This concluding chapter presents a synthesis of the topics discussed in the preceding chapters. This book represents an attempt to take another look at the mid-Tang period and recover significant aspects of Tang religious history. Its portrayal of the Hongzhou school challenges popular views and prevalent notions about the history and character of Tang Chan, thereby further undermining the myth of Chan's uniqueness that still permeates many discussions of Chan/Zen history, literature, and teachings. Concerning the centrality of the Hongzhou school in subsequent historical narratives and demarcations of Chan orthodoxy, a rethinking of its growth and character along the lines suggested in this volume has wide-ranging ramifications for reinterpreting the beliefs and ideologies of the later Chan/Zen traditions throughout East Asia.
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