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Chan Literature

Summary and Keywords

An extensive printed Chan literature came into wide circulation during the Song dynasty (960–1279). This Song corpus included more-or-less intact texts from the Tang (618–907) and Five Dynasties (907–960), Tang and Five-Dynasties texts heavily reworked by Song editors, and a vast newly created set of Song Chan texts. This printed Chan literature spread among the educated elite during the Song period. In total, several hundred woodblock-printed texts from the Song and Yuan (1271–1368) periods, the classic age of Chan textual production, still exist, but many editions from the Ming (1368–1644) and later have also been preserved. In addition, Chan texts can be found within the Dunhuang-manuscript corpus. There are eight major Chan genres (omitting “rules of purity” or qinggui as too technical): yulu (collections of sayings of individual masters); flame-of-the-lamp records (biographical material and sayings of masters arranged as a series of inheritors of the flame of the lamp); poetry (both prosaic religious verse and highly allusive classical shi poetry); “standards” with attached poetry/prose comments (often called by Western scholars “gong’an/kōan collections”); compendia; collections of letters by Chan masters to scholar-officials, students, and peers; pretend dialogues; and glossary material. The language of the Chan records is a hybrid, a mixture of the written elegant language (wenyan) and a type of written Chinese based on spoken language. In time, the language of the Chan records became a sacerdotal language for Chan insiders, not only in China but in Korea and Japan as well. The language patterns of Chan literature—for instance, its proclivity for using everyday words and phrases as stand-ins for more imposing Buddhist-sounding equivalents—account for a great deal of its power and beauty. However, those language patterns also constitute serious obstacles for the modern reader. In short, the texts are very difficult to read because they are not simply “classical Chinese” nor are they modern vernacular. A stylistic convergence of the Chan records and classical Chinese poetry can be seen, particularly in the context of jueju quatrains of seven or five syllables. The sayings of the records often embody aesthetic ideals of Chinese poetry: lexical economy, emphasis on the imagistic, and minimal use of nonimagistic or abstract words.

Keywords: Chan records, sayings records (yulu), flame-of-the-lamp records, five lamps, verses, shi poetry, “standards” with poetry/prose comments, compendia, letters, pretend dialogues

Texts, Genres, and Language

Chan literature is vast and enchanting. In the Song dynasty (960–1279), an extensive printed Chan literature came into wide circulation, including more-or-less intact Tang (618–907) and Five Dynasties (907–960) Chan texts, Tang and Five-Dynasties Chan texts heavily reworked by Song editors, and a vast newly created set of Song Chan texts. Printed Chan literature was very important in the spread of Chan among the educated elite during the Song period.1 Between the late 11th-century and the beginning of the 15th at least several hundred Chan texts of Chinese origin were published by woodblock printing in China, Japan, and Korea (Chan texts in Chinese composed by Koreans and Japanese are excluded from this study). For example, Shiina Kōyū’s Sō-Genban zenseki no kenkyū (Studies in Song and Yuan Editions of Chan Books) gives 205 titles in a list of extant Song-Yuan editions and medieval Japanese Gozan (Five Mountains) reprints of Song-Yuan editions.2 Thirty titles from Shiina’s list are considered in this article.3 Notably, twenty-one of these thirty titles appear in Shiina’s twelve-volume series entitled Gozanban Chūgoku zenseki sōkan (Collection of Five-Mountains Editions of Chinese Chan Books), showing the importance of Gozan editions for any comprehensive study of Chan literature.4 Six Dunhuang-manuscript Chan texts dating to Tang times, which were rediscovered in the major Dunhuang collections in the early 20th century, and the Patriarchal Hall Collection (Zutangji), a Five-Dynasties text lost in China and rediscovered in a Korean monastery in the 20th century, have been added to the thirty titles.5 Three further additions, two Ming-dynasty Chan texts (providing coverage of Ming Chan, which is often neglected in Western scholarship) and one title missing in Shiina’s list, brings the total number of titles in this article to forty.6

A database of forty texts admittedly is quite small. This treatment of a small but representative sample of Chan books focuses on genres, language matters, literary aspects, and buddhological contents. Attention to the large secondary literature on the subject is not stressed. The focus is the presentation of snippets of translated material from many of the texts to suggest, at least to some small degree, the “taste” of Chan literature, which is perhaps ironic because many Chan texts speak of reaching a state of “no taste” or “no flavor” (mei ziwei 沒滋味‎). There are eight genres (the rules-of-purity/qinggui genre of monastic codes has been omitted as too technical):

  1. 1. Sayings records (yulu).7

  2. 2. Flame-of-the-lamp records (denglu).

  3. 3. Gāthā and shi poetry, etc. (jisong and shi).

  4. 4. Standards (ze 則‎) with poetry/prose comments.

  5. 5. Compendia (gangyao).

  6. 6. Letters (shu).

  7. 7. Pretend dialogues.

  8. 8. Glossaries.

Much of the language in the Chan records (both yulu and flame-of-the-lamp records) is a hybrid, a mixture of the written elegant language (wenyan wen) and a type of written Chinese based on spoken language. In prior ages, the latter was called “unrefined language” (suyu; suhua). The matter is complicated by the fact that certain vernacular elements from the Song onward “became ‘frozen’ and were also used when composing subsequent texts (instead of using the contemporary vernacular elements).”8 Eventually, the language of the Chan records became a sacerdotal language for Chan insiders. In Song times, members of the elite (the shidafu or scholar-official class) with an interest in Chan practice or even just an interest in a “good read” could probably read the Chan records with ease, but they are not easy reading for the modern reader.

In tackling the sacerdotal language of the Chan records, one of many possible pitfalls is vainly trying to interpret a vernacular expression as if it were literary Chinese. Fortunately, in recent times a number of vernacular Chinese and Chan/Zen dictionaries and glossaries have been published in China and Japan, and these publications are of great assistance.9 An example is the phrase bangjia (傍家‎). One may be tempted reflexively to render it into English as something like nearby the home. In fact, Japanese Edo-period Zen commentators made precisely this error when they glossed this phrase as: one who is nearby other family gates loses his own family treasure or other families.10 They mistakenly read the jia (家‎) as family or home, its usual meaning, unaware that here the jia is an “empty” adverbial suffix. This adverb bangjia means straying off onto a byway, digression, going astray off onto a side street, or divorced from the correct path. It appears in numerous Chan records.

Throughout the Chan records, ordinary, everyday words and expressions sometimes stand in for more imposing Buddhist-sounding equivalents. An example is the vernacular yumo 與麽‎ (with orthographical variants), which ordinarily means in this way or in that way. However, yumo can suggest the Sanskrit Buddhist term tathatā: reality as it truly is or, in what is sometimes humorously dubbed Buddhist Hybrid English, suchness/thusness. A problem is sorting out the instances in the Chan records when yumo carries only its everyday meaning (in that way) and the instances when it carries added buddhological weight of tathatā. The phrase zhe ge tiandi (者箇田地‎) has the everyday meaning this rice/vegetable field. But in the Chan records it often means this state, i.e., the mind ground (xindi), the original face (benlai mianmu), and so forth. The phrase ci shi (此事‎) in everyday usage simply means this matter, but in the Chan records it often stands for one’s original true nature (benfen). The third-person pronoun qu (渠‎) in the Chan records often refers to Mr. Man-in-charge (zhuren gong), the person with no characteristics or form. The phrase na bian (那邊‎) in everyday language means over there or yonder, but there are cases in the Chan records where it means one’s original hometown (benlai jiaxiang) or original face (benlai mianmu). This person (ge ren 箇人‎) can mean the proper/accomplished Chan person, and so on.

In the Chan records, one frequently encounters two lines concerned with the very Chan custom of tea drinking: qie zuo chi cha (且坐喫茶‎) and chi cha qu (喫茶去‎). At first glance, they look similar. However, they are drastically different in thrust. The first indicates approval: “Well, sit down and have a cup of tea.” The second has a pronounced dismissive tone: “After you’ve gone and had a cup of tea in the hall, come back and start all over again!” If the reader misses the sarcastic tone inherent in the second, the whole import of the passage in the Chan record is lost. Compare:

Suddenly someone asked the Master a question: “What if an extra-superior person were to come to you?” I’d say: “Well, why don’t you sit down and have a cup of tea!”11

. . .

Question: “An ancient had a saying: ‘If on the road you encounter someone who has awakened to the Way, do not respond with verbalization or with silence.’ I don’t know what to respond with.” The Master said: “Well, go have a cup of tea [and come back and start all over again]!”12

These sorts of language patterns account for some of the power and beauty of Chan literature—its ability to enchant the reader.


In fully developed Song-dynasty examples of the yulu (sayings record; 語錄‎) genre, which sometimes can run to ten or even thirty fascicles, the term yulu appears in two locations.13 The first is at the very beginning of the text as the general title of the yulu compilation as a whole: Such-and-Such Chan Master Yulu. The second is in the titles of “abbacy yulu,” discrete records for each monastery or hermitage at which the master in question served as abbot: Such-and-Such Mountain/Superior Prefecture Such-and-Such Monastery Yulu. The abbacy yulu are always placed at the very beginning of a Song yulu compilation. The sayings material in an abbacy yulu centers on formal talks of the master. These abbacy yulu are in turn followed by a mass of literary material of different genres—verses on old standards, gāthā, encomia, prefaces, colophons, stupa inscriptions, letters, and so forth. The first three texts in the following list, all from the Tang, could be dubbed “proto-yulu” or something of the sort. They provide only a small hint of what is to come. Here is a short list (with convenient abbreviations):

  1. 1. Records II and III (part of the Bodhidharma Anthology).

  2. 2. Platform Talks (Tanyu) of Heze Shenhui (荷澤神會‎; 684–758): Shenhui’s Platform.

  3. 3. Essentials of Mind Transmission (Chuanxin fa yao) and Wanling Record (Wanling lu): Huangbo Records.

  4. 4. Chan Master Linji Huizhao’s Yulu (Linji Huizhao chanshi yulu): Linjilu.

  5. 5. Chan Master Yunmen Kuangzhen’s Extended Record (Yunmen Kuangzhen chanshi guanglu): Yunmen guanglu.

  6. 6. Chan Master Dahui Pujue’s Yulu (Dahui Pujue chanshi yulu): Dahui yulu.

  7. 7. Chan Master Hongzhi’s Extended Record (Hongzhi chanshi guanglu): Hongzhi guanglu.

  8. 8. Chan Master Wuzhun Shifan’s Yulu (Wuzhun Shifan yulu = Fojian chanshi yulu): Wuzhun yulu.

  9. 9. Chan Master Shixi Xinyue’s Yulu (Shixi Xinyue chanshi yulu = Fohai chanshi yulu): Shixi yulu.

  10. 10. Preceptor Yanxi’s Yulu (Yanxi heshang yulu): Yanxi yulu.

  11. 11. Preceptor Xutang’s Yulu (Xutang heshang yulu): Xutang yulu.

  12. 12. Great Teacher Gaofeng’s Yulu (Gaofeng dashi yulu) and Preceptor Gaofeng’s Chan Essentials (Gaofeng heshang chanyao): Gaofeng yulu and Gaofeng chanyao.

  13. 13. Chan Master Dufeng Shan of Tianzhen’s Essential Sayings (Tianzhen Dufeng Shan chanshi yaoyu).

Records II and III of the Bodhidharma Anthology (a provisional English title for a text sometimes called the Bodhidharma Treatise) and Shenhui’s Platform Talks constitute an embryonic phase. Portions of the Bodhidharma Anthology are excerpted in traditional sources, but pieces on Dunhuang manuscripts allow the assembly of a more or less complete anthology. It is one of ten texts attributed to Bodhidharma or claiming to present his teaching. There are seven separate texts of the anthology: a biography of Bodhidharma, an exposition his teaching of two entrances (er ru 二入‎), two literary-style letters, and three records (Records I, II, and III). Record II is cast in question-and-answer format; Record III is a set of sayings—these two records are a long way from a Song yulu, but they are a first step in terms of style and format.

Record II breaks down into three parts: the opening portion centers on an unknown figure called Master Yuan (Yuan shi 緣師‎); sections following that center on Bodhidharma’s successor Huike; and the final sections are miscellaneous dialogues. Here are some sayings of Master Yuan:

Dharma Master Yuan also says: “When you have vital energy, you will avoid being discombobulated by other people, and your spirit will be okay. Why? Because when you esteem knowledge, you will be deceived by other people and by dharmas. If you esteem even a single person as ‘correct,’ you will not avoid being discombobulated and confused by this person.” . . . Dharma Master Zhi saw Dharma Master Yuan on the street of the butchers and asked: “Did you see the butchers slaughtering the sheep?” Dharma Master Yuan said: “I’m not blind! How could I not see them?” Dharma Master Zhi said: “Master Yuan—you’re saying you’ve witnessed a sight [forbidden by the disciplinary code]!” Master Yuan said: “You’ve witnessed it on top of witnessing it!”14

Shenhui’s Platform, a Dunhuang-manuscript text, is a record of talks given by the “evangelist” Shenhui sometime after 718. Although this text has a rather pronounced doctrinal cast, and thus is very far from a Song yulu, there is still a hint of the atmosphere of those yulu in the way Shenhui forcefully addresses his audience: “Good friends!” (zhishi 知識‎).15 This “everyone!” or “all of you!” form of address conveys much the same feeling as the vocative “Chan worthies!” (zhu chande 諸禪德‎) found so often in the Song yulu. Shenhui’s most basic doctrinal assertion involves the “clear and constant Knowing” that Bodhidharma silently pointed to as the very substance of mind:

The original substance [of mind] is empty and calm. From this empty and quiescent substance there arises “Knowing.” Correctly discriminating the greens, yellows, reds, and whites of the world as they are really is wisdom. But not conforming to that discrimination and thereby activating [false thought] is samādhi. Anything like congealing mind to enter samādhi is falling into a dark emptiness. After exiting from samādhi, to activate mind to discriminate conditioned things—[in the world] this is called wisdom, but in the sutras it is called false thought.16

The two Huangbo Records dealing with the teachings of Huangbo Xiyun (黃檗希運‎; d. 850) were compiled by Pei Xiu (裴休‎; 797–870), the eminent Tang statesman, illustrious calligrapher, and fervent (some said eccentric) Buddhist practitioner. The Chuanxin fa yao portion of the Huangbo Records consists of lengthy sermons, some of which are dated (“on the first day of the ninth month the Master said to Xiu”17), and records of question-and-answer sessions between Pei Xiu and the Master Huangbo. The sermons have the flavor of “dharma talks” (fayu) in a Song yulu. The Wanling lu portion is mostly the record of question-and-answer sessions, but concludes with a formal “dharma-convocation talk” (shangtang) by Huangbo.18 There is a relatively high density of vernacular elements in the Huangbo Records, though vernacular elements do appear in even earlier Tang texts such as Shenhui’s Platform. These characteristics mark the Huangbo Records as a kind of precursor phase to the true yulu of the Song.

Pei Xiu’s preface, which is dated to the day as “Dazhong 11, first eight days of the eleventh month” (October 22–29, 857), provides a detailed account of the genesis of the text:

In Huichang 2 [842] I was stationed as Surveillance Commissioner in Zhongling, and I welcomed the Master Huangbo Xiyun from [Huangbo] Mountain [in Gao’an county, Jiangxi] to [Hong]zhou [northwest of Zhongling] to take repose [i.e., become abbot] at Longxing Monastery. Day and night I inquired of him about the path. In Dazhong 2 [848] when I was stationed as Surveillance Commissioner at Wanling [in Jiangxi] I again went to do obeisance in welcoming him to the administrative department and had him dwell peacefully at the Kaiyuan Monastery, day and night receiving his dharma. I withdrew to record it [i.e., his talks], but I only obtained ten or twenty percent of it. I “wore it at my waist as a mind-seal pendant,” not daring to publish it. But now I have come to fear that its divine, pure meaning may be lost to the future, so at last I took it out and handed it over to his monk disciples Taizhou and Fajian. They took it back to Guangtang Monastery on the old mountain [i.e., Xiyun’s original Mt. Huangbo in coastal Fuzhou] and asked the venerables and dharma assembly whether it differed from what they had personally heard constantly in the past.19

Here is a snippet of the Chuanxin fa yao:

Question: “How can one not fall into the steps [of the bodhisattva practice]?” The Master said: “All day long eat your food without ever chewing a single grain. All day long walk about without ever treading on a bit of ground. If things are that way, there will be no [grasping of] the characteristics of self and other. Even though all day long you’re never apart from events, you’re not deluded by sense objects. This is called the ‘free person.’ And from moment to moment you never see any characteristics—don’t recognize the three times of before and after. The past hasn’t gone; the present doesn’t abide; and the future doesn’t come.”20

The yulu described herein are but a small sampling of the enormous mature yulu literature of the Song, Yuan, and Ming. Let us first look at the Linjilu, the yulu of Linji Yixuan (臨濟義玄‎; d. 866). Although Linji is a Tang-dynasty master, his yulu is really the product of Song editorial work; it is undeniably one of the most influential of all Chan records. Teachings, motifs, expressions, and so forth found in the Linjilu are repeated in innumerable later Chan records. Key themes and phrases from the Linjilu include the following:

  1. 1. Do not be passively rotated by the sense fields—everywhere use the sense fields (bu bei jing zhuan chuchu yong jing).

  2. 2. Stop the mind that rushes around and around searching (xiede niannian chi qiu xin).

  3. 3. Do not dither or hesitate (niyi).

  4. 4. Do not be bewildered or deluded by other people (mo shou renhuo).

  5. 5. A realized practitioner brings to bear everything he’s got, i.e., exhibits the nonverbal, unconstrained embodiment of the spontaneity of the buddha nature (quanti zuoyong).

  6. 6. In one’s current venue of activities (ni jin yongchu), nothing is lacking.21

Yunmen Wenyan (雲門文偃‎; 864–949) and his lineage were very important in the development of Chan literature. The Yunmen-school figure Yuanjue Zongyan (圓覺宗演‎) of Mt. Gu in coastal Fuzhou edited both the Linjilu and the Yunmen guanglu in the early 1100s. Yuanjue’s editing of these two yulu is noteworthy—the vibrant Linji persona of the standard edition of the Linjilu produced by Yuanje becomes a presence in subsequent Chan records, and the standards (ze 則‎) collections drew more standards from Yuanjue’s edition of the Yunmen guanglu than from any other yulu. Yuanjue’s shaping of the materials at his disposal may account for the fact that these two yulu show elements in common. For instance, both have sections labelled “calibrating and adjudicating” (kanbian 勘辨‎) and “record of the master’s activities” (xinglu 行錄‎). Although scatological phrasing is common in Chan texts (the word shit [shi 屎‎] appears hundreds and hundreds of times), Yuanjue’s Yunmen guanglu edition is particularly noteworthy in this respect, with almost thirty examples:

The Master was drinking tea in the Sangha Hall. He held up a plate and said: “I’ll let you eat steamed buns. What do you say this is?” He substituted for them: “Dried dog shit.”22

. . .

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “When I offer for consideration the words of an old standard and cause you to immediately accept it, I am already spreading shit on top of your heads. Even if I were to hold up a single hair and you were to thereby understand the whole world, it would already be gouging out a wound in perfectly good flesh. At any rate, you must really arrive at this state [zhe ge tiandi 者箇田地‎]. If you’re not there yet, well, you mustn’t filch empty names. Instead, you must take a step back and try and search for what is right there under your own feet: what is the principle here? In reality, there isn’t the slightest thing that could constitute understanding for you or that could constitute hesitation for you. Each one of you persons on duty has the one matter, the great function that appears right in front of you. And you needn’t trouble yourself about expending a single iota of energy. You are no different from the patriarchs and buddhas. From the outset, in the case of all you people, your confidence roots have been meager and your bad karma thick. Suddenly you’ve sprouted so many [beast] horns. You shoulder your bowl bags as you make pilgrimage through thousands upon thousands of villages—why trouble yourselves? Well, what is it that all of you are lacking? Who among you great persons doesn’t have his portion? You understand all by your lonesome, but still your luck isn’t holding. You should not be deceived by others and do as others tell you. As soon as you see an old preceptor open his mouth, you’d better immediately stuff his mouth with a stone, then he’ll be just like a green fly on top of shit!”23

Perhaps Yuanjue enhanced his Linjilu by inserting a bit of the outré style:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “Beyond the red-meatball [i.e., the body-and-mind of the five skandhas] there is the one true person [i.e., true mind] without rank. [That true person] is constantly exiting and entering from the face-gates of all of you people. Those who have not seen with their own eyes: Look! Look! At one point there was a monk who emerged [from the standing assembly] to ask: ‘What is the true person without rank?’ The Master got down from his chair and grabbed him by the collar, saying: ‘C’mon! C’mon!’ The monk dithered. The Master, thrusting him back, said: ‘This true person without rank—what a magnificent piece of dried shit!’ And he at once returned to his room.”24

. . .

“Venerables! You shoulder such traveling gear as your bowl bag and sack of shit [i.e., physical body], running around byways [bangjia 傍家‎] seeking ‘the Buddha’ and seeking ‘the dharma.’ The one [true person] rushing around right now in that way—just who do you think he [qu 渠‎] is? He is lively like a fish—he has no base. Try to round him up—he doesn’t coalesce. Prod him—he doesn’t disperse. Seek him—the further away he is. Don’t seek him—he’s right in front of you. The divine sound [of that true person] is filling your ears. If you don’t have confidence in him, then even a century’s toil is futile.”25

Our next yulu is the Dahui yulu in thirty fascicles. Dahui Zonggao (大慧宗杲‎; 1089–1163) is the representative Chan master of the Song period. Due to his association with certain scholar-officials who advocated retaking the North from the Jin/Jurchen (some were his students), Dahui was exiled to the South for sixteen years, but finally was restored to the abbotship of the premier monastery of the day, Jingshan. This enormous thirty-fascicle text, contains: his abbacy yulu for seven Chan monasteries; a stupa inscription; master-student interactions in the master’s room; verses on old standards; gāthā; encomia for the buddhas and patriarchs; self-encomia; “holding the torch” pieces (used in a type of funerary practice that symbolizes cremation); general sermons; dharma talks to named individuals; and letters (the last also circulated independently). The Dahui yulu was presented to the imperial court in 1171 and entered the canon the following year, less than a decade after Dahui’s death. Here is a talk:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “The Master picked up his stick and showed it to the sangha, saying: ‘Do you see this?’ Also, he hit the desk once, saying: ‘Do you hear it? If you say you really saw it and really heard it, you’re merely a fellow who follows sounds and pursues forms!’ He once again raised it, saying: ‘Do you see it?’ Also, he hit the desk once, saying: ‘Do you hear it? If you say you did not see it and did not hear it, you’re merely a fellow who avoids forms and evades sounds! When all is said and done, how about it?’ He flung the stick down, saying: ‘When the egret has nine marshes [to choose from], it finds it difficult to take flight freely; when the horse doesn’t have a thousand miles to roam in, it futilely chases after the wind.’ ”26

Next is the Hongzhi guanglu. Hongzhi Zhengjue (宏智正覺‎; 1091–1157), the representative figure of the Song-dynasty revival of the Caodong school, was a monk of great literary talent. The Hongzhi guanglu consists of eight fascicles: his abbacy yulu for five Chan monasteries; verses on old standards; prose comments on old standards; another abbacy yulu for Mt. Tiantong; talks at small, impromptu gatherings; dharma talks for named individuals; praises; and verses and inscriptions, including the Inscription on Silence-and-Illumination (Mozhao ming)‎ of seventy-two four-character lines.27 Here are two of Hongzhi’s talks, followed by the opening lines of his Inscription on Silence-and-Illumination:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “Stand alone without changing—walk all around without risk. Don’t be averse to the sense objects that fill up your eyes—just have confidence in the fact that the three realms are mind-only. Array the thousand peaks and face toward the commanding mountain—bring together the hundred rivers so they reach the sea. Chan worthies! If you are able to understand this, you’ll roll up the drop-curtain and eliminate obstructions. If you are not able to understand this, you’ll close the door and produce blockages. When you haggle over understanding vis-à-vis not understanding, the pail of black lacquer [i.e., nescience] remains the same, and you are uneasy.”28

. . .

At a small [impromptu] gathering a monk asked: “What saying do you have, Preceptor, that can strike people like me personally and teach them?” The Master said: “I have no trace of elegant literary style—the initial state of being is impossible to transmit.” The monk said: “Should we then say that Chan is a matter of empty and spontaneous illumination requiring no expenditure of mental effort?” The Master said: “Loom above things while relying on nothing; be ethereal while wading through sense objects.” The monk said: “Isn’t that the 100-percent time?” The Master said: “Try to pass through to yonder [na bian 那邊‎ i.e., your original hometown or original face]—then you’ll have a path to jettisoning self!” The monk said: “I open the golden bolt [on the mystery gate to this yonder] and try to get a look at what’s inside, but it’s an indistinct and strange scene.” The Master said: “That’s not the yonder [I’m talking about]!” The monk said: “What is this yonder?” The Master said: “[Yonder is,] when walking about the lapis lazuli hall, you fall forward and are surely pulverized into little bits.”29

. . .

Silence-and-Illumination Inscription:

Complete silence—forget words; complete radiance—right in front of you.

When reflecting, vast; the body-locus numinous.

Numinous in solitary illumination; within illumination a return to the miraculous.

The dew-laden moon in the Milky Way; the snowy pines on the cloudy peak.30

Wuzhun Shifan (無準師範‎; 1177–1249) belonged to the Yangqi-Po’an wing of the Linji lineage. At the invitation of the Song Emperor Lizong, he ascended the seat and gave a dharma talk in the Hall of Compassionate Brightness at the imperial court. His five-fascicle Wuzhun yulu contains the following: preface; abbacy yulu for five Chan monasteries; talks at small, impromptu gatherings; dharma talks for named individuals; general sermons; prose comments on old standards; verses on old standards; verses; praises of the buddhas and Chan patriarchs; requests for praises; remarks at minor functions; and prefaces and colophons. Here is one of his talks:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: The Master beckoned the great sangha, saying: ‘Chan. Chan. The sublime and high summit. In front of the thousand-foot cliff—how could there be an ancient pine tree? Strange and odd; strange and odd! Crooked and bent; crooked and bent! Twisting and slippery; twisting and slippery!’ If any of you people understand in this manner, you were born in the [non-existent] donkey year [i.e., you’re so stupid that, no matter how many aeons you pass through, you’ll never reach understanding].”31

Shixi Xinyue (石溪心月‎; d. 1254) was in the Yangqi-Songyuan branch of the Linji lineage. His Shixi yulu consists of three fascicles: a preface; abbacy yulu for six Chan monasteries; take-the-flywhisk talks; small, impromptu talks; general sermons; dharma talks for named individuals; prefaces and colophons; verses; praises on the buddhas and Chan patriarchs; requests for praises; and remarks at minor functions. Here are two talks:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “Before the aeon of nothingness, continuous and tightly meshed. That’s already gone—don’t chase after it. After the aeon of nothingness, tightly meshed and continuous. That hasn’t yet come—well, put it aside. Just when it’s the aeon of nothingness—the continuous rests in the tightly meshed, and the tightly meshed rests in the continuous. How do you go about realizing this? A gnarled and withered tree—the message of springtime lies within it.”32

. . .

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: The Master picked up his stick, hit the desk once, and said: “Before the seven buddhas of the past, it was such.” Again, he hit the desk once and said: “After the seven buddhas of the past, it’s also such.” He hit the desk once more: “A cloud arises—evening in the valley; a solitary crane descends—the distant sky.”33

Yanxi Guangwen (偃溪廣聞‎; 1189–1263) was in the Yangqi-Dahui branch of the Linji lineage. His two-fascicle Yanxi yulu contains the following: abbacy yulu for eight Chan monasteries; general sermons; dharma talks for named individuals; verses; praises of the buddhas and Chan patriarchs; requests for praises; remarks at minor functions; prefaces and colophons; a memorial; stupa inscriptions; and a colophon. Here are two short talks:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “ ‘Complete silence—unexcelled awakening is gotten from this. Complete understanding—a smack on the golden pheasant, and one sees the light.’ Chan disciples! Both of these [high-falutin’ lines] are for the senile!”34

. . .

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “Chan is non-thinking—the Way abjures any sense of meritorious accomplishment. Get rid of these two avenues, and it will be like the time of “Great Peace”: You’ll drive your buoyant carriage over deeply familiar roads and be able to go anywhere. You want to look off at Deshan’s [stick] and Linji’s [shout]—they are very far off! How so? Before [Confucius wrote down a single] stroke [of the commentaries on the Classic of Changes called the Ten Wings] there had always been [the sixty-four hexagrams of] the Classic of Changes; after [Confucius] edited [3,000 poems] down [to 305] there was no Classic of Poetry.”35

Xutang Zhiyu (虛堂智愚‎; 1185–1269), also known by the sobriquet “the old man who has ceased plowing” (Xigengsou 息耕叟‎), belonged to the Yangqi-Songyuan branch of the Linji lineage. He was honored by two emperors. His ten-fascicle Xutang yulu contains the following: abbacy yulu for ten Chan monasteries; dharma talks for named individuals; prefaces and colophons; requests for praises; general sermons; verses on old standards; substitution comments (i.e., comments in the ancient’s stead when the ancient is silent) and additional comments (i.e., comments as alternatives for the ancient’s comment) for 100 old standards; praises for the buddhas and patriarchs; obeisance at the stupas of Chan patriarchs; remarks at rituals; verses; a “continued collection”; two “later records” of Dharma convocations at Chan monasteries; verses; remarks at functions; remarks at “holding-the-torch ceremonies” (a funerary practice symbolizing cremation); dharma talks for named individuals; requests for praises; and a farewell-to-the-world verse. Here is one of his talks and his farewell poem:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: “Every day while doing cross-legged sitting on your cushions you people are immersed in delusive thoughts, idly looking on with folded arms. The result is you bolt to the south and run to the north. You are like ducks gulping down snails. Today I shall betray nothing in my tone of voice, so as to allow all of you to have a clue for entering awakening.” After a long while he clapped his hands, saying: “One-half can enter; one-half cannot.”36

Xutang’s poem at death:

  • For eight-five years
  • I’ve known neither buddhas nor patriarchs.
  • I pay no attention and walk off,
  • Vanishing into the immense sky.37

The Yuan-dynasty Chan master Gaofeng Yuanmiao (高峰原妙‎; 1238–1295) was in the Yangqi-Po’an wing of the Linji lineage. Two records exist for Gaofeng, the Gaofeng yulu and the Gaofeng chanyao, and they show an enormous overlap—almost three-quarters of the Gaofeng chanyao text appears in the Gaofeng yulu. Gaofeng’s “three essentials” (san yao 三要‎), which is found in both records, became well known throughout East Asian Chan/Sŏn/Zen. Yunqi Zhuhong of the Ming treasured the Gaofeng yulu and carried it on his person. The Gaofeng chanyao was printed numerous times in Korea and became an integral part of the monastic curriculum in Korea as one of the four books of the Fourfold Collection (Sajip), and, in Japan, Gaofeng’s “three essentials” became a favorite Zen formulation of Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1768). Here are two Gaofeng talks, the first on zeal (for which he is justly known) and the second on his “three essentials”:

In the practice of Chan, if you want to achieve success within a set time limit, it is like falling to the bottom of a thousand-foot well. From morning till evening and from evening to morning all your myriad ruminations and reflections will be solely the thought of seeking a way out. In the end, you will have absolutely no thought beyond this. Truly, if you can accumulate results of practice in this way, it will take perhaps three days, perhaps five days, perhaps seven days. If you don’t penetrate to awakening, then today I have committed a grave violation of the injunction against lying and for eternity will fall into the hell of the ox-plow that pulls out the tongues of oral-karma sinners.38

. . .

If you are thinking of making a genuine hands-on investigation of Chan, you absolutely must possess three essentials. The first essential is having the faculty of great confidence. You know perfectly well that there is this matter [ci shi 此事‎]—it is as if you are leaning against an unshakeable Mt. Sumeru. The second essential is having the determination of great fury—it is as if you have encountered the scoundrel who killed your father, and immediately you want to cut him in two with one thrust of your sword. The third essential is the sensation of great uncertainty or doubt—it is as if you have in secret committed an atrocious act, and the very moment has come when you are about to be exposed, but you are not yet exposed. Indeed, if you can come to possess these three essentials, certainly on that very day you will achieve success.39

The Ming Linji Chan master Dufeng Benshan (毒峰本善‎; 1419–1482) exhibited both the Dahui style of huatou practice found in Letters of Dahui (text no. 37) and the sort of extreme zeal for practice of the Yuan master Gaofeng (text no. 12). This amalgam was a powerful current in Ming Chan and into the Qing. Here are two excerpts from Dufeng’s yulu, Chan Master Dufeng Shan of Tianzhen’s Essential Sayings:

Spoken at a Dharma convocation: A monk asked: “Preceptor Gaofeng instructed the assembly:

‘The clay ox in the sea runs clenching the moon in his teeth.

The stone tiger on the cliff ledge sleeps embracing her cub.

The iron snake bores right into the vajra eye.

Mounted on an elephant in the Kunlun Mountains, the egret guides it along.

Within these four lines there is the single line [i.e., the huatou]. [The huatou] can both kill and bring to life, can both unleash and snatch up. If you can investigate [the huatou] thoroughly, it will permit your finishing your entire life’s Chan training.’ But I don’t know that single line.” The Master said: “Wait until you awaken, and then I’ll tell you. Understand?” The monk said: “I don’t understand.” The Master said: “Haven’t you heard it said: ‘If you have a staff, I’ll give you a staff; if you don’t have a staff, I’ll snatch away your staff.’ ” He got down from the high seat.40

. . .

If you wish to achieve liberation from samsara, first you must produce the mind of great confidence and make the four great vows. Stake your life on it. Before you have awakened, don’t retreat from the aspiration for awakening. Don’t alter your integrity concerning practice. If you haven’t smashed the case you are probing, seen clearly, and severed even the tiniest activation of samsara, then you must make a vow not to break off midway and let go of your huatou [i.e., the phrase your face before your father and mother conceived you], not to separate yourself from a real teacher. If on purpose you contravene this vow, you will fall into a bad rebirth path and suffer immeasurable suffering. If you produce this great vow and protect this mind-set, only then will you be able to grasp the case as my thing.41

Flame-of-the-Lamp Records

Flame-of-the-lamp records (denglu 燈錄‎) focus on sequences of inheritors of the Chan dharma. The root metaphor is the flame of one lamp igniting the next lamp in an endless series of lamps, a metaphor that appears in the sutras. For instance, the “Entrance into the Dharmadhātu Chapter” of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra says: “It is like a single lamp that lights hundreds and thousands of lamps—this single original lamp never decreases and never goes out.”42 These texts are not really “histories” like Sima Qian’s Shiji and the standard histories of China. They are more accurately described as collections of Chan “standards” (ze 則‎) arranged as a series of heirs of the flame of the lamp (a genealogy). Here is the short list of texts:

  1. 14. Record of the Transmission of the Dharma Treasure (Chuan fabao ji): Chuanfa.

  2. 15. Record of the Lanka Masters and Disciples (Lengqie shizi ji): Lanka.

  3. 16. Record of the Dharma Treasure Down Through the Generations (Lidai fabao ji): Lidai.

  4. 17. Precious-Forest Traditions (Baolin zhuan): Baolin.

  5. 18. Patriarchal Hall Collection (Zutangji): Zutang.

  6. 19. Jingde Era Record of the Transmission of the Flame-of-the-Lamp (Jingde chuandeng lu): Jingde.

  7. 20. Tiansheng Era Extended Flame-of-the-Lamp Record (Tiansheng guang denglu): Tiansheng.

  8. 21. Jianzhong Jingguo Era Continued Flame-of-the-Lamp Record (Jianzhong Jingguo xu denglu): Jianzhong.

  9. 22. Program of the Linked Lamp-Flames of the Chan School (Zongmen liandeng huiyao): Liandeng.

  10. 23. Jiatai Era Universal Flame-of-the-Lamp Record (Jiatai pu denglu): Jiatai.

The Chuanfa and the Lanka are flame-of-the-lamp records produced in the “Metropolitan school” of Chan, the East Mountain school that migrated from rural Hubei province to the region of the imperial capitals in the North beginning in the 680s.43 Both are Dunhuang-manuscript texts with compilation dates in the early 8th century, making them the earliest extant examples of the genre. The Lidai, a Dunhuang-manuscript flame-of-the-lamp record with a late-8th-century compilation date, is the transmission record of the Baotang house of Chan.44 Baotong was located in Sichuan (and had considerable influence on the emerging Tibetan Chan tradition). The Lidai contains an extensive set of the sayings of Baotang Wuzhu (保唐無住‎; 714–774).

The Chuanfa gives us an excellent description of the genre:

Therefore, I have now compiled a brief record. Those who have transmitted the dharma in succession down from Bodhidharma are recorded in sequence as the Record of the Transmission of the Treasure in one roll. I will merely continue the names and deeds which are known of them, the locations where they transformed beings [i.e., taught disciples], that which has come to the attention of the ears and eyes of people [i.e., oral traditions], and that which can be ascertained from books. Since they were fused with the unconditioned and the biographical records are themselves simple, when it comes to their realization of the sagely purport, it will not be possible to express it in words. Apart from this there are also “icon charts” used in the composition of this record.45

The Chuanfa begins with Bodhidharma, not Śākyamuni or Indian patriarchs, but it does quote Huiyuan’s preface to Buddhabhadra’s translation of the Dhyāna Sūtra in an attempt to make the connection backward to the most recent buddha in this world system, Śākyamuni:

“The Preface to the Dhyāna Sūtra of the superior man Huiyuan of Mt. Lu of old says: ‘The Buddha handed over to Ᾱ‎nanda. Ᾱ‎nanda transmitted to Madhyāntika, and Madhyāntika transmitted to Śaṇavāsa.’ We know that after that it did not fall to the ground, but was preserved in someone. Wonderful!”46

Thus, the connection to the buddhas of the past is found in the earliest extant example of the flame-of-the-lamp genre.

This genre can be divided into three phases:

  1. 1. The three Dunhuang manuscript texts (Chuanfa; Lanka; and Lidai) of the 8th century (prototype phase; corresponding to the Dunhuang-manuscript text Bodhidharma Anthology).

  2. 2. The Baolin and Zutang, which were, to a certain extent, lost to the Chinese tradition (developing phase).

  3. 3. The five lamps (wu deng) of the Song dynasty (mature phase; corresponding to mature Song yulu compendia).

There is an enormous growth in size over time: from a single fascicle in the case of the Chuanfa of the early 8th century to thirty fascicles in the case of the five lamps of the Song. This inheritor genre from the beginning included material that was not genealogical or biographical, such as sayings and poetry. By the time of the five lamps of the Song dynasty, the inheritor genre had become a repository for all sorts of miscellaneous material, such as praises, letters, etc.

The Baolin of 801 is the flame-of-the-lamp record of the Hongzhou house of Chan.47 Of the original ten fascicles, only seven are extant. The sequence of buddhas and patriarchs in the Baolin became the standard in later records. The Zutang, which is usually assigned a compilation date of 952, inherits the Baolin and becomes the basis of the later flame-of-the-lamp literature.48 The Zutang seems to have circulated in China until the end of the 11th century, but its transmission after that is unclear. It was rediscovered in Korea at the beginning of the 20th century. There are several theories concerning the stages of development of this text; here is that of Christoph Anderl:

  1. 1. A short 952 version consisting of a collection of dialogues and comments on the southern lineage of Xuefeng Icun (822–908) and related lineages—this incarnation was one fascicle.

  2. 2. Between 952 and about 1000 additions were made—during this period the text came to be divided into ten fascicles.

  3. 3. After appearance of Jingde (1004) interest in Zutang faded.

  4. 4. Once the Zutang reached Korea more additions were made (Korean preface; table of contents; and entries on Korean monks).

  5. 5. Entries on the seven buddhas of the past, Śākyamuni, the Indian patriarchs and possibly even the Chinese patriarchs may have been added in Korea.49

The length of the Zutang entries varies a great deal—important lineage figures have long entries. Other entries are very short, with little or no biographical information—just mention of the succession (with the formula “Y succeeds X”) and inclusion of sayings. This emphasis on sayings materials continues through the later five lamps of the Song.

The Jingde is the core of the five lamps of the Song. The original compilation of 1004 was the work of Daoyuan (道原‎), a little-known member of the Fayan school of Chan, successor to Tiantai Deshao (891–972). The Fayan school was oriented to the Zongmi-Yanshou advocacy of the harmony of Chan and teachings. Daoyuan’s compilation was subsequently reedited by a group of scholar-officials led by Yang Yi (楊億;‎ 974–1020), a major political figure at the Song court and a fervent partisan of the Linji school. Yang Yi’s revised Jingde was presented to the Emperor Zhenzong and entered into the canon. Yang Yi’s preface states:

There was a monk of the Eastern Wu named Daoyuan. With tranquillized mind and the joy of having deeply entered dhyāna, he sought out the hidden principle of emptiness. He spread out the [genealogical] charts of the [Chan] patriarchs circulating in the world, made extracts from the yulu of all the regions, put in proper sequence the origins and developments of the [Chan] lineages, and reworked complexities of phrasing. From the seven buddhas down to the successors of the great Fayan [Wenyi; 885–958], altogether it encompasses fifty-two generations and 1701 people. Consisting of thirty fascicles, he called it Jingde Era Record of the Transmission of the Flame-of-the-Lamp.50

Note that Daoyuan, the original compiler, is said to have worked from “charts,” just as in the case of the Chuanfa (where it is “icon charts”), and that he included extracts from yulu. Yulu material is found throughout the Jingde—in fact, like the Zutang, not a few entries lack any biographical information whatsoever and consist solely of sayings. The opening entries in the Jingde are entries for the seven tathāgatas of the past, the first of the seven being Vipaśyin Buddha. This material is parallel to several Indian Buddhist sources. The Jingde begins as follows:

Vipaśyin Buddha: the 998th honored buddha of the past adorned eon. Verse: “The body receives birth in the midst of no-characteristics; it is like an illusionist’s producing various forms. The illusionist and the mind have never existed; sin and good fortune are both empty and unfixed.” The Dirghāgama says: “Human life-span was 80,000 years at the time this buddha emerged into the world. He was of the warrior-noble class, and his family name was Kolita. His father’s name was Bandhumant; his mother’s name was Bandhumatī. He lived in the city of Bandhumatī. [At the time of his awakening] he sat beneath a pātali tree. He spoke dharma at three assemblies [of arhat disciples]. He crossed over to nirvana 348,000 people. His two chief monk disciples were named Khaṇḍa and Tiṣya. His attendant was Aśoka, his son Susaṃvṛttaskandha.51

For each of the subsequent buddhas leading up to Śākyamuni, exactly the same categories are covered. Although each set of details is different, the life stories are identical, utterly stereotyped. This Indian formulaic approach sets the tone for the remainder of the 1,701 entries of the Jingde and, in fact, for the flame-of-the-lamp genre as whole. It is sometimes said the format of this genre is indebted to the arranged biographies (lie zhuan) format of the Sima Qian’s Shiji and the subsequent standard histories of China, but it is at least arguable that the flame-of-the-lamp format owes a great deal to Indian traditions concerning the myriad buddhas of the past, such as the accounts found in the Buddhavaṃsa and Dirghāgama. The life-story trajectory in the flame-of-the-lamp entries (implicit when there really is no life story but only dialogues and sayings) is always the same as that of the seven tathāgatas of the past: awakening, speaking dharma, and teaching disciples. This is not the trajectory of the arranged biographies of the standard histories. Those entries emphasize “an individual’s official career, contributions to orthodox learning, or outstanding moral qualities or lack of them.”52 Other aspects are left unmentioned.

The first actual date mentioned in the Jingde is at the end of the entry for the twenty-seventh patriarch Prajñātāra: it is stated that his cremation and stupa correspond to the date of “first year of the Daming era of Emperor Xiaowu of the Song dynasty” (i.e., 457). Chinese-style dating is now applicable. Following Bodhidharma is the “twenty-ninth patriarch Great Master Huike” and his successors. The entry for Huike, the first Chinese to appear, and subsequent entries use biographical material, sayings, and verse in the manner of lego blocks. Sometimes, when nothing is known of the details of a master’s life, there is only a name and a set of dialogues. Here is a typical entry:

Chan Master Zongche of Luohan Temple in Hangzhou was a man of Wuxing district in Huzhou [Zhejiang]. His family name was Wu. When young he left home and at twenty received the full precepts. He made the rounds of various regions probing Chan with various teachers. He became a disciple of Chan Master Huangbo Xiyun [d. 850]. Huangbo with one glance assessed him as of high capacity. He entered Huangbo’s room and understood the purport. Later, upon his arrival in Hangzhou, the Metropolitan Governor Liu Yan came to admire his Way and erected a monastery for him west of the Superior Prefecture. It was called Arhat Temple. He instructed three-hundred followers there. One time the Master had a Dharma convocation: A monk asked: “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?” The Master said: “Bone breaker!” (The Master often used this phrase in teaching students, and so people of the time called him “Preceptor Bone Breaker.”) Question: “What is the southern lineage/northern lineage?” The Master said: “Mind is lineage.” A monk said: “Do you still read the teachings?” The Master said: “The teachings are mind.” Question: “My natural endowment is mostly dark—how can I awaken?” The Master said: “The clouds of the defilements are curled up by the wind [of emptiness]; the great sky is vast and clear.” A monk said: “How does one attain brightness?” The Master said: “The lunar disk is gleaming and immaculate; its light rays bound over ten-thousand miles.” The Master later showed illness and transmigrated. His disciples erected a stupa at the northern corner of the temple. In Zhenming 5 of the Liang [919] King Qian enlarged his temple into Arhat Monastery for the Protection of the Country and moved the Master’s stupa to the escarpment of Mt. Daci. Today the monastery and the stupa both exist.53

Indian designations of cosmological time such as the “ornament” aeon (when a thousand buddhas appear) and the “auspicious” aeon (the present aeon) give way to historical dates according to reign titles of Chinese emperors, and fabulously imaginative Indian place names yield to the names of actual prefectures, cities, and so forth in China, but nothing really changes. In a sense, one tathāgata is all tathāgatas, one Chan master all Chan masters.

The Tiansheng (completed in 1036), which has a distinct Linji orientation, is a direct continuation of the Jingde, extending the Nanyue Huairang line (leading to Mazu and Linji) down to the ninth generation and the Qingyuan Xingsi line (leading to Dongshan Liangjie) down to the twelfth.54 Its compiler Li Zunxu (李遵勖‎; 988–1038), a Linji layman, was on close terms with Yang Yi, who revised the Jingde. The Jianzhong of the Yunmen-line master Foguo Weibo (佛國惟白‎; d. unknown), which was completed in 1101, shows a different sort of structure from the Jingde and Tiansheng and a Yunmen orientation in its materials. It is divided into five gates and tips the scale even further away from biographical material towards sayings:

  1. 1. Gate of the correct lineage (zhengzong men).

  2. 2. Gate of responding to karmic trigger mechanisms (duiji men). This is by far the biggest section, containing a large number of dialogues and Dharma-convocation talks.

  3. 3. Gate of prose comments on old standards (niangu men).

  4. 4. Gate of verse comments on old standards (songgu men).

  5. 5. Gate of verses (jisong men) on Śākyamuni to Huineng (the 33rd Chan patriarch) and then miscellaneous poetry.55

The Liandeng of Huiweng Wuming (晦翁悟明‎; d. unknown), who was in the Dahui line of Linji Chan, was completed in 1183.56 This work begins with Vipaśyin Buddha like the Jingde (giving the same verse for this buddha) and goes through the seven tathāgatas of the past, the twenty-eight Indian patriarchs and six patriarchs of China, before splitting into the Nanyue and Qingyuan lines. This flame-of-the-lamp record covers more than 600 figures. It, too, is strong on sayings and gives short shrift to biographical material. Perhaps most revealing of the increasing emphasis on sayings over biographical details is the fact that the Liandeng incorporates the whole of Dahui Zonggao’s Correct Dharma-Eye Depository (Zheng fayan zang), a collection of old standards with Dahui’s occasional comments. The last fascicle of the Liandeng consists of verse.

The Jiatai of Lei’an Zhengshou (雷庵正受‎; d. unknown) of the Yunmen school was completed in 1204.57 It supplements gaps in the Jingde, Tiansheng, and Jianzhong. Beyond covering Chan monks as the previous flame-of-the-lamp records do, it incorporates entries on emperors and “worthy subjects” (xian chen). The last four fascicles include verses on old standards, praises, and miscellaneous writings (songs and inscriptions).

The overall development of the five lamps is in the direction of reduction of the quantity of biographical data and an increase in the number of sayings—sometimes to the point where there is only the name of the master in question followed by his sayings. However, the arrangement of entries always remains that of a genealogical tree—the presentation is always in terms of “dharma heirs” (fasi 法嗣‎).


  1. 24. Verses of the Patriarchs and Masters of the Chan School (Chanmen zhu zushi jisong): Verses of the Chan School.

  2. 25. Chan Monks of All Regions Chant of the Wind and Moon Collection (Jianghu fengyue ji): Wind and Moon.

  3. 26. Hanshan’s Poems Collection (Hanshanzi shi ji): Hanshan.

The two poles of Chan poetry run from occasionally pedestrian “religious verse” (gāthā = ji/jisong) sprinkled liberally with Buddhist terms to suggestive shi poetry in the style of the mainstream Chinese poetry tradition, which often aims for the classic goal of “fusion of feeling and scene” (qingjing jiaorong). Two Song-dynasty collections illustrate these two poles: Verses of the Chan School (the religious-verse pole) and Wind and Moon (the suggestive shi poetry pole).

Verses of the Chan School is a four-fascicle Song collection compiled jointly by two unknown monks named Zisheng (子昇‎) and Ruyou (如祐‎). It contains eighty-four pieces labelled variously as inscriptions; chants; gāthās; songs; warning whips; guidebooks; instructions; warnings; admonitions, and so forth. Such distinctions are quite imprecise. Titles include: Transmission of the Dharma Verses of the Buddhas and Patriarchs; Third Patriarch Chan Master Jianzhi’s Trust-in-Mind Inscription; several Inscriptions on Cross-legged Sitting; Chan Master Fadeng’s Imitations of Hanshan’s Poems; Great Master Yongjia Zhenjue’s Song of Realizing the Way; Guishan’s Warning Whip; Preceptor Shitou’s Verifying-Sameness Tally; Ten-Oxen Verses; and Six-Oxen Verses.

The Trust-in-Mind Inscription (Xinxin ming) found in Verses of the Chan School, which consists of four-syllable lines, is attributed to the shadowy third Chan patriarch Sengcan. Here is the opening portion:

The ultimate Way entails nothing hard, but hates selecting and choosing. Just have nothing to do with hatred and love, and you will have penetrating clarity.

If there is the slightest differentiation, it will be as far apart as heaven and earth. Should you want to have the Way manifest itself right in front of you, don’t preserve [the two poles of] going along with me and going against me.

When going against me and going along with me struggle with each other, this is mind illness. Without knowing the profound purport, you will strive in vain to still your thoughts.

The Way is a perfect sameness like the sky, with no deficit and no surplus. Because you seize and reject, it’s not like this.

Don’t pursue the karmically conditioned and don’t fixate in awakening to emptiness. It’s the single taste of steady-and-calm mind—without a trace everything spontaneously disappears.

If you insist mind is moving and force it to return to a stop position, the more you try to stop it, the more it will move. You’ll just stagnate in the two extremes—how will you come to know the single taste?

If you don’t comprehend the single taste, you’ll be at a loss in the two extremes. Expel existence, and you’ll sink into existence; follow after emptiness, and you’ll turn your back on emptiness.

The more you engage in a lot of talk and deliberative thought, the more you won’t be yoked to things as they really are. Cut off talk and deliberative thought, and you’ll pass through every situation.58

The Song of Realizing the Way (Zhengdao ge) found in Verses of the Chan School, which consists mostly of seven-syllable lines, is attributed to a disciple of the sixth patriarch Huineng. Both this song and the Trust-in-Mind Inscription began drawing interest in the Chan community around the early 9th century, and by the Song period the Song of Realizing the Way had become one of the most well-known Chan texts. Here are its opening lines:

Why don’t you take a look at . . .

The idle person of the Way who has cut off practice and is doing nothing?

He isn’t trying to eliminate false thought, nor is he seeking the real.

Avidyā intrinsically is the buddha-nature.

The empty physical body of illusionary magical-creation is the dharmakāya.

When you’ve awakened to the dharmakāya, there is not a single thing.

The original source by its very nature is the buddha of the heavenly real.

The five skandhas are just clouds floating about in the sky.

The three poisons [greed, anger, and stupidity] rise and submerge like bubbles on water.59

Given their liberal use of Buddhist terminology in the service of a straightforward presentation of Buddhist truths, both the Trust-in-Mind Inscription and the Song of Realizing the Way show a strong affinity to the gāthā style and hence are far removed from the style of classical shi poetry.

Wind and Moon is a collection of 270 heptasyllabic jueju quatrains by seventy-nine Chan poet-monks. These quatrains observe the technical rules of the mainstream poetic tradition and are quite the equal of those of accomplished scholar-official poets. This Yuan-dynasty collection was compiled (for the most part) by Songpo Zongqi 松坡宗憩‎, who was in the Linji line of Wuzhun Shifan. Many of the poets included were disciples of Wuzhun Shifan, Xutang Zhiyu, Shixi Xinyue, and Yanxi Guangwen (all included in the yulu section). Here are four quatrains:

Listening to the Snow by Xutang Zhiyu

Though it’s a cold, windless night, the bamboo is making a sound.

Few and far between and subtle, it passes through the window eaves beneath the pines.

Hearing with the ears is not as good as [the Śūraṃgama Sūtra’s] hearing with mind.

So I stop chanting the sutra and sit before the lamp with a half-open sutra scroll.60

. . .

Listening to a Frog by Mozong Deben

A frog in the bluish moss makes the sound ribbit, ribbit.

In the mountains an empty stillness, in the sky a bright moon.

A karmic trigger mechanism is suddenly produced by the frog’s croaking: [Layman Pang’s

final words] empty the existent.

The Greater Court Odes or wind in the pines are not the equal of this sound.61

. . .

Opening Printing Blocks for an Edition of the Canon by Zhitang Biao

Gautama was intricately adaptable and for the sake of beings spoke upāyic words.

Having it printed down through the generations has been a never-ending catastrophe.

Who said: I’ll do one circumambulation of the Chan platform?

There’s not even a single character to carve on the printing blocks.62

. . .

For a Chan Monk Seeking Instructive Sayings by Qianfeng Ruwan

This far and distant peak—has it deceived you into coming?

You mistakenly thought that I would skillfully tailor [rare and profound sayings] like the

spring breeze [making flowers bloom].

But my sayings [were tasteless], not profound, the karmic triggering mechanism not


Now [students will cease coming, and] my ten-foot square room will certainly become

overgrown with moss.63

These quatrains from Wind and Moon, which are very imagistic with few grammatical function (“empty”) words, offer a striking contrast to the vernacular poems of Hanshan, which have been characterized as “talky” because of extensive use of personal pronouns and function words.64 The origins of Hanshan lie outside Chan, but by Song-Yuan times this collection had been thoroughly assimilated to the Chan tradition—Chan masters even wrote imitations. These Hanshan poems by and large do not follow the rules of classical shi poetry. The following pentasyllabic shi poem from the Hanshan collection not only disregards the technical rules of tonal regulation but makes the failure to observe those rules the topic of the poem:

  • Take Cultivated-Talent Scholar Wang,
  • He laughs at my poems for their many technical errors.
  • He says: “You don’t know about the tonal violation called ‘wasp’s waist,’
  • And you still don’t get the tonal violation called ‘crane’s knee.’”
  • Level and oblique tones—I am unable to compel them to fit.
  • I just haphazardly employ any old word.
  • I laugh at the poems you compose, Wang.
  • You’re like a blind man singing of the sun.65

In general, Chan people have avidly read Hanshan (the Yuan-dynasty Chan master Zhongfeng Mingben and others even wrote poems in imitation of Hanshan’s), but literary critics of the mainstream poetic tradition have looked askance at them. Western scholars in turn have paid much attention to Hanshan and little to the large corpus of classical shi poems composed by Song and Yuan Chan poet-monks. They are, however, an integral part of Chan literature and worthy of study.

Standards-with-Comments Collections

  1. 27. Collection of Preceptor Xuedou Xian’s Verses on Old Standards (Xuedou Xian heshang songgu ji): Xuedou’s Verses.

  2. 28. Blue Cliff Collection (Biyan ji): Blue Cliff.

  3. 29. Collection of Preceptor Hongzhi Jue of Tiantong’s Verses on Old Standards (Tiantong Jue heshang songgu ji): Hongzhi’s Verses.

  4. 30. Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage Record of Old Man Wansong’s Chants Appraising Preceptor Tiantong Hongzhi Zhengjue’s Verses on Old Standards (Wansong laoren pingchang Tiantong Jue heshang songgu congrong an lu): Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage.

  5. 31. Wumen’s Checkpoint (Wumen guan): Wumen.

  6. 32. Correct Dharma-Eye Depository (Zheng fayan zang): Correct Dharma-Eye.

The next genre in modern scholarship is customarily called “gong’an collections” (gong’an ji) or “case collections.” However, this genre name does not appear in any of the Chan texts in the major collections, indicating that it is not a traditional term for the genre. Japanese Zen scholars coined the term “kōan collections” (kōan shū), leading to its eventual adoption by Western scholarship. A synonym of gong’an, much employed in Chan literature, is ze (則‎) (standard; norm; precept; rule; example). The most famous of Song dynasty transmission records, the Jingde, has 1,701 entries, beginning with the seven buddhas of the past. This has led to the assertion, which is found, for example, in the yulu of Xueyan Zuqin (d. 1287), that there are “1,700 standards or gong’ans.”66 In other words, each of the 1,701 entries constitutes material for a “standard,” which can then be commented upon, either in verse or prose format. Such standards are perhaps comparable to the “American standards” of the Great American Songbook (not a real book), songs from the 1920s to 1950 or so to which singers and jazz musicians add “comments,” i.e., do renditions. Thus, a rendering along the lines of “standards-with-comments collections” would perhaps be a more helpful genre name than “case-with-comments collections,” shifting the metaphor from the legal precedents recorded in the tomes in the wall bookcase of a lawyer’s office to the performance of a standard by a singer or jazz player.

The first collection, Xuedou Verses, by Xuedou Chongxian (雪竇重顯‎; 980–1052), who was in the Yunmen lineage, states in its preface that Xuedou “will now select 100 standards from the miraculous stories of the ancient sages, display language to compose verses, by means of the verses diffuse the purport, and by means of the purport bequeath abundance to those of later times.”67 Each standard is introduced with the word ju (舉‎; lift up; raise; offer up for consideration), followed by Xuedou’s verse (introduced by song yue). Subsequently, Yuanwu Keqin (圓悟克勤‎; 1063–1135), who belonged to the Yangqi wing of the Linji lineage, added more levels of commentary—bequeathed instructions, brief comments, and chants of appraisal (chuishi; zhuoyu; and pingchang)—to Xuedou’s 100-standard text, creating the Blue Cliff Collection (Biyan ji).68

Xuedou drew upon three types of sources for his standards: flame-of-the-lamp records; yulu; and sutras. The Jingde accounts for at least twenty-three of his 100 standards. Two other flame-of-the-lamp records are also sources: Zutang and Tiansheng. The Yunmen guanglu serves as the source for seventeen standards, but there are a significant number drawn from the Zhaozhou yulu, as well as a few from such texts as Muzhou yulu, Zhimen yulu, Linjilu, and Pang jushi yulu.69 Finally, two standards are based on the Śūraṃgama Sūtra, a perennial favorite in Song, Yuan, and Ming Chan circles, and one on the Vimalakīrti Sūtra.

Let us examine the seventy-ninth standard in Xuedou Verses:

Offered up for consideration: The World-honored-one one day ascended the seat. Mañjuśrī struck the mallet and said: “Carefully examine the dharma of the dharma king—the dharma of the dharma king is thus.” [These words are usually said at the end of a dharma talk.] The World-honored-one immediately got down from the seat. Verse:

The expert Chan monks arranged in rows [standing at a Dharma convocation]

Know that the dharma rule of the dharma king is not like this.

Were there in the assembly a realized person capable of correctly judging,

What need would there be for a Mañjuśrī to perform a striking of the mallet?70

Blue Cliff makes this snippet into its ninety-second standard and adds the following: bequeathed instructions (chuishi) of a few lines at the beginning; three brief interlinear comments (zhuoyu) within the case itself; a lengthy chant of appraisal (pingchang); four brief comments (zhuoyu) at the end of each line of the verse; and finally another lengthy chant of appraisal (pingchang).71 Xuedou’s original case and verse totals fifty-seven characters. Yuanwu adds commentarial layers to this core for a total of 735 characters—the Blue Cliff standard is over twelve times the size of Xuedou’s original!

The next collection is Hongzhi’s Verses, which is included in the Hongzhi guanglu under the title Preceptor Sizhou Puzhao’s Verses on Old Standards (Sizhou Puzhao heshang song gu).72 During the Shaoxing era of the Southern Song (1131–1162) Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺‎ selected 100 cases from the flame-of-the-lamp records and yulu, adding a verse to each. In 1223 of the Southern Song Wansong Xingxiu (萬松行秀‎; 1166–1246), a teacher in the Caodong line, built a “Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage” within the Bao’en Monastery of Yanjing (Beijing) and went into seclusion. The layman Yelü Chucai (Layman Zhanran; 1190–1244) was a Khitan, and, when the Jin/Jurchen extinguished the Liao dynasty (Qidan/Khitan), he came over to the Jin. Yelü Chucai asked Old Man Wansong to attach comments to Hongzhi’s Verses, and Wansong added instructions to the sangha (shi zhong), chants of appraisal (pingchang), and brief comments (zhuoyu). The resulting work was labeled with the somewhat cumbersome title: Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage Record of Old Man Wansong’s Chants of Appraisal on Preceptor Tiantong Hongzhi Zhengjue’s Verses on Old Standards.73 The structural similarity between Blue Cliff and Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage is very striking: the primary commentator Hongzhi is to his secondary commentator Wansong as the primary commentator Xuedou is to his secondary commentator Yuanwu.

The opening of each standard in Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage is Wansong’s instructions to the sangha (shi zhong). This opening is followed by Hongzhi’s standard introduced by the phrase “offered up for consideration” (ju), which has short interlinear comments by Wansong. Next is a lengthy comment by Wansong introduced by the phrase the Master says (shi yun), then comes Hongzhi’s verse (song yun) with short interlinear comments by Wansong. The conclusion is a lengthy comment by Wansong also introduced by the phrase “the Master says.”

Here is the thirty-first standard in Hongzhi’s Verses:

Offered up for consideration: Yunmen bequeathed the saying: “When the old buddhas have [sexual] relations with an open-air pillar, what karmic trigger mechanism is this?” The sangha said not a word. He substituted for them: “On South Mountain rising clouds; on North Mountain falling rain” [note that “clouds and rain” carry a sexual overtone]. Verse:

The one road, the divine light, from the outset has never been concealed.

Transcending views and objective supports—so and yet not so.

Outside of discriminative calculation—on point and yet not on point.

Pollen of flowers on the cliff’s ledge—the bees in their hives make honey from it.

Juice from wild plants—the musk-deer produces an aromatic glandular secretion from it.

Some things are three feet, some ten feet, and some sixty feet.

Whatever you butt into, it’s revealed as broad and limitless.74

The next collection is Wumen by the Linji master Wumen Huikai (無門慧開‎; 1183–1260).

Wumen consists of forty-eight standards without the introductory phrase “raised for consideration” (ju), followed by “Wumen says” (Wumen yue) and “verse says” (song yue). In China the transmission of this text was cut off, but Muhon Kakushin (無本覺心‎; 1207–1298), a successor of the compiler Wumen Huikai, brought it to Japan, and there were printings from the late 13th century onward. There was not much interest in it in medieval Japan, but during the Edo period, it was rediscovered and became the object of countless commentaries. In comparison to the previous two collections, Wumen selects new, that is, contemporary materials. Several of the masters in Wumen Huikai’s standards are close to his own time. But the most important difference with the previous two standards collections is that Wumen shows a direct link to Dahui Zonggao’s style of huatou (話頭‎) practice as laid out in Letters of Dahui. Wumen’s comment to the first standard, certainly the most famous standard of all, is a paraphrase of lines in Letters of Dahui:

Well, tell me: What is the checkpoint of the patriarchal masters? Nothing other than this single wu 無‎ character [i.e., the huatou] is the single checkpoint of the Chan gate. . . . With the 360 bones and 84,000 hair follicles of your whole body produce the ball of uncertainty or doubt. Probe this wu 無‎ character. Day and night raise it to awareness. Don’t understand it as an empty sort of non-existence. Don’t understand it as the polarity exist/not exist. It will be like having a hot iron ball in your mouth—you won’t be able to swallow it, and you won’t be able to spit it out. All previous pernicious knowing and awareness will be washed away completely. Over a long period of time you will ripen, and spontaneously internal and external will unify.75

The previous three collections are compact (100 or forty-eight cases). The next collection, Dahui Zonggao’s Correct Dharma-Eye, does not fit this pattern. It is voluminous, with 661 unnumbered standards. The 661 excerpts derive from many Chan records and are introduced by the phrases “instructions to the sangha” (shi zhong) and “dharma-convocation talk” (shangtang), as well as by markers for quotation. The most common introduction to the excerpts is the first of these three. Many (but not all) extracts are followed by Dahui’s brief comments (zhuoyu), which begin with the phrase “Miaoxi says.” The final excerpt is Miaoxi’s Instruction to the Assembly.

Here is a very short standard with comment:

Preceptor Langxie instructed the assembly: “Advancing forwards is death; retreating backwards is death. If you neither advance nor retreat, you fall into the parochial hometown of nothing-to-do. Why so? Though the capital Chang’an is a joyful place, it’s not one to stay in very long.”

Miaoxi says: “Weeping aloud with blood flowing—that’s useless. It’s not as good as holding one’s tongue and passing the last days of spring.”76


  1. 33. Prolegomenon to the Collection of Expressions of the Chan Source (Chanyuan zhuquan ji duxu): Chan Prolegomenon.

  2. 34. Eye for Humans and Gods (Rentian yanmu): Humans and Gods.

  3. 35. Record of [Clear Talks] in the Forest (Linjianlu): Forest.

  4. 36. Brief Compilation of Famous Monks of the Ming Dynasty (Huang Ming mingseng jilue): Ming Chan Masters.

Chan compendia, which flourished in the Song, consist of extracts of materials drawn from various sources. The Song, of course, is the age of “brush notes” (biji) and encyclopedias of also sorts in non-Chan circles. Chan compendia are usually divided into sections (sometimes with rubrics for sections and with the source listed at the end of a section) . The greatest compendium of all Chan literature, the Chan Canon/Chan zang 禪藏‎ of Guifeng Zongmi (圭峰宗密‎; 780–841), was lost after the Tang, but we do have Zongmi’s introduction to this treasure trove of Chan materials: the Chan Prolegomenon of around 833. The Prolegomenon is a good example of a Chan manuscript text of the Tang that was transmitted intact into Song times and printed. An 857 manuscript copy in the hand of the illustrious calligrapher Pei Xiu just over a century later wound up in the possession of a layman in the Hangzhou area, who arranged for a woodblock printing.77 From the Prolegomenon we can reconstruct an image of the lost Chan Canon.

Both the Chan Prolegomenon and the Chan Canon are characterized by an all-inclusive attitude towards Chan—all the Chan houses of the 8th and early 9th centuries are accepted as valid expressions of Chan. The overarching theme of the Prolegomenon is the interlocking relationship between varieties of Chan and Indian Mahāyāna teachings. The master metaphor is the tally (fu 符‎), a two-halved bamboo or wooden segment, one half given to each of two individuals as a credential for legitimating proper transmission of military or official orders:

Originally, the Buddha spoke both the all-at-once teaching and the step-by-step teaching, while Chan opens both the all-at-once gate and the step-by-step gate. These two teachings and the two gates fit together like the notches of a tally. At present, exegetes in a biased manner display the step-by-step principles, and Chan adepts in a biased manner encourage the all-at-once axiom-realization. When a Chan adept and an exegete meet, the distance between them is that between a Central Asian barbarian and a barbarian from the South. I do not know what they have done in past births to perfume their minds in this way.78

In total the Chan Prolegomenon mentions eight pairs of tally halves, and each pair fits together seamlessly to form a whole:

Three types of canonical teachings ↔ three axiom-realizations [zong 宗‎] of Chan

All-at-once teaching ↔ Chan all-at-once gate

Step-by-step teaching ↔ Chan step-by-step gate

Chan sayings ↔ the Buddha’s intention

Intention of the Chan patriarchs ↔ Buddha mind

Chan records ↔ Buddha sutras

All-at-once awakening ↔ step-by-step practice

Original awakening/real ↔ non-awakening/unreal

There are three scriptural teachings (three classes of sutras and treatises): mind-only (citta-mātra); emptiness (śūnyatā); and dharma nature or nature (dharmatā). There are three Chan axiom-realizations: stopping unreal thought and cultivating mind-only (xiwang xiuxin zong); cutting off without relying on anything (minjue wuji zong); and directly revealing the mind nature (zhixian xinxing zong).79 Into these three Chan axiom-realizations, the Chan Prolegomenon distributes eight Chan houses: the Jingzhong, Northern, Baotang, and South Mountain Nianfo (Nembutsu) Gate lineages are in the first axiom-realization; Shitou and Niutou are in the second; and Heze (Zongmi’s own lineage) and Hongzhou are in the third, the highest rung.80 Zongmi is not asserting the existence of historical connections between individual Chan houses and the text-based schools of Chinese Buddhism. This is taxonomy (panjiao/dividing up teachings and texts and panchan/dividing up Chan axiom-realizations and houses). The lost compendium, the Chan Canon, which is said to have been about one-hundred fascicles in length, surely contained an enormous number of pieces produced by these Chan houses. There indeed was a “Chan corpus” in the Tang dynasty—Zongmi devoted much energy to collecting it.

The preface of Humans and Gods states that it is an “compendium of the five lineages of Chan”: Linji; Yunmen; Caodong; Guiyang; and Fayan.81 It was compiled by Huiyan Zhizhao (晦巖智昭‎; d. unknown) of the Dahui line and published in 1188. For each of these five, a brief biography of the founder is followed by sayings, verses, and statements of various masters of the lineage. The last section, entitled Miscellaneous Record of the Chan School (Zongmen za lu), is a mélange of materials. Typical of its contents is the following, an attempt to poetically encapsulate each of the five lineages (often using extracts from the yulu of the founders without much context) entitled Essentials of the Five Houses of Perfect Awakening (Yuanwu wu jia zongyao):

An all-out manifestation of the capability of one’s whole personality; the stick and the shout come and go continuously; seeking people with the sword; getting it hands down inside a lightning bolt (Linji).

The Big Dipper exercises control over all the constellations; the gold wind is disclosed in its entirety; [Yunmen’s] three phrases [i.e., “what is it that stops the flow of sentient beings?”; “what contains and covers heaven and earth?”; and “one wave following after another—what is this?”] should be distinguished; an arrowhead in the distant sky (Yunmen).

Sovereign and court official unite in the Way; the inclined and the straight aid each other [i.e., the five ranks of Caodong]; a precipitous path on the mystery journey; a golden needle and jade thread (Caodong).

Master and disciples sing the song in a chorus; fathers and sons are of one family; brightness and darkness come and go continuously; verbalization and silence are not revealed (Guiyang).

Hear the voice and awaken to the Way; see forms and enlighten mind; in the phrases a sharp point is concealed; within the words there is an echo (Fayan).82

Forest of the Northern Song Chan master Juefan Huihong (覺範慧洪‎; 1071–1128) is a compendium of more than 300 sayings and anecdotes having to do with Chan masters, sutras and treatises, scholar-officials, and so forth. Huihong was in the Huanglong wing of the Linji lineage. The preface of Forest indicates that the work embraces the “harmony of Chan and the teachings” in the manner of Yongming Yanshou and Guifeng Zongmi. Some of the entries have a bit of the flavor of the Japanese zuihitsu (random essay) Tsurezuregusa (1330–1331) of Yoshida Kenkō. Here are two entries:

Once with several monks I visited the stupa of Chan Master Yunfeng Yue. Bowing and rising, I comforted him, saying: “Are you alive or are you dead?” After a long while Yue himself answered: “You mustn’t topple my stupa!” The monk next to me said: “Today an upright person has spoken his story of the working out of karma!” Thereupon I composed a verse: “Not knowing, I asked; not seeing, I inquired. He fully manifested right in front of me; what more need be said? Verily, his firm body experienced samsaric illness and aging. The stupa I am facing must not be toppled!”83

. . .

In “drunkard’s hamlet” there was a crazy monk named “Precepts Way,” who depended on the support of the village. He was drunk every single day, but he spat out strange, eccentric utterances. People of the time couldn’t determine whether he was a common person or a sage. Once, when there was a bout of wine drinking, they had him compose an elegiac address. Monk “Precepts” responded with: “I’m only a numinous spirit born into this world of Jambudvīpa. Devoid of anger and envy, I love to drink wine, falling down in the streets of town. I’ll end up being reborn in the Tuṣita Heaven of Maitreya Bodhisattva. Then I won’t drink wine anymore. Why? In such a ‘pure land’ there’s no wine to be bought.”84

Ming Chan Masters by Yunqi Zhuhong (雲棲祩宏‎; 1535–1615) is compendium of extracts drawn from the yulu of ten Ming-dynasty Chan masters (with eight more as an appendix), to which Zhuhong has appended comments. This text serves as a convenient introduction to the yulu literature of Ming Chan, which is little known in the West. Since the arrival of the Ming Linji master Yinyuan Longqi (隱元隆琦‎; 1592–1673) in Nagasaki in 1654, Ming Chan has been scorned in some (but not all) Japanese Rinzai Zen circles as “nembutsu Zen.” (This charge, to some degree, may well have been a “cover” for objections to lifestyle and cultural aspects of these immigrant Chinese Linji monks, who did not shave their heads often enough for Japanese tastes and insisted on Chinese ways in daily monastic life.) The negative Japanese reaction ultimately influenced Western attitudes. Ming Chan Masters contains a saying by the Linji master Chushan Shaoqi (楚山紹琦‎; 1403–1473), also known as “Old Man Illusion” (Huansou 幻叟‎), that illustrates the use of the nianfo/nembutsu, the mantra Obeisance to Amitābha Buddha (Nanwu Amituofo), as a huatou in the Dahui style of huatou practice found in Letters of Dahui (text no. 37):

Merely raise to awareness the single phrase Obeisance to Amitābha Buddha [i.e., the nianfo/nembutsu] and install it in your heart. Silently engage in personal investigation of this phrase and at all times with a whip produce the sensation of uncertainty about: the one doing this nianfo—in the end, who is it? Over and over again investigate. You should make no conjectures about existence/non-existence, and you must not have your mind wait for awakening. Just the slightest false thought in your mind will constitute an obstruction. You must make it so that in your breast there is an empty vastness devoid of even a single thing, and, in walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, in those situations that are still or noisy, leisurely or busy, there is no need at all to employ discrimination or calculation. All that is necessary is that moment after moment be a continuum, that thought after thought be uninterrupted. After a long period of time your practice will be of a pure oneness, naturally still and peaceful. Then dhyāna will appear to you.85


  1. 37. Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue (Dahui Pujue chanshi shu): Letters of Dahui.

There are several famous stand-alone collections of letters in Chan literature, and some yulu compendia contain selections from letters of the master to fellow monks and laypeople. By far the most renowned letter collection in Chan literature is Letters of Dahui, a compilation of sixty-two letters of the Southern Song Linji Chan teacher Dahui Zonggao (大慧宗杲‎; 1089–1163) to forty members of the scholar-official class (shidafu), the elite class in Chinese society. There are also two letters to Linji Chan masters at the end of the collection. Both consist of advice on how to navigate a teaching career. These sixty-two letters, of course, represent only a fraction of Dahui’s epistolary output over his teaching career. In only three cases is Dahui’s letter preceded by the scholar-official’s question letter, though quite often Dahui quotes or paraphrases passages from the question letter. Each of the sixty letters to laymen is fascinating as a document directed at a specific scholar-official with his distinctive niche, high or low, in the social-political landscape of Song-dynasty China and his relative level of development on the Buddhist path. When viewed in this light, the personality of the recipient and Dahui’s response to that particular personality holds the foreground. But at the same time, Dahui in many cases regarded letters as a means to reach students beyond the recipient—they were not always crafted for the recipient alone, but for a wider audience of the recipient’s friends and peers. Dahui assumed at least some of his letters would be copied, circulated, and studied as small essays, “dharma talks,” explicating his style of Chan practice, which rather quickly became a dominant style of practice throughout East Asia.

Dahui’s analysis of the main problem of the scholar-official class in the study of Chan is that they are too intellectually “sharp” and rely far too much on their hard-earned stock of intellectual knowledge, earned through grueling years of study of classical texts and the highly demanding examination system. He argues that they take great pride in their intellect, but, in fact, it constitutes a blockage for them on the Buddhist path. They all too frequently show “know-it-all” tendencies. Effective Chan practice, however, requires a certain kind of “dull-wittedness” or “obtuseness.” As he says in a letter to a scholar-official very familiar with the demanding examination system, “taking a ‘first’ in the ‘dull-wittedness examination’ is no bad thing!” And in another letter he says:

The reason most of today’s members of the scholar-official class are incapable of comprehending this matter [ci shi 此事‎] and decisively attaining release is simply because their disposition is too intellectually sharp and their knowledge excessive. As soon as they see the Chan master open his mouth and begin to move his tongue, they immediately come to a snap understanding. Therefore, if anything, this is inferior to the dull-witted person who, free of a lot of pernicious knowing and perverse awareness, in a headlong fashion without expectations dashes against each skillful method and each gesture, each word and each phrase, [of the teacher].86

Dahui is famous (some would say notorious) for his vigorous polemic against “perverse teachers” in the Letters:

In recent years there has been a type of perverse teacher who speaks “silence-and-illumination” Chan. They teach people: twenty-four hours a day pay no attention whatsoever to anything, and go on stopping-to-rest. They do not permit students to voice even a sound [i.e., the silence of “silence-and-illumination”]. They fear falling into the present epoch [as opposed to what they approvingly call “before the aeon of nothingness,” i.e., before a single thought arose]. Frequently members of the scholar-official class, who are “used” by their own cleverness and sharp faculties, are apt to detest noisiness. When all of a sudden they are made to do stillness-sitting by this party of perverse teachers, and it’s seems to them that they are saving on the expenditure of energy, they immediately think they’ve got it right. They do not seek further for wonderful awakening—they simply take this silence as the ultimate standard. I don’t stint on oral karma [in deprecating these false teachers] and try my utmost to save people from this fraud.87

Dahui never cites the perverse Chan teachers by name, but one of the usual suspects in modern scholarship is Hongzhi Zhengjue—his Silence-and-Illumination Inscription does seem to fit the bill. The focal point of Dahui’s polemic is actually very simple: how much emphasis should be accorded to cross-legged sitting. Dahui is fervently against absolutizing cross-legged sitting and thinks the perverse teachers are doing just that. The antidote for the perverse teachings, according to Dahui, is what he calls “doing gongfu (工夫‎) in this way,” that is, “practicing in this way.” Western scholarship generally contrasts Dahui’s “new” gongfu style with an “older” literary or commentarial style. It should be remembered that Dahui himself engaged heavily in the commentarial style in his Correct Dharma-Eye. Dahui’s gongfu consists of “rallying to awareness/lifting to awareness/keeping an eye on” the huatou (phrase). Though in the Letters Dahui mentions in passing quite a few huatou, he especially recommends two to his correspondents: wu ‎ and dried turd (ganshijue 乾屎橛‎). Both of these phrases are tiny extracts from standards or cases, but in his “doing gongfu in this way” the standard from which the huatou has been extracted utterly falls away. No mental operation whatsoever is to be performed upon the huatou; one is not to attempt to “process” the huatou in any way. One lifts the huatou to awareness constantly, doing it twenty-four hours a day in all four postures: walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. One does it during everyday activities while responding to sense objects. One does it both during stillness and in the midst of noisiness. Nothing else counts.

Pretend Dialogues

  1. 38. Cutting-Off Examining Treatise (Jueguan lun): Cutting-Off.

  2. 39. Family Precepts of Illusory-Abiding Hermitage (Huanzhu jiaxun) contained in Preceptor Tianmu Zhongfeng’s Extended Record (Tianmu Zhongfeng heshang guanglu): Family Precepts.

A pretend dialogue sets up a discussion of typical Chan topics between imaginary figures (often with Buddhist-sounding names). This genre, well-represented in the Dunhuang Chan manuscript corpus, did not thrive in the long run of Chan literature.88 Let us begin with the Dunhuang-manuscript text Cutting-Off, a discussion between a master named Entered-into-Principle (Ruli) and his disciple Gate-of-the-Conditioned (Yuanmen). The disciple submits a series of questions for judgments by the master. The initial question is how does one “quiet mind” (anxin 安心‎), and this is the matrix from which the remainder of the text emerges. One could say that “quieting mind” is the theme of Chan literature as a whole.

Both the name of the master and the topic of quieting mind point to a link between this dialogue and the Bodhidharma Anthology, and, within the seven texts of that anthology, to the Two Entrances and Record I, which was known as the Dharma Gate of Quieting Mind (Anxin famen). It is even possible that the name of the disciple here, Gate-of-the-Conditioned, is connected somehow to the most important figure in the Records of the Bodhidharma Anthology, Master Yuan. The opening lines of Cutting-Off run as follows:

Well, let us now provisionally set up two characters, who talk together about truth. The Master’s name is Entered-into-Principle, the disciple’s Gate-of-the-Conditioned. At the time, Teacher Entered-into-Principle was quiet and said nothing. Gate-of-the-Conditioned suddenly arose [as “thoughts” are said to do in the treatise Awakening of Faith] and asked Teacher Entered-into-Principle: “What is mind, and how does one quiet mind?” Answer: “You mustn’t suppose such a thing as mind, and you mustn’t force the issue of quieting it. You could call that ‘quieting.’ ”89

However, the pretend-dialogue genre did not completely die out in later periods. For example, Preceptor Tianmu Zhongfeng’s Extended Record, the yulu collection of the Yuan dynasty Chan master Zhongfeng Mingben (中峯明本‎; 1263–1323), contains a piece entitled Family Precepts of Illusory-Abiding Hermitage (Huanzhu jiaxun). Family Precepts is one of the “five leaves” or five key texts of Mingben, two others being his Some Questions on the Śūraṃgama Sūtra and Imitations of Hanshan’s Poems. In this essay, illusory man speaks dharma to his illusory disciples. Family Precepts fuses the teachings of the Perfect Awakening Sutra (Yuanjue jing, a Chan favorite) on illusion with Dahui’s huatou practice.

When on a certain day māyā [illusion] man was at his māyā seat in his māyā room and holding his māyā flywhisk, his māyā disciples came in and assembled. They had questions: “Why is the pine straight?” “Why are thorns crooked?” “Why is the swan white?” “Why are birds dark in color?” Māyā man held his flywhisk upright and announced to the great sangha: “This māyā flywhisk of mine, it’s not upright on its own—it’s upright in conformity with māyā. When horizontal, it’s not horizontal on its own—it’s horizontal in conformity with māyā. When picked up, the picking up is not on its own—the picking up is in conformity with māyā. When released, the releasing is not on its own—the releasing is in conformity with māyā. . . . Well, there’s no need to be bustling about in a hurried state. Just recognize your single iron-and-stone body-mind, risk your life for one or two births, and, at the “tasteless” huatou that you have been probing, be like a palm-tapping blind man who stands his ground and is furious in his mind. Keep on pressing hard with it [i.e., the huatou]!90

A Glossary of Terms and Expressions in Chan Books

  1. 40. Glossary of the Patriarchal Courtyard (Zuting shiyuan): Patriarchal Courtyard.

The last genre is not “literary” but “philological.” Mu’an Shanqing’s (睦庵善卿‎; d. unknown) Patriarchal Courtyard (1108) is a glossary for certain yulu, Chan poems, and so forth.91 It was compiled by Mu’an Shanqing because at the time some Chan students could not understand certain vocabulary items employed in these Chan books and used in Chan instruction. (One can only imagine how much grueling difficulty Koreans and Japanese experienced in reading Chinese Chan texts.) He selected more than 2,400 items from the Chan records (the yulu of Yunmen and Xuedou, the Song of Realizing the Way, and so forth) and provided glosses for them one by one, citing a wide range of Buddhist and secular sources. Although from the point of view of modern Chan studies there are quite a few errors in the entries, it is still a remarkable text, the earliest such glossary and the precursor of much modern scholarly work on the Chan records. Editions of the Patriarchal Courtyard were produced in Muromachi and Edo-period Japan, and, in fact, one can posit a line running from these editions to the Chan glossary Notes on Chan Kudzu-Words (Kattōgo sen) of Mujaku Dōchū (1653–1744), the “sage” of Chan/Zen scholarship. Mujaku’s works, of course, are to this day of enormous use in reading the Chan texts laid out in this article.

The Chan Records and the Style of Chinese Poetry

Guifeng Zongmi speaks of the difference between the Buddhist canonical teachings and Chan in his Chan Prolegomenon:

The teachings are the sutras and treatises left behind by the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Chan is lines of verse rehearsed by good friends on the path. It is just that the buddha sutras open outward, ensnaring thousands of beings of the eight classes, and Chan verse scoops up an epitome, being oriented to the karmic trigger mechanisms of a single category of being found in this land of China.92

Chan, according to Zongmi, consists of the poetic utterances of Chan good friends on the path (kalyāṇa-mitra). Zongmi was writing in the Tang of the 9th century, but what he wrote is applicable to the Chan records of later eras. Much of the material in these Chan records is poetic in its sustained suggestiveness, compression, propensity for balanced couplets, and so forth and does indeed “scoop up an epitome.” However, suggestiveness and compression in poetic expression is not uniquely Chinese by any means. The Dohākoṣas (Treasuries of Couplets) of the great siddhas of late Indian Buddhism, Saraha, Kāṇha, and Tilopa, certainly are suggestive and do “scoop up an epitome,” but they are unequivocally Indian in their lampooning of brahmans and Jains; positive evaluation of the body and sexuality; concern with tantric “physiology,” and so forth.93 The Dohākoṣas and the Chan record do share an important language feature: both utilize written vernacular language (Apabhraṃśa, the forerunner of the North Indian vernaculars, in the case of the tantric couplets).

What makes Chan oriented to Chinese sensibilities and tastes? One answer may lie in the stylistic convergence of the Chan records and classical Chinese poetry. Many of the sayings found in the Chan records contain couplets. Both the sayings and the couplets often embody aesthetic ideals of Chinese poetry: “lexical economy, maximization of imagistic appeal, and minimal use of nonimagistic words.”94 The aim is to convey what lies beyond language with minimal use of abstractions. Thus, the Chan records (with the exception of gāthā-style pieces) make relatively scanty use of the technical terms of Buddhism, which often tend toward the abstract, and frequent employment of such vivid images as “red-meatball” (pañca-skandha or five aggregates), “green flies on top of shit” (abhiniveṣa or attachment to words), “egret with nine marshes to choose from” (vikalpa or discrimination), “pail of black lacquer” (avidyā or nescience), “solitary crane descending in the distant sky” (tathatā or thusness), and so forth.

Review of the Literature

The center of scholarship on Chan literature since the end of World War II has been Japan, and Western scholarship has been heavily influenced by Japanese research down to the present. The Chinese scholar Hu Shi began publishing on Chan literature as early as the 1930s, and the French scholar Jacques Genet followed his lead some years later.95 A key development for both Japanese and Western research was the American Ruth Fuller Sasaki’s assembling of a small team of researchers within the Zen monastery of Daitoku-ji in Kyoto in 1956. The core of this group was Iriya Yoshitaka and Yanagida Seizan. Iriya was a specialist in vernacular Chinese literature, particularly the vernacular found in the Chan records. He assumed that much of the vocabulary and rhetoric of the Chan records was originally ordinary spoken Chinese, and hence he collected examples of vocabulary and grammatical constructions from Yuan-dynasty plays, the classical novels, Dunhuang popular literature, etc., as an aid to understanding their meanings in the Chan records.96 Yanagida came to occupy a unique position in the study of Chan literature. He stressed that it is necessary to carry out a “value critique” of the documents of Chan literature, to correctly “sort them.”97 The work of Iriya and Yanagida has, to a great degree, molded the field in Japan and still lingers. Philip B. Yampolsky, an American member of the Sasaki group, brought their work to America in the 1960s. Iriya and Yanagida, who were associated with the Rinzai Zen hub in Kyoto, were the driving force behind the Zen no goroku (Sayings Records of Zen) series of the 1960s and 1970s.98 It was conceived as a set of twenty volumes with modern Japanese translations of key Chan texts. Despite its Rinzai Zen orientation and the fact that the title is not entirely accurate as a description of the volumes (many are not yulu), it still stands as a must-have series for students of Chan literature. Scholars associated with the Soto Zen hub of Komazawa University in Tokyo produced in the 1970s the greatest encyclopedia of Zen studies, the Zengaku daijiten (Great Dictionary of Zen Studies).99 They have also produced other invaluable research tools, such as Shinsan Zenseki mokuroku (Newly Edited Catalogue of Zen Books) and Shiina Kōyū’s Sō-Genban zenseki no kenkyū (Studies in Song and Yuan Editions of Chan Books).100 Chinese scholarship took off in the 1980s (some of it concerned more with historical linguistics than the Buddhist side of the study of Chan literature) and continues to grow. Examples include the work of Cao Guangshun (曹广順‎) and Liu Xunning (劉勛寧‎) on the Zutangji. Western scholarship initially focused on the literature of Tang-dynasty Chan—the preeminent example being Yampolsky’s The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.101 Also, Paul Demiéville’s Entretiens de Lin-tsi, an annotated translation of the Linjilu (Record of Linji), which was much influenced by the work of Iriya and Yanagida, was a milestone in the production of solid translations into Western languages.102 Another great stride forward was John R. McRae’s The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism.103 Eventually Western scholars turned their attention from the “golden age” of Tang (a much-criticized idealization) to Song-dynasty Chan literature. Two key publications in this area have been Albert Welter’s Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu and Morten Schlütter’s How Zen Became Zen.104 Song developments have taken on more and more prominence in recent decades. Eventually research on Chan literature is likely to overturn the usual simplistic picture of the resurgence of Neo-Confucianism in the Song. The study of some aspects of Chan literature could serve as a much-needed corrective to the assumption that Chan praxis and Confucian moral action in the world were mutually exclusive. Also, at some point in the indefinite future some of Chan literature may even take its rightful place within the field of Chinese literature.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are found in (1) canonical collections and (2) in published series:

Many Chan texts are found in the canonical collections Taishō Shinshū daizōkyō (always abbreviated T) and Dai Nihon zokuzōkyō (Manji zokuzō). Taishō vols. 47 and 48 contain forty Chan texts. Volume 85 contains about ten Dunhuang-manuscript Chan texts. The Manji zokuzō (2.15 to 2.32) contains an enormous number of Chan texts. The Taishō is available online both from the Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association (CBETA) and the SAT Daizōkyō Database. CBETA also includes the Manji zokuzō.

The most important published series are listed here:

App, Urs, ed. Hanazono University Concordance Series. 21 vols. Kyoto: International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism, 1993–1995.Find this resource:

    Some of these concordances are accompanied by newly punctuated texts. This series has been leapfrogged by the CBETA and SAT electronic texts.

    Shiina Kōyū, ed. Gozanban Chūgoku zenseki sōkan. 12 vols. Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 2012–.Find this resource:

      Upon completion, this series will contain about 100 Chinese Chan texts printed in Japan during the Gozan (Five Mountains) period (c. 1300–1500). By October 2017, eleven volumes were published. The heritage of Chan literature from Japan’s greatest era of printing Chinese Chan texts

      Yanagida Seizan, ed. Zengaku sōsho. 10 vols. Kyoto: Chūbun shuppansha, 1973–1979.Find this resource:

        Contains various Chan records.

        Yanagida Seizan and Shiina Kōyū, eds. Zengaku tenseki sōkan. 12 vols. Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 1999–2001.Find this resource:

          Facsimiles of rare and important editions of Chan texts: Five-Mountains editions, Song editions, and Korean editions.

          Zen no goroku. 17 vols. Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1969–1976.

          Conceived as a series of twenty volumes with Chinese text, modern Japanese translations, and notes, but only seventeen were published. Reissued in 20 vols. in 2016.

          Further Reading

          Adamek, Wendy L. The Mystique of Transmission: On an Early Chan History and Its Contexts. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

            Anderl, Christoph. Studies in the Language of Zu-tang ji. 2 vols. Oslo: Unipub AS, 2004.Find this resource:

              Broughton, Jeffrey L. and Elise Yoko Watanabe. The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

                Collected Works of Korean Buddhism. 13 vols. Seoul: Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, 2012. (Vols. 2, 3, 7.1, 7.2, 8, and 9 are useful for a comparison of the texts in this article with Chan/Sŏn texts in Chinese composed by Koreans.)Find this resource:

                  Egan, Charles, trans. Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown: Poems by Zen Monks of China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

                    Heine, Steven, and Dale S. Wright, eds. The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.Find this resource:

                      Henricks, Robert G. The Poetry of Han-shan: A Complete, Annotated Translation of Cold Mountain. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.Find this resource:

                        Keyworth, George Albert, III. “Transmitting the Lamp of Learning in Classical Chan Buddhism: Juefan Huihong (1071–1128) and Literary Chan.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2001.Find this resource:

                          Kirchner, Thomas Yuho, ed. The Record of Linji. Translated by Ruth Fuller Sasaki. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009.Find this resource:

                            Mair, Victor H. “Buddhism and the Rise of the Written Vernacular in East Asia: The Making of National Languages.” Journal of Asian Studies 53.3 (August 1994): 707–751.Find this resource:

                              Poceski, Mario. The Records of Mazu and the Making of Classical Chan Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

                                Schlütter, Morten. How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008.Find this resource:

                                  Yampolsky, Philip B. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. New York: Columbia University Press, 1967.Find this resource:


                                    (1.) Morten Schlütter, How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008), 8 and 73–74.

                                    (2.) Shiina Kōyū, Sō-Genban zenseki no kenkyū (Tokyo: Daitō shuppansha, 1993), 93–100.

                                    (3.) However, for the purposes of this article, the editions found in CBETA (T and Shinsan Zokuzōkyō/Xuzangjing) were used.

                                    (4.) As of October 2017, eleven volumes of this series have been published: Shiina Kōyū, ed. Gozanban Chūgoku zenseki sōkan. 12 vols. Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 2012–.

                                    (5.) The Dunhuang-manuscript texts are nos. 1, 2, 14, 15, 16, and 38. The Patriarchal Hall Collection is no. 8. For these texts, see Yanagida Seizan, “Zenseki kaidai,” in Zenke goroku 2, eds. Nishitani Keiji and Yanagida Seizan (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1974), 453–466 and 507–508.

                                    (6.) The two Ming texts are nos. 13 and 36. The title missing in Shiina’s list is Calm-and-Unhurried Hermitage (text no. 30).

                                    (7.) For a discussion of the yulu genre and the term yulu, see Mario Poceski, The Records of Mazu and the Making of Classical Chan Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 111–118. Poceski (111) points out: “In its fully developed form, this genre was a product of the early Song period, although . . . it earlier origins can be traced back to the Tang and Five Dynasties eras.” The earliest use of the term in the context of Chan literature dates to the beginning of the Song dynasty.

                                    (8.) Christoph Anderl, Studies in the Language of Zu-tang ji (Oslo: Unipub AS, 2004), 1.xxvi.

                                    (9.) See, for example, Iriya Yoshitaka and Koga Hidehiko, Zengo jiten (Kyoto: Shibunkaku shuppan, 1991); and Xu Shaofeng, ed., Jindai Hanyu da cidian, 2 vols. (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2008). The former dictionary of Zen words is small, but the best for words and expressions (some of the following examples are taken from this dictionary). The latter is a dictionary of colloquial words and phrases in old books from the Tang to the Qing, containing more than 50,000 entries. Sources are mainly drama, novels, Chan and Neo-Confucian records, Dunhuang transformation texts, and poetry (with many quotations).

                                    (10.) These glosses are found in commentaries on the Linjilu by the Japanese commentators Kassan (夾山‎; d. 1654) and Kōunshi (耕雲子‎; d. 1698). Kassan glosses bangjia as: “one who is nearby other family gates loses his own family treasure” (傍他門戶者失却自家珍‎); Kōunshi says: “Bangjia is like saying ‘other families’ ” (傍家者猶言他家也‎) . Rinzairoku shōsho shūsei, ed. Yanagida Seizan (Kyoto: Chūbun shuppansha, 1980), 484 and 1143.

                                    (11.) Yanxi Guangwen chanshi yulu 偃溪廣聞禪師語錄: 忽有人問。上上機人來時如何。且坐喫茶。‎ (CBETA, X69, no. 1368, p. 738, c12–13//Z 2:26, p. 140, c18-d1//R121, p. 280, a18-b1).

                                    (12.) Xuefeng Yicun chanshi yulu 雪峰義存禪師語錄: 問。古人有言。路逢達道人。莫將語默對。未審將什麼對。師云。且喫茶去。‎ (CBETA, X69, no. 1333, p. 73, c3–4//Z 2:24, p. 474, d11–12//R119, p. 948, b11–12).

                                    (13.) For examples, see Dahui yulu (text no. 6) and Xutang yulu (text no. 11) below.

                                    (14.) 緣法師曰。‎ . . . 又曰。若有體氣時。免人法誑惑。精神亦可。何以故。 貴智故。被人法誑。若重一人爲是者。即不免此人惑亂。‎ . . . 志法師屠児行上見緣法師問。見屠児殺羊不。緣法師曰。我眼不盲。何以不見。志法師曰。緣公乃言見之。緣師曰。更乃見之。‎ Daruma no goroku, Zen no goroku 1, ed. and trans. Yanagida Seizan (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1969), 200–204.

                                    (15.) Jinne no goroku: Dango, ed. Tōdai goroku kenkyūhan (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, 2006), 13, 51, 62, and 110. This is the equivalent of Sanskrit kalyāṇa-mitra and is similar to the Japanese minasan or minasama (皆さん‎/皆様‎).

                                    (16.) Tanyu 壇語: 本體空寂。從空寂體上起知。善分別世間青黃赤白。是 惠。不隨分別起。是定。只如凝心入定。墮無記空。出定已後。起心分別一切世間有爲。喚此爲惠。經中名爲妄心。‎ Jinne no goroku: Dango, 84.

                                    (17.) Chuanxin fa yao 傳心法要: 九月一日師謂休曰。‎ (T2012A.48.381b17)

                                    (18.) Wanling lu 宛陵錄: 上堂云。即心是佛。上至諸佛。下至蠢動含靈。皆有佛性。‎ . . . (T2012B.48.386b2–3)

                                    (19.) Chuanxin fa yao 黃檗山斷際禪師傳心法要: 予會昌二年。廉于鍾陵。自山迎至州。憩龍興寺。旦夕問道。大中二年。廉于宛陵。復去禮迎至所部。安居開元寺。旦夕受法。退而紀之。十得一二。佩爲心印。不敢發揚。今恐入神精義。不聞於未來。遂出之。授門下僧太舟法建。歸舊山之廣唐寺。問長老法衆與往日常所親聞同異如何也。唐大中十一年十一月初八日序‎ (T2012A.48.379c5–13).

                                    (20.) Chuanxin fa yao 傳心法要: 問如何得不落階級。師云。終日喫飯未曾咬著一粒米。終日行未曾踏著一片地。與摩時無人我等相。終日不離一切事。不被諸境惑。方名自在人。更時時念念不見一切相。莫認前後三際。前際無去今際無住後際無來。‎ (T2012A.48.384a12–16).

                                    (21.) 不被境轉處處用境; 歇得念念馳求心; 擬議; 莫受人惑; 全體作用‎; and 伱今用處‎.

                                    (22.) Yunmen Kuangzhen chanshi guanglu 雲門匡真禪師廣錄: 師在僧堂中喫茶。拈起托子云。蒸餅饅頭一任汝喫。爾道這箇是什麼。代云。乾狗屎。‎ (T1988.47.565c9–11).

                                    (23.) Yunmen Kuangzhen chanshi guanglu 雲門匡真禪師廣錄: 上堂云。舉一則語。教汝直下承當。早是撒屎著爾頭上也。直饒拈一毛頭。盡大地一時明得。也是剜肉作瘡。雖然如此。也須是實到者箇田地始得。若未且不得掠虛。却須退步向自己根脚下推尋看。是什麼道理。實無絲髮許與汝作解會。與汝作疑惑。況汝等且各各當人。有一段事。大用現前。更不煩汝一毫頭氣力。便與祖佛無別。自是汝諸人信根淺薄惡業濃厚。突然起得如許多頭角。擔鉢囊千鄉萬里受屈作麼。且汝諸人有什麼不足處。大丈夫漢阿誰無分。獨自承當。尚猶不著便。不可受人欺瞞取人處分。纔見老和尚開口。便好把特[持]石驀口塞。便似屎上青蠅相似。‎ (T1988.47.546b28-c11).

                                    (24.) Zhenzhou Linji Huizhao chanshi yulu 鎮州臨濟慧照禪師語錄: 上堂云。赤肉團上有一無位真人。常從汝等諸人面門出入。未證據者看看。時有僧出問。如何是無位真人。師下禪床把住云。道道。其僧擬議。師托開云。無位真人是什麼乾屎橛。便歸方丈。‎ (T1985.47.496c10–14).

                                    (25.) Zhenzhou Linji Huizhao chanshi yulu 鎮州臨濟慧照禪師語錄: 大德。爾檐鉢囊屎檐子。傍家走求佛求法。即今與麼馳求底。爾還識渠麼。活撥撥地。秖是勿根株。擁不聚撥不散。求著即轉遠。不求還在目前。靈音屬耳。若人不信。徒勞百年。‎ (T1985.47.501b10–14).

                                    (26.) Dahui Pujue chanshi yulu 大慧普覺禪師語錄: 上堂。拈起拄杖示衆云。還見麼。又卓一下云。還聞麼。若道實見實聞。正是隨聲逐色漢。復舉起云。還見麼。又卓一下云。還聞麼。若道不見不聞。正是避色逃聲漢。畢竟如何。擲下云。鶴有九皐難翥翼。馬無千里謾追風。‎ (T1998A.47.820b2–6).

                                    (27.) This summary is based on the T edition, which has a rearrangement of the contents. A Song edition has been found in Japan: Wanshi roku, ed. Ishii Shūdō, 3 vols. (Tokyo: Meicho fukuyūkai, 1984).

                                    (28.) Hongzhi chanshi guanglu 宏智禪師廣錄: 上堂云。獨立不改。周行不殆。莫嫌滿眼諸塵。須信唯心三界。列千峯而向嶽。會百川而到海。諸禪德。恁麼會得也。卷簾除却障。恁麼不會也。閉戶生得礙。會與不會商量。漆桶依前不快。‎ (T2001.48.12a13–17).

                                    (29.) Hongzhi chanshi guanglu 宏智禪師廣錄: 小參僧問。如何是和尚親切爲人底句。師云。文彩未痕。初消息難傳際。僧云。可謂虛明自照。不勞心力。師云。卓卓不倚物。靈靈那涉緣。僧云。莫便是十成底時節也無。師云。透過那邊看。方有出身路。僧云。揭開金鎖裏頭看。隱隱風光元自異。師云。不是那邊事。僧云。如何是那邊事。師云。瑠璃殿上行。撲倒須粉碎。‎ (T2001.48.58a3–10).

                                    (30.) Hongzhi chanshi guanglu 宏智禪師廣錄: Mozhao ming 默照銘: 默默忘言。昭昭現前。鑒時廓爾。體處靈然。靈然獨照。照中還妙。露月星河。雪松雲嶠。‎ (T2001.48.100a25–27).

                                    (31.) Wuzhun Shifan chanshi yulu 無準師範禪師語錄‎ (= Fojian chanshi yulu 佛鑑禪師語錄): 上堂。召大衆云。禪。禪。妙高峯頂。千丈巖前。作麼生有箇古松樹。奇奇怪怪。屈屈曲曲。弮弮攣攣。諸人若恁麼會。驢年。‎ (CBETA, X70, no. 1382, p. 227, c6–8//Z 2:26, p. 434, a12–14//R121, p. 867, a12–14).

                                    (32.) Shixi Xinyue chanshi yulu 石溪心月禪師語錄‎ (= Fohai chanshi yulu 佛海禪師語錄): 上堂。空劫已前。綿綿密密。既往莫追。空劫已後。密密綿綿。未來且置。正當空劫。綿綿處密密。密密處綿綿。以何爲證。攣卷枯樹子。春信在其中。‎ (CBETA, X71, no. 1405, p. 27, a6–8//Z 2:28, p. 26, c14–16//R123, p. 52, a14–16).

                                    (33.) Shixi Xinyue chanshi yulu 石溪心月禪師語錄‎ (= Fohai chanshi yulu 佛海禪師語錄‎): 上堂。拈主丈。卓一下云。七佛已前只與麼。又卓一下云。七佛之後亦復然。卓一下。片雲生晚谷。孤鶴下遼天。‎ (CBETA, X71, no. 1405, p. 33, a1–3//Z 2:28, p. 32, c9–11//R123, p. 64, a9–11).

                                    (34.) Yanxi Guangwen chanshi yulu 偃溪廣聞禪師語錄: 上堂。默默。無上菩提從此得。了了。金雞一拍扶桑曉。衲僧門下。二俱漏逗。‎ (CBETA, X69, no. 1368, p. 732, a10–11//Z 2:26, p. 134, a4–5//R121, p. 267, a4–5). Yanxi is following in the footsteps of Dahui in criticizing the “silence-and-illumination” of “perverse” Chan teachers.

                                    (35.) Yanxi Guangwen chanshi yulu 偃溪廣聞禪師語錄: 上堂。禪非意想。道絕功勳。去此二途。比如太平時節。駕輕車行熟路。無往不可。要望德山臨濟門下遠矣。何也。畫前元有易。刪後更無詩。‎ (CBETA, X69, no. 1368, p. 736, a16–18//Z 2:26, p. 138, a10–12//R121, p. 275, a10–12).

                                    (36.) Xutang heshang yulu 虛堂和尚語錄: 上堂。每日蒲團上妄想。無爾插手處。以致奔南走北。如鴨吞螺螄。山僧今日不動聲氣。教爾諸人有箇入處。良久拍手云。一半入得。一半入不得。‎ (T2000.47.996a1–4).

                                    (37.) Xutang heshang yulu 虛堂和尚語錄: 辭世頌: 八十五年。佛祖不識。掉臂便行。太虛絕跡。‎ (T2000.47.1063b14–16).

                                    (38.) Gaofeng Yuanmiao chanshi yulu 高峰原妙禪師語錄: 參禪若要剋日成功。如墮千尺井底相似。從朝至暮。從暮至朝。千思想。萬思想。單單則是箇求出之心。究竟決無二念。誠能如是施功。或三日。或五日。或七日。若不徹去。西峰今日犯大妄語。永墮拔舌犂耕。‎ (CBETA, X70, no. 1400, p. 696, c6–9//Z 2:27, p. 346, c3–6//R122, p. 692, a3–6). For the parallel passage in the Gaofeng chanyao 高峰禪要‎, see CBETA, X70, no. 1401, p. 706, b2–5//Z 2:27, p. 355, c14–17//R122, p. 710, a14–17.

                                    (39.) Gaofeng Yuanmiao chanshi yulu 高峰原妙禪師語錄: 若謂著實參禪。決須具足三要。第一要有大信根。明知此事。如靠一座須彌山。第二要有大憤志。如遇殺父冤讐。直欲便與一刀兩段。第三要有大疑情。如暗他做了一件極事。正在欲露未露之時。十二時中。果能具此三要。管取剋日成功。‎ (CBETA, X70, no. 1400, p. 687, b5–9//Z 2:27, p. 337, a17–b3//R122, p. 673, a17–b3). For the parallel passage in the Gaofeng chanyao 高峰禪要‎, see CBETA, X70, no. 1401, p. 708, b5–9//Z 2:27, p. 357, c17-d3//R122, p. 714, a17–b3.

                                    (40.) Tianzhen Dufeng Shan chanshi yaoyu 天真毒峰善禪師要語: 上堂。僧問。昔高峰和尚示眾云。海底泥牛啣[㘅]月走。岩[巖]前石虎抱兒眠。鐵蛇鑽人[入]金剛眼。崑崙騎象鷺鷥牽。此四句內有一句。能殺能活。能縱能奪。若人檢點得出。許你一生參學事畢。不知是那一句。師云。待你悟即向你道。會麼。僧云。不會。師云。不見道。你有拄杖子。我與你拄杖子。你無拄杖子。我奪卻你拄杖子。下座。‎ (CBETA, J25, no. B159, p. 137, a20–25) The Gaofeng saying is found in both Gaofeng yulu (CBETA, X70, no. 1400, p. 680, a1–3//Z 2:27, p. 329, d7–9//R122, p. 658, b7–9) and Gaofeng chanyao (CBETA, X70, no. 1401, p. 705, b7–9//Z 2:27, p. 354, d1–3//R122, p. 708, b1–3).

                                    (41.) Tianzhen Dufeng Shan chanshi yaoyu 天真毒峰善禪師要語: 果欲脫生死輪迴。先須發大信心。立弘誓願。拼從今身。未悟之先。莫退菩提道心。莫改修行節操。若不打破這則所參公案。洞見父母未生已前面目。坐斷微細現行生死。誓不中途而廢放捨本參話頭。遠離真善知識。若故違此願。當墮惡道。受無量苦。發此大願。防護其心。然後方堪領荷公案。‎ (CBETA, J25, no. B159, p. 137, b5–10). In this article huatou are in italics and bold font.

                                    (42.) Da fangguang fo huayan jing 大方廣佛華嚴經: 譬如一燈。然百千燈。其本一燈。無減無盡。‎ (T279.10.432c1–2).

                                    (43.) For editions of these two Chan records, see Shoki no zenshi I, Zen no goroku 2, ed. and trans. Yanagida Seizan (Tokyo: Chikma shobō, 1976).

                                    (44.) For an edition of this Chan record, see Shoki no zenshi II, Zen no goroku 3, ed. and trans. Yanagida Seizan (Tokyo: Chikma shobō, 1971).

                                    (45.) Chuan fabao ji 傳法寶紀: 是故今修略紀。自達摩後。相承傳法者。著之於次。以爲傳寶紀一卷。維當綴其所見名迹。所化方處。耳目所取。書紀可明者。既而與無爲泯合。而傳記自簡。至於覺證聖趣。靡得甄言也。亦別有貌圖。將爲記。‎ (Yanagida, Shoki no zenshi I, 346; T2838.85.1291b18–22).

                                    (46.) Chuan fabao ji 傳法寶紀: 昔廬山遠上人禪經序云。佛付阿難。阿難傳末田地。末田地傳舍那婆斯。則知爾後不墜於地。存乎其人。至矣。‎ (Yanagida, Shoki no zenshi I, 336–337; T2838.85.1291a20–22). The Preface to the Dhyāna Sūtra quotation is T618.15.301a7–10.

                                    (47.) For a facsimile of the extant fascicles of the Hongzhou 洪州‎ school’s Baolin zhuan 寶林傳‎, see Sōzō ichin: Hōrinden, Dentō gyokuei shū, Zengaku sōsho 5, ed. Yanagida Seizan (Kyoto: Chūbun shuppansha, 1983).

                                    (48.) For a reprinted copy of the original Korean text of the Zutangji 祖堂集‎, see Sodōshū, eds. Yoshizawa Katsuhiro and Onishi Shirō (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, 1984).

                                    (49.) Anderl, Studies in the Language of Zu-tang ji, 1.35–36.

                                    (50.) Jingde chuandeng lu 景德傳燈錄: 有東吳僧道原者。冥心禪悅。索隱空宗。披弈世之祖圖。采諸方之語錄。次序其源派。錯綜其辭句。由七佛以至大法眼之嗣。凡五十二世。一千七百一人。成三十卷。目之曰景德傳燈錄。‎ (T2076.51.196c1–5).

                                    (51.) Jingde chuandeng lu 景德傳燈錄: 毘婆尸佛(過去莊嚴劫第九百九十八尊)偈曰。身從無相中受生。猶如幻出諸形象。幻人心識本來無。罪福皆空無所住。長阿含經云。人壽八萬歲時此佛出世。種剎利。姓拘利若。父槃頭。母槃頭婆提。居槃頭婆提城。坐波波羅樹下。說法三會。度人三十四萬八千人。神足二。一名騫茶。二名提舍。侍者無憂。子方膺。‎ (T2076.51.204d1–8). The Dirghāgama reference is T.1.1.3b7–10.

                                    (52.) Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A New Manual, 4th ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2015), 151.

                                    (53.) Jingde chuandeng lu 景德傳燈錄: 杭州羅漢院宗徹禪師。湖州吳興縣人也。姓吳氏。幼歲出家。依年受具。巡方參禮。依黃檗希運禪師法席。黃檗一見便深器之。入室領旨。後至杭州。州牧劉彥慕其道。立精舍於府西。號羅漢院。化徒三百。師有時上堂。僧問。如何是西來意。師曰。骨剉也。(師對機多用此語。故時人因號骨剉和尚。) 問。如何是南宗北宗。師曰。心爲宗。僧曰。還看教也無。師曰。教是心。問。性地多昏。如何了悟。師曰。煩雲風卷。太虛廓清。曰。如何得明去。師曰。一輪皎潔。萬里騰光。師後示疾遷化。門人塔于院之北隅。梁貞明五年。錢王廣其院爲安國羅漢寺。移師塔於大慈山塢。今寺與塔並存。‎ (T2076.51.293a15–27).

                                    (54.) For text of the Tiansheng guang denglu 天聖廣燈錄‎, see CBETA, X78, no. 1553.

                                    (55.) 正宗門; 對機門; 拈古門; 頌古門‎; and 偈頌門‎. Jianzhong Jingguo xu deng lu 建中靖國續燈錄‎: CBETA, X78, no. 1555, p. 622, a7–11//Z 2B:9, p. 1, a4–8//R136, p. 1, a4–8.

                                    (56.) For text of the Zongmen liandeng huiyao 宗門聯燈會要‎, see CBETA, X79, no. 1557.

                                    (57.) For text of the Jiatai pu denglu 嘉泰普燈錄‎, see CBETA, X79, no. 1559.

                                    (58.) Chanmen zhu zushi jisong 禪門諸祖師偈頌‎: Sanzu dashi Xinxin ming 三祖大師信心銘: 至道無難。唯嫌揀擇。但莫憎愛。洞然明白。毫釐有差。天地懸隔。欲得現前。莫存順逆。違順相爭。是爲心病。不識玄旨。徒勞念靜。圓同太虗。無欠無餘。良由取捨。所以不如。莫逐有緣。勿住空忍。一種平懷。泯然自盡。止動歸止。止更彌動。唯滯兩邊。寧知一種。一種不通。兩處失功。遣有沒有。從空背空。多言多慮。轉不相應。絕言絕慮。無處不通。‎ (CBETA, X66, no. 1298, p. 722, c17–p. 723, a2//Z 2:21, p. 457, b3–12//R116, p. 913, b3–12).

                                    (59.) Chanmen zhu zushi jisong 禪門諸祖師偈頌‎: Yongjia Zhenjue dashi Zhengdao ge 永嘉真覺大師證道歌: 君不見。絕學無爲閑道人。不除妄想不求真。無明實性即佛性。幻化空身即法身。法身覺了無一物。本源自性天真佛。五陰浮雲空去來。三毒水泡虗出沒。‎ (CBETA, X66, no. 1298, p. 731, c4–7//Z 2:21, p. 466, a10–13//R116, p. 931, a10–13).

                                    (60.) Jianghu fengyue ji 江湖風月集: 聽雪: 寒夜無風竹有聲。踈踈密密透松櫺。耳聞不似心聞好。歇却燈前半卷經。‎ Gōko fugetsushū yakuchū, ed. Yoshizawa Katsuhiro (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, 2003), 76–77. The Śūraṃgama reference is T945.19.126c15–16.

                                    (61.) 聽蛙: 頭戴青苔咄咄鳴。千山虛寂月初明。一機頓發空諸有。太雅松風無此聲。‎ Yoshizawa, Gōko fugetsushū yakuchū, 131–132. These are the words of Layman Pang at death. Pang jushi yulu 龐居士語錄‎: “The Metropolitan Governor Yu Di came to inquire about the Layman’s illness. Layman Pang said to him: ‘Vow to empty the existent. Don’t reify the non-existent.’” [州牧于頔問疾。士謂之曰。但願空諸所有。慎勿實諸所無。‎] (CBETA, X69, no. 1336, p. 134, b10–11//Z 2:25, p. 31, b10–11//R120, p. 61, b10–11). Mozong Deben (末宗德本‎) was a successor of Duanqiao Miaolun (斷橋妙倫‎; 1201–1261) of the Yangqi-Po’an wing of the Linji lineage.

                                    (62.) 開藏經板: 瞿曇曲爲說來由。逓代雕鐫禍未休。誰道遶禪牀一匝。更無一字落刀頭。‎ Yoshizawa, Gōko fugetsushū yakuchū, 177–178. An old woman sent money to Zhaozhou Congshen (趙州從諗‎; 778–897) with a request to “turn the canon” (zhuan zang 轉藏‎), and this was his response. Turning the canon means both reading the canon (not necessarily word by word) and spinning the revolving bookcase that contains the canon. Zhitang Biao (指堂摽‎; d. unknown) was in the Songyuan wing of the Linji lineage.

                                    (63.) 禪者求語: 迢迢峯頂賺伊來。將爲春風巧剪裁。語又不玄機不妙。方方丈地定生苔。‎ Yoshizawa, Gōko fugetsushū yakuchū, 401–402. Qianfeng Ruwan (千峰如琬‎; d. unknown) was in the Linji line (Yanqi branch) of Yuanwu Keqin.

                                    (64.) Charles Egan, Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown: Poems by Zen Monks of China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 45–47.

                                    (65.) Hanshanzi shi ji 寒山子詩集: 有箇王秀才。笑我詩多失。云不識蜂腰。仍不會鶴膝。平側不解壓。凡言取次出。我笑你作詩。如盲徒詠日。‎ (CBETA, J20, no. B103, p. 663, a9–11).

                                    (66.) Xueyan Zuqin chanshi yulu 雪巖祖欽禪師語錄: 一千七百則公案‎ (CBETA, X70, no. 1397, p. 616, c16//Z 2:27, p. 267, b5//R122, p. 533, b5).

                                    (67.) Xuedou Xian heshang songgu ji 雪竇顯和尚頌古集: 今又採古聖機緣之妙者凡百則。發言以爲頌。由頌以宣義。由義以垂裕。‎ Iriya Yoshitaka, Kajitani Sōnin, and Yanagida Seizan, Secchō juko, Zen no goroku 15 (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1981), 3.

                                    (68.) 垂示; 著語; and 評唱‎. For text of the Biyan ji 碧巖集‎, see T2003.48.

                                    (69.) 趙州語錄; 睦州語錄; 智門語; 臨濟錄;‎ and 龐居士語錄‎.

                                    (70.) Xuedou Xian heshang songgu ji雪竇顯和尚頌古集: 舉。世尊一日陞座。文殊白槌云。諦觀法王法。法王法如是。 世尊便下座。頌曰。列聖叢中作者知。法王法令不如斯。會中若有仙陀客。何必文殊下一 槌。‎ Iriya, Kajitani, and Yanagida, Secchō juko, 221–222.

                                    (71.) 垂示; 著語; 評唱; 著語; and評唱‎. Foguo Yuanwu chanshi biyan lu 佛果圜悟禪師碧巖錄‎, T2003.48.216b18–c29.

                                    (72.) 泗州普照和尚頌古‎. Hongzhi chanshi guanglu 宏智禪師廣錄‎, T2001.48.18b27–27c1.

                                    (73.) For text of the Wansong laoren pingchang Tiantong Jue heshang song gu congrong an lu 萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚頌古從容庵錄‎, see T2004.48.

                                    (74.) Hongzhi chanshi guanglu 宏智禪師廣錄‎: Sizhou Puzhao heshang song gu泗州普照覺和尚頌古: 舉雲門垂語云。古佛與露柱相交。是第幾機衆無語。自代云。南山起雲北山下雨。頌曰。一道神光。初不覆藏。超見緣也。是而無是。出情量也。當而無當。巖花之粉兮蜂房成蜜。野草之滋兮麝臍作香。隨類三尺一丈六。明明觸處露堂堂。‎ (T2001.48.21b6–12)

                                    (75.) Wumen guan 無門關: 且道。如何是祖師關。只者一箇無字。乃宗門一關也。遂目之曰禪宗無門關。透得過者。非但親見趙州。便可與歷代祖師。把手共行。眉毛廝結。同一眼見。同一耳聞。豈不慶快。莫有要透關底麼。將三百六十骨節八萬四千毫竅。通身起箇疑團。參箇無字。晝夜提撕。莫作虛無會。莫作有無會。如吞了箇熱鐵丸。相似吐又吐不出。蕩盡從前惡知惡覺。久久純熟。自然內外打成。‎ (T2005.48.292c27–293a6).

                                    (76.) Zheng fayan zang 正法眼藏: 琅邪覺和尚示衆曰。進前即死。退後即亡。不進不退落在無事之鄉。何故如此。長安雖樂。不是久居。妙喜曰。啼得血流無用處。不如緘口過殘春。‎ (CBETA, X67, no. 1309, p. 578, a23-b1//Z 2:23, p. 23, a14–16//R118, p. 45, a14–16).

                                    (77.) Jeffrey Lyle Broughton, Zongmi on Chan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 214 (n. 54).

                                    (78.) Chanyuan zhuquan ji duxu 禪源諸詮集都序: 原夫佛說頓教漸教禪開頓門漸門。二教二門各相符契。今講者偏彰漸義。禪者偏播頓宗。禪講相逢胡越之隔。宗密不知宿生何作熏得此心。‎ (T2015.48.399c2–5).

                                    (79.) 息妄修心宗; 泯絕無寄宗;‎ and 直顯心性宗‎.

                                    (80.) 淨衆宗; 北宗; 保唐宗; 南山念佛門禪宗; 石頭宗; 牛頭宗; 荷澤宗‎; and 洪州宗‎.

                                    (81.) Rentian yanmu 人天眼目: 凡是五宗綱要者。即筆而藏諸。‎ (T2006.48.300a10–11) 臨濟宗; 雲門宗; 曹洞宗; 潙仰宗‎; and 法眼宗‎.

                                    (82.) Rentian yanmu 人天眼目‎: Yuanwu wu jia zongyao 圓悟五家宗要: 全機大用。棒喝交馳。劍刀上求人。電光中垂手(臨濟)。北斗藏身。金風體露。三句可辨。一鏃遼空(雲門)。君臣合道。偏正相資。鳥道玄途。金針玉線(曹洞)。師資唱和。父子一家。明暗交馳。語默不露(溈仰)。聞聲悟道。見色明心。句裏藏鋒。言中有響(法眼)。‎ (T2006.48.331a14–24).

                                    (83.) Linjianlu 林間錄: 予甞與數僧謁雲峰悅禪師塔。拜起。拊之曰。生耶。死耶。久之。自答曰。不可推倒塔子去也。旁僧曰。今日時節正類道吾因緣。因作偈示之曰。不知即問。不見即討。圓滿現前。何須更道。維堅密身。生死病老。面前塔子。不可推倒。‎ (CBETA, X87, no. 1624, p. 275, a22–b2//Z 2B:21, p. 323, a14–18//R148, p. 645, a14–18).

                                    (84.) Linjianlu 林間錄: 酔里有狂僧。號戒道者。依止聚落。無日不酔。然吐詞恠奇。世莫能凡聖之。有飲以酒者。使自爲祭文。戒應聲曰。惟靈生在閻浮。不嗔不妬。愛喫酒子。倒街臥路。直得生兜率陀天。爾時方不喫酒故。何以故。淨土之中。無酒得沽。‎ (CBETA, X87, no. 1624, p. 275, c21–p. 276, a1//Z 2B:21, p. 323, d7–11//R148, p. 646, b7–11).

                                    (85.) Huang Ming mingseng jilue 皇明名僧輯略: 單單提起一句阿彌陀佛。置之懷抱。默然體究。常時鞭起疑情。這箇念佛的畢竟是誰。返復參究。不可作有無卜度。又不得將心待悟。但有微塵許妄念存心。皆為障礙。直須打併教胷中空蕩蕩無一物。而於行住坐臥之中。乃至靜閙閒忙之處。都不用分別計較。但要念念相續。心心無間。久久工夫純一。自然寂靜輕安。便有禪定現前。‎ (CBETA, X84, no. 1581, p. 370, a8–15//Z 2B:17, p. 213, c8–15//R144, p. 426, a8–15).

                                    (86.) Dahui Pujue chanshi shu 大慧普覺禪師書: 今時士大夫。多於此事不能百了千當直下透脫者。只爲根性太利知見太多。見宗師纔開口動舌。早一時會了也。以故返不如鈍根者。無許多惡知惡覺。驀地於一機一境上一言一句下撞發。‎ (T1998A.47.922c5–9). Letters of Dahui circulated as both an independent text and as a section of his yulu.

                                    (87.) Dahui Pujue chanshi shu 大慧普覺禪師書: 近年以來有一種邪師。說默照禪。教人十二時中是事莫管。休去歇去。不得做聲。恐落今時。往往士大夫。爲聰明利根所使者。多是厭惡鬧處。乍被邪師輩指令靜坐。却見省力。便以爲是。更不求妙悟。只以默然爲極則。某不惜口業。力救此弊。‎ (T1998A.47.923a5–11).

                                    (88.) Examples in the Dunhuang Chan corpus beyond Cutting-off are: No-Mind Treatise (Wuxinlun 無心論‎), which says at the beginning it will “now hypothetically set up two people who together discuss the topic of no-mind” (今且假立二人共談無心之論矣‎ [T2831.85.1269a24–25]); the Treatise on the Mahāyāna Opening Mind Revealing the Nature All-at-once Awakening to the True Axiom-Realization (Dasheng kaixin xianxing dunwu zhenzong lun 大乘開心顯性頓悟真宗論‎; T no.2835), a dialogue between two aspects of the same person (Li Huiguang 李惠光‎and Chan Master Dazhao 大照‎) on “mind not arising” (xin bu qi 心不起‎); and the Essential Judgments on the Dharma Gate of All-At-Once Awakening to the True Thesis and Arriving at the Other Shore by the Practice of Thunderbolt Wisdom (Dunwu zhenzong jingang bore xiuxing da bi’an famen yaojue 頓悟真宗金剛般若修行達彼岸法門要決‎), a dhyāna manual cast in the format of a dialogue between Chan Master Zhida 智達‎and Layman Houmochen Yan 候莫陳琰居士‎, two aspects of the same person. The last was translated into Tibetan (Yang dag pa’i phyi mo cig car tshor ba’i chos kyi sgo mo = Dunwu zhenzong famen) during Tibet’s first dissemination of Buddhism. For an edition, see Ueyama Daishun, “Chibetto-yaku Tongo shinshū yōketsu no kenkyū,” Zen bunka kenkyūjo kiyō 8 (1976): 33–103.

                                    (89.) Jueguan lun 絕觀論: 今且立二人。共談真實。師主名入立。弟子號緣門。於是入立先生寂無言説。緣門忽起。問入立先生曰。云何名心。云何安心。答曰。汝不須立心。亦不須強安。可謂安矣。‎ Yanagida Seizan and Tokiwa Gishin, eds. and trans., Zekkanron (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, 1973), 87.

                                    (90.) Tianmu Zhongfeng heshang guanglu 天目中峯和尚廣錄‎: Huanzhu jiaxun 幻住家訓: 幻人一日據幻室依幻座執幻拂時。諸幻弟子俱來雲集。有問。松緣何直。棘緣何曲。鵠緣何白。鳥緣何玄。幻人竪起拂子。召大衆曰。我此幻拂。竪不自竪。依幻而竪。横不自横。依幻而横。拈不自拈。依幻而拈。放不自放。依幻而放。‎ . . . 且不要怱怱草草。但辦取一片鐵石身心。拌取一生兩生。尚所參底無義味話頭上。拍盲立定丁字脚頭。心憤憤地。與之抵捱將取。‎ Gozanban Chūgoku zenseki sōkan 9, Goroku 4, ed. Shiina Kōyū (Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 2013), 350 and 353.

                                    (91.) For text of the Zuting shiyuan 祖庭事苑‎, see CBETA, X64, no. 1261.

                                    (92.) Chanyuan zhuquan ji duxu 禪源諸詮集都序: 教也者。諸佛菩薩所留經論也。禪也者。諸善知識所述句偈也。但佛經開張。羅大千八部之衆。禪偈撮略。就此方一類之機。‎ (T2015.399c18–22).

                                    (93.) Roger R. Jackson, Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 16–40.

                                    (94.) Zong-qi Cai, ed., How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 161–164.

                                    (95.) See Hu Shi, Shenhui heshang yiji (1930; repr., Taipei: Hu Shi jinian guan, 1970) and Jacques Gernet, Les entretiens du maître de dhyâna Chen-houei du Ho-tsö (668–760) (Hanoi: École Française d’Extrȇme-Orient, 1949).

                                    (96.) Two publications emblematic of Iriya’s work are: Iriya Yoshitaka and Koga Hidehiko, Zengo jiten (Kyoto: Shibunkaku shuppan, 1991) and Iriya Yoshitaka, trans., Rinzairoku (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1989). The former is an invaluable dictionary of Chan words and expressions; the latter is a fluid and nuanced translation of the Linjilu (Record of Linji) into modern Japanese.

                                    (97.) Two publications emblematic of Yanagida’s work are Yanagida Seizan, Shoki zenshū shisho no kenkyū (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1967) and Yanagida Seizan, “Zenseki kaidai,” in Zenke goroku 2, ed. Nishitani Keiji and Yanagida Seizan (Tokyo: Chikuma shōbo, 1974), 445–514. The former is a monumental study of early Chan literature that has had enormous influence on the field; the latter is an annotated list of over 300 Chan texts, giving a brief textual history for each.

                                    (98.) Zen no goroku, 17 vols. (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 1969–1976). Reissued in 20 vols. in 2016.

                                    (99.) Zengaku daijiten, ed. Komazawa daigaku nai zengaku daijiten hensanjo (1978; repr., Tokyo: Taishūkan shoten, 1985).

                                    (100.) Shinsan zenseki mokuroku, ed. Komazawa daigaku toshokan (Tokyo: Komazawa daigaku toshokan, 1962) and Shiina Kōyū, Sō-Genban zenseki no kenkyū (Tokyo: Daitō shuppansha, 1993).

                                    (101.) Philip B. Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967).

                                    (102.) Entretiens de Lin-tsi, trans. Paul Demiéville (Paris: Fayard, 1972).

                                    (103.) John R. McRae, The Northern School and Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986).

                                    (104.) Albert Welter, Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) and Morten Schlütter, How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008).