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The Teachings of Master Wuzhu

The Teachings of Master Wuzhu: Zen and Religion of No-Religion

WENDI L. ADAMEK
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/adam15022
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  • Book Info
    The Teachings of Master Wuzhu
    Book Description:

    The Record of the Dharma-Jewel Through the Generations ( Lidai fabao ji) is a little-known Chan/Zen Buddhist text of the eighth century, rediscovered in 1900 at the Silk Road oasis of Dunhuang. The only remaining artifact of the Bao Tang Chan school of Sichuan, the text provides a fascinating sectarian history of Chinese Buddhism intended to showcase the iconoclastic teachings of Bao Tang founder Chan Master Wuzhu (714--774). Wendi Adamek not only brings Master Wuzhu's experimental community to life but also situates his paradigm-shifting teachings within the history of Buddhist thought. Having published the first translation of the Lidai fabao ji in a Western language, she revises and presents it here for wide readership.

    Written by disciples of Master Wuzhu, the Lidai fabao ji is one of the earliest attempts to implement a "religion of no-religion," doing away with ritual and devotionalism in favor of "formless practice." Master Wuzhu also challenged the distinctions between lay and ordained worshippers and male and female practitioners. The Lidai fabao ji captures his radical teachings through his reinterpretation of the Chinese practices of merit, repentance, precepts, and Dharma transmission. These aspects of traditional Buddhism continue to be topics of debate in contemporary practice groups, making the Lidai fabao ji a vital document of the struggles, compromises, and insights of an earlier era. Adamek's volume opens with a vivid introduction animating Master Wuzhu's cultural environment and comparing his teachings to other Buddhist and historical sources.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52792-7
    Subjects: Religion, Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. PART I MASTER WUZHU AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHAN/ZEN BUDDHISM

    • CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE LIDAI FABAO JI AND MEDIEVAL CHINESE BUDDHISM
      (pp. 3-14)

      It is, perhaps, one of the earliest attempts to implement a “religion of no-religion.” However, even sympathetic Zen historians are tempted to dismiss the Lidai fabao ji as a self-promoting fiction. It was discredited soon after it was written in the late eighth century and still provokes occasional disparaging comments. The sharpest early critic was Shenqing (d. 814), whose views are discussed in chapter 5. He voiced his objections in the Beishan lu (Record of North Mountain), his voluminous book on the current state of Buddhism in China.

      The Lidai fabao ji was long considered lost. It was resurrected from...

    • CHAPTER 2 QUESTIONING WUZHU’S TRANSMISSION
      (pp. 15-29)

      The meaning of “transmission” in Buddhist contexts is by no means self-evident. There are at least three levels involved: transmission of a particular practice-approach to the Buddhist teachings of liberation from suffering, transmission of a doctrinal tradition claiming superior efficacy and authority, and transmission of an ideology that legitimates a particular approach, efficacy, and authority. All these levels involve contestation and may be represented by talismanic texts and images. If one approach to liberation, one form of Buddhist soteriology, is promoted, then others are explicitly or implicitly pushed aside. If something, a text or exegetical tradition or object, has a...

    • CHAPTER 3 RADICAL ASPECTS OF WUZHU’S TEACHINGS
      (pp. 30-45)

      Chan rhetorical rejection of merit practice was captured in the aforementioned emblematic dialogue between Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu of the Liang. The exchange presents merit practice in its shallowest, most self-serving form: Emperor Wu is portrayed as using his superior wealth and power to pile up merit for himself. Yet merit practice was not merely a kind of spiritual materialism aimed at improving one’s own conditions. Such practices were also methods of self-purification intended as foundations of the bodhisattva path. This is particularly true of repentance, taking the bodhisattva precepts, and calling on and visualizing the buddhas.

      We can see...

    • CHAPTER 4 WUZHU’S FEMALE DISCIPLES
      (pp. 46-52)

      The best-known Mahāyāna scriptural images of female realization are the Dragon King’s daughter in the Lotus Sūtra and the Goddess in the Vimalakīrti. In the Lotus Sūtra, the Dragon Princess’s ability to achieve enlightenment proves the universal efficacy of the Buddha vehicle. However, she has to turn into a male in order to teach as a buddha. In the Vimalakīrti, the Goddess teaches the monk Śariputra about the nonduality of practice and enlightenment by turning him into a woman. These resonant images reverberated throughout Buddhist writings on gender, but what did they mean for those who were neither dragon princesses...

    • CHAPTER 5 WUZHU’S LEGACY
      (pp. 53-66)

      Criticism of Chan and Zen has a long history. Jesuits encountering Chan in the eighteenth century called it antinomian and quietistic—in other words, amoral and self-indulgently passive in contrast to Western progressive vigor. These charges were repeated and extended to Buddhism in general as more and more missionaries and explorers traveled and lived in Asia, often supported by Western colonial powers.

      Partly in reaction, Japanese writers, particularly D. T. Suzuki, celebrated Chan/Zen spontaneity and iconoclasm and caught the imaginations of a generation of disaffected Westerners. More recently, scholars have shown that Chan’s iconoclastic, anti-institutional, antinomian, and subitist rhetoric developed...

  4. PART II TRANSLATION OF THE LIDAI FABAO JI (RECORD OF THE DHARMA-JEWEL THROUGH THE GENERATIONS)

    • SECTION 1. SOURCES AND THE LEGEND OF EMPEROR MING OF THE HAN (T. 51 : 179A1 – 179C4)
      (pp. 69-73)

      Record of the Dharma-Jewel Through the Generations. Also called: The Transmission of the Masters and Disciples of the [True] Lineage. Also called: The Transmission Determining True and False, Annihilating Wrong and Displaying Right, and Destroying All Mind [Consciousnesses]. Also called: The Supreme Vehicle, the Dharma-Gate of Sudden Awakening.

      Based on the authority of the Abhiniṣkramaṇa-sūtra (Scripture of the Initial Steps on the Path), Saṃyuktāgama-sūtra (Miscellaneous Discourses), Lalitavistara-sūtra (Scripture of the Unfolding of the Divine Play [of the Buddha]), Kumārakuśalaphalanidāna-sūtra (Scripture of Auspicious Signs), Manjuśrīparinirvāṇa-sūtra (Scripture of the Final Nirvāṇa of Manjuśrī), Qingjing faxing jing (Scripture of the Practice of the...

    • SECTION 2. BUDDHISM IN CHINA (T. 51 : 179C4 – 180A2)
      (pp. 73-74)

      The Qingjing faxing jing (Scripture of the Pure Practice of the Dharma) says: “To the northeast of India is the kingdom of China. Few of the people are devout and evildoers are legion. For the present I will dispatch three holy disciples, all bodhisattvas, to appear there and make conversions. Mahākāśyapa will be styled Laozi, Kumara will be called Confucius, and Sumedha will be called Yanhui.¹¹ They will expound on the five classics: the Classic of Poetry, Classic of Documents, Classic of Rites, and Classic of Music. By setting august standards they will gradually bring about a transformation. Only after...

    • SECTION 3. TRANSMISSION FROM INDIA TO CHINA (THE FU FAZANG ZHUAN) (T. 51 : 180A2 – 180C2)
      (pp. 74-77)

      The Avataṃsaka-sūtra says: “All buddhas abdicate their status; some become bodhisattvas, some become śrāvakas (disciples), some become cakravartins, some become demon kings, some become princes of kingdoms or great ministers, or lay elders, or palace women and officials, some become powerful ghosts and spirits, or mountain spirits or stream spirits, or river spirits or sea spirits, or spirits that rule the sun or spirits that rule the moon, or morning spirits or evening spirits, or spirits that rule fire or spirits that rule water, or all the spirits of sprouting and ripe grain, or spirits of the trees, and they...

    • SECTION 4. THE FIRST PATRIARCH BODHIDHARMATRĀTA (T. 51 : 180C3 – 181A18)
      (pp. 77-79)

      Chan Master Bodhidharmatrāta was the third son of a South Indian king. He became a monk while still young, and as soon as he received instruction from his master he was immediately awakened. He preached in South India and greatly furthered Buddhism.

      At one point, he ascertained that the beings of the land of the Han were possessed of the Great Chan nature. So he dispatched two of his disciples, Buddha and Yaśas, to go to the land of the Qin (the Later Qin dynasty, 385–417) and explain the teaching of immediate awakening. When the worthies of the Qin...

    • SECTION 5. THE SECOND PATRIARCH HUIKE (T. 51 : 181A19 – 181B18)
      (pp. 79-81)

      Chan Master Huike had the lay surname Ji, and he was from Wulao (Henan). When he was forty, he had served the Great Master [Bodhidharmatrāta] for six years. He was previously called Shenguang. When he first came to serve the Great Master, he stood before the Great Master in the night. That night there was a heavy snowfall and the snow rose up to his waist, but he did not stir.

      The Great Master said, “He who would seek the Dharma must spare neither life nor limb.” [Huike] then chopped off one of his arms, whereupon his blood flowed as...

    • SECTION 6. THE THIRD PATRIARCH SENGCAN (T. 51 : 181B19 – 181C8)
      (pp. 81-82)

      Chan Master Can’s place of origin is unknown. When he first encountered Great Master Ke, Can appeared to have palsy. They met in the midst of a crowd. Great Master Ke asked, “Where are you from? Why are you here?”

      Sengcan replied, “Because I want to serve the Venerable.”

      Great Master Ke said, “For you, a person afflicted with palsy, what good is it to meet with me?”

      Can replied, “Although my body is afflicted, between the mind of the afflicted and the Venerable’s mind there is no difference.”28

      Great Master Ke realized that Can was no ordinary man and...

    • SECTION 7. THE FOURTH PATRIARCH DAOXIN (T. 51 : 181C9 – 182A10)
      (pp. 82-84)

      Chan Master Xin’s lay surname was Sima, and he was from east of the Yellow river. He became a renunciant when very young and entered the service of Great Master Can. Great Master Can knew that he was especially talented. He sat day and night without lying down; for over sixty years his sides never touched a mat. He had an exceptional spiritual presence. His eyes usually did not gaze out, [but] when he wanted to look at someone, that person would cower in fear.

      In this manner, in the year Daye (605) Great Master Xin saw from afar [something...

    • SECTION 8. THE FIFTH PATRIARCH HONGREN (T. 51 : 182A11 – 182B5)
      (pp. 84-86)

      Chan Master Hongren’s lay surname was Zhou, and he was from Huangmei. At the age of seven he went to serve Master Xin, and at the age of thirteen he entered upon the Way and donned robes. He was by nature taciturn and imperturbable, and when his fellow students joked around he remained silently unresponsive. He was always diligent in performing duties, and toward others he conducted himself with decorous humility. By day he secretly did things for others and by night he practiced sitting meditation until dawn; never was he negligent. For thirty years he never left Master Xin....

    • SECTION 9. THE SIXTH PATRIARCH HUINENG, PART 1 (T. 51 : 182B6 – 182C16)
      (pp. 86-88)

      The lay surname of Chan Master Neng of Caoqi in Shaozhou was Lu, and he was from Fanyang (Hebei). After his father was posted to Lingwai, he lived in Xinzhou (Guangdong).

      When he was twenty-two, he came to Mount Pingmao to pay his respects to Great Master Ren. At their first meeting the Great Master asked, “Where did you come from?”

      [Huineng] replied, “I have come from Xinzhou. I want nothing else but to become a buddha.”

      Great Master Ren said, “You people from Xinzhou are Lao barbarians, why would you become a buddha?”

      Huineng replied, “Is there any difference...

    • SECTION 10. DHARMA MASTER DAOAN AND SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS (T. 51 : 182C17 – 183C1)
      (pp. 88-92)

      During the three hundred years after the Buddhist teachings came east, there were no formal standards at all. Later, around the time of Shi Le of the Jin, Fotudeng’s disciple Dharma Master Daoan was at Xiangyang. Fujian of the Qin heard of Daoan’s fame from afar, and so he dispatched retainers to attack Xiangyang and capture Dharma Master Daoan. The Qin emperor often honored and met with him, and the sons of the nobility of Chang’an all went to him to [learn to] recite poetry. [The saying] “If students don’t rely on Dharma Master Daoan, they will not be able...

    • SECTION 11. HUINENG, PART 2 (T. 51 : 183C1 – 184A6)
      (pp. 92-94)

      One day at Mount Pingmao in Huangmei, Great Master [Hong]ren was opening the Dharma gates wide, receiving people of all degrees for instruction. At this time his students were exceedingly numerous, but among them the close attendants who never left the side of Great Master Ren numbered only ten. All of them were [disciples who could] “ascend the hall and enter the chamber.”61 [They were] Zhishen, Shenxiu, Xuanze, Yifang, Zhide, Huizang, Faru, Laoan, Xuanyue, and Liu Zhubo.62 They were one and all from the ranks of the elite and were monks renowned throughout the entire country. Each said of himself...

    • SECTION 12. ZHISHEN AND EMPRESS WU (T. 51 : 184A6 – 184B17)
      (pp. 94-96)

      Later, the Great Zhou [dynasty] was established and [Empress Wu] Zetian ascended the throne, who greatly revered the Buddha-Dharma.63 In the first year of the Changshou era (692), she decreed that every region in the empire should establish a Dayun monastery. On the twentieth day of the second month, she sent Zhang Changqi, director of the Ministry of Personnel, to Caoqi in Shaozhou in order to invite Chan Master Neng [to court]. Chan Master Neng pleaded illness and did not go. Later, in the first year of the Wansui Tongtian era (696), Zetian sent a messenger to invite Chan Master...

    • SECTION 13. CHAN MASTER ZHISHEN (T. 51 : 184B18 – 184C2)
      (pp. 96-97)

      Chan Master Zhishen of Dechun monastery in Zizhou had the lay surname Zhou and was from Runan (Henan). He accompanied his grandfather when the latter was posted to Shu (Sichuan). When he was ten years old he was very partial to the Buddhist teachings, did not eat strong and pungent foods, resolutely adhered to a lofty standard, and did not engage in childish play. When he was thirteen he left his family and entered the Way. First he served Dharma Master Xuanzang, with whom he studied the scriptures and treatises.65 Later, on hearing of Great Master Ren of Mount Shuangfeng,...

    • SECTION 14. CHAN MASTER CHUJI (T. 51 : 184C3 – 184C16)
      (pp. 97-98)

      Chan master chuji was from Foucheng district in Mianzhou (Sichuan). His lay surname was Tang, and his family had for generations favored Confucianism. Chuji diligently studied the Book of Odes and the Book of Rites, and he had moral integrity and filial piety. When he was ten his father died. He lamented, “There is nothing in Heaven and earth! I have heard that the Buddha-Dharma is inconceivable and roots out the suffering of life and death.”

      So he offered himself as disciple to the Venerable Shen. The Venerable Shen asked, “Where do you come from?”

      Chuji replied, “I come in...

    • SECTION 15. CHAN MASTER WUXIANG (T. 51 : 184C17 – 185B14)
      (pp. 98-101)

      Chan Master Wuxiang of the Jingzhong monastery in Chengdu city prefecture in Jiannan had the lay surname Kim and was from a clan of Silla princes; his family went back for generations East-of-the-Sea (Korea). Formerly, when he was in his homeland, his youngest sister, hearing of her betrothal ceremony, picked up a knife, slashed her face, and vowed her determination to “return to the true.” The Venerable [Wuxiang] saw this and cried, “Girls are pliant and weak, yet she knows the meaning of sticking to chastity. Fellows are hard and strong—how can I be so lacking in spirit?”

      He...

    • SECTION 16. THE VENERABLE SHENHUI (T. 51 : 185B14 – 185C26)
      (pp. 101-104)

      The Venerable Shenhui of Heze monastery in the Eastern Capital (Luoyang) would set up a [bodhisattva precepts ordination] platform every month and expound on the Dharma for people. He knocked down “Purity Chan” and upheld “Tathāgata Chan.”72 He upheld direct experience and verbal explanation. Regarding precepts, meditation, and wisdom, he did not knock down verbal explanation. He said, “Just as I am speaking now is none other than śila, just as I am speaking now is none other than samādhi, just as I am speaking now is none other than prajñā.” He expounded the Dharma of no-thought and upheld seeing...

    • SECTION 17. DISCOURSES OF THE VENERABLE WUZHU (T. 51 : 185C26 – 186A14)
      (pp. 104-105)

      Whenever the Venerable Wuzhu of the Dali-era Bao Tang monastery in Chengdu subprefecture in Jiannan taught for the sake of students of the Way of the four assemblies, [he would say], “Whether a multitude or a single person, regardless of the time, if you have doubts you may confide your questions to me. I am occupying the seat and explaining the Dharma, directly pointing [so that you] see your own natures. Regard direct mind as the bodhimaṇḍa (place of practice). Regard aspiration to practice as the bodhimaṇḍa. Regard the profound mind as the bodhimaṇḍa. Regard the unstained as the bodhimaṇḍa....

    • SECTION 18. WUZHU AND WUXIANG (T. 51 : 186A15 – 187C7)
      (pp. 105-112)

      The Venerable was from the Mei district of Fengxiang (Shaanxi). His family name was Li. His Dharma name was Wuzhu, and his years amounted to five decades.⁸⁰ During the Kaiyuan era (713–741), his father distinguished himself serving in the army at Shuofang. When he was twenty, his physical strength surpassed that of other men and he excelled in the arts of war. At the time, the Prince of Xin’an (d. 743) served as the Military Commissioner of the He[bei] and Shuo[fang] circuits. Seeing that the Venerable was brave and ardent, the Prince of Xin’an retained him as the Patrolling...

    • SECTION 19. DU HONGJIAN’S ARRIVAL IN SHU (T. 51 : 187C7 – 188B21)
      (pp. 112-116)

      As soon as the Lord Minister Du [Hongjian],⁸⁸ Vice-Marshal and Vice-Director of the Chancellery, first arrived in Chengdu Superior Prefecture, he heard that the Venerable Kim was inconceivable. As the Venerable Kim had passed on, [Du Hongjian] expected that he had left a successor. So he went to Jingzhong monastery and to Ningguo monastery on Mount Heng to look around, and he saw the Venerable Kim’s mortal remains. The Lord Minister took the opportunity to ask the lesser masters, “Surely there is a successor-disciple, a monk who received the robe and bowl?”

      The lesser masters replied, “There was no one...

    • SECTION 20. DU HONGJIAN AND WUZHU MEET (T. 51 : 188B21 – 189B22)
      (pp. 116-121)

      On the twenty-third day of the ninth month of the second year of the Yongtai era (766), the Imperial Entertainments Chief Minister Murong Ding, acting as special messenger, and the district officials, monks, [lay followers] of the Way, and such, all went to Mount Baiya to invite the Venerable [Wuzhu]. Conveying the invitations and obeisances of the Lord Minister [Du Hongjian], the Vice-Director [Cui Gan], and the army supervisor, they implored the Venerable: “Do not forsake mercy; for the sake of beings of the Three Shu,⁹⁰ make a ‘Great Bridge,’” they beseeched him fervently.

      The Venerable knew that the Lord...

    • SECTION 21. CUI GAN’S VISIT (T. 51 : 189B22 – 190B16)
      (pp. 121-126)

      Vice-director [cui]100 learned that the lord minister had joyfully declared “the venerable is unfathomable.” He immediately went with his wife, Ren,101 and the military commissioners and army officers to make obeisances to the Venerable. When they had inquired after [Wuzhu’s] “rising and resting,” the officers were seated in sections, and [Cui] permitted all the army officers to listen with them to the Venerable expounding the Dharma. At that time Dharma Master Wuying and Dharma Master Qingyuan, eminently sagacious among monks, were seated among the assembly.

      The Venerable quoted the Śūraṃgama-sūtra: “[The Buddha said], ‘Ānanda, all beings since beginningless time experience...

    • SECTION 22. DIALOGUE WITH CHAN MASTER TIWU (T. 51 : 190B16 – 190C18)
      (pp. 126-127)

      At that time there was a Master Tiwu of the Eastern Capital, eminently sagacious among monks. He sought out masters everywhere. [He was notable for] adherence to the precepts and his imposing demeanor, and in all matters of the Dharma he was astute and eloquent. He was also designated a Chan Master, and he was a disciple of Chan Master Hongzheng of Shengshan monastery (Luoyang). Together with Dou Cheng of Jinyuan, Li Qutai of Shifang, Su Cheng of Qingcheng, the Administrative Assistant Zhou Xia, and others, [Tiwu] came seeking to question the Venerable. [They] proceeded directly to the meditation hall,...

    • SECTION 23. DIALOGUE WITH CHAN MASTER HUIYI (T. 51 : 190C18 – 22)
      (pp. 128-128)

      There was Chan Master Huiyi, whom people in those days called “the monk of Plum Mountain.” He asked the Venerable, “As for the Northern Chan masters, how do they go about ‘entering’?”

      The Venerable replied, “A Chan Master is neither ‘Southern’ nor ‘Northern,’ he neither enters nor exits. One has neither gain nor loss; not flowing and not fixed, not sinking and not floating, lively like a fish jumping!”127 When Huiyi heard this, he joined his palms and knocked his head [on the ground], then sat down....

    • SECTION 24. DIALOGUE WITH MASTERS YIJING, ZHUMO, AND TANGWEN (T. 51 : 190C22 – 191A27)
      (pp. 128-130)

      Master Yijing, Master Zhumo, and Master Tangwen were all disciples of Chan Master Huiming. They came wishing to stay with the Venerable. The Venerable asked, “Ācārya, what scriptures and treatises have you explicated?”

      Master tangwen replied, “I have explicated the Baifa lun (Treatise on One Hundred Dharmas),128 I have lectured on it for the monks.” The Venerable invited him to expound on it. Tangwen replied, “Inside there are five [kinds of] asaṃskṛta (the unconditioned), outside there are five [kinds of] saṃskṛta (conditionality); together they encompass all dharmas.”

      The Venerable quoted the Laṇkāvatāra-sūtra, saying: “‘Those without wisdom constantly make a distinction...

    • SECTION 25. DIALOGUE WITH MASTER JINGZANG (T. 51 : 191A28 - B17)
      (pp. 130-131)

      Master Jingzang of Shengguang monastery in the Western Capital heard that the Venerable was inconceivable and came from afar to submit himself to the Venerable. The Venerable asked, “How did you know that I am inconceivable?”

      Jingzang replied, “I knew that the Venerable Kim transmitted his robe and bowl to the Venerable.”

      The Venerable asked, “How did you know this?”

      Jingzang replied, “Monk and layman alike say that Venerable was invested with the transmission from legitimate heir to legitimate heir, and has got the Venerable Kim’s Dharma. I am blessed with great good fortune to be able to meet the...

    • SECTION 26. DIALOGUE WITH MASTER ZHIYI (T. 51 : 191B18 – C2)
      (pp. 131-132)

      Master Zhiyi, disciple of Chan Master Jue of Kaiyuan monastery in Longzhou, was designated by his contemporaries as a monk of upstanding character. He came to submit himself to the Venerable. The Venerable asked, “Where did you come from?”

      Master Zhiyi replied, “I came from Longzhou.”

      The Venerable asked, “Whose disciple are you?”

      Master Zhiyi replied, “I am the disciple of Master Jue.”

      “Whose disciple is the Venerable Jue?”

      “He is the disciple of the Venerable Old Fu.”

      The Venerable said, “Tell me about your own stage of practice.”

      Master Zhiyi revealed the teachings of his original master and said,...

    • SECTION 27. DIALOGUE WITH MASTER ZHONGXIN (T. 51 : 191C2 – 15)
      (pp. 132-133)

      Master zhongxin of dengzhou (shandong) was widely read in the Classic of Poetry and Classic of Documents, and his Buddhist character was learned and refined. He abandoned all worldly affairs and came to submit himself to the Venerable, [saying]: “I am from a frontier region at the edge of the sea, I have come far to submit myself to the Venerable.” So saying, he made obeisance.

      The Venerable replied, “The Way has neither far nor near, why do you speak of ‘far’?”

      Zhongxin explained to the Venerable, “The matter of life and death is great. I heard that the Venerable...

    • SECTION 28. DIALOGUE WITH DHARMA MASTER FALUN (T. 51 : 191C15 – 192A7)
      (pp. 133-134)

      There was a Dharma Master Falun who explicated Nirvāṇa-sūtra commentaries and was extensively learned and brilliant. He took account of no one else, and considered himself ”number one.” So he went to [Wuzhu’s] temple to dispute with the Venerable. When he saw the Venerable from a distance, he looked mysterious and unusual, unlike other monks. Master Falun approached and made obeisance, and inquired after the Venerable’s health. When the Venerable saw [Falun] from a distance he knew he was a Dharma Master, so he merely had him take a seat. The Venerable asked, “What scriptures and treatises does the Dharma...

    • SECTION 29. DIALOGUE WITH THE BROTHERS YIXING AND HUIMING (T. 51 : 192A7 – 24)
      (pp. 134-135)

      At the Chanlin monastery in Suizhou (Shaanxi), two monks who were brothers both maintained the Lotus Sūtra, such that people at that time called them the chroniclers of the Lotus.149 The elder brother’s Dharma name was Master Yixing, and the younger was named Master Huiming. They came to submit to the Venerable. The Venerable asked them, “Where do you come from? What teachings have you studied previously?”

      Master Huiming said, “We came from Suizhou. We maintain the Lotus Sūtra; every day we recite it three times.”

      The Venerable asked, “In the ‘Peaceful Joyful Practice’ section it says, ‘All dharmas are...

    • SECTION 30. DIALOGUE WITH CHANGJINGJIN AND LIAOJIANXING (FEMALE DISCIPLES) (T. 51 : 192A24 – B18)
      (pp. 135-136)

      The wife and daughter of Administrator Murong of Qingzhou (Gansu) were determined to seek the Mahāyāna. Accompanied by the entire family, young and old, they came to pay obeisance to the Venerable. The Venerable asked the wife, “Where did you come from?”

      She replied, “Your disciple heard from afar that the Venerable had great compassion, so we came to pay obeisance.”

      The Venerable then expounded various essentials of the Dharma for them. When the daughter had heard his talk, she knelt on one knee with her palms joined and explained to the Venerable, “Your disciple is a woman with the...

    • SECTION 31. EXCERPTS AND QUOTATIONS, PART 1 (T. 51 : 192B18 – 193A15)
      (pp. 136-140)

      “Who repays the Buddha’s kindness? One who practices according to the Dharma. Who consumes offerings? One who is not involved in worldly affairs. Who is worthy of offerings? In the Dharma there is nothing that is taken.”159 If one is able to practice in this way, one naturally has offerings from Heaven’s kitchen.

      The Venerable explained to his disciples, “If one restrains oneself and indulges others, the ten thousand things will all be in harmony. If one restrains others and indulges oneself, the ten thousand things are not [as] oneself.”

      He also spoke verses:

      In a hair’s-turn instant of thought,...

    • SECTION 32. EXCERPTS AND QUOTATIONS, PART 2 (T. 51 : 193A15 – B2)
      (pp. 140-141)

      The Venerable always said, “If there is a karmic cause it will penetrate a thousand li; if there is no cause, then even people facing each other will not recognize each other. When one is only conscious of the Dharma, this in none other than ‘seeing the Buddha,’ and this is all the scriptures of complete meaning.”

      When the Venerable took his seat, he usually taught the precepts to all those studying the Way. Fearing that they would get attached to verbal explanation, from time to time he would quote the crabs in the paddy field and ask about it,...

    • SECTION 33. TEA VERSE (T. 51 : 193B2 – 19)
      (pp. 141-142)

      Once when the Venerable was drinking tea, [a party of] thirty directors and censors of the secretariat came to pay their respects, and when they had done this they took seats and asked, “Venerable, you really love tea, don’t you?”

      The Venerable said, “Yes.” Then he recited a tea verse for them:

      The obscure valley produces the mysterious herb

      that serves as a medium for entering the Way.

      Woodcutters gather its leaves,

      the delicious flavor flows into an earthen vessel.

      It tranquilizes worries and clarifies void consciousness,

      brightens the mind and illuminates the terrace of understanding.

      Without wearing down one’s...

    • SECTION 34. DIALOGUE WITH DAOISTS (T. 51 : 193B20 – 194A20)
      (pp. 142-146)

      Another time [Wuzhu was visited by] scores of Daoist priests and scores of recluses, and also twenty Dharma Masters, Vinaya Masters, and Treatise Masters. They were all “collars and sleeves” (leading figures) in Jiannan. The Venerable asked the Daoists, “‘The Way that can be spoken/trodden is not the constant Way, the names that can be named are not the constant names.’188 Is this not what Laojun (Laozi) taught?”

      The Daoists answered, “It is.”

      The Venerable said, “Do you, Honored Masters, understand the meaning or not?” The Daoists were silent and did not reply.

      The Venerable further asked [about the meaning...

    • SECTION 35. DIALOGUE WITH DHARMA MASTERS (T. 51 : 194A20 – 194B1)
      (pp. 146-146)

      He asked the Dharma Masters, “What is the Buddha-Jewel, what is the Dharma-Jewel, what is the Saṅgha-Jewel?”

      The Dharma Masters were silent and did not speak. The Venerable explained, “Knowing the Dharma is precisely the Buddha-Jewel, transcending characteristics is precisely the Dharma-Jewel, and nondoing is precisely the Saṅgha-Jewel.”202

      He also asked the Dharma Masters, “The Dharma is without verbal explanation, how does one explain the Dharma? ‘One who explains the Dharma does so without explaining and without manifestation. Those who listen to the Dharma do so without hearing and without obtaining.’203 ‘That there is no Dharma that can be explained...

    • SECTION 36. DIALOGUE WITH VINAYA MASTERS (T. 51 : 194B1 – 194C15)
      (pp. 146-149)

      The Venerable asked the Vinaya Masters, “What are the Vinaya precepts? What is Vinayaviniścaya and what is Vinayottara?210 What is the substance of the precepts, and what is the meaning of the Vinaya?” None of the Vinaya Masters dared answer. The Venerable asked the Vinaya Masters, “Do you recognize host and guest or not?”

      The Vinaya Masters said, “We request the Venerable to explain the meaning of ‘host and guest’ for us.”

      The Venerable replied, “Coming and going is ‘guest,’ not coming and going is ‘host.’ If conceptualizations are not produced, then there is neither host nor guest, and this...

    • SECTION 37. DIALOGUE WITH TREATISE MASTERS (T. 51 : 194C16 – 195A2)
      (pp. 149-150)

      The Venerable asked the Dharma Masters and Treatise Masters, “What branch of study do you pursue?”

      The Treatise Masters replied, “We explicate the Baifa [lun] (Treatise on One Hundred Dharmas).”224

      The Venerable expounded, “Explicating the one hundred Dharmas is one hundred separate calculations,225 and not explicating at all is no-calculation. No-calculation is thus no-thought. No-thought is thus no-receiving, no-thought is thus no-self, no-thought is thus no-other. It is because beings have thought that one provisionally teaches no-thought, but at the time of true no-thought, no-thought itself is not.”

      He further questioned the Treatise Masters, “What other scriptures and treatises do...

    • SECTION 38. TRADING QUOTATIONS WITH MASTERS DAOYOU, MINGFA, AND GUANLU (T. 51 : 195A2 – 12)
      (pp. 150-151)

      There were also Master Daoyou, Master Mingfa, and Master Guanlu. Their Dharma names had long been passed down. They asked the Venerable about a passage: “The Chanshi jing says, ‘Attachment to the taste of meditation is the bondage of the bodhisattva.’”²³²

      The Venerable replied, “That Dharma Masters grasp after characteristics and are attached to characteristics is the bondage of the many beings.”

      [The masters went on,] “Another scripture says, ‘People of dull roots and shallow wisdom, those arrogant ones attached to characteristics—regarding this type, how can one say that they can be saved?’”²³³

      The Venerable said, “A scripture says,...

    • SECTION 39. TAKING ON CHAN DISCIPLES WHILE DRINKING TEA (T. 51 : 195A12 – 29)
      (pp. 151-152)

      Another time there were Master Guangjing, Master Wuyou, Master Daoyan, and Master Dazhi. All of the above were disciples of Chan Master Jiancheng. They came to the Venerable and sat down. The Venerable was drinking tea at the time. Master Wuyou said to the Venerable, “Drinking three or five cups of tea and sitting with eyes closed. . . . Just like a strong fellow grabbing an emaciated man by the waist, it seems rather affected and pretentious.”

      The Venerable told Master Wuyou, “Don’t indulge in idle talk. You didn’t eat mud dumplings in the famine of the Yongchun era...

    • SECTION 40. DIALOGUE WITH MASTER XIONGJUN (T. 51 : 195A29 – B3)
      (pp. 152-152)

      There was Dharma Master Xiongjun, who asked, “Venerable, does a Chan Master enter meditation?”

      The Venerable said, “In meditation there is neither exiting nor entering.”

      [Master Xiongjun] asked, “Does a Chan Master enter samādhi?”

      [The Venerable] replied, “‘Not entering samādhi, not abiding in seated meditation, the mind is without gain or loss.’239 At all times, everything is meditation.”...

    • SECTION 41. DIALOGUE WITH MASTER FAYUAN, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS MOTHER (T. 51 : 195B3 – 22)
      (pp. 152-153)

      There was also Master Fayuan of Longyou (Shaanxi), whose secular surname was Lü. From afar he heard of the Venerable and, bringing his mother along with him, arrived at the Baiya mountains and made obeisance to the Venerable.240 The Venerable asked, “On which scriptures and treatises do you lecture?”

      He replied, “I lecture on the Diamond Sūtra.”

      The Venerable asked, “Whose commentaries and treatises do you use?’

      He replied, “I use the treatises by Vasubandhu and Asaṅga,241 and the commentaries of Masters Hui, Tan, and Da.”

      The Venerable asked, “The sūtra says, ‘The Dharma of all the buddhas and all...

    • SECTION 42. DISCOURSE TO LAY DONORS (T. 51 : 195B23 – C13)
      (pp. 153-154)

      [The Venerable said,] “In the Prajñāpāramitā, one does not see the one who repays the kindness, nor does one see the one who does the kindness. I, Wuzhu, practice unconditioned compassion, practice desireless compassion, practice not-grasping compassion, and practice causeless compassion. It is neither that nor this, I do not practice upper, middle, and lower Dharma, do not practice ‘conditioned and unconditioned’ or ‘real and unreal’ Dharma. It is not for the sake of increase and not for the sake of decrease, there is no great good fortune and no small good fortune. With nothing that is received, one yet...

    • SECTION 43. PORTRAIT-EULOGY AND FINAL SCENE (T. 51 : 195C15 – 196B6)
      (pp. 154-158)

      Portrait-eulogy, with preface, composed for a disciple of the Chan teachings of sudden awakening in the Mahāyāna.

      The mountain man Sun Huan states: “‘The Dao is nameless,’255 those who awaken to the Dao only then know they have attained the origin. The Dharma is without characteristics, those who recognize the Dharma then penetrate its source. Attaining the origin is thus the Dao, and one knows that the substance of the Dao is wondrous being and birthlessness. Recognizing the Dharma is thus the source, and one sees that the nature of the Dharma is perfect luminosity and spontaneity. Existence is without...

  5. NOTES
    (pp. 159-176)
  6. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 177-184)
  7. INDEX
    (pp. 185-208)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-213)