Monday, September 22, 2008


Dushun was the First Patriarch in Hua-yen school of Chinese Buddhism. The Indian Avatamsaka Sutra is its central scripture. This school originated in China. It is known as Kegon in Japan. The Avatamsaka's seminal chapter once circulated separately and is known as The Gandavyhua Sutra. Each designation is roughly equivalent to "Flower Garland."

Dayi Daoxin

Dayi Daoxin was the fourth Chán Buddhist Patriarch, following Jianzhi Sengcan 僧璨 and preceding Hongren Chinese: 弘忍) .

The earliest mention of Daoxin is in the ''Hsü kao-seng chuan'' A later source, the ''Ch’üan fa pao chi'' , written around 712, gives further details of Daoxin’s life. . As with many of the very earliest Chan masters, the accuracy of the historical record is questionable and in some cases, contradictory in details. The following biography is the traditional story of Daoxin, culled from various sources, including the ''Wudeng Huiyuan'' , compiled in the early thirteenth century by the monk Dachuan Lingyin Puji .


Daoxin, whose surname was Ssu-ma, was born in or close to Huai-ning, Anhwei, north of the Yellow River. He began studying Buddhism at the age of seven and although his teacher was a man of impure moral conduct, Daoxin maintained the Buddhist morality on his own without his teacher’s knowledge for five or six years.

According to Jianzhi Sengcan’s chronicle in the ''Compendium of Five Lamps'', Daoxin met Sengcan when he was only fourteen years old. The following exchange took place:

:Daoxin: I ask for the Master’s compassion. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.
:Sengcan: Is there someone who constrains you?
:Daoxin: There is no such person.
:Sengcan: Why then seek release when you are constrained by no one?

Upon hearing these words, Daoxin was enlightened. He attended to Sengcan for the next nine years. When Sengcan went to Mount Lo-fu he refused permission for Daoxin to follow him, saying “The Dharma has been transmitted from Patriarch dharma to me. I am going to the South and will leave you to spread and protect .” For ten years he studied with Zhikai at Great Woods Temple on Mount Lu. Zhikai was an adept of the Taintai and Sanlun schools and also chanted the Buddha’s name as part of his practice; Daoxin’s practice was influenced by these other schools. Daoxin received ordination as a monk in 607.

In 617, Daoxin and some of his disciples traveled to Ji Province and entered the town, which was under siege by bandits. Daoxin taught the residents the ''Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra'' which caused the bandits to abandon their siege.

Daoxin eventually settled at East Mountain Temple on Shuangfeng where he taught Chan Buddhism for thirty years and attracted large numbers of practitioners, some records say five hundred laypeople and monks. In 643 the emperor Tai Zong invited Daoxin to the capital city but Daoxin refused to appear. Three times the emperor sent emissaries and three times Daoxin refused the invitation. The third time the emperor instructed to either bring back Daoxin or his head. When the emissary related this instruction to Daoxin, Daoxin exposed and stretched out his neck to allow the emissary to chop off his head. The envoy was so shocked he reported this event to the emperor, who then honored Daoxin as an exemplary Buddhist monk.

In August, 651, Daoxin ordered his students to build his stupa as he was soon to die. According to the ''Hsü kao-seng chuan,'' when asked by his disciples to name a successor, Daoxin replied, “I have made many deputations during my life.” He then died. The emperor Dai Zong honored Daoxin with the posthumous name “Dayi” .


The teachings of Daoxin are known as the '','' a precursor to the flowering of Chan on a national scale some seventy-five years later at the beginning of the eighth century. Of significance is that Daoxin was the first Chan master to settle at one spot for an extended period of time, developing a stable community life which would lead to monastic Chan communities throughout China. Dumoulin speculates that as alms begging was no longer viable , the monks had no choice but to work in the fields and develop administrative skills as well as engage in meditation practice. Henceforth, Chan practice could no longer be confined to the meditation hall but the spirit of practice had to extend to the daily duties as well. The need to extend religious practice to all aspects of one’s life became a central theme in Chan teachings.

As the record of Daoxin’s teachings did not appear until the second decade of the eighth century, after Hongren’s record, its historical accuracy is in some doubt. The ''Chronicle of the Lankavatara Masters'', which appeared in the early eighth century, has Daoxin quoting from the Prajnaparamita and ''Pure Land'' sutras but whether study of these sutras formed part of Daoxin’s teachings is unlikely. It is clear, however, that Daoxin taught meditation. The Zen scholar Seizan Yanagida stated that the expression “''samadhi'' of one practice” was the heart of Daoxin’s practice. ''The Five Gates of Daoxin'' quotes him as saying “Buddha is the mind. Outside of the mind there is no Buddha.” In a later chronicle he is quoted exhorting his students to “Sit earnestly in meditation! Sitting in meditation is basic to all else….Do not read the sutras, discuss with no one!” On his deathbed, the ''Compendium of Five Lamps'' records that Daoxin said, “All of the myriad dharmas of the world are to be dropped away. Each of you, protect this understanding and carry it into the future.”

Further reading

*Cleary, Thomas Transmission of Light: Zen in the Art of Enlightenment by Zen Master Keizan, North Point Press ISBN 0-86547-433-8
*McRae, John R Seeing through Zen: encounter, transformation, and genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-23798-6

Yang Tong

Yang Tong , known in traditional histories by his princely title of Prince of Yue or by his era name as Lord Huangtai , posthumous name Emperor Gong , courtesy name Renjin , was an emperor of the dynasty Sui Dynasty. During the disturbances that permeated throughout the Sui state late in the dynasty's history, his grandfather left him in charge of the eastern capital Luoyang, and after Emperor Yang was killed by the general Yuwen Huaji in 618, the Sui officials in Luoyang declared Yang Tong emperor. However, soon one of those officials, Wang Shichong, seized power, and in 619 had Yang Tong yield the throne to him, ending Sui. Soon, he was killed on Wang's orders.

During Emperor Yang's reign

Yang Tong was born in 605. He was the second of three sons of Yang Zhao, 's son and crown prince. His mother was Yang Zhao's concubine, .

In 606, Yang Zhao died. According to Confucian principles of succession, Yang Tong's younger brother , also born in 605, would have been considered Yang Zhao's heir and successor, as Yang You was born of Yang Zhao's wife Crown Princess Wei. However, Emperor Yang did not create Yang You, Yang Tong, or their older brother Yang Tan crown prince to replace Yang Zhao, but left the matters of succession ambiguous between them and Yang Zhao's younger brother the Prince of Qi. He did, however, create Yang Tong and his brothers imperial princes, and Yang Tong was created the Prince of Yue.

In spring 613, when Emperor Yang launched his second of three campaigns against Goguryeo, he left the eight-year-old Yang Tong nominally in charge of the eastern capital Luoyang, with the official Fan Zigai actually responsible. Subsequently, while Emperor Yang was in Goguryeo territory, the general Yang Xuangan rebelled near Luoyang, and Fan defended Luoyang under Yang Tong's command. The general Wei Wensheng , leading the army from the capital Chang'an under Yang You's command, came to Luoyang's aid, and Emperor Yang also abandoned the Goguryeo campaign and sent the generals Yuwen Shu and Lai Hu'er back to the Luoyang region; these Sui generals together defeated Yang Xuangan.

In 616, with most of Sui territory, particularly the northern commanderies, engulfed in agrarian rebellions, Emperor Yang went from Luoyang to Jiangdu , leaving Yang Tong in charge of Luoyang. assisted by the officials Duan Da , Yuan Wendu , Wei Jin , Huangfu Wuyi , and Lu Chu . The rebel leaders Li Mi and Zhai Rang soon took advantage of Emperor Yang's departure , to capture the food storages Luokou Storage and Huiluo Storage , near Luoyang, causing Luoyang to be down on food supplies. In spring 617, Yang Tong sent the generals Liu Changgong and Pei Renji against Li Mi and Zhai, but Liu and Pei were defeated. In summer 617, with his forces repeatedly defeated by Li Mi's, Yang Tong sent the official Yuan Shanda to Jiangudu to seek aid from Emperor Yang, but Emperor Yang, believing in the prime minister Yu Shiji's assessments that the situation was not as severe as Yuan Shanda was claiming, initially refused to send aid. Pei soon surrendered to Li Mi, making Luoyang's position even more precarious. Emperor Yang finally did order the generals Pang Yu and Huo Shiju to lead the troops from the Chang'an region to aid Luoyang, and Pang and Huo were able to force Li Mi away from Huiluo, allowing Luoyang to regain some of its food supply, although by fall 617 Li Mi had recaptured Huiluo.

In fall 617, Emperor Yang sent the general Wang Shichong and several generals in other outlying areas to lead their troops to aid Luoyang. Wang was able to stem Li Mi's advances, and the armies stalemated. Meanwhile, the general had rebelled at Taiyuan and soon captured Chang'an, declaring Yang Tong's brother Yang You emperor . In spring 618, Li Yuan sent his sons Li Jiancheng and to lead an army to Luoyang, ostensibly to aid it, but Yang Tong and his officials chose to have no communications at all with Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin. After Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin briefly engaged Li Mi, they considered the idea of attacking Luoyang but did not do so, and instead withdrew to Chang'an.

In late spring 618, Emperor Yang was killed in a coup led by the general Yuwen Huaji, who declared Emperor Yang's nephew the Prince of Qin emperor, and began to lead the Xiaoguo Army on a trek back north. Soon, news of Emperor Yang's death arrived at Chang'an and Luoyang. Li Yuan, in response, had Emperor Gong yield the throne to him, establishing Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu. The officials at Luoyang declared Yang Tong emperor, and those commanderies still loyal to Sui recognized him as emperor as well.


When describing Yang Tong's brief reign, the official histories indicated that Yang Tong had a handsome face, and was meek, loving, and solemn in his personality.

Yang Tong posthumously honored his father Yang Zhao as an emperor, and honored his mother Consort Liu as empress dowager. The government was led by a collective leadership of seven officials -- Duan Da , Wang Shichong , Yuan Wendu , Huangfu Wuyi , Lu Chu, Guo Wenyi , and Zhao Changwen . They became known as the "seven nobles."

Meanwhile, the officials at Luoyang, fearful that Yuwen Huaji was approaching Luoyang, contemplated their options. Yuan and Lu, under suggestion from Gai Cong , decided to try to make peace with Li Mi by bestowing official Sui honors -- including creating him the Duke of Wei, a title that Li Mi himself had claimed. Li Mi, who was apprehensive of Yuwen's advances himself, accepted. For the next month, Li Mi and Yuwen battled, and each time Li Mi was victorious over Yuwen, he would report to Yang Tong. The officials at Luoyang were pleased, except for Wang, who remarked that Yuan and Lu were awarding honors on a bandit, drawing suspicions from Yuan and Lu that Wang was intending to surrender the city to Yuwen. The "seven nobles" thereafter became to suspect each other.

Wang began to incite his troops by telling them that they would soon fall into Li Mi's trap, and that if Li Mi received the command over them , he would surely slaughter them for having resisted him. When Yuan received news that Wang was doing this, he planned to ambush Wang. However, Duan revealed the plot to Wang, and Wang started a coup himself first, killing Lu and surrounding the palace. Huangfu fled to Chang'an . At Wang's insistence, Yang Tong surrendered Yuan, who remarked to Yang Tong, "If I die in the morning, Your Imperial Majesty will die in the evening." Yang Tong wept, but still sent Yuan to Wang, who executed Yuan. Wang then met Yang Tong and pledged his loyalty, swearing that all he intended was to save himself and save the empire. Yang Tong took Wang inside the palace to meet Empress Dowager Liu, and Wang swore before her as well. Nevertheless, from this point, all power was in Wang's hands, and Yang Tong himself was powerless.

Upon hearing of Yuan and Lu's deaths, Li Mi broke off the peaceful relations with Yang Tong's regime, now under Wang's control. However, he had a low opinion of Wang, so he did not take much precaution against an attack from Wang. In fall 618, Wang made an all-out attack against Li Mi, dealing Li Mi a crushing defeat. Li briefly considered fleeing to his general , but ultimately decided to head west to Chang'an, to surrender to Tang. Most of Li Mi's former territory surrendered to Wang, and around the same time, the rebel generals Du Fuwei , Shen Faxing , Zhu Can , and Dou Jiande , all made nominal submissions to Yang Tong, and at least in appearance, it appeared that Sui power was becoming restored under Yang Tong.

Meanwhile, Wang was becoming arrogant in his relations with Yang Tong and Empress Dowager Wang. Once, after attending a feast in the palace, he became afflicted with food poisoning, and he became convinced that there was poison in his food, and from that point on refused to see Yang Tong any more. Yang Tong knew that Wang was intent on usurpation, but could not think of anything else to do other than to try to receive divine favor by donating palace silk storage to the poor -- an action that Wang soon put a stop of by surrounding the palace. By spring 619, Wang had Yang Tong create him the Prince of Zheng and bestow on him the nine bestowments -- the ultimate steps before taking the throne. In summer 619, Wang had Duan and Yun Dingxing enter the palace to try to persuade Yang Tong to yield the throne, but Yang Tong refused. Wang then sent a messenger to Yang Tong, promising that although he was taking the throne, he would return the throne to Yang Tong once Yang Tong grew older. He thereafter issued an edict in Yang Tong's name, yielding the throne to himself, ending Sui. Wang took the throne as the emperor of a new state of Zheng.

After reign

Wang Shichong created Yang Tong the Duke of Lu. A month later, Pei Renji and his son Pei Xingyan , as well as the officials Yuwen Rutong , Yuwen Wen , and Cui Deben plotted to kill Wang and restore Yang Tong. The news leaked, and the conspirators were slaughtered, along with their families.

Wang Shichong's brother Wang Shiyun the Prince of Qi persuaded Wang Shichong that in order to avoid a repeat of the plot, he needed to put Yang Tong to death. Wang Shichong agreed, and he sent his nephew Wang Renze the Prince of Tang and his servant Liang Bainian to force Yang Tong to drink poison. Yang Tong made one last plea, pointing out that Wang Shichong had previously promised to keep him alive. Liang considered requesting confirmation from Wang Shichong, but Wang Shiyun refused. Yang Tong set sacrifices for the Buddha and prayed, "May it be that I will no longer again be reborn into an imperial household." He drank poison, but initially did not die. Wang Shiyun ordered that he be strangled. Wang Shichong posthumously honored Yang Tong "Emperor Gong," the same posthumous name that Tang later gave Yang Tong's brother Yang You, but as Sui's official history, the ''Book of Sui'' was written during Tang, Yang You was recognized as Emperor Gong, while Yang Tong's status as a Sui emperor became ambiguous in traditional histories.

Era name

* ''Huangtai'' 618-619

Personal information

* Father
** Yang Zhao, the Crown Prince Yuande, son of Emperor Yang of Sui
* Mother
** , Yang Zhao's concubine


Jnanayasas was a Buddhist monk from Magadha, northern India. He was recognised by Emperor Wen of Sui China and taught the monks Yasogupta and Jnanagupta.

He translated 7 scriptures in 51 fascicles, including:
*Sutra of Great Compassion
*Sutra of Moon Store


Jnanagupta was a Buddhist monk from Gandhara who travelled to China and was recognised by of the Sui dynasty. He is said to have brought with him 260 sutras in Sanskrit, and was supported in translating these into Chinese by the emperor.

In total, he translated 39 scriptures in 192 fascicles during the period 561 to 592, including:
*Sutra of Buddha's Fundamental Deed , 60 fascicles
*Candrottaradarikapariprccha 2 fascicles


''''. Buddhist Door