Yulu Formation in Chinese Chan: The Records of Qingyuan Xingsi and Nanyue Huairang

In: Journal of Chan Buddhism
Albert Welter Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Arizona Tucson, AZ USA

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In recent decades, the study of Chan Buddhism has emerged from the haze of mythologically tinged orthodoxy. This study focuses on the yulu (Dialogue Record) formation process of two of Chan’s most important masters, Qingyuan Xingsi and Nanyue Huairang, linchpins for a flourishing Chan tradition allegedly descended from them. Viewed through four seminal texts – Zutang ji, Zongjing lu, Jingde chuandenglu and Tiansheng guangdenglu – Qingyuan Xingsi and Nanyue Huairang represent two very different cases in the development of Chan. While Xingsi remains a relatively obscure figure, Huairang emerges with a full-fledged Chan persona. The study emphasizes the role of textual compilations in shaping the Chan imaginaire of these two masters.

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