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TitleM.Poceski Ordinary Mind as the Way the Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism
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Ordinary Mind as the Way

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Vimalakīrti, criticizes Śāriputra for sitting at the foot of a tree in the forest absorbed in contemplation.39

The reference to “not cultivating and not sitting” in the passage from Mazu's sermon can be interpreted as a
cautionary remark about the correct practice of meditation, directed to monks who were engaged in it. The same
applies to the story about Huairang polishing a brick in front of Mazu. Instead of interpreting the story as evidence for
their rejection of meditation, it seems better to read it as a warning against misguided contemplative practice and
advice about the proper approach to spiritual cultivation. This interpretation is reinforced by Guishan jingce, which
indicates that the monks at Guishan's monastery (and presumably monks at other monasteries associated with the
Hongzhou school) engaged in a regimen of traditional monastic practices, of which meditation was an integral part.

Furthermore, the only text associated with the Hongzhou school that directly deals with meditation, the brief Zuochan
ming (Inscription on Sitting Meditation) attributed to Dayi, presents the practice in fairly conventional terms.40 The text
advises practitioners to “sit straight and proper like Tai mountain” (zhengzuo duanran ru taishan) and advocates “sitting
and probing the source” (zuo jiutan yuanyuan). It also talks about “sitting quietly without exertion” (jingzuo buyong gong)
and makes mention of Mazu's story about the brick polishing.

We do not have enough evidence to judge the extent to which Mazu and his followers practiced sitting meditation
(zuochan), but it seems that the lack of attention to meditation in their records had less to do with an anticontemplative
stance and more with the fact that they had little new to say on the subject. Probably the meditative practices they
engaged in were not that different from those of other contemplative traditions, such as early Chan and Tiantai. This
does not preclude the possibility that they interpreted them somewhat differently and integrated them into a
soteriological scheme that was specific to their tradition. The following passage from Baizhang guanglu (Baizhang's
Extensive Record) supports such an interpretation:

If one were to speak to deaf worldly persons, then they should be told to leave home, keep the precepts, practice
meditation, and study wisdom. To worldly people who are beyond ordinary measures—such as Vimalakīrti and
Bodhisattva Fu—one should not speak in that way. If one is speaking to śramaṇas [monks], they have already
committed themselves to religious life,41 and the power of their śīla, samādhi, and prajñā is already complete. If
one still speaks to them in that way, that is called untimely speech, because it is not appropriate to the situation; it
is also called improper talk.42 To śramaṇas, one should explain the defilement of purity. They should be taught to
leave all things, whether existent or nonexistent, to forsake cultivation

Doctrinal Contexts and Religious Attitudes 137

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and attainment, and let go of the very notion of forsaking. If among śramaṇas, in the abandonment of defiling
habitual tendencies, they cannot let go of the diseases of greed and hatred, they are also to be called deaf worldly
persons. In such a case, they should also be told to practice meditation and study wisdom.43

According to Baizhang, ethical conduct and meditation practice are basic aspects of religious life. Since they are widely
recognized as such and their practice is familiar, they need not be emphasized. For monks and advanced laymen,
Baizhang offers the subtler Chan teaching that points to the realm beyond assertion and denial, cultivation and
attainment. However, he adds that those who do not have a strong foundation in the observance of precepts and
meditative praxis should first focus on perfecting them, since without them they are bound to go astray. A similar
perspective is evident in Guishan jingce. Guishan's text presents a brief exposition of Chan practice as a spiritual path
that leads to direct realization of reality:

If you want to practice Chan and study the Way, then you should suddenly go beyond the expedient teachings.
You should harmonize your mind with the arcane path [that leads to spiritual liberation], explore the sublime
wonders,44 make final resolution of the recondite [meaning], and awaken to the source of truth. You should also
extensively ask for instructions from those who have foresight, and should get close to virtuous friends. The
sublime wonder of this teaching (zong) is difficult to grasp—one must pay attention very carefully. If someone can
suddenly awaken to the correct cause, then that is the stage of leaving defilement behind. He then shatters the
three worlds and twenty-five forms of existence.45 Such a person knows that no phenomena, internal or external,
are real. Arising from mind's transformations, they are all provisional designations. There is no need to anchor
the mind anywhere. When feelings merely do not attach to things, then how can things hinder anyone? Let the
nature of other things flow freely, without [interfering by] trying to break apart or extend anything. The sounds
that one hears and the forms that one sees are all ordinary. Whether being here or there, one freely responds to
circumstances without any fault.46

This passage speaks of the wonders of Chan practice and realization, but with the caveat that they are difficult to
perfect and attain. Guishan then goes on to advise the monks who did not belong to the highest-ranking category of
spiritual virtuosi, namely, all those who cannot readily make the sudden leap into the recondite realm of enlightenment.
The text also makes it clear that most monks belonged to this second group of less gifted practitioners:

138 Doctrinal Contexts and Religious Attitudes

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286 Index

Weber, Max, 226, 231n.1
Wei Chuhou, 99
Weijian, 52–53
Weikuan. See Xingshan Weikuan
Wei Shou, 49
Wei Xian, 90
Wendi (emperor), 64, 94
Wenshu shuo jing, 135
wisdom, 153n.55, 158, 161, 163, 173, 181, 202, 212, 214,

216, 220n.43
wood metaphor, 162–63
words, 167
Wu fangbian, 164, 178
Wujia zhengzong zan, 36n.8
Wushan Zhizang, 71n.11
Wutai mountain, 60
Wuxiang, 24, 25, 37n.18, 48
Wuxie Lingmo, 59, 71n.8, 98
Wuxin lun, 185
Wu Zetian (empress), 21, 68
Wuzhu, 48, 107, 141, 208
Wuzong (emperor), 93
Xiangshan monastery, 69
Xianzong (emperor), 4, 61, 64, 66, 67, 82n.142, 89, 94
Xili mountain, 30
Ximing monastery, 60, 94
Xingping, 67
Xingshan monastery, 64, 65, 94
Xingshan Weikuan, 32, 46, 48, 61, 63–67, 69, 87, 94,

102–3, 105, 111
Xinjian, 31
Xinxin ming, 129
Xitang Zhizang; background, 48; death, 49, 72n.19,

72n.22; as disciple of Mazu, 15n.1, 41n.67, 46, 48,
66, 71n.13, 72n.16; and Faqin, 96; inscriptions of,
71n.10, 72n.19, 72n.22; in Jiangxi, 49, 86; lay
disciples, 93; as leader at Gonggong mountain, 31,
48; as leader at Kaiyuan monastery, 47; and Mazu,
59, 72n.20; ordination, 72n.22; and Pei Zhou, 91;
religious name, 79n.94

Xiuxin yaolun, 164, 203
Xuanlang, 107
Xuansu, 90, 96
Xuanzang, 60, 94
Xuanzong (emperor), 21, 24, 31, 35, 57, 68, 89, 90, 93
Xuefeng lineage, 113
Yanagida Seizan, 7, 10, 24–25, 36n.8, 38n.30, 136, 235,

Yangqi Fanghui, 55

Yangqi mountain, 54–55
Yangqi Zhenshu, 54, 77n.71
Yangshan Huiji, 109, 112
Yanguan Qi'an, 30, 56, 57, 78n.83, 112
Yaoshan Weiyan, 50, 55, 98, 117n.54
Yifu, 87, 106, 110
Yikong, 111–12
Yogācāra, 126, 127, 129, 130, 154n.67, 213
Yongjia, 50
Youmin monastery, 31, 32
Youqing monastery, 31
Yuan (Vinaya teacher), 24
Yuanwu Keqin, 36n.8
Yuan Zai, 92
Yuanzhao, 62
Yu Chaoen, 94
Yunmen lineage, 113
Yunmen Wenyan, 99
Yu of Xiangzhou, 60
Yuquan monastery, 26, 27, 57, 58, 87, 131
Yuzhang (king), 31
Yuzhou, 24
Zanning, 47, 55, 92
Zechuan, Reverend, 25
Zen, 10
Zhangjing Huaihui, 32, 46, 48, 61, 63, 64, 66–67, 91, 94
Zhangjing monastery, 94
Zhangle Farong, 25
Zhangqiu Jianqiong, 24
Zhangsong Ma, 24–25
Zhangsong monastery, 38n.30
Zhangsong mountain, 24–25
Zhang Zhengfu, 66
Zhanran, 63, 80n.115, 126
Zhaoti Huilang, 41n.71, 98
Zhaozhou Zongshen, 9, 59
Zhejiang, 46, 56, 57, 59, 86

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Index 287

Zheng Yu, 93
Zhen Xu, 50, 73n.32
Zhiben, 60
Zhiguang, 46, 70n.3
Zhishen of Zizhou, 23, 120n.81
Zhitong, 46, 70n.3
Zhiyan, 57, 126
Zhiyi, 27, 135, 140, 214, 221n.53, 227
Zhongtiao mountain, 67
Zhongzong (emperor), 22
Zimen jingxun, 63, 151n.23
Ziyu Daotong, 30, 56, 98
Zizhong, 23, 36n.11
zong, 16n.10, 118n.69, 119n.72, 138
Zongmen shigui lun, 113
Zongmi. See Guifeng Zongmi
Zuochan ming, 40n.61, 63, 137
Zutang ji 7, 11, 27, 28, 50, 54, 57

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