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Although the Buddhist monastic elite practiced self-cultivation in many different ways during the Song, Jin, and Yuan, the accumulation of merit and the pursuit of enlightenment were generally considered to be the main reasons for practicing virtually all forms of Buddhist self-cultivation. But Juhn Ahn’s essay shows that the rise of new Buddhist institutions such as the ten directions or public monastery (shifangcha), and intensifying lineage rivalry affected this pursuit of self-cultivation in an important way. As the abbacies of these public institutions became highly desirable, self-cultivation came to focus less on personal development than on the individual’s spiritual accomplishments (the Way) and his ability to garner respect (virtue). One popular way of garnering respect and demonstrating one’s spiritual accomplishments during this period was the perfection of chan or koan locution. To compete, the rival Tiantai tradition, however, had to develop their own methods and institutions of self-cultivation such as the hall of sixteen contemplations and the hall for pure land cultivation.

In: Modern Chinese Religion I (2 vols.)
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Abstract

Although the Buddhist monastic elite practiced self-cultivation in many different ways during the Song, Jin, and Yuan, the accumulation of merit and the pursuit of enlightenment were generally considered to be the main reasons for practicing virtually all forms of Buddhist self-cultivation. But Juhn Ahn’s essay shows that the rise of new Buddhist institutions such as the ten directions or public monastery (shifangcha), and intensifying lineage rivalry affected this pursuit of self-cultivation in an important way. As the abbacies of these public institutions became highly desirable, self-cultivation came to focus less on personal development than on the individual’s spiritual accomplishments (the Way) and his ability to garner respect (virtue). One popular way of garnering respect and demonstrating one’s spiritual accomplishments during this period was the perfection of chan or koan locution. To compete, the rival Tiantai tradition, however, had to develop their own methods and institutions of self-cultivation such as the hall of sixteen contemplations and the hall for pure land cultivation.

In: Modern Chinese Religion I (2 vols.)
Author:

Abstract

Today, Korean dharma lineages all trace themselves back to Seosan Hyujeong 西山休靜 (1520–1604). Although some claim that Hyujeong’s own lineage should be traced back to Taego Bou 太古普愚 (1301–1382), others claim that it should be traced back to Naong Hyegeun 懶翁慧勤 (1320–1376) instead. The present article will demonstrate that both claims are flawed. They fail to take an important fact into account: the assumptions that guided lineage practices in the fourteenth century were no longer guiding lineage practices in the seventeenth century, which is when both claims were first made. Attempts to trace Hyujeong’s lineage to either Taego or Naong mistakenly accept the veracity of seventeenth-century lineage claims and assumptions. In pre-seventeenth century Korea Seon masters who received dharma transmission in China officially recognized not only their Chinese Chan lineage but also their Korean Seon lineage(s). As shown in this article, there was nothing wrong with having two or more dharma lineages in Korea. Hyegeun is a good example. He claimed to have inherited two different dharma lineages and may have even had a third. Hyegeun’s lineage began to lose favor, this article argues, because it did not accord with the new assumptions that began to guide lineage practices in seventeenth-century Korea.

In: Journal of Chan Buddhism