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
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?)ROOTS OF EAST ASIAN BUDDHISM