Chan (Zen) Buddhism . Jeffrey L. Richey, Ph.D. REL 260 Buddhism Berea College Spring 2004. BUDDHISM COMES TO EAST ASIA. “Silk Road” merchants and missionaries transmit Buddhism to China by 65 CE
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Chan (Zen) Buddhism
Jeffrey L. Richey, Ph.D.
Buddhists in Tang China develop theory of “Last Days of the Dharma” (Chinese mofa, Japanese mappo 末法) – view of present as degenerate era in which former methods of teaching do not suffice for enlightenment
“Desperate times call for desperate measures” – tendency to focus solely on one text or practice
Chan禪 = Sanskrit dhyana (“meditation” – Japanese: Zen)
Chan goal: Chinese jianxing, Japanese kensho見性 (seeing one’s true nature) – sudden enlightenment
Based on Theravāda concept of individual effort (Chinese zili, Japanese jiriki自力) and Tantric meditation techniques
Enlightenment verified by “mind-to-mind” transmission from master to disciple, beginning with Bodhidharma (Indian, 400s CE?)