[Buddha-l] Tozan's blue mountain and white cloud

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 17 13:58:29 MDT 2008

Franz et al.,

> Dan, is it really true the Chan/Zen has outstripped Huayan in sheer
> quantity of letters?

Certainly in English (you don't need all your fingers to count the books on
Huayan available). Keep in mind that the Huayan Sutra was itself embraced as
a Zen text.

> I would make a distinction between the sort of
> koan-as-transcending-language thinking of the 20th century (from D.T.
> Suzuki and the Kyoto School) and the koan-as-transcendent-literature
> thinking of the Song.

Koan as literary diversion and occasion for displaying one's literary
cleverness was indeed one its important historical phases, at its apex
during the Song dynasty (Dahui [Ta-hui], et al., being the best studied
practitioners). This trend, a game among the literati, many not even
Buddhist, was severely criticized by some Buddhist contemporaries (including
Dogen) as idle play. The Heine/Wright book has material on this (plus
bibliography). There is some good literature on it (by Buswell and others).

There is a much vaster literature on Chan/Zen literature that one could
ite  -- translations of Wumenguan (Jp: Mumonkan; Gateless Gate) and the Blue
Cliff Record (and comparable material); the enjoyable and informative works
of Lu Kuan-yu (a.k.a. Charles Luk) such as his Chan/Zen series and Practical
Buddhism; discussions of houtou (related to Gong'an/Koan), etc. -- but
unless others have their favorites that they want to share, I imagine the
list I gave, and Franz's supplements, are a good starting place.


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