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Hagiography and Biography in Early Ch'an
Author: John Jorgensen
It was through the propaganda of Shen-hui (684-758) that Hui-neng (d. 710) became the also today still towering figure of sixth patriarch of Ch’an/Zen Buddhism, and accepted as the ancestor or founder of all subsequent Ch’an lineages.
The first part of the book analyses the creation of the image of Hui-neng and the worship of a lacquered mummy said to be that of Hui-neng. Using the life of Confucius as a template for its structure, Shen-hui invented a hagiography for the then highly obscure Hui-neng. At the same time, Shen-hui forged a lineage of patriarchs of Ch’an back to the Buddha using ideas from Indian Buddhism and Chinese ancestor worship. The second half of the book examines the production of the hagiographies of Hui-neng , how they evolved, and the importance of ideas about authorship and the role of place. It demonstrates the influence of Confucian thought, politics and the periphery in the growth of early Ch’an hagiography and the changing image of Hui-neng.
In: Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements
In: Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements
Author: John Jorgensen

Abstract

In “Early Chan Revisited” John Jorgensen examines the biographies of Bodhidharma, Huike, and their associates, mainly based on material by the Buddhist historian Daoxuan. He looks at the sources Daoxuan used, along with related materials, to explain why Bodhidharma and Huike were retrospectively viewed as being the founders of the Chan movement. In the paper it is concluded that Bodhidharma came from South India and that he and his pupil Huike taught the doctrines of the tathāgatgarbha and the One Vehicle, doctrines found in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, that also has associations with southern India. Huike was probably a member of an important clan from the Luoyang region, who reacted to murderous opposition to his teachings by using popular forms of expression, even though he was a considerable scholar of tathāgatagarbha and other doctrines. In 577, during the Northern Zhou persecution of Buddhism, he came into contact with Tanlin, himself a student of tathāgatagarbha, and due to this association, Tanlin compiled the Long Scroll, an anthology of sayings and sermons by Bodhidharma and Huike, plus the sayings on similar themes by monks who were not associates of Huike. This became a source for Daoxuan. In passing, this chapter investigates textual problems such as so-called interpolations and hagiographical techniques, misunderstandings of which have plagued interpretations of these sources. It concludes that Daoxuan’s accounts inspired the later development of the idea of a Chan School with its founder being Bodhidharma, and it confirms the tradition that Bodhidharma and Huike were teachers of doctrines found in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra.

In: Chán Buddhism in Dūnhuáng and Beyond
In: T'oung Pao
In: T'oung Pao
This series aims to publish authoritative, innovative and informative studies on topics in East Asian Buddhist philosophy (broadly construed) from any period, including the modern period. It is devoted to publishing specialist monographs on influential texts, thinkers and philosophical topics; broad comparative studies (such as, but not limited to, Buddhist and Confucian comparative philosophical studies, East Asian and Indian comparative philosophical studies, and East Asian and Western comparative philosophical studies), as well as more specialist studies on topics in Buddhist logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ontology and ethics. East Asian Buddhist Philosophy welcomes studies of how Indian philosophical materials were adopted, adapted, modified, recontextualized, and developed in China, Japan and Korea; as well as studies dealing with Korean and Japanese philosophical texts written in Chinese script.