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Asian Traditions of Meditation$
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Halvor Eifring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855680

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855680.001.0001

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Kànhuà Meditation in Chinese Zen

Kànhuà Meditation in Chinese Zen

(p.165) 9 Kànhuà Meditation in Chinese Zen
Asian Traditions of Meditation

Morten Schlütter

University of Hawai'i Press

This paper discusses the kànhuà technique developed by the Chinese Línjì (Jpn.: Rinzai) master Dàhuì Zōnggǎo (1089-1163) that became a widespread form of meditation in East Asian Zen. Kànhuà meditation focuses on the keyword or “punch line” (Ch.: huàtóu, Jpn.: watō, Kor.: hwadu) of puzzling Chán “encounter dialogues” (or kōan stories) associated with past Chán (Zen) masters. Dàhuì insisted on a sudden breakthrough enlightenment and considered kànhuà meditation an alternative to a dead-end, no-enlightenment, seated meditation that he associated with the rival Cáodòng (Jpn.: Sōtō) tradition of Chán. The paper further explores four innovations in kànhuà meditation during the centuries after Dàhuì: the use of kànhuà meditation to calm the mind; a greater emphasis on doubt; the integration of Pure Land practice into the kànhuà technique; and the notion that the huàtóu could be called out aloud. However, in spite of such changes kànhuà Chán stayed close to Dàhuì’s vision.

Keywords:   Chan Buddhism, East Asian Zen, Linji (Rinzai) school, Caodong (Soto) school, Dahui Zonggao (1089-1163), encounter dialogue, koan, huatou (wato, hwadu), Pure Land Zen

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