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 the six-realms of karmic-existence and the Noble One’s of the Blessed three-vehicles, in actuality both are part and parcel of the One Luminously-Pure Sphere of the Dharmakaya. Peter N. Gregory expounds:

Tsung-mi explains, drawing upon the Awakening of Faith, that even though all beings are intrinsically endowed with the enlightened nature of the Buddha, because they are not aware of it, they form attachments and transmigrate according to their karma. Yet their enlightened nature neither is born nor dies. Even after one suddenly realizes that his nature is Unborn Dharmakāya (emphasis mine), which does not depend on anything, he must still continue to practice in order to get rid of the effects of his deluded attachments. (Gregory , Tsung-mi, pg.81)

Tsung-mi states that in the depository of consciousness (alaya-receptacle) there are two principles at work: awakening and delusion. Awakening is the route of the Noble Ones (Ariyans), and delusion is the root of the common lot (puthujjanas). He then goes on to demonstrate these “parallel-paths” within the One Dharma Sphere by revealing ten-levels: ten for the process of delusion, and ten for the process of awakening. These are parallel and not two separately-distinct paths because they both intersect along the Dharmakayic-Continuum. This process was fully covered in a blog post from 2012, The Genius of Tsung-mi. Rather than reproduce it here the reader is kindly asked to click-on the link and then return here to review the following diagram that orchestrates the dynamics of Tsung-Mi’s parallelism. The diagram and accompanying commentary is from Jeffrey Broughton’s, Zongmi on Chan:


This concludes our series on Tsung-mi. Many salient points across the cosmic-sky of Tsung-mi’s mind have been covered, yet it only scratches the surface of his prolific-genius. One is encouraged to further explore this great Ch’an Master, particularly through Peter N. Gregory’s book, Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism, and Jeffrey Broughton’s Zongmi on Chan—that contains the only English Translation of the Chan Prolegomenon. Both of these texts are indispensible-tools for the diligent Ch’an adept.

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