Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

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Polarbear
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Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by Polarbear » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:13 pm

I'm very interested in the history of chan and chinese buddhism. Are there any recommendations to books where I can generally learn more about the rise and development of chan? Preferably in English, but if you have any Chinese recommendations I'll gladly take them as well.

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Losal Samten
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Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by Losal Samten » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:26 pm

How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China by Morten Schlütter is an interesting one.
How Zen Became Zen takes a novel approach to understanding one of the most crucial developments in Zen Buddhism: the dispute over the nature of enlightenment that erupted within the Chinese Chan (Zen) school in the twelfth century. The famous Linji (Rinzai) Chan master Dahui Zonggao (1089–1163) railed against "heretical silent illumination Chan" and strongly advocated kanhua (koan) meditation as an antidote. In this fascinating study, Morten Schlütter shows that Dahui’s target was the Caodong (Soto) Chan tradition that had been revived and reinvented in the early twelfth century, and that silent meditation was an approach to practice and enlightenment that originated within this "new" Chan tradition. Schlütter has written a refreshingly accessible account of the intricacies of the dispute, which is still reverberating through modern Zen in both Asia and the West. Dahui and his opponents’ arguments for their respective positions come across in this book in as earnest and relevant a manner as they must have seemed almost nine hundred years ago.

Although much of the book is devoted to illuminating the doctrinal and soteriological issues behind the enlightenment dispute, Schlütter makes the case that the dispute must be understood in the context of government policies toward Buddhism, economic factors, and social changes. He analyzes the remarkable ascent of Chan during the first centuries of the Song dynasty, when it became the dominant form of elite monastic Buddhism, and demonstrates that secular educated elites came to control the critical transmission from master to disciple in the Chan School.
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_77 ... &q&f=false
https://www.amazon.com/How-Zen-Became-E ... 0824835085
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

Polarbear
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Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by Polarbear » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:27 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:26 pm
How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China by Morten Schlütter is an interesting one.
How Zen Became Zen takes a novel approach to understanding one of the most crucial developments in Zen Buddhism: the dispute over the nature of enlightenment that erupted within the Chinese Chan (Zen) school in the twelfth century. The famous Linji (Rinzai) Chan master Dahui Zonggao (1089–1163) railed against "heretical silent illumination Chan" and strongly advocated kanhua (koan) meditation as an antidote. In this fascinating study, Morten Schlütter shows that Dahui’s target was the Caodong (Soto) Chan tradition that had been revived and reinvented in the early twelfth century, and that silent meditation was an approach to practice and enlightenment that originated within this "new" Chan tradition. Schlütter has written a refreshingly accessible account of the intricacies of the dispute, which is still reverberating through modern Zen in both Asia and the West. Dahui and his opponents’ arguments for their respective positions come across in this book in as earnest and relevant a manner as they must have seemed almost nine hundred years ago.

Although much of the book is devoted to illuminating the doctrinal and soteriological issues behind the enlightenment dispute, Schlütter makes the case that the dispute must be understood in the context of government policies toward Buddhism, economic factors, and social changes. He analyzes the remarkable ascent of Chan during the first centuries of the Song dynasty, when it became the dominant form of elite monastic Buddhism, and demonstrates that secular educated elites came to control the critical transmission from master to disciple in the Chan School.
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_77 ... &q&f=false
https://www.amazon.com/How-Zen-Became-E ... 0824835085
Much appreciated.

humble.student
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Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by humble.student » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:43 am

"The story of Chinese Zen" by Nan Huai-chin
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/The%20 ... %20Zen.pdf

SunWuKong
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Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:58 pm

There was Dhyana/Chan/Zen before it came to China too, don't forget. Bodhidharma was not the only one to bring it from south Asia, there were others. The whole Zen thing revolves around Prajnaparamita, maybe that's where it originated. Maybe you can start with Nagarjuna and go forward from there? Or other Indian contemporaries in Mahayana?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Temicco
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Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by Temicco » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:02 am

Polarbear wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:13 pm
I'm very interested in the history of chan and chinese buddhism. Are there any recommendations to books where I can generally learn more about the rise and development of chan? Preferably in English, but if you have any Chinese recommendations I'll gladly take them as well.
It's not about Chan per se, but Ming-Wood Liu's "Madhyamaka Thought in China" gives a good survey of Chinese Buddhism from Kumarajiva's time up until ~700. It's a good read to get a lay of the land, but probably best supplemented with primary materials (e.g. Sengzhao's treatises, Tiantai's writings).
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

Temicco
Posts: 180
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by Temicco » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:10 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:58 pm
There was Dhyana/Chan/Zen before it came to China too, don't forget. Bodhidharma was not the only one to bring it from south Asia, there were others. The whole Zen thing revolves around Prajnaparamita, maybe that's where it originated. Maybe you can start with Nagarjuna and go forward from there? Or other Indian contemporaries in Mahayana?
I'd say that for Chinese Buddhism, one can more or less ignore the Indian side of things -- focus on the four treatises of the Three Treatise school, and the Mahayanasamgraha (for Shelun) and Dasabhumikasutrashastra (for Dilun). Nagarjuna as remembered in East Asia has a different body of work than Nagarjuna as remembered in Tibetan Buddhism.

Dhyana != Zen.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

SunWuKong
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Books about the history of chan and chinese buddhism

Post by SunWuKong » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:29 am

Temicco wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:10 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:58 pm
There was Dhyana/Chan/Zen before it came to China too, don't forget. Bodhidharma was not the only one to bring it from south Asia, there were others. The whole Zen thing revolves around Prajnaparamita, maybe that's where it originated. Maybe you can start with Nagarjuna and go forward from there? Or other Indian contemporaries in Mahayana?
I'd say that for Chinese Buddhism, one can more or less ignore the Indian side of things -- focus on the four treatises of the Three Treatise school, and the Mahayanasamgraha (for Shelun) and Dasabhumikasutrashastra (for Dilun). Nagarjuna as remembered in East Asia has a different body of work than Nagarjuna as remembered in Tibetan Buddhism.

Dhyana != Zen.
That's the one I mean, East Asia, not Tibetan.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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