same with Nagarguna’s. Truth and falsity (or secularity) are same, in which we should not be attached to not only falsity but also truth. We have to throw away the attachment for truth and falsity.

Won-hyo’s idea becomes clear if we research one of ‘the first dialect’ which explains Sung-lang’s thought that two different values reveal the Middle Way. His dialect might be schematized as follows.

** Two different values reveal the Middle Way.

1. Birth/Death……….the Middle Way for Secular Value

2. No-Birth/Death………..the Middle Way of True Value

3. Not-birth/Death and Not-(No-Birth/Death)…………the Middle Way of Revealing Two Different Values  24) 

According to the above schema, birth/death is set as the Middle Way of secular value. Most people believe that there in this world birth and death really exist. Hence, the law of birth/death is considered a secular or false value and no-birth/death is considered as true value. Since many intellects do not have any difficulty to understand the fact that there is no-birth/death, in this schema birth/death and no-birth/death is set to be responded to the secular or false value and the true value, respectively.

If we, however, consider birth/death as a real phenomenon and no-birth/death as a real phenomenon, our consideration is also mistaken. We need a unity for two different values which reveal the Middle Way.

Therefore, Sung-lang explains two different values as follows.

“Those two values are a mysterious teaching for the Middle Way as well as a true sermon in which our culture and language are searched. Being and non-being are discovered by a principle. Although being and non-being are separate and cannot be recognized as a unity, reality is found as one principle. Hence, with the ways of truth and falsity, we can educate people to make them find a right way.25)

Won-hyo, in his Sipmunhwajaengnon(十門和諍論) said: “When people, who had attained Buddhahood, lived, their world was peaceful. However, in the future world, people are involved in a vain arguments and fight each other, and finally they would not escape from their inevitable retribution, namely, karma.” 26)   So, Won-hyo said that with the light of wisdom the world can be equal.27) He continued to say: “Like the difference of birds’s marks in the air, the example of the air accompanies with such difference. Although the birds’s marks once existed, we cannot differentiate the actual marks of birds.”28) After all, enlightenment is attained by throwing away fancies which always occur. The state without fancies is like the air.

Now we know that the quantum mechanics and Zen meditation share with the thought of the Middle Way in terms of recognition of the world. Although there must be more careful understanding about this argument, I, at least, can claim that quantum mechanics and Zen Buddhism are in the state of complementation.

5. The Contemporary Meaning of Zen Meditation in the Era of Science

Today the scientific civilization can be described as the civilization of machine, possession, ambition, and competition. On the other hand, by the Zen meditation we can acquire culture for life, non-possession, freedom from desire, and harmony. We, however, know what the problems this techno-scientific world have. We also find a similarity between the quantum mechanics and the Buddhistic thought of the Middle Way. Hence, modern science tends to hold favorable and non-favorable view with Buddhism. Then, we need a careful insight to discriminate the right and wrong points about the effects of modern science.

As I said before, people are not interested in recovering their natural humanity. They are losing their mind just being interested in using computer, television, handphone, money and enjoying sensual pleasure and playing golf and gambling. To escape from these bad situations, we must consider the real meaning of the Zen meditation.

People often say that yoga is for attaining ecstasy and Zen meditation for enlightenment. As the Great master Seo-Ong once said, enlightenment is acquired when man becomes free without having any discrimination against others. All critical situation is due to our dualistic thought and unfair discrimination. The extreme materialism, individualism, and egoism bring our world to a crisis and aggravate conflicts and split. Zen meditation accepts all forms of State, nationality, religion, thought, and culture. That is, Zen meditation provides a universal ground in which all forms of societies are harmonized.

To prove the effects of Zen meditation, I will explain Zen meditation summarizing its five steps (which are read in Korean as follows.)

1. Jeong Joong Pyun…..the Pyun in the Jeong (substance behind phenomena)

2. Pyun Joong Jeong…..the Jeong in the Pyun (phenomena transitioning to substance)

3. Jeong Joong Lae…..coming from the Jeong (phenomena coming from substance consciously)

4. Gyum Joong Ji….the arriving in the Gyum (substance and phenomena coming together)

5. Gyum Joong Do…..the settling in the Gyum (substance and phenomena harmonizing each other)

Suzuki said that “The sho [Jeong in Korean] and hen [Pyun in Korean] constitute a duality like the yin and yang in Chinese philosophy. Sho literally means ‘right,’ ‘straight,’ ‘just,’ ‘level’; and hen is ‘partial,’ ‘one-sided,’ ‘unbalanced,’ ‘lopsided.’ 29)  He explained the relationship between Jeong and Pyun in English as follows.30)

1) Jeong is translated in English as follows; “the absolute, the infinite, the one, God, dark (undifferentiation), sameness, emptiness, wisdom, and the universal. And, Pyun is translated as follows; the relative, the finite, the many, the world, light, difference, form and matter, love and the particular. I will quote Suzuki’s explanation for the five steps.

[Jeong Joong Pyun] means that the one is in the many, God in the world, the infinite in the finite, etc. When we think, the [Jeong] stand in opposition and cannot be reconciled. But in fact the [Jeong] cannot be the [Jeong] nor can the [Pyun] be the [Pyun] when either stands by itself. What makes the many [Jeong] the many is because the one is in it. If the one is not there, we cannot even talk of manyness.” 31)

2) “[Pyun Joong Jeong] complements (1). If the one is in the many, the many must be in the one. The many is what makes the one possible. God is the world and the world is in God. God and the world are separate and not identical in the sense that God cannot exist outside the world and that the one is indistinguishable from the other. They are one and yet each retains its individuality: God is infinitely particularizing and the world of particulars finds itself nestled in th bosom of God.” 32)  

3) “We now come to the third step in the life of the Zen-man. This is the most crucial point where the noetic quality of the preceeding two steps transforms itself into the conative and he becomes really a living, feeling, and willing personality. Hitherto he was the head, the intellect, in however exacting a sense this might be understood. Now he is supplied with the trunk with all its visceral contents and also with all the limbs, especially with hands, the number of which may be increased even up to one thousand (symbolizing an infinity) like those of Kwannon the Bodhisattva. And in his inward life he feels like the infant Buddha who uttered, as soon as he came out of his mother’s body, this pronouncement: ‘Heaven above, earth below, I alone am the most honored one.’”33)

The [Jeong in Jeong Joong Lae] is not used in the same sense as in [Jeong Joong Pyun] or in [Pyun Joong Jeong]. The [Jeong] in [Jeong Joong Lae] is to be read together with following [Joong] as [Jeong Joong], meaning ‘right from the midst of [Jeong] as [Pyun] and [Pyun] as [Joong]. Jeong Joong Lae is like the ‘thunderous silence,’ which is the eye of the hurricane. The eye is the center of the hurricane and without the eye the hurricane does not occur. The eye is what makes the hurricane possible. Eye and hurricane conjointly constitute the totality. When the Gyum Joong Ji arrives, it jumps in the hurricane escaping from the eye, namely, the center. Here, both Jeong and Pyun are enfolded by the wind which comes from all over directions. Then, man becomes the hurricane itself.

[Gyum] means ‘both’ and refers to the dualism of black and white, dark and light, love and hate, good and bad — which is the actuality of the world in which the Zen-man leads his life now. While [Jeong Joong Lae] still reminds us of something in the preceding two steps, [Gyum Joong Ji] has altogether left them behind, for it is like itself shown of its intellectual paradoxes, or rather, it includes indiscriminately, undifferentially, or better, totalistically, everything that is intellectual or affective or conative. It is the world as we have it with all its ‘brute facts,’ as some philosophers take them, irrevocably facing us. 34) The Zen-man finally realizes that ‘klesa’ is Bodhi, and at this level experiences that appearance which is reasonably understood, and substance is one. Furthermore, appearance and substance cannot be separated and must be in a complementary condition.

Let’s continue to understand Suzuki’s explanation: “We now come to the last step, [GyumJoong Do]. The difference between this and the fourth is the use of [Do] instead of [Ji]….But, according to the traditional interpretation, [Ji] has not yet completed the act of reaching, the traveler is still on the way to the goal, whereas [Do] indicates the completion of the act. The Zen-man here attains his object, for he has reached the destination. He is working just as strenuously as ever; he stays in this world among his fellow beings. His daily activities are not changed.” 35)  

In the fourth step, Zen-man really wants to jump into the universe. His desire might be called a step of meta-cosmic. On the other hand, this fifth state is the transmeta-cosmic state, in which the Zen-man must come back to the condition unifying both appearance and substance. Although he is described as a hero, now he discovers a paradise in this world and becomes to respect all trivial things. He comes to be sincere for himself and helps others and shows a life-model for them. He hereby becomes a true-man.

Suzuki summarized all five steps as follows: “These five are divisible into two groups; noetic, affective or conative. The first three are noetic and the last two are affective or conative. The middle one, the third ‘step,’ is the transition point at which the noetic begins to be conative and knowledge turns into life. Here, the noetic comprehension of the Zen life becomes dynamic. ‘The word’ takes flesh; the abstract idea is transformed into a living person who feels, wills, hopes, aspires, suffers, and is capable of doing any amount of work. In the first of the last two ‘steps,’ the Zen-man strives to realize his insight to the utmost of his abilities. In the last he reaches his destination, which is really no destination.”36)  

The American philosopher of religion, Thomas Merton said in his book Mystics and Zen masters that “If the West continues to underestimate and neglect the spiritual heritage of the East, it may hasten the tragedy that threatens man and his civilizations. If the West can recognize that contact with Eastern thought can renew our appreciation for our own cultural heritage,…then it will be easier to defend that heritage, not only in Asia but in the West as well.”

Now the time that religion and Western science meet each other was made. I will specify such meeting of science and religion, quoting a Korean newspaper.

“Recently an attempt was to find a commonality between two different thoughts. With using brochures, television and making workshops, this great meaningful conference was given in Berkeley, California with the topic ‘Science and the meaning of mind.’ Most scientists who participated in this conference were Christians, Jews, and Islamics. For a long time they attempted to solve the conflicts between religion and science. There was a common sense in this conference in which the universe had a purpose and by its purpose human beings would be really existed.”

– Munhwa Daily (number 2054) July 20 –


6. Conclusion

Since 1970s, I have been researching comparative philosophy as well as philosophy of science to harmonize modern science and Eastern religion and ethics. Gwahak Sasang (Thought of Science), the quarterly journal in which I have worked as a chief-editor, has been published to harmonize Eastern religion and science.

In his Dharma teaching, the Great master Seo-Ong once said that the real nature of man penetrates his consciousness as well as unconsciousness, and does his free and easy state, and finally enlighten himself without any limitation. Such unlimited penetration of human nature is to attain the divine enlightenment.

According to Seo-Ong, men have to critically consider their given civilization which has been affected by modern science, and consider the relationship between their civilization and the Zen meditation. When the relationship between them is well harmonized, men can solve the problem how their future world must be guided. Seo-Ong presents his idea as follows to solve this problem.

In Zen Buddhism, we can find a principle of existence in which one and many is unified, and particulars and universals are also unified. Without particulars, ‘one’ becomes meaningless, and without one, particulars are split, lacking unification. Today men are losing such a ‘universal one’ because of particularism due to the modern science, and is taking conflicts. In a short word, our modern civilization is implicated in seeking after particulars still losing ‘one.’ Men can easily be fallen into a mental disease. To solve this problem, they have to create a new kind of scientific civilization in which one and many are unified. Then, men can harmoniously develop their civilization anticipating a peaceful world.37) 

The significance of Zen meditation is found when it is the basis of harmony and unification of all over things in the world, because by the meditation people can be in an absolute freedom. As Seo-Ong said, the absolute freedom is accomplished by ‘penetrating freedom’ itself. Furthermore, through the absolute freedom all conflicts disappear and finally all antagonistic concepts of truth and falsity, the absolute and the opposite, one and many, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, and ‘I and you’ are harmonized in which ‘one’ belongs to ‘two’ and vice versa.

Erich Jantsch, who is the Austrian physicist and one of the founders for Rome Club, said that “Buddha’s thought is the best example of process philosophy, an that each man is the mind at large and with evolution of his mind each participate with the sacred principle and purpose.”38)  If we can say that the real meaning of the Zen meditation is identified with the purpose of all universe through the Zen meditation, we can actively participate with the dynamic state of the holy universe.


1) In the 『Gwahak Sasang』Vol.25, (Seoul: Bumyangsa Press, 1998) P.24.

2) ibid., pp. 24-25

3) Karl Jaspers, Rechenschaft und Ausblick, R. Piper & Co. Verlag (Munchen), 1951, pp. 240-241.

4) Karl Jaspers, Descartes und die Philosophie, (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter & Co., 1966), p. 97.

5) John Horgan, The End of Science, p.13. Also refer to gunther Stent’s The Coming of the Golden Age, (Garden City N.Y.: History Press, 1969)

6) ibid., p. 20 Also Refer to Gunther Stent’s The Paradoxes of Progress, (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman,1978)

7) ibid., p.

8) A. N. Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, Cambridge, 1938, pp. 61-68.

9) Erich Fromm, The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil, 1968, p. 59

10) M. Warldrop, Complexity, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992). Refer to chapter 6.

11) Refer to The Concept of Anxiety of Kierkegard.

12) Refer to Sartre’s Being and Nothing.

13) Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Being, Cybernetics and Society, AVON BPPKS, 1967. p. 253.

14) Ibid., p. 254.

15) P. Brown and J. Davies, The Ghost in the Atom, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

16) Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy, University of California Press, 1973, pp. 175-184.

17) Davis, Brown, op. cit., p. 12

18) Davies, Brown, ibid., pp. 29-35.

19) 指月錄(Zhiyuelu), Vol. 1, p. 11.

Buddha once delivered a sermon for people. Ending his sermon, Buddha picked up a flower and showed it to people without a word. People were embarrassed with his strange act and sat with curiosity. Only K??yapa smiled. here, Buddha said: “I know how the right truth is saved and how nirvana lies in our deep mind. The real image pretends to have no image. The delicate way to open the truth is to know ‘the language beyond language’ and ‘the secret beyond canon.’ I hereby give you truth.”

20) Erich Fromm and D. T. Suzuki, Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, Harper & Row, 1970. p.134.

21) 末木剛博, {東洋之合理思想}, 講談社, pp.120-121, 龍樹, {中論}, 8, 24, 10.

22) T.R.V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, George Allen and Unwin, 1974, p.132 and p.140.

23) Junghee Un, Won-Hyo’s Taes?ng Kisillon So(大乘起信論疏), IIjisa Press, p.211.

24) Naeseok Kim, ‘Sung-lang’s Thought of Three-Principle,’ in Anthology of Buddhistic Essays for honoring Dr. Baek Seonguk, Dongguk University Press, pp. 43-67.

25) Refer to the same page of the above book.

26) Refer to his introduction of Sipmunhwajaengnon(十門和諍論)

27) Refer to introduction of the above book.

28) Refer to the introduction of the above book.

29) Erich Fromm & suzuki, op. cit., pp.60-61.

30) Ibid., p. 61.

31) Ibid., p. 61

32) Ibid., p. 61

33) Ibid., pp. 61-66

34) Ibid., p. 67-73.

35) Ibid., p. 74

36) Ibid., p. 60

37) Seo-Ong, The Collective Essays of Dharma Teaching, Minjoksa Press, 1998, p. 196.

38) Erich Jantach, The Self-Organizing Universe, Pergamon Press, 1980 (trans. by Dongsun Hong, 1989) pp. 422-423.



Cheng Sungbon

Dongguk University


In general, it is erroneously assumed that the patriarchal Ch’an is an easy-going religion which, appropriating the declaration of Ma-tsu Tao-i (馬祖 道一, 709-788), who is an outstanding Ch’an master of the T’ang Dynasty, saying, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind (平常心是道)’ does not require a cultivation, for it is embodied in the ordinary human mind of everyday life. And the dictum, ‘the mind itself is no other than the Buddhahood (卽心是佛)’ has also been regarded as a supporter of the foregoing oversight.

In fact, in the patriarchal Ch’an tradition of the T’ang Dynasty, we may come across numerous statements which, in its face value, seems to thoroughly deny the cultivation or even the enlightenment itself: for instance, the assertion of Ma-tsu, ‘Tao does not call for the practice (道不用修)’, or the phrase found in the Pao-lin chuan (寶林傳), and in the Lin-chi lu (臨濟錄), ‘there is neither practice nor verification (無修無證)’ typically shows ostensible negligence of practice or enlightenment in the Buddhist religion.

It is the same case as the Tso-ch’an (坐禪, meditation in sitting position): Records found in the Ch’uan-teng lu (傳燈錄), or the Ch’an-yu lu (禪語錄) tell us that Ch’an masters could achieve the enlightenment through insignificant incidents run across in the ordinary mundane life, or through the dialogue with Ch’an masters, or through routine chores, not even mentioning the practice of Tso-ch’an. It is, therefore, no wonder to assert that, as the juncture of the enlightenment can be ‘spontaneously’ encountered without any artificiality, the practice of Tso-ch’an is not imperative in the Ch’an Buddhism.

The anecdote of Ma-tsu Tao-i may even deepen this sort of misunderstanding:

When Ma-tsu Tao-i practice Tso-ch’an in Mt. Nan-yueh (南嶽) to attain Buddhahood, the master Hui-jang (懷讓), severely criticizing the practice of Tso-ch’an, says; “if you are determined to be the Buddha through the practice of Tso-ch’an, it is as absurd as you are to make a mirror by grinding a particle of a tile.”

These specific examples mentioned above, however, do not necessarily mean that practice is of no use in the system of patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism. It is true that those who have distorted view on the patriarchal Ch’an and its catechism, often claim such view as Ch’an does not call for any practice or cultivation whatsoever because ordinary human mind, which we are inherently granted, stand for the Buddhist truth. By doing so, they, advertently or inadvertently, have undermined the true spirit of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism.

Thus, this work, in its attempt to set what is misled right, will be mainly focused to criticize those possible misunderstandings and, hopefully, to serve the re-establishment of the fundamental spirit of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism. In order to achieve present task, it will be concerned with a few questions as follows:

– What the Master Hui-jang criticized Ma-tsu’s practice of Tso-ch’an which the latter thought would lead the attainment of the Buddhahood for?

– Is the practice of Tso-ch’an useless in the system of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism?

– On what ground did Ma-tsu assert that ‘Tao does not call for the practice,’ claiming that ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind (平常心)’?

– What is, then, the definition of the ordinary human mind?

– As a whole, how is the patriarchal Ch’an practice systematized, and how does the claim, ‘Tao does not call for the practice’ get the validity in this system?


– Tao lies in ordinary human mind –

It is often said that the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism is ‘the religion of everyday life’, ‘the religion of mundane life’ or ‘the religion of self-enlightenment.’ To validate these statements, it is necessary to examine the definitive dictum of patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism, which is ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind.’

According to the Ch’uan-teng lu (vol. 28), the juncture around which the dictum, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind’ was produced, is described as follows:

The practice is not necessary to achieve the Tao. All that is required is non-defilement. What is defiled? If one arouse the disposition of the life and death (sa?s?ra) and get deliberately intentive (to be the Buddha), it is called defilement (of the mind). If one wish to know the Tao, it (Tao) lies in ordinary human mind. The ordinary human mind means, by definition, the mind without deliberate disposition, without the dichotomy of right or wrong, without adoption or rejection, without the attachment to either permanence or impermanence (of the dharmas), or without distinction of the ordinary man or the sage. The S?tra says; ‘the bodhisattva practice is neither that of the ordinary man or that of the sage. What is confronted with things and events and what is associated with daily circumstances (that is ordinary human mind) is nothing other than the Tao. Tao is dharmadh?tu, and every mysterious functions as countless as the sands of Ganges river are not ruled out of the dharmadh?tu.

(T. vol. 52, p. 440a)

This celebrated sermon of Ma-tsu is recorded in his autobiography in the Ch’uan-teng lu and the Yu-lu (語錄). Let us, then, investigate the ordinary human mind as is adopted in his sermon. The sermon has it that the ordinary human mind is ‘that of neither deliberate disposition, nor the dichotomy of right or wrong, nor adoption or rejection, nor permanence or impermanence, nor distinction of the ordinary man or the sage.’ In short it designates unbiased, non-deliberate ‘fundamental mind (本來心).’

Likewise, the Hsin-hsin ming (信心銘) signifies the same idea:

The ultimate Tao is of no difficulty

It is only repugnant to discrimination

(至道無難 唯嫌揀擇)

Consequently, ‘the ordinary human mind (平常心)’ defined by Ma-tsu indicates non-biased, non-fixed, or non-discriminative original human mind (本來心). And this original human mind is the Tao, and, at the same time, is the Buddhahood (卽心是佛).

Nevertheless, a historical survey on the thought of Shen-hui (神會, 684-758) of Southern branch of Ch’an Buddhism and the Liu-tsu t’an-ching (六祖壇經) provides us with a little different information as to how human mind may be defined: That is, both of them advocate ‘true nature of mind (眞如自性)’ which is originally pure. As they discriminate delusive mind (妄念) and pure mind (眞如自性), the former is inferior and is to be criticized in favor of the latter. The system of practice, accordingly, advocates the abrupt realization of the true nature of mind, which is so called abrupt seeing one’s own nature (頓悟見性).

On the other hand, Ma-tsu does not discriminate the delusive mind and true nature of mind. He integrates two different minds into one ‘ordinary human mind’ that functions in the everyday life. Given the standpoint of Ma-tsu, there is no true nature of mind apart from delusive mind. In other words, ‘the ordinary human mind’ proclaimed by Ma-tsu is none other than ‘the true nature of mind (眞如自性)’ or ‘true nature of originally pure mind (自性淸淨心). Let us examine his own remarks cited in the Ma-tsu yu-lu (馬祖語錄):

(He) again asked; “what attitude do we have to keep to attain the Tao?”

The Master Ma-tsu replied; “the true nature of mind is inherently secured in us. Only those who are not entangled with things and events (i. e., external objects) may be truly called practitioners. If one takes what is good at the cost of what is evil, or practices meditation to cultivate insight into the emptiness, it is deliberate mind. Furthermore, if one seeks after the Tao outside, he would be only alienated from it.

(Zokuzokyo, vol. 119, p. 406a)

The ordinary human mind, as Ma-tsu asserts, is equivalent to the true nature of pure mind which all human beings immanently keep within themselves. In fact, the ordinary human mind of everyday life is boundlessly fruitful and perfect and it is, at the same time, naive and normal mind. As mentioned above, the ordinary human mind of Ma-tsu does not indicate the discriminative, biased, and defiled mind, but the originally pure, unbiased and non-discriminative mind.

Ma-tsu’s own sermon confirms again this very point: “The practice is not necessary to achieve the Tao. All that is required is non-defilement. What is defiled? If one arouse the disposition of the life and death (sa?s?ra) and get deliberately intentive (to be the Buddha), it is called defilement (of the mind).”

Asserting that ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind’, Ma-tsu clarifies that the Tao is to be realized by the ordinary mind detached from defilements. In the Ma-tsu’s system of thought, the defilement means the mind of sa?s?ra (transmigration) stained with kle?a (lust), or deliberate, discriminative disposition of mind with which one practices to attain the Buddhahood. Only if the mind is dispense with such defilements, the original pure mind will be revealed of itself. And it is so-called ‘the ordinary human mind.’

In the chapter for Hui-neng of the the Ch’uan-teng lu (vol. 5), it is said that ‘Tao is realized by virtue of the mind (道由心悟).’ Again, in the Tsu-t’ang chi (祖堂集, vol. 3), there is such a phrase as ‘no deliberate mind is identical with the Tao (無心是道)’. As such, Tao lies in the awakened mind, not in any place or things in the external world. In short, these statements emphasize that the most crucial factor in the realization of the Tao is the self-awakening of the original pure mind.

It should be reminded here that the term of defilement (汚染), which seems to be Ma-tsu’s own innovation, as mentioned before, was adopted with the presupposition that ‘the ordinary human mind’ is identical with ‘the true nature of originally pure mind.’ To be sure, the ordinary human mind asserted by Ma-tsu is not defiled, discriminative ordinary mind (衆生心). If so, does the practice, which seems to have been a effective device to wipe out such discriminative defilements, not necessary?

There is a well known dialogue between Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch and Nan-yueh Hui-jang, his disciple, in which, along with the term ‘defilement’, the pivotal point of the theory concerning practice and verification in the Ch’an Buddhism is referred. It is found in the chapter for Nan-yueh Hui-jang of the Ch’uan-teng lu (vol. 5):

The Sixth Patriarch; Where are you from?

Hui-jang; I’m from Sung-shan.

The Sixth Patriarch; What kind of a thing thus came?

Hui-jang; Even if you say it ‘a thing’, it (your designation) is not proper.

The Sixth Patriarch; Is there any necessity do you think to practice and to verify?

Hui-jang; Even though neither of them is not necessary, what is the most important is non-defilement.

The Sixth Patriarch; Only this non-defilement is what is secured and cherished by all the Buddhas. You’ve got the point and so do I.

(T. vol. 515, p. 240c)

This is the juncture where Nan-yueh Hui-jang inherited the Buddhist Truth from the Sixth Patriarch.@@@ When Hui-jang says “Even if you say it ‘a thing’, it (your designation) is not proper”, it is derived from his own experience. By virtue of this insight, Hui-jang could inherit the authentic tradition of Ch’an Buddhism which stemmed from the Sixth Patriarch. This remark, which has been often cited by Ch’an masters, is believed to have been the philosophical foundation by which the Hui-neng’s stanza of the mind was altered into the line, ‘there is nothing by nature (本來無一物)’ in the Liu-tsu t’an-ching.

Both of the dicta, “Even if you say it ‘a thing’, it (your designation) is not proper (說似一物卽不中)” and “there is nothing by nature (本來無一物)” convey the same idea: As everything is by nature impermanent and lacks of their own being, that is, is empty, there is no entity or form that is self-existent. The idea that ‘there is no self-consistent dharma (無有定法)’

bore in the Diamond S?tra manifests the same way of thought. In other words, the dictum, ‘there is nothing by nature (本來無一物)’, indicates the truth of emptiness entertained by Mah?y?na Buddhism. Consequently, the Sixth Patriarch verified Hui-jang of his full enlightenment, because, the Sixth Patriarch thought, the latter declare the truth of emptiness by his dictum, “even if you say it ‘a thing’, it (your designation) is not proper (說似一物卽不中).”

Subsequently, when the Sixth Patriarch asked again to make sure Hui-jang’s stage of enlightenment, “Is there any necessity do you think to practice and to verify (還可修證否)?” Then, Hui-jang answered, “Even though neither of them is not necessary, what is the most important is non-defilement.” At this juncture Hui-neng, fully satisfied, verify his authenticity of enlightenment saying, “Only this non-defilement is what is secured and cherished by all the Buddhas. You’ve got the point and so do I.” In this episode, Hui-neng explicitly advances that the content of enlightenment of all the Buddhas is no other than the non-defilement. Whoever achieves the non-defilement (of mind), Hui-neng acknowledges, is undoubtedly the enlightened one.

Here, it may be safe here to summarize the Ch’an Buddhist point of view concerning practice and verification: The non-defilement (of mind) means the originally pure mind detached from any discriminations, prejudices, and so forth. This mind is, however, not different from that of everyday mundane life. All human beings are inherently granted this fundamental mind. Accordingly, this fundamental mind is not acquired through practice or any kind of deliberate effort because it is already seated in them. Only within this limited meaning, the assertion ‘the Tao does not call for the practice, could have the right place.

It is clear, therefore, that the mind declared by Ma-tsu in his dictum, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind,’ does not indicate the defiled human mind (衆生心), but originally pure, fundamental mind which functions in daily life without any defilement of lust, ignorance, hatred, or even the desire to be the Buddha. What, then, constitutes the practice of non-defilement?


The fundamental spirit of the Ch’an Buddhism needs to be realized in everyday life of ordinary human beings, who freely interacts with men and their circumstances, whether it is a predicament or a favorable situation, without any impediment. It is a life of freedom and wisdom even in a worldly level. The Ch’an Buddhism signify the life of ordinary human mind, and thereby fulfill the world of the Buddha which is original mind. The basis of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhist practice consists of Tso-ch’an, Ch’an dialogue and daily chores. Let us examine one by one.

1) The practice of Tso-ch’an

Tso-ch’an is regarded as the essential practice of the Ch’an Buddhism.

Basically, the practice of Tso-ch’an is a device by which one elucidates the original state of one’s own self. It is the practice carried out in a quiet place, mostly in the hall of meditation, either individually or collectively. Through the practice of Tso-ch’an, which is self-awakening meditation, the mindfulness is secured. Again, through mindfulness, the path leading to enlightenment is cultivated.

From the historical point of view, there is no doubt that the formation of the Chinese Ch’an school initiated by the group of the practitioners of Tso-ch’an. Letting aside the case of the Buddha ??khyamuni who practiced meditation under the bodhi tree and the legendary story of Bodhidharma who is believed to have practiced meditation against the wall at the Shaolin temple in the Mt. Sung-shan (嵩山) for nine years, Tao-hsin (道信), the Forth Patriarch, who established the Tung-shan teaching, is supposed to have lectured the Tso-ch’an i (坐禪儀) at the Mt. Shuang-feng (雙峰). Hung-jen, the Fifth Patriarch, who practice Tso-ch’an under Tao-hsin’s instruction, is believed to have worked in the daytime and to have practiced Tso-ch’an in the night.

It is also well known that the tradition of retreat of both in summer and winter has been observed since the time of the historical Buddha. In the retreat, the most essential practice is Tso-ch’an. It is confirmed that the practice of Tso-ch’an has been essential practice at least in the Chinese Ch’an Buddhist school when we look up the Ch’an-yu lu in which the practice of Tso-ch’an is often taken the theme of Ch’an dialogue, or the Lin-chi lu which bear the information about the practice of Tso-ch’an of Huang-po and Lin-chi.

Nevertheless, as we have seen in the previous chapter, there are many who misunderstand that the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism reject the practice of Ch’an. It is no wonder considering such phrases as; ‘Tao does not call for the practice’ (by Ma-tsu) ‘Tao is realized by virtue of the mind, why Tso-ch’an?’ or ‘The originally pure Buddhahood is universal presently and inherently. So the adoption of the practice of Tso-ch’an is not necessary’ (by Hui-neng) Above all, the Ch’an dialogue between Ma-tsu and Hui-jang, so called ‘making a mirror by grinding a tile,’ which is recorded in the chapter for Nan-yueh Hui-jang of the the Ch’uan-teng lu (vol. 5), shows a typical example:

During the Period of K’ai-yuan (開元), Ma-tsu Tao-i was practicing Tso-ch’an at the Chuan-fa yuen (傳法院). The master (i. e., Nan-yueh Hui-jang), noticing he was a promising practitioner, approached and asked him, “what are you practicing Tso-ch’an for?”

“I want to be the Buddha.” replied Ma-tsu.

Thereupon, the master brought a tile and began to grind it against a rock in front of the hermitage. Seeing that, Ma-tsu asked, “what are you doing with it?”

“I’m going to make a mirror.” answered the master.

“How can you make a mirror by grinding a tile?”

“How, then, can you make the Buddha by practicing Tso-ch’an?” retorted the master.

At this, Ma-tsu asked, “What should I practice then?”

“When a farmer drive a cart, if the cart would not proceed, to which one does he have to take a whip, the cow, or the cart?” the master asked in return.

Ma-tsu could not answer for the question.

Then, the master gave him an instruction as follows;

“Do you practice the Tso-ch’an (坐禪, sitting meditation) or learn to make the Tso-fo (坐佛, sitting Buddha)? If it is Tso-ch’an, Ch’an has nothing to do with sitting or reclining. If it is Tso-fo, fo has no established posture (or form). Just dwell on the non-residing truth and never arouse the mind of adoption or rejection. If you learn to make the Buddha, you will end up with suffocating the Buddha! If you attach to the posture of sitting meditation, you will never realize the true purport of the Buddha-truth!”

On hearing the master’s sermon, he felt as if he drank the ghee (clarified butter).

(T. vol. 51, p. 240c)

This is the juncture in which Nan-yueh Hui-jang transmitted his Buddha-truth to Ma-tsu. It is well known, and typical example showing the practical feature of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism which emphasize the dicta, ‘neither practice nor verification is available’ or ‘the Tao does not call for the practice.’ This anecdote also points out wrong views related to the practice of Tso-ch’an. For instance, the practitioner should not have prejudice or fixed ideation as to the sitting position or even the deliberate purpose to be the Buddha. In this context, the Sixth Patriarch emphasizes the practice and verification without defilement, and Ma-tsu also asserts the ordinary human mind without defilement.

Even though the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism seems to have denied the practice of Tso-ch’an in appearance, it should not be forgotten that it always presupposes the practice of Tso-ch’an. At any rate, Tso-ch’an is one of the Three Teachings of the Buddhism, which are precept, meditation (or concentration), and wisdom. In Ch’an dialogue, masters never asks how long one have practiced Tso-ch’an in the monastery. They always asks how long one have been there, because the practice of Tso-ch’an is a part of daily routine.

The Tun-huang (敦煌) version of the Liu-tsu t’an-ching systematically establishes the practical spirit of the practice of Tso-ch’an. The S?tra presents the practical spirit of the Southern branch of the Ch’an Buddhism as follows:

What is the characteristics of the practice of Tso-ch’an in the Southern branch of the Ch’an Buddhism? In this teaching, the practice of Tso-ch’an regard as of great importance not to be hindered by things and events in the external world. Not to arouse delusive mind toward the external world is called Tso (sitting), and, by virtue of realization of the Buddhahood, not to be confused is called Ch’an (meditation).

This utterance invokes the question of the form of the Ch’an tradition observed by the Northern branch or traditional Ch’an in general except the Southern branch. The Northern branch of the Ch’an Buddhism, the latter thought, was only concerned with the elimination of lust (kle?a), or, at best, was interested in the state of quiescence the practice of the Ch’an brought about. Though the same idea as this is found in the Shen-hui yu-lu (神會語錄) for the first time, in the course of editing the Liu-tsu t’an-ching, he inserted in it this definitive Southern Ch’an idea, thereby the essential philosophy of the Southern branch of Ch’an Buddhist school was firmly established in the history of Chinese Buddhism.@@@

‘Not to be hindered by things and events in the external world’ indicates the practice of the emptiness. That is, Tso (sitting), it is said, means the state that the original mind is not obstructed by the external world. That, by virtue of realization of the Buddhahood, not to be confused is called Ch’an (meditation) indicates the state of the ‘abrupt enlightenment and seeing true nature’ which is asserted by the Southern branch of the Ch’an Buddhism. Enlightening of the Buddhahood may be understood, in this school, as the experience in which the practitioner does not give up the subjectivity of the enlightenment and, on the ground of the self-enlightenment, and exerts the wisdom of enlightenment freely and without obstruction through the jungle of things and events.

The definition of the Southern branch of the Ch’an Buddhism, as represented in the Liu-tsu t’an-ching of the Tun-huang version, integrates the thought of emptiness of the school of Prajñ? and the thought of the Buddha-nature into the practice of the Ch’an which is the essence of the practical spirit of the Mah?y?na Buddhism. Based on this definition of the Tso-ch’an, Tsung-tse (宗?) of the Sung Dynasty wrote the Tso-ch’an i, and Lin-chi, in his Lin-chi lu, also made exposition as to the practical spirit, the self-enlightenment of the ordinary human mind, of the practice of Tso-ch’an:

If you admire the sage and dislike the ordinary man, you never will come out of the sea of birth and death (sa?s?ra, the transmigration). As the kle?a (passion) is aroused by the delusive mind, if you can do without the delusive mind (that is, if you do not exert the deliberate mind), how are you hindered by the kle?a? Only if you do not attach to the form by discriminative disposition, you would immediately obtain the Tao. Even though you seek after (the Tao) elsewhere for three asa?khya period, you are never freed from the transmigration. You’d better practice Tso-ch’an in lotus position on the meditation board at the Ch’an monastery.

(the Lin-chi lu, vol. 13, p. 13.)

Birth and death here means, as in the sermon of Ma-tsu, the arising and disappearing of the kle?a (生滅心). The desire that seeks after the Tao in the external world and the discrimination of the sage and the ordinary man – all these defilements should be eliminated through the practice of Ch’an in the Ch’an monastery. In this context, Lin-chi discourses no deliberate mind (無心): ‘The place where your delusive mind of an instant is pacified, is the tree of wisdom. And the place where your delusive mind of an instant is not pacified, is the tree of ignorance. The original mind without delusive disposition is equal to no deliberate mind. Living at ‘this very place’, ‘without deliberate mind or action’ is the life where the dictum, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind’ is realized. Subsequently, the Lin-chi lu reiterates the concrete method for Ch’an practice in the following way:

You, monks! Only yourself that is working in front of you is none other than the Patriarchs and the Buddhas. Not knowing this, you are looking for the Tao outside in vain. Don’t be awry! You can not get at the dharma outside nor can you get at anything inside. Even though you are trying to get something from my own discourse, you would simply fail. The most important thing for you to do is to pacify your delusive mind, and by doing so, you would live freely without any deliberate intention. Do not let the delusion that has arisen last and let the delusion that is not yet arisen be as it is. If you practice the Tso-ch’an in this way even for an instant, it is far better than you do otherwise for ten years.

(T. vol. 47, p. 500c)

The Buddhist dharma is the dharma of the mind aiming to realize the mind as Hui-neng said, ‘the Tao is realized by virtue of the mind.’ So Ma-tsu and Lin-chi always emphasize that one should not look after the Tao (or truth) outside (莫向外馳求). The assertion, ‘do not let the delusion that has arisen last and let the delusion that is not yet arisen be as it is,’ manifests the core idea of the practice of the Tso-ch’ang. It says that, letting aside any delusion or things and events whatsoever, one should be well aware of himself and this very situation in order to live in accordance with the original pure mind. There is a dialogue in the chapter for Tung-shan in the Tsu-t’ang chi (vol. 6).

Question; what is the ailment?

The master; The delusive mind of an instant is the ailment.

Question; What is the remedy?

The master; To keep the delusive mind not to arise is the remedy.

This is also cited in the Tsung-ching lu (宗鏡錄, vol. 38), and the same idea is also expounded by Shen-hui in his discourse based on the Ta-ch’eng ch’i-hsin lun (大乘起信論). Moreover, Tsung-mi (宗密), in his Tu-hsu (都序), and Huang-po, in his record of discourse, account the same philosophy of mind. In this way, pacifying the delusive mind is thus the main structure of the practice of the Tso-ch’an. Tsung-tse of the Sung Dynasty systematizes it in his Tso-ch’an i in the following way:

Do not take into account good and evil. If the delusive mind once arise, be fully aware of the fact that the delusive mind has arisen. If you are aware of it, it will disappear right away. If you practice in this way for a long time and ignore all cause and conditions (of your dispositions), the objective world and your subjectivity will be integrated. This is the essence of the Tso-ch’an.

The maxim, ‘do not take into account good and evil,’ which is for the first time exposed in Shen-hui’s discourse, is later appeared in the Liu-tsu t’an-ching as the Hui-neng’s own wording to Hui-ming who chased him to the uphill. What is then the practice of not taking into account good and evil? As we have examined in Ma-tsu’s discourse, any discrimination, between the sage and ordinary man, or between good and evil, is a defilement of mind. The defiled mind taking adoption or rejection is discriminative mind. And, finally it is the delusive mind.

It is important not to arouse the delusive mind. And the particular practice not to arouse the delusive mind is ‘to be fully aware of the fact that the delusive mind has arisen.’ If one can not be aware of the fact that the delusive mind has arisen, he will be submissively drifted in the sea of birth and death (i. e., in the transmigration). On the contrary, if one is able to be aware of the fact, by means of the practice of Tso-ch’an, that the delusive mind has arisen in him, the delusive mind will disappear at once and the practitioner will restore the fundamental, pure mind. That is, the essential function of the practice of the Ch’an is the self-realization and restoration of the fundamental pure mind which is, by the definition, not discriminating good and evil, the sage and ordinary man, the adoption and rejection, and so forth.

2) The practice by virtue of Ch’an dialogue

In the Ch’an dialogue a master and his disciple encounter, where the former provides the latter with the opportunity to realize the enlightenment. It is an extension of the life of Ch’an practice. What then is the origin and function of the Ch’an dialogue?

As Ch’an is an self-enlightened practice based on the original pure mind, Ch’an dialogue can be defined as the dialogue between original pure minds. It is quite different from those between delusive minds of the ordinary sentient beings. In short, the way of Ch’an life in which the function of the original mind is inter-communicated is called Ch’an dialogue.

Ch’an dialogue begins with the affirmation of language and verbal expressions as they are the revelations of original mind or the Buddha nature. So, with the activation of the Ch’an-yuan ching-kui (禪院淸規) in the Ch’an monasteries, the convention of public Ch’an dialogue has been regularly evolved as one of the pedagogical method since the T’ang Dynasties. Some of the devices are Si-jung (kor. 示衆), Sang-dang bup-mun (上堂法門), So-cham bup-mun (小參法門). The tradition of the Ch’an dialogue in monastery has been established through this dialogues and sermon.

The characteristics of the Tso-ch’an may be summarized as the self-enlightenment of original mind through establishment of self integration by oneself, while Ch’an dialogue is formed primarily through encounters between masters and practitioners. Through mutual interaction, whether it is a verbal expression or any physical activities, one may confirm the original mind without being entangled by the objective world.

Through Ch’an dialogue, the practitioner may experience a great conversion. Sometimes one may ask himself who he is or what he is doing at the moment in question. And, by so doing, by specific cause and conditions, he thoroughly realizes the original mind which is beyond the dualism of subject and object.

The maxim of Ch’an Buddhism, ‘directly pointing out the mind of human being, one makes him see the true nature to be the Buddha (直指人心 見性成佛),’ typically stands for the spirit of Ch’an dialogue. The phrase, ‘To point out the human mind,’ indicates pedagogical method by which the masters point out the original mind of the disciple and thereby makes the latter enlighten the Buddhahood.

The reason why the method of Ch’an dialogue is brought about as a part of Ch’an practice is to affirm the original pure mind in the everyday life. The practice of Tso-ch’an is focused on the individual, speechless meditation by cutting off any activities in daily life. But we can not live without physical or mental activities such as going, staying, sitting, reclining, speech, silence, acting, stillness, and even relieving oneself nature. The Ch’an dialogue is a device not to lose the original pure mind within these activities of daily life.

The Ch’an dialogue is philosophically founded on the Ma-tsu’s Ch’an thought, embodied in his dictum, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind,’ which asserts that Ch’an practice should be carried out in everyday activities because they are revelation of the original mind. In other words, the Ch’an dialogue has been evolved as a practice of everyday activities, in which the original pure mind should not be buried by things and events of the external world. ‘Inquire into the meaning of a thing by pointing it out’ in the Leng-chia shih-tzu-chi (楞伽師資記) too is one of the Ch’an dialogue. To be sure, as the records of Ch’an dialogue shows, everything of mundane world, whether it is animal, plants, tea meeting, etc., can be a theme of Ch’an dialogue.

That our daily activities is, as a whole, a manifestation of the Buddha-nature (or original pure mind) may well be expressed by Ma-tsu in his dictum, ‘Tao lies in ordinary human mind,’ or by Lin-chi in his aphorism, ‘be the subject everywhere you go, be truthful any situation you are placed (隨處作主 立處皆眞).’ A stanza for the transmission of the Buddhist dharma by the venerable Manara, the 22th Patriarch of the Ch’an Buddhist school, was produced based on the practical spirit of the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism:

The mind is shifted as the objectives shift

And the juncture of the shift is truly mysterious

If one realize the true nature following the stream of the objectives,

he would not hindered by joy or sorrow.

As the Liu-tsu t’an-ching says, the true nature of mind would not be colored by the objects of the external world. This stanza recites the same idea as the patriarchal Ch’an Buddhism. So to speak, in every situation, one should not forget original mind in order not to be attached to the objective world, such as joy, sorrow, or discriminative dispositions.

3) Duty and labour in the monastery life

This is a Ch’an practice in daily activities, the evolution of the original mind.

In fact, the labour of monks was prohibited in the Indian Buddhist precept, whereas in the Chinese Ch’an Buddhist monastery, it was a duty for monks to do daily labour under the regulation of the Ch’an monastery (禪院) since it was branched out of the Precept monastery (律院).

Pai-chang (百杖, 749-814), in his Ch’an-men kui-shih (禪門規式), prescribes that ‘the universally required labour (普請) should be adopted by all the members of the community for co-operation.’ The same rule is found in the Tai-sung-seng shih-hueh (大宋僧史略) compiled by Ts’uan-ning (贊寧), and in the autobiography of Pai-chang in the Sung kao-seng chuan (宋高僧傳). The universally required regulations is a responsibility of labour for all, from the elder to novice, to co-operate in the daily chore as well as productive labour to run the monastery. In a sense, it is a Ch’an practice through which the original mind is cultivated. The practice of labour is, along with Ch’an dialogue, the Ch’an practice composed of daily activities to sustain mindfulness. It is, therefore, called cultivation within things and events.

This feature of the Chinese Buddhism differs, in a large amount, from that of the Indian Buddhist tradition where Buddhist practice consists of mortification, meditation in a retreat, or mendicant wandering. There are lots of episodes concerning labour in monastery: Hung-jen, the 5th Patriarch of the Chinese Ch’an school, participated in labour during daytime; Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch, laboured in the mill of the monastery for several years From these legendary episodes, it is supposed that the labour was a part of the Ch’an practice. The chapter for Pai-chang in the Ch’uan-teng lu, records following dialogue on the labour:

Yun-yen (雲巖); For whom are you working so hard?

Pai-chang; For the single person.

Yun-yen; Why don’t you have him work?

Pai-chang; He is not able to make a living.

The single person is a true personality with no ranks (無位眞人), that is, the self-enlightened one. In this context, it is clear that the labour is another form of the Ch’an practice. Ch’an means the life of the Tao – the life living with the original mind in all the activities. Here, the discrimination between labour and Ch’an practice does not make sense.

The patriarchal Ch’an is not so much as the negative practice of mere elimination of kle?a and discriminative dispositions as the practice within everyday activities awakening original mind to the enlightenment. As the Buddha-nature is universally granted to all sentient beings regardless their race or status, according to the idea of the S?tras, there should not be any discrimination on either the kinds of activities or on varying ranks of the member of the community.

Both the dignity of human beings and the ideal of the original mind can not be reified by means of mere speculative reasoning; Only through the practice of mental or physical activities may the ideal be realized by the practitioner. Due to the universally required regulations, the Ch’an school of the T’ang Dynasty could, both economically and orderly, secure its survival. This trend is well informed by the maxim of Pai-chang, ‘no work, no meal (一日不作 一日不食).’ It stands for a harmony of daily life and Ch’an practice. In this manner, the Chinese Ch’an Buddhism put its root into the daily life of the Chinese society.

As the universally required labour consists of cutting wood, plowing land, practitioners always interact with the nature. This aspect also colored the Chinese Ch’an Buddhism. The record of activities in the Lin-chi lu shows an anecdote where Huang-po and Lin-chi have a talk during the universally required labour:

At the universally required labour, Lin-chi was working behind Huang-po. Looking back Lin-chi, Huang-po noticed that the former doesn’t have a hoe in his hand.

“What is the matter with your hoe?”

“The single person took it with him,” answered Lin-chi.

“Come on, let us talk about on this matter.”

When Lin-chi neared, Huang-po, raising his hoe, said, “No one ever cannot take this one.”

Thereupon, Lin-chi snatched the hoe from Huang-po’s hand and said, “How did I have it in my hand?”

“I have seen one who did the universally required labour pretty well,” then Huang-po returned to the monastery right away.

This dialogue shows that labour is not mere a labour but an experimental station where the original pure mind is perpetually put into a trial. As mentioned above, the interaction with nature is a feature of the Chinese Ch’an Buddhism. And this interaction in the long run leads to the integration of subject and object. The stanza of Su Tung-po (蘇東坡) pictures this integration;

The sound of the stream is the lengthy sermon of the Buddha.

How is the form of the mountain not the body of the Buddha?

(溪聲便是廣長舌 山色豈非淸淨身)

Su Tung-po, well versed in the Ch’an philosophy, sees in the objects of the nature the manifestation of the truth, i. e., the Buddha-nature or the original pure mind, whatever it may be called. All the objects of nature found in the Ch’an literature is not mere objects but reified truth that is emptiness, or oneness of all the existences.


So far, we have surveyed the system of Ch’an practice in terms of Tso-ch’an, Ch’an dialogue and Ch’an as a daily labour. As a matter of fact, they are classified as such for the convenience’ sake. The basic spirit common to all is the living Ch’an cultivating the original pure mind in any circumstances. In the patriarchal Ch’an, the life of Ch’an is called Ts’an-ch’an (參禪) which signifies the life living with the original mind that is not to be defiled by the external world. The Cheng-tao ke (證道歌) resounds the Ts’an-ch’an as follows:

Wandering over the rivers and the sea,

Crossing the mountains and the streams,

(I) sought the masters and the Tao, practicing Ts’an-ch’an.

Since I found the path of the Ts’ao-hsi (曹溪, referring to Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch),

I have been fully convinced that there is nothing to worry about birth and death (transmigration).

Going is the practice of the Ch’an, and sitting is also the practice of Ch’an.

Whether speaking, keeping silence, moving, or being still, the original entity is in peace.

This stanza of Yung-chia Hsuan-chueh (靈嘉 玄覺, 675-713) recites the life of the Ch’an practitioner who wanders about to seek masters all over the country, and, at the same time, it presents the spirit of the patriarchal Ch’an free from all fetters of transmigration. This absolute freedom is obtained through Ts’an-ch’an, the sincere effort to resolve the question of life and death in this world of impermanence.

The lines of the stanza, ‘whether speaking, keeping silence, moving, or being still, the original entity is in peace,’ relate the stage of the sage who lives daily life with absolute freedom and full self-enlightenment. As he transcends all hindrances, he can live leisurely in peace under the light of the original pure mind. Both of the phrase in the Li-tai fa-pao chi (歷代法寶記), ‘Ch’an is cultivated all the time,’ and the phrase in the Tun-wu yao-men (頓悟要門), ‘to those who understand, either one of the going, staying, sitting, or reclining is the Tao,’ delivers the same idea.

The practice of Ch’an is self-practice of the original mind immanent in the practitioner, the the practice restoring the original pure mind by removing the cloud of delusive mind through practice of Ch’an. So, it consists of self-questioning process. The episode of the venerable Jui-yen (瑞巖) tells us the the way of self-questioning practice of Ch’an Buddhism:

He always calls himself, “host!.”

Then, he himself replies, “yes!”

“Are you awakened?” he again asks himself, and adds, “Anywhere, by anyone, you should not be deceived at all.”

He always resolved not to be hindered by the external objects which covers the light of the original pure mind.

The place where practitioners seek after the Tao should be the original pure mind. If one pursues the Tao in the hope of finding it in the external world, he would never realize the Buddhahood. This is why Ma-tsu and Lin-chi emphasized the introspection into the original mind, saying, ‘Do not search for (the Tao) outward.’ The Buddhist truth in general, letting aside the practice of the Ch’an, call for the exertion of a practitioner himself; as though he seems to inquire the Tao of his master, he virtually inquires it of himself. The purport of the Ch’an Buddhism is, as Lin-chi advanced in the Tsung-men tung-yao (宗門統要, vol. 5), ‘to achieve the Buddhahood and to make the Patriarch’ by elucidating the original mind immanent in all beings. Summing up, deliverance of all sentient beings, which is the final goal of the Buddhism, is initiated by the Ch’an practice centered on the cultivation of the original mind.