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How Zen Became ZenThe Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China$
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Morten Schlütter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832551

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832551.001.0001

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Silent Illumination and the Caodong Tradition

Silent Illumination and the Caodong Tradition

(p.144) Chapter 7 Silent Illumination and the Caodong Tradition
How Zen Became Zen

Morten Schlütter

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter shows that the revived Caodong tradition did indeed teach an approach to enlightenment and practice that reasonably can be called “silent illumination,” but that the attacks by Dahui and others distorted it in many ways. Silent illumination was developed by Furong Daokai (1043–1118) and his descendants, partly as a teaching that could appeal to educated laypeople. Although Dahui succeed in discrediting the term “silent illumination” the Caodong silent illumination was in itself not especially controversial. Indeed, standard meditation in the Chan school prior to Dahui's kanhua Chan was very much like that advocated by the masters in the revived Caodong tradition.

Keywords:   Caodong tradition, silent illumination, Dahui, Furong Daokai, standard meditation, Chan school, kanhua Chan

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