It is said that Chan tradition began from Bodhidharma who
was born in Persia or south India and came to China around
the early days of the sixth century. However, concerning his
life, we find out not a few fictions in Chan texts made in the
later times in succession. For example, there is a famous
story that Bodhidharma met with the emperor Wu of the
Liang dynasty and answered him "you have no marit ", when
asked about his contributions to the prosperity of
Buddhism. We also know a story that Bodhidharma had
been sitting for nine years to deepen his meditation. These
stories are very significant to recognize true characteristics
of Chan Buddhism. But, we can not believe them as
historical facts. They seem to have been skillfully drawn up
by Chan Buddhists of the southern sect, who stood in the
row of Chan of Patriarchs, in order to make Bodhidharma
the perfect founder of Ch'an tradition.
Then, what was Bodhidharma in fact ? What did he consider
? what did he teach? Has the Chan thought of Bodhidharma
properly been accepted and succeeded to by Chan
Buddhists who were proud of successors of Chan of
Patriarchs ? Were there any essencials of it that were
thrown away ? I would like to pursuit these questions from
a historical viewpoint in this presentation, focussing on
Bodhidharma's practice of recompense and its succession
in Chinese Chan tradition. I would be very glad if it gives a
clue to see through the modality of Chan movement in the
new millenium to lots of Chan researchers and Chan
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1. Classification of Chan
The word of Chan originates in jhaana in Paali, dhyaana in
Sa^nskrit, or some languages of central asia coresponding
to them. It means concentration or calmness of mindin
meditation as well as samaadhi or the like in general. But, it
would be sure that there are various ways and degrees of
meditation. Therefore, the scholars of the Yoga school in
India classified meditation into three grades of meditation,
that is to say, dhaara.naa, dhyaana, and samaadhi. They
further classified the last one into two kinds of samaadhi
named sampraj~naata and asampraj~naata, or biija and
nirbiija (The Yoga-suutra). In Buddhism, however, strict
classification of grades and degrees of meditations by
words themselves does not seem to have been made
anytime and anywhere. Probably, any of schools of
Buddhism prefered to use one or some among many words
which meant meditation by choice.
Then, what was a Buddhist scripture that classified
meditation through using a word "dhyaana" and gave serious
influences to the formation and development of Chan
Buddhism in East Asia? In conclusion, we think that it is
This suutra has three kinds of Chinese versions. The first
one was translated by Gu.nabhadra in the middle of the fifth
century and loved for a long time by lots of Chinese,
Korean, and Japanese, even after appearance of other two
versions. So, let me introduce the teachings of it along with
Dr. Daisetsu Suzuki's translation.
- ÜÖó, ÓÞû´, êóÞÌðúàÉ. éöù¼êÓÞÌ.
åýÕÎàÉ(tathaagata.m [^subha.m] dhyaana.m).
- éöù¼é×Üýá¶ú¼àÉ. êÝá¢Ú¤æÞÊÆèâÔ³áóú¼íº, ÎºìÑÙíä²àõ, í»ßÓÍìßÓÍéáð,
ÙíßÈÍÈÝÕïäßÓÍªîÊêÓâÏ, åýãÀßÓÝÕì¶Îº, îñýï®òä, ßÌÝÕð¶Øþ.
- éöù¼ÎºóÌëùàÉ. êÝìÑÙíä², í»ßÓÍìßÓ, èâÔ³í»öâ, ÎüÙíàõì«,
ÎºÛöÙíä²ù¨ò¢ßÓëù, ïÂóñòòä. ãÀÙ£ÎºóÌëùàÉ.
- éöù¼ ÚçæÞåýàÉ. êÝØÍßÌì£Ùíä²ØÍßÌ, åýãùô¥ÝÕßæØÍßÌ. ãÀÙ£ æÞåýàÉ.
- éöù¼åýÕÎàÉ. êÝåýÕÎò¢, ú¼í»ÊÆá¡òªßÓ, ß²ðúÕ¥ñ¬, à÷Ü©ñëßæÝÕÞÖì¡ÞÀ.
Further, Mahaamati, there are four kinds of Dhyaanas.
What are the four? They are: (1)The Dhyaana practised by
the ignorant, (2) the Dhyaana devoted to the examination of
meaning, (3) the Dhyaana with Tathataa (suchness) for its
object, and (4) the Dhyaana of the Tathaagatas.
What is meant by the Dhyaana practised by the ignorant ?
It is the one resorted to by the Yogins exercising
themselves in the discipline of the Sraavakas and
Pratyekabuddhas, who perceiving that there is no
ego-substances, that things are characterised with
individuality and generality, that the body is a shadow and a
skelton which is transient, full of suffering and is impure,
persistently cling to these notions which are regarded as
just so and not otherwise, and who starting from them
successively advance until they reach the cessation where
there are no thoughts. This is called the Dhyaana practised
by the ignorant.
Mahaamati, what then is the Dhyaana devoted to the
examination of meaning ? It is the one [practised by those
who, ] having gone beyond the egolessnessof things,
individuality and generality, the untenability of such ideas as
self, others, and both, which are held by the philosophers,
proceed to examine and follow up the meaning of the [
various ] aspects of the egolessness of things and the
stages of Bodhisattvahood. This is the Dhyaana devoted to
the examination of meaning.
What, Mahaamati, is the Dhyaana with Tathataa for its
object ? When [ the Yogins recognise that ] the
discrimination of the two forms of egolessness is mere
imagination, and that where he establishes himself in the
reality of suchness (yathaabhuuta) there is no rising of
discrimination, I call it the Dhyaana with Tathataa for its
What, Mahaamati, is the Dhyaana of the Tathaagata? When
[ the Yogin ], entering upon the stage of Tathaagatahood
and abiding in the triple bliss which characterises
self-realisation attained by noble wisdom, devotes himself
for the sake of all beings to the [ accomplishment of ]
incomprehensible works, I call it the Dhyaana of the
Tathaagatas. ( D. T. Suzuki, The La^nkaavataara Suutra)
As known through these teachings, the La^nkaavataara
Suutra groups four grades of dhyaana, intending that a
Buddhist should proceed his religious step from
observation of anaatman of personality to that of anaatman
of dharma, further enter in the stage of negation of
anaatman itself, finally reach to the Buddha's modality.
This ultimate stage is named the dhyaana of the
tathaagatas. In addition, it is said that the ^sraavakas, the
pratyekabuddhas, and non-buddhists are all left at the first
step as the observers of anaatman.
Well, standing on the classification of Chan
above-mentioned, Shenhui(686-760) is likely the first
person who called Chan of Bodhidharma's lineage the
dhyaana of tathaagata ( cf. ï÷Ùò, ðÓÞÔàÉªËªÄª¤ªÆ, Journal of
Indian and Buddhist Studies, 34-1). Regarding the aim of
Chan as exproitation of praj~naa with no impurity, Zongmi
(780-841) accepted this concept and clarified how to see
Chan thought in China. His opinion is as shown below.
- éÑòØàõöÎÝÕÏ§ÝÕïä, Ûíá¡Ùíó¬. àÉöÎêóô¼êóä¢, ÍÐäâ¨Ôõ.
- êÝÓáì¶ÍªýÛß¾æôù»ì»áóíº, ãÀèâÔ³àÉ. ïáãáì×Íý, æ²ì¤ýÛæôì»áóíº,
ãÀÛíÜýàÉ. çöä²Íöø¶òØñý×âì»áóíº, â©ã«àÉ,
çöä²Ûöì£Íöá¶úéòØ×âì»áóíº, ãÀÓÞã«àÉ, å´ÔËçöí»ãýÜâÕÎôèïä,êªÙíÛáÒÝ,
Ùí×©òªàõÜâí»Îýðë, ó®ãýñíÝÖ, ù´ÌåÙíì¶, ëîó®ì»áóíº, ãÀõÌß¾ã«àÉ,
æ²Ù£åýÕÎôèïäàÉ, æ²Ù£ìéú¼ß²ØÜ, æ²Ù£òØåýß²ØÜ.
- ó®ãÀìéôîß²ØÜÐÆÜâ. å®Òöæöæöáóã§, í»æÔïÂÔðÛÝô¶ß²ØÜ. Ó¹Ø¨Ú¦ù»î÷
Furthermore, the truth is neither impure nor pure, just same for
both ordinary persons and saints. On the other hand, there are
some kinds of Chans from shallow one to deep one. They would
be classifiied into five.
That is to say, non-Buddhist meditators have evil thoughts and
seek for more pleasant situation, desiring to avoid unpleasant
one. Their Chan is called non-Buddhist Chan. Worldly meditators
believe in the theory of cause and effect in correct way, while
also seek for more pleasant situation, desiring to avoid
unpleasant one. Their Chan is called Chan of ordinary persons.
There are meditators who only awaken ^suunyataa of the self, an
aspect of the truth. Their Chan is called HInayaana Chan. There
are meditators who awaken the truth of ^suunyataa of both the
self and dharmas. Their Chan is called Mahaayna Chan. There is
a modality of meditation based on the enlightenment in which one
awakens original pureness of their own minds, not with any
affliction, but with perfect withdom, if changing the words,
awakens that anyone has Buddha's mind itself. When one
practices such a meditation, it is called the supreme Dhyaana, the
Tathaagata Dhyaana, the concentrated Samaadhi, or the Tathataa
This one is the root of all meditations. Practicing such a
Dhyaana, one can gradually obtain thouthands of meditations
without fail. This is the Dhyaana that successors of
Bodhidharma's Chan have maintained since the begining.
Here, we have to pay attention to the next three points. First ly,
the non-Buddhist Chan was located on the lowest level through
being cutted off from combination with Hiinayaana meditation in
the La^nkaavataara Suutra. This would mean that Zongmi
differenciated non-Buddhism from Buddhism and regarded the
former as the religion to be strongly denied.
Secondly, Zongmi newly stood up the concept of Chan of worldly
persons, who believed in the theory of cause and effect in correct
way. For him, "worldly persons" were just believers of Buddhism.
The word La^nkaavataara Suutra fundamentally means a
worldly person. Therefore, it is clear that Zongmi looked worldly
persons with another eyes.
Thirdly, Zongmi says that Dhyaana of the Chan school is the
best among some kinds of meditation, which is called the
supreme Dhyaana or the Tathaagata Dhyaana. Further, defining
this meditation as the root of all meditations, he insists that one
can obtain the enlightenment that one's own mind is originally
same as Buddha's pure mind. We see here one of the typical
interpretation of Dhyaana by a Chan Buddhist.
In addition, as known from using the word Tathaagata Dhyaana,
Zongmi's interpretation above shown was influenced by the
La^nkaavataara Suutra. However, it was also influenced by the
Awakening of Faith, because we can find out the words of the
concentrated Samaadhi and the Tathataa Samaadhi as very
important ones in it. We should keep in mind this fact too.
Well, ,Zongmi also made another classification of Chan from a
viewpoint of what the purpose or the goal was in the same book,
the Douxu. According to this theory, the Chan is devided into the
next three kinds; one that aims at endeavoring to cease illusive
activities of mind, one that has no ground to be relied on, and
one that directly realizes the true mind same as Buddha's. These
three respectively correspond to Chan of the northern school,
Chan of Shitou and Niutou's lineages and Chan of Mazu and
Shenhui's lineages. And the first is lesser than the second, the
second is lesser than the third. Changing the words, the last one
is the best and ultimate Chan, though all of them are included in
the Tathaagata Dhyaana above mentioned.
Then, what is the best and ultimate Chan? Zongmi interprets it
- ìéôîð³Ûö, å®êóå®Íö, ËËêæòØàõ. òØàõÙíêÓ, ô÷Þªìéôî. êÝÞªÛíÞªá¡,
Þªì×ÞªÍý, Þªà¼Þªç÷Ôõ. æÔñíô÷ñýéÄ, ì»ÒöðãíÂðúðú. êÝÒöÛíÒöá¡,
- åÚñéò¦ãÆãýàõ, Ý¥êóì£×¾. ìééö, ñíÐÑÒöåÞåëÔÑíÂ, ÷±òÙí±ìÛ, ðãà¼äÂ,
áôÍÈÕ¥Ôõ, ñíæ£ÝÖàõ, ñíó®ÜâÕÎãÀÝÖ, ð¶ó®ÙíÜ¬ÝÖ. Öõó®ô¸òØí»æÔ,
ÍºÝÕÊ¦ÑÃãýáóÔ³. Ô³ñíãÀãý, ÝÕÊ¦íâãý, ü½áóåÚãý. ç÷æ²ãÀãý, ÝÕÊ¦íâãý,
ü½Ó¨åÚãý. ÝÕÓ¨ÝÕáó, ìòê¡í»î¤, Û°Ù£ú°÷. àõåýúÈÍö, ÝÕñòÝÕÊõ,
ù¼Ê£ôÕÜÍ. Ó£âËãÁâËô¥, ãÓåöå×ãê, á¡÷ÃñòíþúéÛ¡, í»æÔãêÙØ,
- ì£éö, ð³ÛöåýÙÓ, ð³á¡ÔÒàã. ÍºØÍÒ·ÜâîÖ, òÈÌÑÜâÍö. ÍöîÖñýãý,
ÖÄò±ÝÕØÜ, ñíó®ÍöîÖñýò±, ãÀæ£òØàõ. ìòÚ»ìòçö, ãýÜâí»ò±. ÝÕîßæÞßæ,
ÝÕì×ÌÑÑÃ. ò±ñýìéí®, ñëÙØñýÚ¦. ë¦Ùíã·Ú»ñý, ÍºØÍòûãóãýêÓä²,
ÑÃ÷±òÙÔõÒ·. å®Ôðà¼éÒËÒãÆ, ÔËçöÍöîÖñýò±. ò±ó¦ÙíÒ·Ùíû¡,
âÁêÓä²ßÓìÑßÓ. ÊÆð³ßÓÍö, ãýí»ÙíÒ·. Ò·ÑÃñíÊÆ , ÊÆñýñíÙí. áóú¼ÙØÚ¦,
êæî¤ó®å¥. ÍºâÌÝááóØ²ú¼, êæì¤ÙíÒ·êÓðó. Ó£ÔðÙíÒ·ò±Ì¸,
öÎäñç÷í»æÔÓ¿ÚÝ , Ýèòªí»æÔñòÙ¥, ñªåöí»æÔÓ¨ð¶, Ííú¼í»æÔñòòä,
ÐþÖõð³ßÓÞªßÓ, í»æÔáóì»Ùíáó. ÛáÒÝò×ãÁ, ßæÞÝñíï¾. ßæØþØþì«,
- æÔó®å»Ê«, ËËüåßÓÏýàõ, ÍºÔÒìéðó.
All dharmas, beings or non-beings, are just of the truth itself.
The truth is beyond any artificialities and its essense can be
named by no words. That is to say, it is neither secular nor holy,
neither related to the cause nor related to the effect, neither
good nor evil, and yet it works in accordance with its essence,
making up various things. For instance, it has an ability to get
secularity or sainthood freely, also making a thing specially
colored and shaped.
There are two groups to be distinguished concerning thinking
way of the mind. The first one explains the mind as follows; Now,
you speak and act. Just at the time, ,you desire something, you
get anger, you are tender, or you are patient. In effect, you
would get either good merit or bad reward, and receive either
pleasure or suffering. The real state of your mind at each time is
due to the buddhadhaatu, which proves that you are originally
Buddha. Other than this mind, there is no Buddha anywhere.
Getting aware that we have it by nature, we do not need to rouse
the mind up and pursue any religious practice for attaining
Buddhahood. As the way to attain Buddhahood is innate for the
mind, it is impossible that we purify the mind by the same mind.
As the evil also takes root in the mind, it is impossible that we
cut off the evil mind by the same mind. Moka is exactly that we
can behave in a state of nature beyond both cutting and purifying
the mind. The mind itself is like the space by nature. It does
neither increase nor decrease, and need no complements,
nonetheless it works on a good timing in a suitable situation,
cultivating the personality. In effect, the mind same as Buddha's
has marvelous and very effective mental functions, then naturally
develops and realizes. Realization of these functions of the mind
is the true awareness, the true practice, and the true
The second one interprets the mind as follows; A lot of saints
have preached that all dharmas were like matters in dream.
According to their teachings, any of momentary moving of the
mind is in quietude by nature, and any of objects for our senses
and conciousness is ^suunya by nature.The mind that is quiet
and ^suunya has bright wisdom in its true meaning. This wisdom
is the truth of your mind. Delusion or enlightenment, whichever
you may submit to, your mind is wise in itself. It does neither
arise by relying on any conditions, nor occur by depending on
any circumstances. The letter Zhi, which means wisdom, is
certainly the gate, from which all of marvellous matters appear.
In the uncountable past times in sa.msaara, anybody in this world
deluded himself. So, he accounts that his body-mind is himself,
further getting desirous or angry to keep himself. If we meet with
a good friend able to open the door of mystery of the mind and
listen to him, we would be at once aware of this wisdom that is
^suunya. As the wisdom has no reflction and no shape, no one
can differ the self from the others. Enlightening that all of
phenomenal matters are ^suunya, we know the original modality
of mind as that of no reflection. If any reflection occurs in your
mind, be aware of it. As soon as you are aware of it, it would
disappear at once. The crucial point of Buddhist practice is just
in here. Therefore, just the state of no reflection of mind has to
be aimed and attained, although lots of right conducts are
recommended for Buddhists. Only in case that the knowledge of
no-reflection is gotten, egoistic feelings of love and hate
naturally decrease, compassion and wisdom naturally increase,
evil karmas are naturally removed, and good karmas naturally
develop. Already understanding that all of phenomeral matters
have no substantial characteristics, one can practice as a true
Buddhist with no efforts. that practice is of no purpose. When we
remove all of delusions, even our lives in sa.msaara come to an
end and the ultimate wisdom not only comes out but also works
without limit. At this time, any of us becomes a Buddha. These
two groups hold together that we should conform ourselves not
to the phenomenal matters but to the very truth of mind that is
essencial. So, we can deal with them as included in one school.
According to this argument, it is insisted on the standpoint of the
ultimate Chan schools that the sole truth is exactly the true mind
from that all of phenomenal matters come out. We can count two
kinds of them. The first is the Chan in which the truth is
regarded as buddhadhaatu every being has by nature. Here, the
right way of life is considered to live in a state of nature as a son
of Buddha. The second is the Chan in which the truth is asserted
to be the wisdom of the mind with no reflection by nature. It is
here said that any one should be aware of it to become a Buddha.
Actually speaking, the former means Mazu's lineage and the
latter means Shenhui's one. However, these two are included in
the ultimate Chan, Ch'an of TathAgaata mentioned in the
Anyway, Chan of Tathaagata defined as the ultimate Chan in the
La^nkaavataara-suutra was linked with social schools of Chan
through Zongmi's classification and interpretation. Needless to
say, it is not right that all of Buddhists after his era have
accepted his idea. But, it seems to be sure that Zongmi's idea
urged Chan Buddhists of later generations to probethe Chan of
Tathaagat. In effect, the problem that what the actual modality of
Ch'an of Tathaagat was would have gotten an important issue to
be solved by them. I believe that the concept of Chan of
Patriarchs must have arisen from their coping with this issue.
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2. Chan of Tathaagat and Chan of Patriarchs
As pointed out in the paper titled Soshizen-no-Gen-to-Ryu,
Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 10-1, by Professor
Seizan Yanagida, the word Chan of Patriarchs appeared on the
chapter of Xiangyan Zhixian ( úÅåñòªùØ. ?-898 ) of the Zutangji (
Here, Zhixian confesses his stage of mind to Yangshan Huiji
(äæß£û´îÖ. 803-887) ," Last year, I was not yet poor. But, this
year, I fell in poverty. Last year, I have no place to stand up an
awl. But, this year, I do not have even an awl itself." Then, Huiji
criticizes it and says, " My brother, you never know that there is
Chan of Patriarchs, while just know Chan of Tathaagata."
It would be certain that Chan of Patriarchs means higher stage of
mind than Chan of Tathaagata in the dialogue above mentioned.
Through this fact, we can guess that the concept of Chan of
patriarchs must have widen to some degree in the Buddhist
society in the later harf of nineth century, when Huiji has played
an active part as a leading Chan Buddhist.
However, Mazu Daoyi ( Ø©ðÓÔ³ìé.709-788 ), grandfather in
dharma for Huiji, considers that Chan of Tathaagata the ultimate
modality of Chan, as known by the following preach.
The original is now realizing without doubt. So, we need neither
meditation nor any other religious practices. It is just Chan of
Tathaagata that no religious practices such as meditation can be
chosen for training. ( The Mazu-yulu)
Adding to, he does not use the word of Chan of Patriarchs.
Using it may have begun, I suppose, from the era of Chan
Buddhists belonging to the generation of Mazu's desciples, who
learned the classification of Chans by Zongmi.
Then, what is the content of the concept of Chan of Patriarchs?
About this issue, Doctor Yanagida says as follows, holding his
ground on the Bodhidharma's definition of the patriarch stated in
People who asserted to hoist Chan of Patriarchs named the
traditional way of meditation Chan of Tathaagata, and called the
true standpoint at which the very truth is alive in a daily life Chan
of Patriarchs, considering the latter higher than the former in
But, it would be doutful whether his summerization here shown is
correct or not.
Generally speaking, both asking about Chan of Patriarchs and
defining it directly seem to be rare in the history of Chan
thought. So, the next one, which is described as an episode
successive to above-introduced dialogue in the fifth volume of
the Zongmentongyaoji (ðóÚ¦÷Öé©ó¢), is extremely valuable to
clarify this issue.
- úÅåñýéÑïÐìéÌ§éö, çîêóìéÑ¦, âëÙÍãÆì¥. å®å¥ÝÕüå, Ü¬ü°ÞÞÚ¯, ÞÔéö,
Afterward, Xiangyan presented a poem again ; As I have one
function, I would show it to him with a blink. If he did not yet
understand it, I should call him a ^sraama.nera to distinguish him
from the other. The teacher said, "I am glad to know that you
mastered Chan of Patriarchs."
To this episode, two Chan Buddhists added some words
respectively . That is to say, Xuanjue Xingyan (úÜÊÆú¼ãá )
commented, "Please answer , whether Chan of Tathaagata and
Chan of Patriarchs should be devided or not." On the other hand,
Zhangqing Huileng(íþÌÔû´×Ò. 854-932) simply commented, "
Throw off all of them in a moment."
Through those episode and commentaries, we can recognize that
Chan of Patriarchs was regarded as the Chan which gave
importance to our usual activities. Further, we can also know that
two kinds of Chans, the one named Chan of Tathaagata and the
other named Chan of Patriarchs, are not necessarily classified
from a viewpoint of estimating which is superior at least for a
term in medieval China. Daihui Zonggao (ÓÞû´ðó°í 1089~1163 ),
the founder of so-called Kanhuachan (Ê×ü¥àÉ ), also stands in this
row, because he talked about the original dharma as follows.
Not-halting at the present is named dhyaana. Not-attaching the
future is named praj~naa. Not-taking the past is named j~naana.
Taking such manners is also called Chan of Tathaagata, also
called Chan of Patriarchs. When you can master and enlighten
that in your daily life, dhyaana, praj~naa, and j~naana as your
activities themselves are all similar to the space, having no
limitation. ( Daihuiyulu, 2 )
It is clkear that he used those two words about Chan in the same
As known from these matters, it seems to be a subtle issue how
to distinguish Chan of Patriarchs from that of Tathaagata, and it
is difficult to define Chan of patriarchs clearly. But, we would be
able to indicate the next two points; (1) Chan of patriarchs is the
concept that is applied to the basic character of Chan of the
southern school from Bodhidharma. (2) the most important
purpose of using it is to represent the modality of the truth itself
alive in a daily life of everybody.
Anyway, the concept of Chan of Patriarchs must have been
effective to remind people of the value of daily life. On this side,
we should appreciate the advocation of it.
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3. Bodhidharma's practice of recompense and its
Then, did Ch'an of Patriarches success to Bodhidharma's Ch'an
properly? We do not think so. For us, it seems to be most
problematic how it concerned itself with the practice of
recompense, which Bodhidharma taught as one of crucial
At first, we have to set eyes on what is the Ch'an advocated by
Bodhidharma. Now-a-days, this question is generally answered
that it is the theory of two ways to the enlightenment and four
practices (ì£ìýÞÌú¼Öå). We agree with this opinion in such a
meaning as we can regard it as the thought attributed to him,
though it is uncertain whether he preached it systematically or
not as we see now.
Well, according to this theory, " two ways " means Meditational
Way and Practical Ways. " Four practices" means Practice of
Recompense, Practice in Proportion to Conditions, Practice of
Nothing to be desired, and Practice of Correspondence with
Dharma, each of which is indicated as one of the practical way.
Then, what should be payed attention from a viewpoint of
succession of Ch'an of Bodhidharma's Chan? It would be, we
believe, the first one of these practices. Because it seems to be
the most fundamental. So, we would discuss it in the following
According to the text, The Practice of Recompense is interpreted
as follows by Bodhidharma.
Chan Buddhists should consider like this, when he has
sufferings; I have been not only bearing grudge and hate against
lots of people but also wounding and killing them for uncountable
kalpas in the past, repeating rebirth into various fields of
existance one after another. Even if I am not guilty at present
and conducting myself well, it must be due to my own evil
karmans in the past that I have now sufferings. But, Neither
persons nor gods can see it. Therefore, I have to be patient to
accept all of those sufferings with sincerity and should not
accuse anyone. A stra says that a saint laments for nothing,
because he knows the deep root of sufferings. When one gets
such awareness of sufferings, his mind accords with the truth
and goes in Buddha's world in spite of grudge and hate in
As known through this passage, Bodhidharma recommends
deciples to be deeply conscious of their own karmans and to be
only patient of sufferings at present. He would consider, I guess,
that one can not achieve Buddhahood, if not being conscious and
patient of karmic sufferings. The Dhammapada, a famous suutra
of Early Buddhism, says; a person who is brave-minded and
patient of being abused, beaten, and punished by others in spite
of innocence -- him I call a Braahmana (gaathaa, 399 ). We may
regard Bodhidharma as a Braahmana in this meaning.The
Luoyangjialanji reports that when Bodhidharma came to China
and saw the Yongningsi temple in Luoyang for the first time, he
joined his palms in pront of the breast, chanting "nama.h" day by
day. Is not his behavior like this related with the practice of
recompense above mentioned? We believe that he could behave
just simply as if he was a naive devotee from the country,
because he was deeply conscious of his own karmans and
endeavored sincerely after the practice of recompense. In my
opinion, the practice of recompense is quite an indispensable
element of Bodhidharma's Chan.
By the way, generally speaking, the importance of consciousness
of karmans is especially stressed in Pureland Buddhism. For
example, Shandao (à¼Óô. 617-681) in China solely relyed upon
Amita Buddha, grounded on the consciousness that we were all
foolish and have repeated life and death as many as uncountable
in the stream of sa.msaara ( cf. The Commentary to the
Guanwuliangshou-jing, vol.1). Shinran (öÑÑò. 1173-1262), the
founder of Jodoshinshu in Japan, confesses his own spiritual life
as follows in his last years.
- ïä÷ÏòØðóªË Ïýª¹ªìªÉªâ, òØãùªÎãýªÏª¢ªêª¬ª¿ª·.
.......äÂàõªµªéªËªäªáª¬ª¿ª·, ª³ª³ªíªÏÞï ªÎª´ªÈª¯ªÊªê.
Although I have already believed in teachings of Pureland
Buddhism, it is difficult for me to make my mind true. As I am of
vanity and insincerity, I can not make my mind pure at all. ----
It is hard for me to lieve from evil spirit. Therefore, my mind
resembles to snake's or scorpion's. Even if trying to do
something good, that results in something wrong. So, any of my
acts is named practice of vanity. Because not ashamed of
anything, I have no mind of sincerity.
However, the merit of chanting the name of Amita Buddha
prevails everywhere of all of the worlds and reaches to every
being, for the name of Amita Buddha is transfered to all of
beings by Amita Buddha himself. As I have not even a little bit of
maitrii and karu.naa, I never want to work for the sake of beings.
Without Amita Buddha's ship of vow, why can I cross the ocean
of sufferings? (The Gutoku-hitanjukkai)
Bodhidharma would probably want to root the consciousness of
karmans as comparable to these thoughts on the ground of
Then, did the Ch'an Buddhists, who hold their own as the
successors of Ch'an of Patriarches, have practiced the
recompense Bodhidharma advocated? Did they have valued it at
least? To my regret, I can hardly find out such Ch'an Buddhists.
But, there is an exeptional one as far as I know. His name is
According to the Jingdechuandenglu, Xuanjue visited the sixth
patriarch Huineng as a result of recommendation by Tiantai
scholar Xuanlang, after learning the teachings of the Tiantai
school. It is reported that they met and talked with each other as
- ôøÓðòÉà¸ýÍÜº , é¤ðÓß². ðÓèØ, ÜýÞÞÚ¦íº, Îýß²ô¶êÎëð, ø¢Û°á¬ú¼.
ÓÞÓì, í»ù¼Û°ì»ÕÎ, ßæÓÞä²Ø·. ÞÔèØ, ßæÞÝÞÀÓÞ, ÙíßÈãöáÜ. ðÓèØ,
ù¼ÝÕô÷ö¢Ùíßæ, ÖõÙíáÜûº. èØ, ô÷ñíÙíßæ, ÖõÜâÙíáÜ. ðÓèØ, åýãÀåýãÀ.
- ãÁÓÞñëÙíÝÕäÃæÔ. ÞÔÛ°ÎýêÎëðóÑçß, âÎë¬Í±Þö. ðÓèØ, Ú÷÷¼áÜûº. ÞÔèØ,
Üâí»ÞªÔÑ, ÑÂêóáÜÑá. ðÓèØ, âÁò±ÞªÔÑ. èØ, ìÒíºí»ßæÝÂÜ¬. ðÓèØ,
æ£ä¤ÔðÙíßæñýëò. èØ, ÙíßæÑÂêóëòå. ðÓèØ, Ùíëò, âÁÓ×ÝÂÜ¬. èØ,
ÝÂÜ¬æ²Þªëò. ðÓ÷£èØ, à¼î£à¼î£. á´ë§ìéâÖ. ãÁêÝìéâÖÊÆëø.
When Xuanjue visited the patriarch, he walked around the
patriarch three times, while ringing a khakkhara and holding a pot
for a travel. The patriarch asked; The Buddhist should keep
three thousands of behaviors and eighty thousands of minute
actions based on the precepts. An honorable, where are you from
and why are you arrogant ? Xuanjue replied; The issue of life and
death is most crucial, and imparmanent matters come to me
rapidly. The patriarch asked again; If so, why don't you realize
non-arising of anything and attain to non-rapidity of time? He
replied; Realizing is just non-arising, and Attaining is originally
non-rapidity. The patriarch agreed; That's right.
Hearing the dialogue like this, many of Ch'an Buddhists around
them were all surprized. then, Xuan jue greeted to the patriarch
with right manners and was about to go out at once. The
patriarch said; You quit very rapidly, don't you? Xuanjue replied;
Everything is originally beyond moving. So, rapidity itself does
not exist. The patriarch asked; Who knows not-moving? He
replied; You have just discriminated between moving and
not-moving without perception. The patriarch said; You do not
seem to have already got the meaning of non-arising. He asked;
What meaning does non-arising have? The patriarch said; It has
no meaning, of course. However, who can discriminate
non-meaning from meaning? He replied; Discrimination itself is
also beyond meaning. The patriarch praised him; Quite fine!
Please stay here one night.
That is the reason why people in those days called him "one night
Here, we can understand that Xuanjue made up his theoretical
standpoint on the philosophy of ^suunyataa. But, his thought is
neither idealistic nor nihilistic. There is a sentense in the Poem of
Enlightenment, one of his works, which insists that even
attaining enlightenment of ^suunyataa, if one denied the reason
of cause and effect, he would bring upon unfortunate matters one
after another. As proved by this passage, He has thoroughly
tried to hold his ground on the real world in the link of cause and
effect and rejected conceptualization of enlightenment of
^suunyataa. It is quite reasonable that Dogen (Ô³êª. 1200-53),
the founder of Sotozen in Japan, highly estimated Xuanjue's
thought of cause and effect in a fascicle named Jinshin-inga of
the Shobogenzo of 12 volumes in his late years.
Then, what is the base of such thought by Xuanjue? In
conclusion, we think that it would be his correct acceptance of
Bodhidharma's practice of recompense.
We find out the following passage in succession to the description
of Ch'an tradition in India and China in the same work above
- ØÇÛöäÂãÁá¦, ñëßæÜØÚÝÑñðàð¤. ËÛá¡êÀû±Þ÷Ì¸ä¢, ØªËÛöå°ÒýÍðúª,
Ú¤àãåýÕÎÔËÎçÚ¦, ùÏÝÕØþð¶Öµè¿áï . íÂî¤ãýäêî¤ãó, ÝÕâÎê³áÍËÖéÖìÑ.
In the evil age of dharmas declined, all beings have little good
merits and are difficult to be rightly controled. As they are
extremely far from the time of saints, they have false views
deeply rooted. Because devils are strong, while right dharmas
weaken, there occur many of dreadful things. Although Buddha's
teachings of direct path to promptly realize enlightenment are
preached, to my regret, they have no power to break up to the
end. On my reflection, any of our actions are caused by our own
minds, any of bad matters we meet are due to our own bodies.
Therefore, we should neither bear grudge against anyone nor
accuse anybody. If not want to make karmans to the hell, we
should never blame Buddha's teachings of right dharmas.
As clearly known from this passage, deploring miserable
circumstances of the age, Xuanjue considers that everyone has
to receive all of deeds related to himself on his own
responsibility. Here is a reason why we call him a true successor
of Bodhidharma, though he stayed only for one night under the
sixth patriarch Huineng.
Of course, it is problematic to interpret Xuanjue's standpoint
only by linking with Bodhidharma. We have to pay attention to
the following two points at least concerning the process of
formation of his thought of karmans.
The first is the life in his youth. According to the Zutangji, when
he was young, he lived at the Kaiyuansi temple and took care of
his mother and elder sister, incuring great blame. In those days,
it would be a sort of necessity for him to refrect his own
karmans and select the best behavior day by day.
The second is that he has mastered Tiantai's doctrine, as well
acknowledged through the Yongjiaji. Then, What work of the
Tiantai school is the most relative with Xuanjue's thought of
recompense? I believe it is the Anlexingyi by Huisi(û´ÞÖ.
515-577), for he discusses on three kinds of endurances and
states about the meaning of endurance to sattvas, the most
intimate one among those three, as follows.
- ñëßæìÛíº, êóß²ðúëò. ð¯ìéëòíº, ÜÌß±áôöâöèØáÌîé´ýÃíª ,
ãÀãÁëëìÛì»ÝÕü½ÜÃ, ëëíÂãÀÎº. ë¦ä²êóãó, ÖµÕÎöèØá. Þ§åýìÑîÜ,
æÔýï©ñé. ä²å®Ùíãó, âÁÕÎöèíº. ä²ÐÑÓ×ÔÑáóã§ÍöÎº. ÍöÎºå®à÷,
ÙíêóìÑÒööèß¯ä²íº. å®ù¬ØáãÁ, ïáÒ·ÞÖêî, ì»ó®Øáá¢âËËÒâËØþ, îñýÝÕÎü.
ãûôôÎºóÌ, æ²ÙíßæØþ. åýÍöñéúÂ, âÁØáâÁáô. ëåá¢ÝÕÕÎìýì¼, ì¼ÝÕèÙö¢á¢.
There are three meanings on the endurance to sattvas. The first
meaning is that a Bodhisattva entirely endures and never
revenges to anybody when beaten and blamed, observing like
this; Because I have a body, I am beaten and blamed by others. It
is as if an arrow hits a mark because of a mark existing. If I have
no body, who comes to and beats me? I must practice the
observation of ^suunyataa in meditation. If it realizes, anyone can
not beat and kill me. When blamed by others, a Bodhisattva
rightly considers like this; One voice of blaming is now
appearing, but it would disappear at the next moment. One voice
and the next never exist at the same time. If observing it
furthermore, the voice itself neither appears nor disappears. It is
alike sound in the sky. Who blames and who is blamed? The voice
never comes to any ears, while the ears never catch any voice.
When already observing like this, there is neither anger nor
Huisi's thought here quated pets stress on realization of merit
ofendurance through the practice of observation of ^suunyataa
Therefore, it is different in quality from Bodhidharma and
Xuanjue's which has a direction to deepening the consciousness
of karmans. However, these three are almost same in an aspect
of endurance with no revenge. Further, it has a sinilarity with
Bodhidharma's the third and fourth practices in some respects,
though I could not explain them in detail. We believe that Xuanjue
accepted Bodhidharma's practice of recompense under the
influence of Huisi's thought of endurances.
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After the transmission of the La.nkaavataara-suutra to China
in the fifth century, there occured the formation ofso-called
Ch'an Buddhism in which Bodhidharma was regarded as the first
patriarch in China , supported by rising of interest in what Ch'an
was. Then, by the ninth century, a group of Ch'an Buddhists
belonging to Huineng's Nanzong lineage began to advocate Ch'an
of Patriarches as the ultimate Ch'an in Buddhism and lots of
other Ch'an Buddhists have followed them. However, exept
Xuanjue, they do not seem to properly success to Buddhism that
Bodhidharma tried to plant in the soil of China. This point is
probably shown most clearly, I am sure, on the issue of
acceptance of practice of recompense above discussed.
That is to say, the practice of recompense Bodhidharma attached
impotance to has been made light of or neglected in tradition of
Ch'an Buddhism in general. Changing words, Bodhidharma has
not been rightly recognized as the founder of Ch'an Buddhism in
spite of being called such.
But, I believe that the practice of recompense is extremely
significant, when we consider Ch'an from a practical poit of view.
It should not be admited to throw away the practice of
recompense in light of original ground of Mahaayaana Buddhism
or soteriological standpoint of the religion itself. Is it a wrong
opinion that Ch'an Buddhism would be a school of Mahaayaana
Buddhism and have power to save all of beings, only in case that
the practice of recompense is an indispensable element of it ?
Anyway, it seems to be sure at least that we have to reconsider
about the meaning of the practice of recompense Bodhidharma
advocated at the beginning of Ch'an tradition, especially when we
hope to revive Ch'an Buddhism as an effective religion in the
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