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Puhua, or Fuke

A result of lying in Zen could be roaming the streets and calling out -

Gain freedom to lie down to get brighter: a lying "Zen sitting" is what is thought of.

Little is known about Puhua (Fuke, died c. 860), the Chinese monk told of in "The Records of the Zen Master Linchi", where Puhua is admired as an unhampered spirit:

When asked intellectual questions about Buddhism, Puhua kicked over the dinner table.

One day Puhua went about the streets asking people he met for a one-piece gown. They all o?ered him one, but Puhua declined them all. Linji had the steward of the temple buy a coffin, and when Puhua came back he said, "I've fixed up a one-piece gown for you."

Puhua put the coffin on his shoulders and went around the streets calling out, "Linji fixed me up a one-piece gown. I'm going to the East Gate to leave this life."

All the townspeople scrambled after him to watch.

"No, not today," said Puhua, "but tomorrow I'll go to the South Gate to leave this life."

After he had done the same thing for three days no one believed him anymore. On the fourth day not a single person followed him to watch. He went outside the town walls all by himself, got into the coffin, and asked a passerby to nail it up. The news at once got about. The townspeople all came scrambling. On opening the coffin, they found nothing in it. But the sound of his bell could be heard in the sky, farther and farther away: tinkle . . . tinkle . . . tinkle . . . (Sasaki 2009, 311, retold)

Putting time and effort into doing a thing that matters is fairly often needed.

Fuke Zen

Fuke Zen was a branch of Zen Buddhism that existed in Japan from the 1200s until the late 1800s. Fuke Zen, according to some accounts, is derived from the teachings of the Chinese Zen teacher Linji Yixuan (c. 800-866), known in Japan as Rinzai Gigen.

The Fuke school counted as its founder one of Linji's contemporaries, Puhua (Fuke in Japanese).

Yinyuan Longqi, alias Ingen Ryuki

Yinyuan Longqi (Japanese: Ingen Ryuki, 1592-1673) was a Chinese emigrant to Japan, a Linji Chan monk (Rinzai Zen monk), poet, and calligrapher. He founded the Óbaku school of Zen in Japan. It is one of several schools of Zen in addition to Soto and Rinzai. The &Ouacute;baku is more conservative and intellectually inclined than the Soto.

Helen J. Baroni writes:

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Zen community included monks and nuns affiliated with the Rinzai and Soto traditions. The Óbaku lineage, which became the third major sect of Zen in Japan, was established only later in the century. Like their colleagues from other schools of Buddhism, the majority of Zen monks served local parishes. They spent most of their time on ritual services, and only a small minority of monks concentrated their efforts on practicing meditation. In the Soto school, for example, it is estimated that only about 1 percent of monks regularly practiced meditation. Meditation was the primary focus only at certain of the major training monasteries and at a few smaller monasteries, depending on the talent and proclivity of the abbot. (2006, 4)

The Obaku sect of Zen was established in Japan in the latter half of the seventeenth century by a small group of Chinese Zen teachers and their Japanese disciples. Tradition recognizes Yinyuan Longqi (15921673), the oldest and most prominent of the Chinese masters, as the founder of the new sect. Obaku never existed as an independent or distinct sect in China. (Baroni 2006, 5)

Yinyuan seems to have originally planned to stay in Japan for a few years and then to return to China. A small group of his Japanese disciples and other supporters, however, arranged for government permission for Yinyuan to settle in the Kyoto area. In 1661, Yinyuan became the founding abbot of Obakusan Mampukuji. (Ib. 6)

Yinyuan and his Chinese disciples practiced Zen in a somewhat different style than that seen at Japanese Rinzai or Soto monasteries; they were preserving the customs that they brought with them from China. Chinese and Japanese monks alike donned Chinese-style robes and shoes, chanted the sutras in the Fujian dialect of Chinese, accompanied by musical instruments previously unknown in Japan. Obaku monasteries were governed according to a monastic code, the Obaku shingi, which reflected the Chinese practices of the day. Obaku monastic services incorporated chanting the name of Amida Buddha. (Ib. 6)

Later generations of Japanese Zen teachers would argue that the main diference between Obaku and its close relative Rinzai Zen is the use of both Zen and Pure Land techniques. Yet as the decades passed, Obaku became less obviously Chinese in style, and more like its Japanese counterparts, and does not appear too foreign to the Japanese any more. (Ib. 6; WP, "Pure Land Buddhism")


Men of Zen, men in the Zen tradition, Chan Zen roshis, Literature  

Baroni, Helen J. 2006. Iron Eyes: The Life and Teachings of the Obaku Zen Master Tetsugen. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Chang, Garma C. C. 1970. The Practice of Zen. Perennial ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1970. ⍽▢⍽ A neat book for getting one's hands on Chinese Chan and Zen.

Cleary, J. C., tr. 1989. Zibo: The Last Great Zen Master of China. Santa Clara, CA: AHP Paperbacks.

Sasaki, Ruth Fuller, tr. 2009. The Record of Linji. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press.

Haskel. Peter, tr. 2001. Letting Go: The Story of Zen Master Tosui. Hawaii, HI: University of Hawai'i Press.

Heine, Steven, and Dale S. Wright, eds. 2010. Zen Masters. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ⍽▢⍽ Baizhang, Dongshan, Yanshou are Chinese; Dahui, Dogen; Menzan, Soen and Hisamatsu are Japanese; and Maezumi and Seung are "Asians in America".

Hoover, Thomas. 1980. The Zen Experience: The Historical Evolution of Zen through the Lives and Teachings of Its Great Masters. Illustrated. New York: The New American Library.

Reps, Paul, and Nyogen Senzaki, eds. 1994. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

Tanahashi, Kazuaki. 2012. Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan. London: Shambhala.

Waddell, Norman. 2000. The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei 1622-1693. New York: North Point Press.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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