The Chan Whip Anthology: A Companion to Zen Practice


Jeffrey L. Broughton’s new anthology looks like a real gem; from his intro:

“Zhuhong published the Chan Whip in 1600, the late Ming dynasty. However, to characterize the Chan Whip as simply “late Ming Chan” would be grossly inaccurate. It surveys most of the history of Chan literature, not just that of the late Ming, as it is a compendium of extracts, over 80% of which are drawn from the enormous Chan corpus dating from the Tang dynasty (ninth century) to the late Ming. The remaining 20 percent or so consists of extracts from sutras and treatises. The Chan Whip was conceived by Zhuhong as a portable, convenient, no-nonsense “pocket companion guide” that addressed practitioners directly, providing not just method but morale. As such, its selections deliberately eschew abstract discussions of theory in favor of sermons, exhortations, sayings, autobiographical narratives, letters, and anecdotal sketches dealing frankly—and encouragingly—with the concrete ups and downs of lived practice.”

Also of special note is the emphasis in this “Chan pocket companion guide” on the practice of gongfu: “The term originally meant craftsman or artisan; now it means laboring with mental power; concentrating the mind on the matter.”

Here’s another extract:

91. Stages of the Path of Cultivation [Yogācārabhūmi]

The Buddha said, “When you look at your own past lives, [you will realize that] you have been going to and fro in samsara from immeasurable aeons ago. The bones [of all your bodies plied up would] surpass Mt. Sumeru in hegit; the bone marrow would spread over the earth—all over the great thousand worlds. The blood would be even more than all the rains that have fallen in the world from ancient times until the present. But, if you wish to avoid these calamities of samsara, day and night practice zeal and seek for the unconditioned.

Undoubtedly, this is another fine resource for all Ch’an adepts and practitioners of the Buddhadharma.

Amazon Link

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One Response to The Chan Whip Anthology: A Companion to Zen Practice

  1. Ken says:

    ‘Transformation of the Basis’ (āśraya-paravritti) is a frequent refrain in the Chan Whip, which would suggest, at least to me, that it is rooted in the Lanka. For that reason, I found this translation to be very inspiring.

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