Holmes Welch the Chan Transmitter

Holmes Welch the Chan Transmitter

Postby Astus » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:47 pm

The Order of Pragmatic Buddhists and the Cloud Water Zendo, practically the same lineage, claims that Holmes Welch transmitted the Linji Chan lineage of the Jiangtian Chan Temple. Holmes Welch had Ven. T'ai-ts'ang in his book "The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 1900-1950" as an important source of information on Chan history. In the same book Welch describes how Dharma transmission was a common practice of ensuring the succession of abbots in a monastery. He quotes from an account of the practice in the Kiangsu area: "In actuality this kind of "dharma transmission" has become a formality in the Ch'an sect. It is a million miles away from the dharma transmission by the direct imprint of mind on mind. This kind of dharma transmission is simply a traditional formality of genealogical succession." (p. 165) Stuart Lachs (PDF) quotes from another work of Welch: "Dharma transmission is only an institutional sanctioning of a teacher bestowing membership in a teaching lineage and may be no more than, as Buddhist scholar Holmes Welch said “like [getting] a Flash Gordon pin.""

While Welch was interested in both Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, I can see no sign that he was also a Dharma teacher. And compared to his scholarly reports it appears to me strange to give him the position of a Chan master. Any other information on the subject is welcome.
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Re: Holmes Welch the Chan Transmitter

Postby zenkarma » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:06 pm

Thank you for this thread. I have been attending at Cloudwater on and off for some years, since Rev. Ogui would occasionally come to speak or was present at functions, I guess that would make it almost 20 years ago, and have been positively impressed by the teaching and the students there. I'm interested to see what kind of response this draws from other dharmawheel members :)
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