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Part of the List of Dharma Terms from the Buddhist Ayurveda Course (SKT220 ) on Sanskrit Terms of Ayurveda and Dharma


Chan School

[[Chan School]] 

The Dharma banner is raised;

The school's purport is established.

The Buddha very clearly directed that it was to be at Cao Creek.

With Kashyapa, the first, began the transmission of the lamp.

Twenty-eight generations were recorded in India.

The Dharma flowed east and entered this Land (China).

Bodhidharma was the First Patriarch.

The robe was transmitted to the sixth generation,

as all the world has heard.

How could one count the people who since then have realized the way?

(SE 56-60)

Chan is an abbreviation of Chan-na; the Chinese characters sounded slightly different in the past and were used to represent the sound of the Sanskrit word 'Dhyana' (see Dhyana). The general meaning of Dhyana is meditation. In the Chan School the practice of meditation is foremost. The Japanese pronounce the character Chan as 'Zen'.

“The Chan School is foremost among the Five Schools of Buddhism in that it transmits the Buddha's Mind Seal, pointing directly to the mind so that one sees one's nature and becomes a Buddha. When the Patriarch Bodhidharma came from India, he widely propagated its method. At that time the practitioners of Buddhism were still very enamored of the language of Prajna (see listing), exerting their efforts in composition and phrasing, vying to outdo one another. Even in lecturing on the Sutras they argued over each other's strong and weak points, and in speaking Dharma they would praise themselves and deprecate others. Different schools were set up, and to do battle with words was the mode of the times. Some resorted to individualism, and in an attempt to be unique, they set up theories that were distinctly different from the mainstream, and they perfected the art of unobstructed and clever debate. People wrote books and set up doctrines, disparaging others while advertising themselves. In this way they forsook what was fundamental and pursued superficialities; the theories of Teaching Schools (Scholastic Buddhism) flourished widely.

”[The four main enlightened teachers in China just prior to the introduction of the Chan lineage were the Venerable Daosheng, Vinaya Master Daoxun, the Great Master Zhiyi, and the Venerable Dao Yuan. Each taught meditation in the context of the teachings of his own school.] When the Venerable Daosheng (see Daosheng) was slandered, he retreated to Tiger mountain and spoke Dharma to the rocks. From this came the saying that even 'insentient rocks nodded their heads in agreement.' The Vinaya Master Daoxun hid his tracks on Zhongnan mountain, where he enjoyed the food-offerings of the Gods. The Great Master Zhi Zhe (“Wise One”) (see *Zhi Zhe

and the Master of Lu mountain (Rev. Dao Yuan) propagated the Pure Land method. Those to whom their teachings were transmitted held them in esteem, yet the scholars were confused by them. Everybody had a different opinion, and people were at a loss as to which way to follow. Standing perplexed at the crossroads, one didn't know which way to turn. Gazing out at the vast ocean of different teachings, one could only heave a big sigh.

“In light of such circumstances, the First Patriarch Bodhidharma made amends for such biased teachings and patched up the flaws. His compassionate instructions were apart from speech; his teachings were not imparted through words. He taught that this mind of ours is none other than the Buddha, that the precious Pearl hidden within our robe is not something obtained from outside. One only needs to concentrate one's energy and refine one's mind to a single focus, then:

One day suddenly all connects right through, and then the myriad substances are reached everywhere, whether external or internal, fine or coarse. The Great functioning of the entire substance of the enlightened mind is nowhere without clarity.

One becomes open to the vast and ultimate enlightenment, returns to the source and plumbs the origin. At this time one can appreciate the subtlety behind this interChange: the World-Honored One held up a Flower, Maha Kashyapa, the golden-Hued Ascetic, smiled: originally it was like this!

“This method is one in which the Mind Seals the mind, a transmission outside of the teachings. One takes one's own nature across. And after one has made one's way across the river (of afflictions), one leaves the raft (of Dharma) behind. How can there be anything else but this?” (WM 70-71)

“As to the Dharma of our sect, when the Buddha ascended to his seat for the last time, he held up and showed to the Assembly a golden Flower of sandalwood, offered to him by the King of the eighteen Brahmalokas (MahaBrahma devaRaja). All men and Gods (devas) who were present did not understand the Buddha's (meaning). Only Maha Kashyapa (acknowledged it with a) broad smile. Thereupon the World-Honored One declared to him: 'I have the Treasure of the correct Dharma Eye, Nirvana's wonderful mind and the formless reality which I now transmit to you.' This was the transmission outside the teaching, which did not make use of scriptures and was the Unsurpassed Dharma Door of direct realization.

“Those who came afterwards got confused about it and (wrongly) called it Chan (Dhyana in Sanskrit and Zen in Japanese). We should know that over twenty kinds of Chan are enumerated in the Maha Prajna Paramita Sutra, but none of them is the final one.

The Chan of our sect does not set up (progressive) stages and is, therefore, the Unsurpassed one. (Its aim) is the direct realization leading to the perception of the (self-)nature and attainment of Buddhahood. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the sitting or not sitting in meditation during a Chan week. However, on account of living beings' dull roots and due to their numerous false thoughts, ancient Masters devised expediencies to guide them. Since the time of Maha Kashyapa up to now, there have been sixty to seventy generations. In the Tang and Song dynasties (619-1278), the Chan sect spread to every part of the country, and how it prospered at the time! At present it has reached the bottom of its decadence (and) only those Monasteries like Jinshan, Gaomin and BaoGuan can still manage to present some appearance. This is why men of outstanding ability are now so rarely found and even the Holding of Chan weeks has only a name but lacks its spirit.” (Luk, tr. ”Master Hsu Yun's Discourses and Dharma words,” Chan and Zen teachings, Series One, 49-50)

“One sits (in meditation) to cultivate the Dharma of Chan inquiry in order not to have any thoughts. . . . That which is called the Buddha is not even a single thought arising. But can you go without having a single thought arise? As you sit there, you think of all sorts of things you don't ordinarily think of, and a lot of long-forgotten circumstances that suddenly pop up again in your mind. . . . Is that not having a single thought arise? Of course not. How do you do it? There is no way. There is no way to keep a single thought from arising–but you can keep a single thought from being destroyed. And if you prevent its destruction]], you'll keep it from arising. . . . For example, in the one thought, 'Who is mindful of the Buddha?', you can keep the 'Who?' going non-stop. 'Who?' This is searching for the 'Who', not reciting 'Who?'. As long as you keep searching, that single thought isn't destroyed, and therefore it won't arise. A single thought not arising is the Buddha.

“That's the doctrine of the Chan School. If you can be such that not a single thought is produced or destroyed, then the light of your wisdom will appear.” (LY II 15)

1) Chinese: Chan Zong.

See Also Dzogchen, Maha Mudra, lineage, Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practicemeditation, Maha Kashyapa, Bodhidharma, Hui Neng, Clear Light, Vipassana, Shamatha, Calm Abiding, Wisdom, Prajna Paramita, Vajra Sutra, Heart Sutra, Shurangama Sutra

BTTS References: LY II 14-17; WM 70-73; SE 65-70.


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Fair Use Bibliographic Sources

Fair Use: Primary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ron Epstein, Ph.D, compiler, Buddhism A to Z, Burlingame, California, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003, p. ISBN 0881393533 Paperback: 284 pages. http://www.BTTSOnline.org www.Amazon.com http://www.bttsonline.org/product.aspx?pid=118 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881393533/ref=ase_medicinebuddh-20 and many other sources (see Bibliography).

Primary Original Source: The Tripitaka of Sutra, Shastra and Vinaya Dharma teachings (as found in the scripture storehouse of the Indian Sanskrit- Siddham, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese traditions of the Nalanda Tradition of ancient Nalanda University) of Shakyamuni Buddha, and his Arya Sagely Bodhisattva Bhikshu Monk and Upasaka disciples.

These Good and Wise Advisors (Kaliyanamitra) Dharma Master teachers include Arya Venerables Om Tare Tuttare Ture Om Ah Hum and Namo to Jivaka, Charaka, Lao Zi - Mahakashapa, Ashwagosha, Shantideva - Hui Neng - Shen Kai Sheng Ren Shr, Bodhidharma, the 16 Nalanda Acharyas 1. Nagarjuna-Manjushri, 2. Arydeva, 3. Buddhapalita, 4. Bhavaviveka, 5. Chandrakirti and Chandragomin, 6. Shantideva, 7. Shantarakshita, 8. Kamalashila, 9. Asanga-Maitreya, 10. Vasubhandu, 11. Dignaga, 12. Dharmakirti, 13. Vimuktisena, 14. Haribhadra, 15. Gunaprabha, 16. Shakyaprabha; Dharmarakshita, Atisha, Tsong Khapa, Thogme Zangpo, Nyingma Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel, Machig Lapdron, Tilopa, Naropa, Milarepa, Sakya Pandita, Fazang, Yunmen, Nichiren, Honen, Shinran, Kukai, Dogen, Hakuin, Jamgon Kongtrul, Nyingma Penor Rinpoche, Bakula Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Geshe Lama Kongchog, Longchen Rapjampa - Gosok Rinpoche, Phabongkha Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche, Geshe Ngwang Dakpa, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Ajahn Chah, Seung Sahn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Sumedho, S. N. Goenka, Mama Ayur Punya Jyana Pushtim Kuriye Svaha, bowing at your feet I make requests. Please bestow on me the two attainments of Maha Punya and Maha Prajna Paramita. And thanks to other modern day masters. We consider them to be in accord with Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua’s ”Seven Guidelines for Recognizing Genuine Teachers

Nalanda Online University's teachings are based especially on the following Buddhist Scriptures: Lama Tsong Khapa's Lam Rim, the Dharma Flower Lotus Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Ksitigarbha Sutra, the Bhaisajya Guru Sutra, the Dharani Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, the Prajna Paramita Hridayam Heart Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Sanghata Sutra, the Sutra of Golden Light, the Srimala Devi Sutra, the Sutra in 42 Sections, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Hui Neng Sutra, Vasubandhu's Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas, Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara), Chandrakirti's Supplement to Nagarjuna’s Treatise on the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara), Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) and the Tantras and Mantras of the Vajrayana the 42 Hands and Eyes, Guhyasamaja, the Kalachakra, the Vajrayogini, the Heruka, the Chakrasamvara, the Chod, the Hayagriva, the Hevajra, the Yamantaka, the Kalarupa, the Manjushri Nama Samgiti, the Vajrakilaya, the Vajrapani, the Vajra Claws Dakini, the Mahakala, the Tara, the White Umbrella Goddess (She Dan Do Bo Da La), Kirti Losang Trinle's Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra, and Aku Sherab Gyatso's The Two Stages of the Guhyasamaja Tantra and their commentaries (shastras) by the above Arya Tripitakacharya Dharma Masters.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism, 2nd ed., San Francisco, California: Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada, 1998: http://www.budaedu.org.tw

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Muller, Charles, editor, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism [DDB], Toyo Gakuen University, Japan, 2007: Username is “guest”, with no password. http://buddhism-dict.net/ddb - Based in large part on the Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms with Sanskrit and English Equivalents (by Soothill and Hodous) Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1997.

Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Ehrhard, Diener, Fischer, et al, The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 1991. 296 pages. ISBN 978-0-87773-520-5 http://www.Shambhala.com, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0877735204/ref=ase_medicinebuddh-20, http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-0-87773-520-5.cfm Secondary Fair Use Compilation Source: Vaidya Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Press, 2002; Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Ayurvedic Institute Gurukula Notes, Ayurvedic Institute, 1994-2006;


NOTE: Numerous corrections and enhancements have been made under Shastra tradition and ”Fair Use“ by an Anonymous Buddhist Monk Redactor (Compiler) of this Online Buddhist Encyclopedia Compilation)



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chan_school.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:10 (external edit)