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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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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: 23 September 2021

Rules for Purity

Rules for Purity

Handbooks for Running Chan Monasteries

(p.220) 9 Rules for Purity
Patriarchs on Paper

Alan Cole

University of California Press

This chapter explores what we can infer about daily life in Chan monasteries based on details drawn from a genre of texts called “rules for purity.” The oldest Chan example of this genre, Rules for Purity for a Chan Monastery, was written in 1103 by a Chan abbot named Zongze. One of the remarkable things about Zongze's text is the way it combines historical—and largely mythical—claims regarding the Bodhidharma family with precise institutional rules for selecting the abbots who were to govern Chan monasteries. Thus, at the larger Chan monasteries that would have followed Zongze's “rules for purity,” ambitious monks with promising qualities were formally set within the Bodhidharma family, trained for years, and then, having been vetted by monastic and state officials, put to work running the enormous monastic estates that dotted the Chinese landscape.

Keywords:   Chan monasteries, rules for purity, Zongze, Bodhidharma family, monastic estates

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