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.

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