BAIZHANG Huaihai (Hyakuo Ekai, 720-814, 9th gen).
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang
Dharma Siblings: Xitang (735-814), Zhangjing (754-815), Yanguan (750-842), Damei (752-839), Guizong (n.d.), Pangyun "Layman Pang" (740-808), Mayu (n.d.), Panshan (720-814), Luzu (n.d.), Zhongyi (n.d.), Wujiu (n.d.), Nanquan (748-835)
Heirs: Huangbo Xiyun (770?-850), Wufeng Changguan (n.d.), Guishan Daan "Lazy An" (793-883), Baizhang Niepan (n.d.), Guishan Lingyou (771-853)
Born to a powerful aristocratic family on the eastern seaboard province of Fuzhou (modern Fujian). Well-educated as a child, he entered monastic life as a teen under the teacher Huizhao, where the older novice who would become Master Yaoshan was also studying. After his full ordination at Mt. Heng, he moved to Lujian (in modern Anhui province) where he studied Buddhist scriptures. Then, while still in his twenties, he sought out Master Mazu at Gonggong Mountain in southern Jiangxi and became his disciple.
Baizhang established an early set of rules for Chan monastic discipline, the Pure Rules of Baizhang, and is also credited with originating the Chinese tea ceremony. He founded Baizhang monastery, which contained a monks hall, an innovation which became typical for Chan. Both the lifestyle he spelled out as well as the architectural form of his monastery became models for later Zen monasteries. As the Zen monks farmed, it helped them to survive the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution more than other sects which relied more on donations. Baizhang's rules are still used today in many Zen monasteries. His rules include the aphorism, "A day without work is a day without food."
Appears in: BCR73/BOS6, BCR53, BOS8, GG2, BCR26, BCR70, BCR71, BCR72, GG40
BAIZHANG Niepan (Hyakuo Nehan, b. 780?, 10th gen).
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang H (720-814) → Baizhang N
Dharma Siblings: Huangbo Xiyun (770?-850), Wufeng Changguan (n.d.), Guishan Daan "Lazy An" (793-883), Guishan Lingyou (771-853)
Heirs of Note: None.
Little is recorded of Baizhang Niepan’s life. Upon the death of his teacher, he assumed the abbacy of his temple.
BAOFU Congzhan (Hofuku Jûten, 868?-928, 13th gen).
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng (822-908) → Baofu
Dharma Siblings: Cuiyan (n.d.), Jingqing (868-937), Taiyuan (n.d.), Xuansha (835-908), Changqing (854-932), Yunmen (864-949)
Heirs of note: None
Baofu came from the Futang district in ancient Fuzhou (Fujian). At the age of fifteen he became a student of Xuefeng. Ordained at the age of eighteen at Dazhong Temple in his native city, he traveled to other areas in China before returning to become Xuefeng’s attendant. In 918, Magistrate Wang of Zhangzhou honored the master’s great reputation by building and supporting the Baofu Zen Monastery and inviting the master to become the abbot and teach there. The master lived at Baofu Temple only one year, and during that time not less than seven hundred students gathered there.
Appears in: BCR76, BCR91/BOS25, BCR23, BCR95, BCR8/BOS71
8, 22, 23, 76, 91 and 95 from the records of the Blue Rock and in the comments on gong'an 21, 23, 28, 29, 48
BUDDHA Shakyamuni (480-400 BCE)
Known variously as Siddhartha Gautama, Gautama Buddha, Shakyamuni (the sage of the Shakya Clan), The Tathagata (the thus gone one), The World-Honored One, he is the founder of Buddhism. Born into royalty in Lumbini, he grew up in adjacent Kapilavastu, the capital city of the Shakya kingdom. (Historians are divided on whether the ancient city of Kapilavastu was on the spot now occupied by Tilaurakot, Nepal or by Priprahwa, India 16 km away.) Siddhartha's father was Sudhodhana, traditionally said to be king, making Siddhartha his prince, though some recent scholarship suggests the Shakya were organized as a semi-republican oligarchy rather than a monarchy. His mother, Queen Maya, died giving birth, or a few days after, and Siddhartha was raised by his mother's younger sister, Pajapati. At age 16, he married a cousin, Yasodhara, and they had a son, Rahula. Abandoning wife and child at age 29, Siddhartha set out on a quest for spiritual understanding. Six years later, at age 35, after a reputed 49 days of meditation, he is said to have attained Enlightenment and become the Buddha ("Awakened One"). For the remaining 45 years of his life, he traveled around the Ganges River basin teaching a diverse and growing following.
Appears in: BOS4, GG32/BCR65, BCR92/BOS1, GG42, GG6
CHANGQING Huileng (Chôkei Eryô, 854-932, 13th gen).
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng (822-908) → Changqing
Dharma Siblings: Cuiyan (n.d.), Jingqing (868-937), Taiyuan (n.d.), Xuansha (835-908), Baofu (868?-928), Yunmen (864-949)
Heirs: Wang Yanbin (n.d.)
Changqing came from Yanzhou (southwest of today's Haining city in Zhejiang province). He joined the Tongxuan monastery at age 13 and then practiced for some time with several Chan masters. Around 879 he studied with master Xiyuan Siming in Fujian, then he was a disciple of Lingyun Zhiqin - then began to have serious doubts about his Chan practice. Later he became a student of Xuefeng Yicun (822 - 902) in Fuzhou. He had great difficulty with Chan practice and seemed to be making no progress. Tradition holds that he wore out seven meditation cushions. Xuefeng provided Changqing with “the medicine a horse doctor uses to bring a dead horse alive again.” He instructed Changqing to practice meditation in the hall as if he were a “dead tree stump.” Changqing followed this practice for two and a half years. When he could no longer sit, he went to the monastery garden. late one night, after others had gone to bed, he rolled up a bamboo screen and his eye fell upon the light of a lantern. At that moment he woke up. Changqing was with Xuefeng for 29 years. Then, in 908, the governor of Fuzhou, Wang Yanbin, invited Changqing to become abbot of the Changqing Monastery. He served in that capacity for 20 years. He had 1,500 students and 26 of them achieved enlightenment.
Appears in: BCR8/BOS71, BCR22/BOS24, BCR23, BCR74, BCR76, BCR93, BCR95.
DANXIA Tianran (Tanka Tenen, 738-824, 9th gen).
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Danxia
Dharma Siblings: Yaoshan (751-841), Tianhuang (748-807)
Heirs: Cuiwei Wuxue (b. 780?)
Danxia came from Dengzhou. In his youth, he prepared for a career in administration, becoming well educated in Confucian texts. While traveling to the capital, Chang'an, to take the civil service examination, he had a dream that the whole room was filled with white light. Asking a fortune teller about this dream, he was told that his dream foretold a solution to emptiness. He then met a Chan monk, who asked him what his goal was. “I've decided to become a functionary," said Danxia. “What does the decision to become a functionary amount to compared with the decision to become a buddha?” replied the monk. “Where can I go if I want to become a buddha?” Danxia then asked. The monk suggested that he seek out the great Chan master Mazu, whereupon Danxia unhesitatingly set out to do so. Mazu soon sent him on to Shitou, under whom Danxia trained for some years. He went on to become one of Shitou's dharma successors. Later he returned to Mazu. Arriving in Mazu's monastery he sat himself astride the neck of a statue of Manjushri. The monks, upset by the outrageous behavior of the newcomer, reported this to Mazu, who came to see Danxia. “You are very natural, my son,” said Mazu. From this incident Danxia's monastic name Tianran (the Natural) is derived. After the death of Mazu, Danxia went on wandering pilgrimage and visited other great Chan masters of the time in order to train further. For three years he practiced in the monastery at the top of Huading Tiantai mountains. He also practiced for a time with master Jingshan Daoqin (714-792) from niutou school. At the age of eighty-one, he settled in a hermitage on Mount Danxia (in Hunan Province) from which his name is derived. Soon up to 300 students gathered there around him and built a monastery. Four years after his arrival on Mount Danxia, he suddenly said one day, “I'm going on a journey once again.” He picked up his hat and his pilgrim's robe and staff. When he had put on the second of his pilgrim's sandals, he passed away before his foot again touched the ground. Posthumous title: Zhitong chanshi (chan master pervading wisdom).
Appears in: BCR76
DAYANG Jingxuan (Taiyo Kyogen, 943-1027, 16th gen).
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Yunyan (780-841) → Dongshan (807-69) → Yunju (d. 902) → Tongan Daopi (n.d.) → Tongan Guanzhi (n.d.) → Liangshan (n.d.) → Dayang
Dharma Siblings: none.
Heirs: Xingyang (n.d.), Touzi Y (1032-83)
Came from ancient Jiangxia (now the city of Wuchang in Hubei Province); left lay life to enter Chongxiao Temple in Jinling where he studied under Zhitong; at age 19, after ordination, left Jinling and traveled widely throughout the country; studied under Yuanjiao; unsuccessful with Yuanjiao, continued travels and eventually met and studied under Liangshan; remained many years with Liangshan, realizing enlightenment; upon Liangshan's death, traveled to Mt. Dayang in Yingzhou (now the city of Jingshan in Hubei Province) where he met and studied with Huijian; upon Huijian's death, assumed the abbacy of the temple.
Dayang transmitted his dharma to Xingyan, the only student he had that he found worthy, but Xingyuan died before his teacher. With the Caodong school in serious decline and without a worthy heir, Dayang feared that the Caodong line would end with his death. Thus, Dayang took the unprecedented step of enlisting the assistance of Fushan Fayuan (Fuzan Hoen, 991-1067, 17th gen), an eminent teacher of the Linji lineage. In 1023, at age 80, Dayang entrusted to Fushan the Dharma transmission of the Caodong school. Dayang died four years later, and some years after that, Fushan encountered Touzi Yiqing, an exceptional young monk and worthy "Dharma vessel." Fushan transmitted to Touzi the heritage with which Dayang had entrusted him.
Appears in: BOS89
DESHAN Xuanjian (Tokusan Senkan, 782-865, 11th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan
Dharma Siblings: none.
Heirs: Xuefeng (822-908), Yantou (828-87)
Though his lineage is from Shitou, Deshan employed the vigorous methods more common among Mazu's descendants: he was a fiery teacher fond of using the stick to cajole his monks to greater efforts. ("If you speak, you get thirty blows. If you do not speak, you get thirty blows," he said.) Through Xuefeng, Deshan is the ancestor to two of the Five Houses of Zen: the Yunmen and Fayan Schools. Deshan was a scholar focused on the Vinaya, and became famous for his knowledge of the Diamond Sutra. After an encounter with an old woman convinced him that scriptural study was insufficient, he studied Zen under Longtan. Under Emperor Wuzong of Tang a brief but intense Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution forced Deshan from a thirty year long position in Lizhou into hiding on Mt. Dufu. Afterwards the governor of Wuleng in the Lang Region (Hunan) asked Deshan to come to live on Mount Virtue (Mount De, i.e. Deshan), where he established his monastery and taught. Posthumous name: Great Master Jianxing.
Appears in: GG28, BCR4, BOS22, GG13/BOS55, BOS14
DONGSHAN Liangjie (Tozan Ryokai, 807-69, 11th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Yunyan (780-841) → Dongshan
Dharma Siblings: None
Heirs: Yunju (d. 902), Qinshan (n.d.), Longya (835-923), Yuezhou (n.d.), Caoshan (840-901), Qinglin (d. 904), Shushan (n.d.)
Dongshan was born in Kuaiji (present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang), south of Hangzhou Bay. He started private studies in Chan at a young age, and showed promise by questioning the fundamental Doctrine of the Six Roots during his tutor's recitation of the Heart Sutra. Though only 10-years-old, he then left home to train with Lingmo at the monastery on Wutai Mountain. At 21, he went to Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song, where he took the complete monk's precepts. He wandered extensively among the Chan masters and hermits in the Hongzhou region. He studied with Nanquan (748-835), and then with Guishan (771-853), before settling down with Yunyan. At 52, Dongshan established a school at Mount Dong, Rui Region (Jiangxi) where he had 500-1,000 students at any given time. He is the founder of the Caodong (Soto) school, one of the Five Houses of Zen, named after him and his pupil, Caoshan (Hence "Caodong" from CAOshan + DONGshan -- in Japanese, "Soto" from SOzan + TOzan). Dongshan announced the end of his life several days before the event and told his students to create a "delusion banquet." After a week of preparations, he took one bite of the meal and, telling the students not to "make a great commotion over nothing," went to his room and died.
Dongshan is the author of the "Song of the Jeweled-Mirror Samadhi" (Boundless Way Zen Chant Book), and is also known for his teaching on "The Five Ranks" (The Absolute within the Relative; The Relative within the Absolute; The Coming from Within the Absolute; The Contrasted Relative Alone; and Unity Attained). Posthumous name: Great Master Wuben.
Appears in: BOS22, BCR43, BOS49, BOS56, BOS89, BOS94, BOS98
GUISHAN Daan, aka Changqing Daan, "Lazy An" (Isan Daian, 793-883, 10th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang H (720-814) → Guishan D
Dharma Siblings: Huangbo (755?-850), Wufeng (n.d.), Baizhang N (n.d.), Guishan L (771-853)
Heirs: Dasui Fazhen "Shenzhao" (878-963) [But Dasui would have been only 5-y-o when Guishan D died]
Grew up and taught in ancient Fuzhou (in modern Fujian Province). At the age of twenty, he went to Mt. Huangbo in Jiangxi and studied the Vinaya. Later he declared, "Despite my hard efforts I still haven't encountered the principle of the great mystery." He thereafter set off in search of the truth. On the advice of an old man he met on the road, he traveled to Nanchang City in Jiangxi and began study under Baizhang H. His Dharma brother Guishan L had established temple on Mt. Gui, and when Guishan L died, Guishan D, then age 60, was invited to assume the abbacy of that temple. Later, he taught at Changqing Monastery, Fu Region (Fujian).
Posthumous title: "Zen Master Perfect Wisdom.”
Appears in: BOS87
GUISHAN Lingyou (Isan Reiyu, 771-853, 10th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang H (720-814) → Guishan L
Dharma Siblings: Huangbo (755?-850), Wufeng (n.d.), Guishan Daan "Lazy An" (793-883), Baizhang N (n.d.)
Heirs: Lingyun Zhiqin (n.d), Jingzhao Mihu (n.d.), Yangshan Huiji (807-83), Xiangyan Zhixian (??-898), Liu Tiemo (n.d.)
Guishan and his disciple, Yangshan, are the founders of the Gui-Yang House, the first of the fabled "Five Houses of Zen." Born in Changxi, Fujian province, he became a Buddhist monk at age 15, and received tonsure ceremony at Shanjian (Build Goodness) Temple in Fujian. He received the monastic precepts at Longxing Temple in Hangzhou where he studied sutra and Vinaya Pitaka. In 794, at age 23, he traveled to Jianxi to study under Baizhang Huaihai. Baizhang permitted Guishan to become his disciple upon their first meeting. In 820, at age 49, he became the abbot of Tongqing Temple in Guishan, Hunan Province. The Guiyang school is characterized by use of symbols, symbolic actions, and metaphors, thus Guiyang Zen is the Zen school most closely aligned to Buddhsm's esoteric schools.
Appears in: BCR70, BOS83, GG40, BCR4, BCR24/BOS60, BOS15, BOS37
HUANGBO Xiyun (Obaku Kiun, 755?-850, 10th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang H (720-814) → Huangbo
Dharma Siblings: Wufeng (n.d.), Guishan Daan "Lazy An" (793-883), Guishan Lingyou (771-853), Baizhang N (n.d.)
Heirs: Linji (812-867), Muzhou (780-877)
Born in Fujian, China, Huangbo began his monastic life on Mt. Huangbo (he would later teach at a different monastery with the same name) in Fujian province. During his period of traveling around seeking instructions from various Chan masters, he visited Mt. Tiantai and received teachings from National Teacher Nanyang Huizhong (675-775). He may also have studied briefly under Nanquan Puyuan (748-835) before settling down with Baizhang Huaihai. When Huangbo, who was quite tall, first met Baizhang, Baizhang exclaimed, “Magnificent! Imposing! Where have you come from?” Huangbo replied, “Magnificent and imposing, I’ve come from the mountains.”
In 842, Pei Xiu, a government official in Kiangsi province, invited Huangbo to be resident teacher at Lung-hsing Monastery. Pei eventually built a monastery for Huángbò around 846, which the master named Huangbo after the mountain where he had been a novice monk.
Central teaching: centered on the concept of “mind” (or "heart/mind") Mind cannot be sought by the mind. “Mind is the Buddha,” he said. "All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings." And: "To awaken suddenly to the fact that your own Mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained or a single action to be performed - this is the Supreme Way."
As many of Huangbo's themes and phrasings are echoed in the record of his student, Linji, Huangbo is sometimes regarded as the true founder of the Linji school.
Books: John Blofield, trans. The Zen Teachings of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind (includes translations of two texts: the Ch’uan-hsin Fa-yao (Essential of Mind Transmission) and the Wan-ling Lu, both transcribed by Huangbo's student, Pei Xiu, with editing and emendation by Huangbo's senior monks.)
Posthumous name: Tuan Chi Chan Shih (Chan Master Without Limits)
Appears in: GG2, BCR11/BOS53, BOS86
JIASHAN Shanhui (Kassan Zenne, 805-81, 11th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Chuanzi (n.d.) → Jiashan
Dharma Siblings: none
Heirs: Luopu (834-98)
Jiashan left home at a young age for monastic life. After taking the monk’s vows at age twenty, he focused on sutra study. One day while lecturing to the assembly about a sutra, a visiting monk, Daowu Yuanzhi (769-835), began laughing and said that Jiashan needed a teacher because his sutra lecture was missing the point. Daowu recommended that Jiashan go see Chuanzi, "the Boat Monk," Daowu's dharma brother. Although Jiashan’s understanding of Buddhism was already extensive, he did not attain complete awakening until meeting Chuanzi. After giving transmission to Jiashan, his only successor, Chuanzi disappeared and was never heard from again. Jiashan then moved into the mountains to live in seclusion, but large numbers of students came to study with him, building thatched huts scattered around Jiashan's. Finally, in 870, the assembly moved to Mt. Jia where they built a temple. Jiashan was the first Zen master known to closely link Zen with drinking tea. He described their intimacy as “Zen, tea, one taste.”
Appears in: BOS35, BOS68
JINGZHAO Mihu (Keicho Beiko, b. 810?, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Guishan Lingyou (771-853) → Jingzhao
Dharma Siblings: Lingyun (n.d), Yangshan (807-83), Xiangyan (d. 898), Liu Tiemo (n.d.)
Heirs of note: none
Little is known. He taught in the ancient Chinese capitol city, Jingzhao (also known as Changan) from which he gets his name. Mihu means "Mi the Foreigner," and he was also called Master Mi the Seventh, since, in lay life, he was the seventh child of his house. He was known for a magnificent beard.
Appears in: BOS62
JINHUA Juzhi (Kinka Gutei, b. 810?, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Damei (720-814) → Hangzhou (d. 9th c) → Jinhua
Dharma Siblings: None of record
Heirs: None of record
Jinhua Juzhi lived during the time of the fierce persecution of Buddhism under Emperor Wuzong (reigned 840-46). Jinhua worked in what is now the province of Zhejiang, at Jinhua. There is a temple in the Province of Fujian in which there is said to be a clay figure of Jinhua Juzhi, and it is possible that he was buried there. His teacher, Hangzhou, is said to started the technique of holding up one finger, though Jinhua became famous as the chief representative of the group of teachers who made use of it.
Appears in: BCR19/BOS84, GG3
LINJI Yixuan (Rinzai Gigen, 812-867, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Huangbo (770?-850) → Linji
Dharma Sibling: Muzhou (780-877)
Heirs: Xinghua (830-88), Baoshou (n.d.), Sansheng (b. 830?)
Linji is the founding figure of the Linji House, one of the five houses of Zen. Taught at Linji Monastery, Zhen Region (Hebei). Posthumous name: Great Master Huizhao.
Books: The Record of Linji has 5 parts and is available with commentary in translations by Ruth Fuller Sasaki (1975), Burton Watson (1993), Thich Nhat Hanh (Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, 2007, includes the first two parts, about 2/3rds of the whole), Broughton and Watanabe (2013).
Appears in BOS86, BCR32, BOS13, BOS38, BOS95, BCR20/BOS80
LIU Tiemo (Ryu Tetsuma, 800?-??, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang H (720-814) → Guishan L (771-853) → Liu
Dharma Siblings: Lingyun Zhiqin (n.d), Jingzhao Mihu (n.d.), Yangshan Huiji (807-83), Xiangyan Zhixian (??-898)
Heirs of Note: None.
Liu was her family name. Tiemo was a nickname meaning "Iron Grindstone." After receiving the Dharma seal from Guishan, Liu lived a few miles away from him and would periodically come to visit. She taught Zen in a style described as "precipitously awesome and dangerous." Her ability to test the true mettle of Zen adepts brought her the name "Iron Grinder."
Appears in BCR24/BOS60
LUOPU Yuanan (Rakuho Genan, 834-98, 12th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Chuanzi (n.d.) → Jiashan (805-81) → Luopu
Dharma Siblings: None
Heirs of Note: None
Luopu came from ancient Linyou (now located in modern Jiangxi Province). Ordained at the age of twenty, he was well versed in Buddhist scriptures and doctrine. He studied under Linji Yixuan (812-867) and served as Linji's attendant before leaving to build a hut on the mountain where Jiashan's monastery was. Eventually moving into Jiashan's monastery, Luopu studied with Jiashan for many years. After leaving Jiashan, he first lived at Lizhou (now Li County in Hunan Province) on Mt. Luopu, where he gained his mountain name. He then lived at Suxi (in modern Hunan Province). Luopu was known as a skilled expounder of Dharma, and students came from throughout China to study under him.
Appears in: BOS35, BOS41
MANJUSRI, Bodhisattva of Wisdom, the oldest and most significant bodhisattva in Mahāyāna literature. Manjusri is first referred to in early Mahayana sutras such as the Prajnaparamita sutras and through this association came to symbolize the embodiment of prajna (transcendent wisdom). He is frequently depicted wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, representing the realization of transcendent wisdom which cuts off ignorance and duality. In his left hand, he may be holding a Prajñāpāramitā sūtra resting on a lotus blossom, representing his attainment of ultimate realization from the blossoming of wisdom. He will often be shown riding a lion, representing the use of wisdom to tame the mind. Manjusri is one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism, the other three being Kṣitigarbha, Avalokiteśvara, and Samantabhadra.
Appears in: BCR92/BOS1, GG42, BCR84/BOS48, BCR35
MAZU Daoyi (Baso Doitsu, 709-788, 8th gen)
Lineage: Huineng (638-713) → Nanyue (677-744) → Mazu
Dharma Siblings: None
Heirs: Baizhang (720-814), Xitang (735-814), Zhangjing (754-815), Yanguan (750-842), Damei (752-839), Guizong (n.d.), Pangyun "Layman Pang" (740-808), Mayu (n.d.), Panshan (720-814), Luzu (n.d.), Zhongyi (n.d.), Wujiu (n.d.), Nanquan (748-835)
founder of the Hongzhou school; said to have transmitted the dharma to 84 disciples (some sources say 139), of whom 13 are particularly well-known. Of the "Five Houses of Zen", two emerged from Mazu's descendants: the Linji (Rinzai) and Guiyang (Igyo) Houses. Certain distinctive attributes of Linji Zen are already evident in the record we have of Mazu, Linji's dharma great-grandfather. For instance, many of the teaching devices that came to be identified with Zen, especially Linji's Zen -- e.g., shouts, blows, enigmatic questions -- were first used by Mazu.
Books: Cheng Chien Bhikshu (Mario Poceski), intro and trans, Sun-Face Buddha: The Teachings of Ma-tsu and the Hung-chou School of Ch'an (1992). Mario Poceski, The Records of Mazu and the Making of Classical Chan Literature (2015). Fumio Yamada (Nick Bellando, trans), Master Ma's Ordinary Mind: The Sayings of Zen Master Mazu Daoyi (2017).
Appears in: GG30, GG33, BCR3/BOS36, BCR73/BOS6, BCR53.
MINGZHAOU Deqian (Myôshô Tokken, n.d., 14th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (765?-??) → Deshan (782-865) → Yantou (828-87) → Luoshan (n.d.) → Mingzhao
Dharma Siblings: None
Heirs of note: None
"He taught in ancient Wuzhou (now the city of Jinhua in Zhejiang Province) [for forty years]. In the Wudeng Huiyuan it is recorded that Mingzhao’s quick and incisive Zen style led his contemporaries to fear his formidable skills in Dharma combat." (Ferguson) "Afterwards, when he was enlightened, Mingzhao did not stay in one spot, but went round the country converting all kinds of people." (Osho)
Appears in: BOS87, BCR48
MUZHOU Daoming (or Daozong) (Bokushu Domyo, 780-877, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Huangbo (770?-850) → Muzhou
Dharma Sibling: Linji (812-867)
Heirs: none, though Yunmen (864-949) is said to have studied with him and come to great enlightenment under him (this is perhaps doubtful as Yunmen would have been only 13 when Muzhou died)
Muzhou studied the vinaya as a youth, then became a disciple of Huangbo. Afterwards he lived at the temple Guanyin yuan in Muzhou in present Zhejiang, then at Longxing si, a temple that later texts call Kaiyuan si. There people called him Chen Puxie (Rush-sandal Chen) from the rush sandals he plaited and hung under the eaves of the temple to give or sell to passersby. His methods of handling such students as came to him were eccentric, even violent, but he appears to have been much respected among his contemporaries.
Books: Muzhou yulu (Recorded sayings of Muzhou), apparently not available in English.
Appears in BOS86, BCR10
PANSHAN Baoji (Banzan Hoshaku, 720-814, 9th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Panshan
Dharma Siblings: Baizhang H (720-814), Xitang (735-814), Zhangjing (754-815), Yanguan (750-842), Damei (752-839), Guizong (n.d.), Pangyun "Layman Pang" (740-808), Mayu (n.d.), Luzu (n.d.), Zhongyi (n.d.), Wujiu (n.d.), Nanquan (748-835)
His parents’ home was in ancient Youzhou (near present-day Beijing). After receiving Dharma transmission from Mazu, Panshan became the abbot of the Youzhou monastery in Hebei Province.
Appears in: BCR37
PRAJNATARA (a.k.a. Keyura, 5th-century)
Lineage: 27th and last of the pre-Bodhidharma patriarchs
Heirs: Bodhidharma (460? - 536)
Prajñātārā was the twenty-seventh Brahmin patriarch of Indian Buddhism and the head of the Sarvastivada sect of early Buddhist schools. She traveled around East India preaching Buddhism. She was the student and heir of 26th patriarch, Punyamitra, who said she was an incarnation of the mahasattva Mahasthamaprapta. Prajnatara was ordained as a nun and was the head of the Sarvastivadins
Appears in: BOS3
RUIYAN Shiyan (Zuigan Shigen, b. 830?, 13th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Yantou (828-87) → Ruiyan
Dharma Siblings: Luoshan (n.d.)
Heirs: none of note
Master Ruiyan Shiyan came from Fujian Province. He studied first with Master Jiashan Shanhui, before becoming a student of Master Yantou Quanhuo. Later, Shiyan settled and taught at Auspicious Cliff (Ruiyan) in Tanzhou, Hunan. He was known to often sit outside on a large rock, and could sometimes be heard calling out to himself, “Master!"
Appears in: BOS75, GG12
SANSHENG Huiran (Sansho Enen, b. 830?, 12th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Huangbo (770?-850) → Linji (812?-867) → Sansheng
Dharma Siblings: Xinghua (830-88), Baoshou (n.d.)
Heirs: none of note
Sansheng collected the written teachings and statements of Linji, producing The Record of Linji. After Linji's death, Sansheng visited many masters, including Yangshan, Xiangyan, Deshan, and Daowu among others. Each such meeting improved his skills. Eventually he settled in Zhenzhou (now the city of Zhengding in Hebei ) and taught at the Sansheng Monastery .
Appears in BCR68, BOS13, BCR49/BOS33
SHISHUANG Qingzhu (Sekiso Keisho, 807-88, 11th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-790) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Daowu (769-835) → Shishuang
Dharma Siblings: None
Heirs: Jiufeng (b. 850?), Daguang (837-903)
He came from the city of Xingan near ancient Luling, was ordained by Zen master Xishan Shaolong on Mt. Tai at the age 23, and began studying the Vinaya. Finding this path to be too slow, he traveled to Mt. Gui, where he studied with Guishan Lingyou and worked preparing food in the kitchen. Later, he was a disciple of Yaoshan, and then of Yaoshan's disciple, Daowu. After Daowu's death, and during the Huishang persecution (845-847), Shishuang stayed in Linyang working as a ceramic assistant. When the persecution ended, Dongshan Liangjie sent his monk to find him. Eventually, Shishuang constructed his temple on Mt. Shishuang in Hunan Province, and taught there for 20 years. (Another Chan master, Shishuang Chuyuan, taught at this location about 200 years later.) Shishuang created "seven instructions to practice," short maxims to help his students in meditation, such as "cold ash or dry wood," "white silk," "censer in an old temple," etc. These maxims were criticized, along with "silent illumination" generally, by Dahui Zonggao. Some of Shishuang's students meditated extremely rigorously, without movement, even without sleeping. Shishuang's reputation spread to Emperor Xizong, who offered him an honorary purple robe, which Shishuang did not accept. Posthumous name: Great Teacher of Universal Understanding.
Appears in: BCR91/BOS25, BCR55, BOS68, BOS89, BOS96
SHUSHAN Kuangren (Sozan Kyônin, 837-909, 12th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-790) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Yunyan (780-841) → Dongshan (807-69) → Shushan
Dharma Siblings: Yunju Daoying (d. 902), Qinshan Wensui (n.d.), Longya Judun (835-923), Yuezhou Qianfeng (n.d.), Caoshan Benji (840-901), Qinglin Shiqian (d. 904)
Shushan Kuangren is regarded as a disciple and Dharma heir of Dongshan Liangjie, but his search for enlightenment took him to many teachers. He came from ancient Jizhou (the site of the modern city of Ji’an in Jiangxi Province). Shushan eventually lived and taught at Mt. Shu. He was very short in physical stature, and thus earned the nick-name “the dwarf teacher.” (Ferguson) He seems to have been a rather contradictory fellow who traveled around a lot to many teachers. In addition to being short, apparently he was also ugly and often sickly. The other monks contemptuously called him Uncle Dwarf. Yet he was cleverer than they and often bested them in Dharma combat. He was not well loved by his peers. It was said that his innate power in displaying the innermost mystery was that of a person who could chew the iron tip of an arrow. He was very tenacious. When monks were stumped in their studies, they would say, "You only have to ask Uncle Dwarf." He was a high-maintenance monk -- the burr under the saddle of many of his teachers. (Wick)
Appears in: BOS87
TOUZI Datong (Tosu Daido, 819-914, 11th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-790) → Danxia (738-824) → Cuiwei (n.d.) → Touzi
Dharma Siblings: None
From ancient Shuzhou (in the southern part of modern Anwei Province). Left home as a young man to study under a Zen master named Bao Tangman. He first studied meditation techniques of the Anapana Sutra. Some time later he read the Flower Garland Sutra and proceeded to study under Cuiwei Wuxue. After his enlightenment under Cuiwei, he roamed throughout China, eventually returning to his old home and settling on Mt. Touzi. There he built a thatched hut and remained obscure for more than thirty years. Touzi’s eminence as a Zen adept could not be concealed, and the great Zhaozhou came looking for him.
Appears in: BCR91, BCR41/BOS63, BCR80, BCR79
TOUZI Yiqing (Tosu Gisei, 1032-83, 17th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Yunyan (780-841) → Dongshan (807-69) → Yunju (d. 902) → Tongan Daopi (n.d.) → Tongan Guanzhi (n.d.) → Liangshan (n.d.) → Dayang (943-1027) → Touzi.
Dharma Siblings: Xingyang (n.d.)
Heirs: Furong (1043-1118)
In 1023, Dayang, age 80, entrusted to Fushan Fayuan (Fuzan Hoen, 991-1067, 17th gen), an eminent teacher of the Linji lineage, the Dharma transmission of the Caodong school. Dayang died four years later, and some years after that, Fushan encountered Touzi Yiqing, an exceptional young monk and worthy "Dharma vessel." Fushan transmitted the Caodong heritage to Touzi.
Touzi compiled and annotated the Empty Valley Collection.
WUZHUO Wenxi (Mujaku Bunki, 821-900, 12th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Guishan (771-853) → Yangshan (807-83) → Wuzhuo
Dharma Siblings: Xita (n.d.), Nanta (850-938)
After three years on Mount Wutai (Taishan), Wuzhuo became the disciple and heir of Yangshan. At age 76, three years before his death, the title "Chan Master Wuzhuo" ("No Attachment") imperially bestowed upon him. The Old Woman of Taishan (see GG31/BOS10) may have formally studied with Wuzhuo. In any case, they appear to have traveled on pilgrimage together.
Appears in: BCR35
XITANG Zhizang (Seido Chizo, 735-814, 9th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Xitang
Dharma Siblings: Baizhang (720-814), Zhangjing (754-815), Yanguan (750-842), Damei (752-839), Guizong (n.d.), Pangyun "Layman Pang" (740-808), Mayu (n.d.), Panshan (720-814), Luzu (n.d.), Zhongyi (n.d.), Wujiu (n.d.), Nanquan (748-835)
Came from Qianhua City in ancient Qian Province. When young, he had an unusually noble appearance. People said that he would likely be an “assistant to the Dharma King” (a servant of Buddha). After receiving ordination at the age of twenty-five, he went traveling, and finally came to study under Mazu Daoyi. In 788, he became Abbot of Saido Temple in Kwangsi Province. Though none of his heirs are listed on the Chinese charts, his disciples included Korean monks Jilin Daoyi and Hongshe. These two adepts transmitted Zen to their native country. There, they helped to establish the “Nine Mountains,” nine prominent schools of Korean Zen.
Appears in: BCR73/BOS6
XUANSHA Shibei (Gensha Shibi, 935-908, 13th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng (822-908) → Xuansha
Dharma Siblings: Cuiyan (n.d.), Jingqing (868-937), Taiyuan (n.d.), Yunmen (864-949), Baofu (d. 928), Changqing (854-932)
Heirs: Luohan Guichen "Dizang" (867-928)
Xuansha came from ancient Fuzhou. As a young man he lived as a fisherman on the Nantai River. At the rather late age of thirty he left lay life to enter a temple on Lotus Mountain. Later he was ordained by the Vinaya master Lingxun at Kaiyuan Temple in Yuzhang (near modern Nanchang). He carried on an ascetic practice, wearing only a patched robe and straw sandals. He often fasted instead of taking the evening meal, and was regarded as unusual by the other monks. He was called “Ascetic Bei.” His relationship with Xuefeng was like that of a younger brother. As his close disciple, Xuansha worked with Xuefeng to build his teacher’s practice center. He is said to have awakened one day upon reading the words of the Surangama Sutra. After leaving Xuefeng he first lived at the Puying Monastery. Later he moved to Xuansha Mountain in Fuzhou, where he remained for the next thirty years. The governor of Min honored him, presenting him with the purple robe and the title “Great Teacher of the One Doctrine.”
Appears in: BOS21, BCR22/BOS24, BCR88, BOS81
XUEDOU Chongxian (Setcho Juken, 980-1052, 16th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng (822-908) → Yunmen (864-949) → Xianglin (908-87) → Zhimen (n.d) → Xuedou
Dharma Siblings: Jiufeng Qin (n.d.)
Heirs: Tianyi (993-1064), Chengtian (n.d.)
"Xuedou came from Suining (near the modern city of Tongnan in Sichuan Province). Born into a prominent and wealthy family, the young man possessed extraordinary skills as a scholar. Determined to leave secular life and enter the Buddhist priesthood, he entered the Pu’an Monastery in Yizhou (near modern Chengdu City), where he studied the Buddhist scriptures under a teacher named Renxian. Xuedou was recognized as an adept in both Buddhist and non-Buddhist disciplines. After receiving ordination he traveled to ancient Fuzhou (near the modern city of Tianmen in Hubei Province), where he studied under Zhimen Guangzuo. After five years Xuedou received Zhimen’s seal as an heir of the Yunmen lineage. Xuedou later lived at the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou and Cuifeng Temple in Suzhou before finally taking up residence on Mt. Xuedou (near modern Ningbo City in Zhejiang Province). Xuedou compiled the hundred kōans that are the core of the Blue Cliff Record, the well-known Zen text later annotated by Zen master Yuanwu Keqin. Xuedou’s grand style of teaching rejuvenated the Yunmen lineage. The prominent Zen master Tianyi Yihuai was among his eighty-four disciples." (Andy Ferguson)
Appears in: BOS26
XUEFENG Yicun (Seppo Gison, 822-908, 12th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng
Dharma Siblings: Yantou (828-87)
Heirs: Xuansha (835-908), Changqing (854-932), Yunmen (864-949), Baofu (868?-928), Cuiyan (n.d.), Jingqing (868-937), Taiyuan Fu (n.d.)
Xuefeng left home at age 12 to live at Yujian Temple (Putian City). At age 19, the five-year suppression of Buddhism (841-846) forced Xuefeng from the monastery, yet his training continued, now with Yuanzhao on Lotus Mountain (Hunan). When the suppression ended, Xuefeng began traveling around, visiting various monasteries in Northern China before settling down at Wuling (Hunan) to study with Deshan. At length, Deshan authorized him to teach, and Xuefeng returned to Lotus Mountain and built a monastery on the top of Guangfu Xuefeng (Snow Summit), in the Fu Region (Fujian). In the mid-870s, his monastery was officially recognized by the authorities and his teachings were supported by several officials in the region, leading eventually to Xuefeng receiving from Emperor Xizong a purple robe and the title of "Grand Master of the truly enlightened." In 891, now almost 70, Xuefeng went traveling again. Soon he joined the attendants of Yang Xingmi, ruler of the newly established Wu regime, "cleansing soldiers with dharma-rain and performing ceremonies at Chan monasteries". This strengthened his reputation "as a Buddhist prelate who administered to the needs of local rulers". In 894, he returned to the Min region, where he lived out his days as a state prelate, a master with a central role in promoting Buddhism who spread his influence throughout the region. Posthumous name: Great Master Zhenjue. Two of the Five Houses of Zen descend from Xuefeng: the Yunmen school (from Xuefeng's immediate heir, Yunmen), and the Fayan school (from heir Xuansha to Luohan to Fayan).
Books: Record of Discussions in the Palace regarding the Buddha Mind-seal (apparently not available in English) records Xuefeng's conversations with Wang Shenzhi.
Appears in GG13/BOS55, BCR5, BCR22/BOS24, BCR51/BOS50, BCR66
YANGSHAN Huiji (Kyozan Ejaku, 807-83, 11th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Baizhang (720-814) → Guishan Lingyou (771-853) → Yangshan
Dharma Siblings: Lingyun (n.d), Jingzhao (b. 811?), Xiangyan (d. 898), Liu Tiemo (n.d.)
Heirs: Xita (n.d.), Nanta (850-938)
Yangshan became a monk at age 17. When his parents at first refused permission for him to leave home to become a monk, he cut off two of his fingers to demonstrate his resolve. He studied with various masters, including Danyuan Yingzhen, disciple of National Teacher Nanyang Huizhong. With Danyuan, Yangshan had his first great insight. After Danyuan's death, he went to study with Guishan Lingyou and became Guishan's main disciple. Together they are the founders of the Guiyang school, one of the "Five Houses of Zen" ("Guiyang" from GUIshan + YANGshan). Teacher and pupil had the closest spiritual affinity. The Guiyang school is thus characterized by the gentle master-disciple-friends style of teaching, in contrast to the fervent, energetic, and often physical methods employed by other descendants of Mazu (e.g., Huangbo, Linji). The school is also distinct in its use of esoteric metaphors and imagery. Yangshan taught at Mt. Yang, Yuan Region (Jiangxi). Posthumous name: Tongzhi.
Appears in BOS72, BOS15, BOS37, GG25/BOS90, BCR34, BCR68, BOS26, BOS32, BOS62, BOS77
YANTOU Quanhuo (Ganto Zenkatsu, 828-87, 12th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Yantou
Dharma Sibling: Xuefeng (822-908)
Heirs: Luoshan (n.d.), Ruiyan (n.d.)
Born in Quanzhou and became a novice monk at Baoshu Temple in Changan. An avid traveler, Yantou eventually began studying under Deshan and went on to become master of Yantou Monastery, on Mount Yantou, E Region (Hubei). He was known for his sharpness and sagacity. During the period of the great persecution of Buddhism in China (841-846), he became a ferryman on a lake. In 887 his temple was raided by bandits, one of whom stabbed Yantou, murdering him. It is said that his scream at death could be heard for ten miles. Posthumous name: Great Master Qingyan.
Appears in GG13/BOS55, BOS22, BCR51/BOS50, BCR66, BOS43, BOS75
YUNMEN Wenyan (Ummon Bun'en, 864-949, 13th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Tianhuang (748-807) → Longtan (b. 765?) → Deshan (782-865) → Xuefeng (822-908) → Yunmen
Dharma Siblings: Cuiyan (n.d.), Jingqing (868-937), Taiyuan (n.d.), Xuansha (835-908), Baofu (d. 928), Changqing (854-932)
Heirs: Xianglin (908-87), Fengxian (n.d.), Baling (n.d.), Deshan Yuanmi (n.d.), Dongshan Shouchu (910-90)
Yunmen founded the Yunmen school, one of the five major Houses of Zen. The Yunmen school flourished into the early Song Dynasty, with particular influence on the upper classes, and eventually culminating in the compilation and writing of the Blue Cliff Record. The school would eventually be absorbed by the Linji school later in the Song.
Appears in: BOS21, BCR34, BOS26, BCR22/BOS24, BCR88, BOS40, GG15, GG16, GG21, GG39, BCR6, BCR14, BCR15, BCR27, BCR39, BCR44, BCR50/BOS99, BCR54, BCR60, BCR62/BOS92, BCR77/BOS78, BCR83/BOS31, BCR86, BCR87, BOS11, BOS19, BOS82, BCR8
YUNYAN Tansheng (Ungan Donjo, 780-841, 10th gen)
Lineage: Shitou (700-90) → Yaoshan (751-834) → Yunyan
Dharma Siblings: Chuanzi (n.d.), Daowu (769-835)
Heirs: Dongshan (807-69)
Yunyan, from Jianchang, became a monk at age 16 at Shimen Temple under the teaching of Baizhang Huaihai (720-814). Yunyan stayed with Baizhang, 20 years, until Baizhang's death. He then visited many teachers before settling with Yaoshan Weiyan (751-834). Yunyan later taught at Yunyan Mountain ("Cold Crag Mountain"), near modern Changsha. Recorded dialogues involving Yunyan often also include Daowu Yuanzhi (760-835), his fellow student under Yaoshan. Yunyan supposedly died from illness, the day before which he ordered his students to prepare for a banquet because a monk was preparing to depart the monastery. Some sources say that both Dongshan's Five Ranks and the "Song of the Jeweled-Mirror Samadhi" (usually attributed to Dongshan) were actually passed down to Dongshan from Yunyan. Posthumous title: Great Teacher No Abode.
Appears in: BCR70, BCR72, BCR89/BOS54, BOS21, BOS49
ZHAOZHOU Congshen (Joshu Jushin, 778-897, 10th gen)
Lineage: Mazu (709-88) → Nanquan (748-835) → Zhaozhou
Dharma Sibling: Changsha Jingcen (n.d.)
Heirs: Yanyang Shanxin (n.d.)
Taught at Guanyin Monastery, Zhao Regeion (Hebei). Posthumous name: Great Master Zhenji. At age 18, Zhaozhou met Nanquan, with whom he practiced until Nanquan's death, when Zhaozhou was about 57. After that, Zhaozhou spent more than 20 years on pilgrimage, visiting various prominent Chan masters. At age 80, he settled at Guanyin and for the next 40 years taught a small group of monks until his death at age 120. Zhaozhou is often regarded as the greatest Chan master of Tang dynasty China. Because of the many wars and purges of Buddhism in the China of the time, Zhaozhou's lineage died out quickly -- he had one heir, Yanyang, and he had no known heirs.
Books: Radical Zen: The Sayings of Joshu (Trans with commentary by Yoel Hoffman, 1978). The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu (Trans and introduced by James Green, 2001).
Appears in: GG14/BCR63-64/BOS 9, GG19, GG1, BOS18, GG7/BOS39, GG11, GG31/BOS10, GG37/BOS47, BCR2, BCR9, BCR30, BCR41/BOS 63, BCR45, BCR52, BCR57, BCR58, BCR59, BCR80, BCR96, BOS57