Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Patriarchs on PaperA Critical History of Medieval Chan Literature$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Alan Cole

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284067

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284067.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Chan Compendiums from the Song Dynasty

Chan Compendiums from the Song Dynasty

(p.195) 8 Chan Compendiums from the Song Dynasty
Patriarchs on Paper

Alan Cole

University of California Press

This chapter examines vast compendiums in Song-era Chan literature that present information about many hundreds of past Chan masters. The Song compendiums functioned as museums of sorts, museums which held idealized images of the past masters in a kind of suspended animation. Considered more broadly, it would seem that very old Chinese assumptions about the quasi-presence of ancestors joined forces with new and evocative literary styles that gave readers an enhanced sense of being in the company of the patriarchs as they read through these highly fictionalized “histories.” Thus, it was that with the new literary talents of the Song, past masters could be made to live alongside ordinary Chinese Buddhism, thereby providing attractive and inspiring examples of a Buddhism that could never exist in the real world, but could, in literary form, enhance more traditional forms of Buddhism and advance various real-world agendas.

Keywords:   Song-era Chan literature, Chan masters, Song compendiums, Chinese Buddhism, Buddhism

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.