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.