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Patriarchs on PaperA Critical History of Medieval Chan Literature$
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Alan Cole

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284067

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284067.001.0001

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Chan “Dialogues” from the Tang Dynasty

Chan “Dialogues” from the Tang Dynasty

(p.168) 7 Chan “Dialogues” from the Tang Dynasty
Patriarchs on Paper

Alan Cole

University of California Press

This chapter explores “Chan dialogue,” considering two dialogue texts from the Tang dynasty. The Discourse on the Essentials of Cultivating Mind was, at some point, attributed to Hongren, though its final section says that it was put together by his students. Meanwhile, the Discourse on No-Mind promises to present an account of the final truth of Buddhism or, rather, the “great Dao,” as the author calls it. Looking closely at these two Tang dialogue texts, it would seem that the two kinds of Buddhism that were identified in the Two Entrances and Four Practices have now been brought together to form a unified discourse in which the karmic form of Buddhism—the Second Entrance—is presented as something to be dreaded, while the sudden, “trapdoor” teachings promise that karmic Buddhism can be overcome as one somehow gains enlightenment and instant access to an innate form of buddhahood.

Keywords:   Chan dialogue, Tang dynasty, Hongren, Buddhism, great Dao, Tang dialogue texts, Second Entrance, karmic Buddhism, buddhahood

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