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Enlightenment in DisputeThe Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China$

Jiang Wu

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195333572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195333572.001.0001

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(p.291) Appendix 1: Translation of Official Documents

(p.291) Appendix 1: Translation of Official Documents

Enlightenment in Dispute
Oxford University Press

A. Huang Duanbo: “Public Notice Issued by Judge Huang Yuangong [Duanbo] at Xuedou Monastery”1

“Huang Sili Yuangong fa Xuedou gaoshi”

[Written by] Judge Huang of Hangzhou prefecture for the matter of investigating Chan lineages.

The thirteenth day of the fifth month of the tenth year of the Chongzhen reign (July 4, 1637)

I read the Jingde chuandeng lu, which clearly records that Tianhuang Daowu received the dharma from Shitou Xiqian and [the lineages] of Yunmen and Fayan are all listed under Qingyuan Xingsi. This is indeed an ironclad case. Then, the Wudeng huiyuan makes another claim that there had been two Daowus in Jingzhou: One resided in Tianwang monastery at the west of the city and the other in Tianhuang monastery at the east of the city. [Its author] thus doubts that Longtan Chongxin was the dharma heir of Tianhuang Daowu and quotes epigraphs and inscriptions to prove this view. However, he adds only a brief note [to the main text] without daring to change their lineage affiliation arbitrarily because heirs of the Yunmen and Fayan lineages never recognized Mazu as their patriarchal ancestor.

Recently, I read Master Miyun's newly printed Chandeng shipu, in which he directly changed Tianhuang Daowu to Tianwang Daowu and the lineages of Yunmen and Fayan were all listed as those of (p.292) Nanyue Huairang. I doubted it in my mind but had no [evidence] to challenge him. During the first ten days of the fourth month of 1637, Miyun sent to me the Xuefeng guanglu (Extensive records of Xuefeng) in one fascicle. Without anything to do in my boat, I opened and read it until the end of the text. When I read the passage about Xuefeng Yicun's and Xuansha Shibei's reply to the king of Min, inside, it is claimed that “I, a mountain monk, have been transmitting this secret dharma gate since the [time] of our former [patriarchs] Deshan Xuanjian and Shitou Xiqian.” After reading this, I believe that the Jingde chuandeng lu indeed relies on evidence. If Tianhuang were indeed Mazu's heir, why wouldn't Xuefeng go ahead and claim “since former [patriarchs] Deshan and Mazu?” On the contrary, he said instead “since former [patriarchs] Deshang and Shitou.”

I have investigated Tianwang Daowu's inscription by Qiu Yuansu in detail. The text claims that after Tianwang Daowu studied with Mazu, he built a grass hut at Jingmen (Jingzhou). The military commissioner was angry about the narrow road that obstructed his way and thus threw the master into the river. When he returned with flying flags, the entire government compound was on fire. Only a sound from the sky was heard: “I am God, the Heavenly King!” The military commissioner thus provided support for him in the west of the city and the plaque of his monastery bore the name “Tianwangsi.” This is the whole story of Tianwang Daowu. The inscription by Fu Zai claims that after Tianhuang studied with Shitou and attained enlightenment, he lived as a recluse in Zilingshan of Dangyang. Lingjian invited him to reside at Tianhuang monastery on the east side of the city. It also claims that on the east side of Jingnan (Jingzhou) city, there remained an alley named Tianhuang. I investigated accounts of Chan master Longtan Chongxi's encounter stories, [which say that] in the beginning the monk Daowu was invited by Lingjian to reside at Tianhuang monastery. Longtan Chongxin, whose family was located at the entrance of the alley, presented baked pastries to him (Tianhuang Daowu) everyday. This agrees with the account that Lingjian invited him and there was a Tianhuang alley in the east of the city. Tianhuang also bestowed the name Chongxin on the master. The whole story [of Tianhuang Daowu] is detailed. It is certain that Longtan was an authentic heir of Tianhuang. This is why the two elders Xuefeng and Xuansha proclaimed themselves as originating from Shitou. Heirs of the Yunmen and Fayan lineages also said that they derived from Qingyuan and Shitou. Because there were only two generations between Xuefeng and Tianhuang, Xuefeng inherited Tianhuang's dharma personally and clearly stated it. Although Lü Xiaqing and Zhang Wujin (Zhang Shangying) doubted that Daowu was Mazu's heir, Chan communities regarded this as a mistake. This is a fair argument indeed.

(p.293) Now, Miyun wants to change [the lineages] arbitrarily [based on] his own opinion. He can only achieve this by simply obliterating the Xuefeng guanglu. Moreover, only after the stories recorded in the five lamp histories about Lingjian's invitation of [Tianhuang Daowu] to Tianhuang monastery, the master's (Longtan Chongxin) residence at the alley beside the monastery, the gift of pastries, and the bestowal of the name, were omitted arbitrarily, could Miyun's theory be proved. Because Miyun recognizes Yunmen and Fayan as belonging to the lineage of Nanyue, he slandered Qingyuan by saying that [his verses] “goes ahead with mutual independence” and “words should avoid complete accomplishment” (huihu dangtou yuji shicheng) are not comparable to the sixth patriarch's face-to-face interaction and to Nanyue's [teaching] that “what kinds of things come by what kinds of means.” Miyun commented on Qingyuan as follows:2

He does not acquire the holy truth and does not step down from the stage.

He still holds emotional residue to abandon the two ends.

Only if the reclining dragon understands [the meaning] of the lion's somersault can he then be completely promoted to the company of enlightened ones.

In addition, he says:3

Master Qingyuan always eats meals from Luling.

He does not seem to know the cause of the price of rice.

Exactly what great significance do we see from him?

Please don't fail to live up to the two lines of your eyebrows (a reference to being a man).

Therefore, I know that Miyun smears and impugns former worthies with the mind of birth and death and right and wrong. What a pity! What a pity! Gentleman Yu Jisheng (Yu Dacheng) says, “Miyun's own intention is no more than eliminating the lineage of Caodong and one-sidedly elevating Linji.” He thus drags and pulls Yunmen and Fayan as Nanyue's lineage and slanders Qingyuan with irrelevant talk about cultivation and practice. He not only falsely accused Caoxi (Huineng) but also [spoke] useless words with cognitive knowledge. Alas! Miyun unwarrantedly claims himself as an heir of Linji, but he does not understand the principle of the Linji lineage. Hanyue and Dingmu [Hongche] have mentioned this. How could he neglect ancient masters in order to deceive scholars in our times? I don't know what kind of intention this old man has. [Descendants of] Yunmen and Fayan do not recognize Mazu as (p.294) belonging to their own lineages, but Miyun alters it arbitrarily with his own opinion. Whom would he deceive?

I read his Tiantong quanlu,4 in which he loves to refute other people and to boast of his own skills. Masters such as Shouchang (Wuming Huijing), Yunmen (Zhanran Yuancheng), and Kongdong have all been smeared openly. As to the debates and disputes with Sanfeng (Hanyue Fazang), Ruiguang, and Shouzhao, people who know these disputes cannot bear to hear about them. However, unexpectedly, even ancient masters are belittled and slandered! Masters such as Qingyuan and Caoshan are defamed as well. What kind of intention is this? Originally, I prepared to invite Miyun as abbot of Xuedou Chan monastery. However, Moming and Mingjue are all heirs of Yunmen and Fayan.5 Since Miyun has slandered the patriarchs of these two houses, this place is of course not where he would be happy to live. I publicize this especially on the right to let it be known.6

B. Surveillance Commissioner Lü (Li Rifang): “Investigative Remarks on Banning the Spurious Book Wudeng yantong7

“Anchasi Lü jinchi Yantong weishu kanyu”

With regard to the five houses of the Chan school, there are only the two lineages of Linji and Caodong. The Wudeng yantong printed by Feiyin, however, intends to make Linji the single practice within the Buddhist world. He lives after many generations but ignores people before him. He reveres the patriarchs of one house but denounces those who belong to the different lineage. He follows his own mind with arrogance and holds his own view obstinately, so he has incurred anger from the masses. Since books such as lamp transmissions are all preserved in imperial canons and for hundreds and thousands of years they have remained authentic and verifiable, why is it necessary to create another transmission of lineage separately? Furthermore, after the establishment of the five lineages, both Linji and Caodong can be continued, why is it necessary to eliminate Caodong completely and singly make Linji the orthodox lineage in the Buddhist world?

These two houses have preserved their respective genealogies and Chan teaching styles separately. Private opinions and narrowed minds are indeed garrulous. The book [Wudeng yantong] should be prohibited without circulation, not letting it confuse people's view and arouse strife. According to the trial based on the monk Xingyi's confession, Feiyin has been away from his monastery for a long time and there is no way that he can be questioned and interrogated. We have obtained eighty-five original printing blocks of the (p.295) Wudeng yantong and they have been stored in the government warehouse. The presented documents by the literati represent their own views. But finally, since the original book has been banned, [their opinions] can be put in silence. Drafting and summarizing [this case], I present it to you humbly.


Feiyin follows his own mind and stubbornly adheres to his own opinion. It is difficult to pardon him by the law. Since the printing blocks of the Wudeng yantong have been retrieved, the debate about it can be put down. All remaining blocks must be recalled completely and the original copies be strictly prohibited [for circulation]. Since Feiyin has fled, his case can wait until the date when he is captured for further investigation and conclusion.8

C. “Public Notice by the Bureau of Police Chief”9

“Zongbuting gaoshi”

Police Chief Wang of Jiaxing prefecture, in order to observe imperial edicts and orders, is seriously capturing heinous criminals and eliminating their followers and conspirators. I strengthen the law and regulation to stop malefactors, refute heterodox teachings, and to support the cause of the sagely teaching. I know clearly that the Way of Indian Buddhism teaches people to promote the good and eliminate the evil. Therefore, it supports and assists the rule of the emperor, and Confucianism and Buddhism have been practiced jointly without contradiction. This has a long history. Furthermore, the three teachings of Chan Buddhism, Doctrinal Studies, and Vinaya are at their height, and Chan learning is particularly revered. However, the Chan school has been divided into five lineages: Fayan, Yunmen, Guiyang, Caodong, and Linji. Three of these lineages died out long ago, and therefore Caodong and Linji have been prominent together up to this day. Transmissions from teachers continue and descendants reproduce and multiply themselves. They have their own right places respectively and exist peacefully without disputation.

Suddenly, the heinous monk Feiyin, hiding a criminal mind and unfathomable evils, plotted to singly promote one lineage and cut off the patriarchs of the other lineage completely. For this reason, he fostered many supporters and the poisons flowed to his fellows not lightly. Without reading books with his own eyes, he falsely usurped the name “author”; without acquainting [himself] with people in person, he carved [their names] in the list of collators and proofreaders. This is why every Confucian gentleman is angry and words (p.296) [of complaint] are everywhere. I was appalled to hear that he even had an evil accomplice named Baichi Xingyuan, who was regarded as the rebirth of [the great historian] Dong Hu.10 Arrogantly exercising his authority to write and edit, Baichi deceived his lineage and eliminated his ancestors with the biased opinion of a son of a wolf. In addition, a monk called Chiyan, claiming to be a dharma heir of Feiyin, clandestinely sneaked into the capital with the secret intention to conduct surreptitious things. He begged prefaces for this book and tried to secure strong support. Under the emperor's chariot (meaning, in the capital), how can it be tolerated! Chiyan has been arrested according to imperial edicts and will be punished according to the law. For this reason, the literati have public assaults; the gentry have complete rebuttals; and my superior wants to abide by the law and arrest Feiyin. We must eliminate this [nuisance] and then have breakfast.

Unexpectedly, the fox has hidden his traces without notice. [However,] circumstances make it difficult to change his face and to hide cleverly. He should be captured and verified as the real person. People who hide and retain him must be prosecuted. Even though Chiyan is an accomplice who follows, the emperor does not tolerate him with pardon. Thus, Feiyin is the principal criminal of this treacherous plot. How could he be allowed to escape? My bureau is in charge of criminal investigation. We are extremely angry and share the same hatred. What we honor is to follow our superior's order that cutting branches must get rid of their root and capturing criminals must eliminate all their followers. It should be noticed in public and let it be known that if any military servicemen and civilians capture the prime culprit and his followers, awards should be given with special honors. If [people] let them go free or allow them to stay, a joint punishment will be applied to them and their family members. Perhaps he is hiding in some cloisters and chapels, trying to find out the situation and to bribe officials. I allow the head monks of these chapels or cloisters to grab him to my office. I will investigate and punish him according to the law. This affair concerns the refutation of heterodoxy, support of Confucian teaching, rectification of the law, and the elimination of evils. It is not comparable to ordinary affairs. Even a three-inch space should not be ignored carelessly. I thus issue the order especially.


(1.)  Issued on the thirteenth day of the fifth month of the tenth year of the Chongzhen reign (July 4, 1637). Translated from Hufa zhengdeng lu, pp. 1–3.

(2.)  In the following verse, Miyun commented on Qingyuan Xingsi's encounter with Huineng, who was impressed by Qingyuan Xingsi's reply of “no holy truth and not falling down from the stage.” Here, however, Miyun criticized Qingyuan Xingsi for indulging in the realm of “emptiness” without reaching the ultimate stage. See the original passage in Daoyuan (ed.), Jingde chuandeng lu, T no. 2076, 51: 240a.

(3.)  In the following verse, Miyun commented on the kōan that Qingyuan Xingsi did not know the price of rice in the local market. See the original account of Qingyuan Xingsi's remark in Daoyuan (ed.), Jingde chuandeng lu, T no. 2076, 51: 240c.

(4.)  I have not identified this source. I suspect that it may refer to Miyun's Tiantong zhishuo.

(5.)  The identities of these two monks are unknown.

(6.)  Traditionally, Chinese documents were written from right to left.

(7.)  Translated from Hufa zhengdeng lu, pp. 24–25.

(8.)  This verdict can be also found in Pan Lei, “Yu Changshou Shilian shu,” in his Jiukuang bianyu, pp. 26–27. The wordings of these two records are slightly different.

(9.)  Translated from Hufa zhengdeng lu, pp. 25–26.

(10.)  Dong Hu was a famous official historian in the Jin kingdom during the Spring and Autumn periods (770–476 B.C.).