Chinese Chan

Ten Verses on Oxherding, Zen master Guoan Shiyuan

In Zen, a herdboy’s search for his lost oxen has served as a parable for a practitioner’s pursuit of enlightenment since this Buddhist sect’s early history in China. In the eleventh century, the Song-dynasty Zen master Guoan Shiyuan (active ca. 1150) codified the parable into ten verses (gāthā), recorded and illustrated in this handscroll…

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A taste of Zen: Heze Shenhui

Shenhui thus founded what became known as the Heze (in Japanese, Kataku) school of Zen. The branch largely died out during the early ninth century and is not remembered as a major school. Nevertheless, the doctrine of sudden enlightenment remained a central characteristic that defined the teaching styles and cultural flavour of later Chinese Zen…

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