Tag Archives: Buddhist Canon

The Chan Prolegomenon: Introductory Remarks

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 day and age, like the Northern, Ox-Head and Hongzhou—seeking to find that one common denominator that would surmount their irreconcilable differences.  Tsung-mi was the Noble-Lamp bearer who attempted to lead them all out of the dark tunnel of fractious-divide into the Luminous Light and Union of the Dharmadhātu. The work is like a colossal Chinese puzzle, with each piece fitting under what Jeffrey Broughton refers to as certain axioms, that attempt to correlate essential Ch’an teachings of the contentious traditions—all vying for primacy. In this respect it’s unfortunate that contemporary zennists haven’t even referred to a work of such stature, since it could help to allay all the vying-factions that attempt to discredit each other; what Tsung-mi has to say is very relevant today: read more

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