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Monasteries and Academies. Monasteries were important infrastructure in the Chinese Buddhist tradition Monasteries flourished during the Tang and further developed during the Song

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Monasteries and Academies

  • Monasteries were important infrastructure in the Chinese Buddhist tradition

    • Monasteries flourished during the Tang and further developed during the Song

    • The dramatic increase of Buddhist monasteries built by Chan monks led to the theory of “unique Chan monasteries,” which is misleading

  • Similar constructions for spreading Confucianism were made into academies



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Buddhist Monasteries

  • Two basic types:

    • Public: Monasteries of the ten directions (shifang cha)—Chan monasteries

    • Private: disciple-lineage cloisters (jiayi yuan)—Teaching monasteries (jiao monasteries) and Vinaya monasteries

    • merit cloisters (gongde yuan)

  • Emperors and Gov’t officials could convert a monastery from one type to anther

  • More monasteries were designated as Chan monasteries during the Song, although some Chan monasteries were designated as Teaching monasteries (jiao)


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Chan Monasteries

  • Dominant Buddhist monastic institution in the Song: Five Mountains and Ten Temples

  • The ground plan of Song Chan monasteries was modeled upon that of the imperial court

    • Main gate, Buddha hall, Buddha Vairocana Hall, dharma hall, abbot’s reception hall, private abbot’s quarters, meditation room, earth spirit hall, patriarchal hall, donors hall, acolytes’ quarters




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Functions of Halls Song

  • Ceremonies were held in the Buddha halls, dharma halls, sangha halls, donors halls, and sutra reading halls.

  • Some halls were dedicated to the worship of a specific Buddha or Bodhisattva:

    • Guanyin Hall, Vairocana Hall


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Xuanzhong si in the Shibi Mountain in Shanxi, Pure Land and Chan


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Academies patriarchs in the Chan lineage and former abbots

  • Academies became extremely popular during the Southern Song because of the rise of Neo-Confucianism

  • Confucius and his disciples regained respect and popularity with scholars and were installed in shrines at academies

  • Many academies were named after their founders, thus the members of their school/lineage were enshrined


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