Chan Texts: Translations & Studies
Posted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:20 am
Some important Chan texts and studies which have been published in recent years:
The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen by Jeffrey L. Broughton.
The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen by Jeffrey L. Broughton.
- In the early part of this century, the discovery of a walled-up cave in northwest China led to the retrieval of a lost early Chan (Zen) literature of the Tang dynasty (618-907). One of the recovered Zen texts was a seven-piece collection, the Bodhidharma Anthology. Of the numerous texts attributed to Bodhidharma, this anthology is the only one generally believed to contain authentic Bodhidharma material.
Jeffrey L. Broughton provides a reliable annotated translation of the Bodhidharma Anthology along with a detailed study of its nature, content, and background. His work is especially important for its rendering of the three Records, which contain some of the earliest Zen dialogues and constitute the real beginnings of Zen literature.
- The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, used in monastic education for more than a millennium, is a concise guide to the key paradigms of the practice systems of the East Asian meditational schools (Ch'an, Son, and Zen). Contained in its twelve chapters are definitive explanations of the meaning of innate and actualized enlightenment, sudden and gradual enlightenment, the true nature of ignorance and suffering, along with numerous examples of methods of contemplation that accord with and reflect the basic Ch'an views on enlightenment and practice. Although the Sutra was popular throughout the East Asian region, it attained its highest canonical status within the Korean Chogye school, where it is still a key text in the core curriculum of modern-day monks and nuns. The Sutra is translated here in full, along with the eloquent and revelatory commentary of the Choson monk Kihwa (1376-1433).
- Under the leadership of Mazu Daoyi (709-788) and his numerous disciples, the Hongzhou School emerged as the dominant tradition of Chan (Zen) Buddhism in China during the middle part of the Tang dynasty (618-907). Mario Poceski offers a systematic examination of the Hongzhou School's momentous growth and rise to preeminence as the bearer of Chan orthodoxy, and analyzes its doctrines against the backdrop of the intellectual and religious milieus of Tang China. Poceski demonstrates that the Hongzhou School represented the first emergence of an empire-wide Chan tradition that had strongholds throughout China and replaced the various fragmented Schools of early Chan with an inclusive orthodoxy.
Poceski's study is based on the earliest strata of permanent sources, rather than on the later apocryphal "encounter dialogue" stories regularly used to construe widely-accepted but historically unwarranted interpretations about the nature of Chan in the Tang dynasty. He challenges the traditional and popularly-accepted view of the Hongzhou School as a revolutionary movement that rejected mainstream mores and teachings, charting a new path for Chan's independent growth as a unique Buddhist tradition. This view, he argues, rests on a misreading of key elements of the Hongzhou School's history. Rather than acting as an unorthodox movement, the Hongzhou School's success was actually based largely on its ability to mediate tensions between traditionalist and iconoclastic tendencies. Going beyond conventional romanticized interpretations that highlight the radical character of the Hongzhou School, Poceski shows that there was much greater continuity between early and classical Chan -- and between the Hongzhou School and the rest of Tang Buddhism -- than previously thought.
- Japanese Zen often implies that textual learning (gakumon) in Buddhism and personal experience (taiken) in Zen are separate, but the career and writings of the Chinese Tang dynasty Chan master Guifeng Zongmi (780-841) undermine this division. For the first time in English, Jeffrey Broughton presents an annotated translation of Zongmi's magnum opus, the Chan Prolegomenon, along with translations of his Chan Letter and Chan Notes.
The Chan Prolegomenon persuasively argues that Chan "axiom realizations" are identical to the teachings embedded in canonical word and that one who transmits Chan must use the sutras and treatises as a standard. Japanese Rinzai Zen has, since the Edo period, marginalized the sutra-based Chan of the Chan Prolegomenon and its successor text, the Mind Mirror (Zongjinglu) of Yongming Yanshou (904-976). This book contains the first in-depth treatment in English of the neglected Mind Mirror, positioning it as a restatement of Zongmi's work for a Song dynasty audience.
The ideas and models of the Chan Prolegomenon, often disseminated in East Asia through the conduit of the Mind Mirror, were highly influential in the Chan traditions of Song and Ming China, Korea from the late Koryo onward, and Kamakura-Muromachi Japan. In addition, Tangut-language translations of Zongmi's Chan Prolegomenon and Chan Letter constitute the very basis of the Chan tradition of the state of Xixia. As Broughton shows, the sutra-based Chan of Zongmi and Yanshou was much more normative in the East Asian world than previously believed, and readers who seek a deeper, more complete understanding of the Chan tradition will experience a surprising reorientation in this book.
- Yongming Yanshou ranks among the great thinkers of the Chinese and East Asian Buddhist traditions, one whose legacy has endured for more than a thousand years. Albert Welter offers new insight into the significance of Yanshou and his major work, the Zongjing lu, by showing their critical role in the contested Buddhist and intellectual territories of the Five Dynasties and early Song dynasty China.
Welter gives a comprehensive study of Yanshou's life, showing how Yanshou's Buddhist identity has been and continues to be disputed. He also provides an in-depth examination of the Zongjing lu, connecting it to Chan debates ongoing at the time of its writing. This analysis includes a discussion of the seminal meaning of the term zong as the implicit truth of Chan and Buddhist teaching, and a defining notion of Chan identity. Particularly significant is an analysis of the long underappreciated significance of the Chan fragments in the Zongjing lu, which constitute some of the earliest information about the teachings of Chan's early masters.
In light of Yanshou's advocacy of a morally based Chan Buddhist practice, Welter also challenges the way Buddhism, particularly Chan, has frequently been criticized in Neo-Confucianism as amoral and unprincipled. Yongming Yanshou's Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu concludes with an annotated translation of fascicle one of the Zongjing lu, the first translation of the work into a Western language.
- One of [Yung-ming Yen-shou's] best known works, the Wan-shan t'ung-kuei chi, has long been cherished by the tradition for its advocacy of harmony between Ch'an meditation and Pure Land practice. The dissertation questions the association of Yen-shou and his Treatise on the Common End of Myriad Good Deeds with the motives of the Pure land school from two points of view. In the history of the numerous biographies of Yen-shou, the association of his image with the Pure Land movement is relatively late. An investigation of the Wanshan t'ung-kuei chi demonstrates that the synthesis of Ch'an meditation and Pure Land practice is a topic of discussion, but is by no means the central concern of the text from either a theoretical or pracical standpoint. The dissertation contends that Yen-shou's Ch'an-Pure Land synthesis should be understood within the context of the Wan-shan t'ung-kuei chi as a whole. A translation of elect passages of the Wan-shan t'ung-kuei chi are included by way of confirming the reassessment put forward in the dissertation.
- Jinul (1158-1210) was the founder of the Korean tradition of Zen. He provides one of the most lucid and accessible accounts of Zen practice and meditation to be found anywhere in East Asian literature. Tracing Back the Radiance, an abridgment of Buswell's Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul, combines an extensive introduction to Jinul's life and thought with translations of three of his most representative works.
- Hongzhi -- the twelfth-century Chinese Zen master who was predecessor of the famous philosopher Dogen -- is celebrated in Zen literature as one of its most artistically graceful stylists. He was the first to articulate silent illumination, the nondual objectless meditation commonly known to modern Zen students as "just sitting." Previously available in English only in scattered fragments, Hongzhi's influential teaching is here presented comprehensively, not as a historical artifact, but as a timeless and inspiring guide to spiritual awareness in the contemporary world. Taigen Daniel Leighton provides an informative introduction that traces Hongzhi's life, important facets of his teaching, and his place in the Zen tradition.
- Zen Buddhism is perhaps best known for its emphasis on meditation, and probably no figure in the history of Zen is more closely associated with meditation practice than the thirteenth-century Japanese master Dogen, founder of the Soto school. This study examines the historical and religious character of the practice as it is described in Dogen's own meditation texts, introducing new materials and original perspectives on one of the most influential spiritual traditions of East Asian civilization.