Category Archives: Tsung-mi: An Intimate Study

Parallelism

parallelreal

The grand-finale of Tsung-mi’s Chan Prolegomenon is a testament to his analysis and paraxial methodology of laying side by side the modes of delusion and awakening within Mind’s Dynamic-Nature. Although there’s an apparent contradiction within Mind’s bifurcation between denizens of … Continue reading

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Dark Ch’an

walkfree

As a further sign that Tsung-mi was not totally entrenched in the evaluation of letters and words and their import for the Buddhadharma, Chapt. 8 of the Chan Prolegomenon assures the assiduous Mind-adept that the Total assessment of the Buddhadharma—the … Continue reading

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Conjoined Realities

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To this very day there is little consensus as to the precise-relationship between tathagatā-garbha and alaya-vijñāna. Seong-Uk Kin, in his excellent extract, “Understanding Tsung-mi’s View on Buddha Nature”, nicely extrapolates on its evolving traits. The concept of alaya-vijñāna first appeared … Continue reading

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The Old Man in the Nāga Samadhi

nagabudd

Zekkai Chūshin (1336-1405), considered to be the dominant poet of all the Five Mountains Zen Poet-monks, once referred to Tsung-mi as “the old man in the nāga [mythological serpent = the Buddha] samadhi.” (Broughton, ZOC) The origin of this can … Continue reading

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Bodhidharma Dhyana

bodhidharma1

Some might suspect from reading this series that Tsung-mi was someone who only emphasized the scholastic-side of Ch’an Buddhism. They would be wrong. Tsung-mi’s spirituality was a healthily balanced one—one that took Sūtra Study very seriously, yet at the same … Continue reading

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The Chan Prolegomenon: Introductory Remarks

chanprog

Tsung-mi’s Chan Prolegomenon (also known as the Ch’an Preface) is a vast-work considered to be his most crowning-achievement. In it he proves himself to be a great synthetic-agent as he weaves together all the major petulant Ch’an schools of his … Continue reading

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Eunuch Power and the Two Entrances

Ten Eunuchs

The Sweet-Dew Incident It may sound hard to hear for modern ears that the great Tsung-mi’s downfall was at the hands of Eunuchs. However, these were no namby-pamby fellows that appear in some Mel Brook’s comedy, but rather fierce-warriors that … Continue reading

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An Undivided Friendship

Friendundivi

Tsung-mi’s Ch’an-Literary Period Tsung-mi’s Ch’an-Literary Period was filled with many diverse associations. At that time political-types also fostered a scholarly background. Many of these Politicos of the day were thus totally in-sync with Tsung-mi’s literary style that couched Ch’an precepts … Continue reading

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Early Formation

early form

Early Classical Formation Tsung-mi’s early life is unique because it did not fit the mold of the typical Ch’an monk. Usually contact within the Buddhist monastic-community happened at an early age, between childhood and the early teen years. Tsung-mi came … Continue reading

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Tsung-mi: An Intimate Study

zongmi

Tsung-mi (780-841) A good subtitle for this series would be, “The Spiritual Knowing that knows no darkness.” With brilliant erudition Tsung-mi (pronounced Zongmi—preferred spelling by modern-day scholars) set out to define Bodhidharma’s Mind Transmission as a silent knowing of Mind’s … Continue reading

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