A Brief Discussion of the Philosophical Thought of Chan Buddhism

Contemporary Chinese Thought 15 (4):3-69 (1984)
The Chan sect is one of the most important sects in the history of Chinese Buddhism. According to the traditional interpretation, it is believed that this sect originated at the time of the Northern dynasties [ca. 386-589]. In fact, we ought to consider the Tang dynasty [618-907] as the time when it truly took shape as one of the sects of schools of Buddhism. It reached the peak of its development during the time between the An Lushan-Shi Siming Rebellion [755-763] and the early years of the Northern Song dynasty [ca. 960-1000]. It continued to spread throughout the time of the Song and Yuan dynasties and thereafter and its growth was never interrupted. This school of Buddhist thought not only affected the neo-Confucianism of the Song times but was moreover brought to Korea and Japan. Therefore, we feel, a preliminary investigation and study of the philosophical thought of the Chan sect is something that simply must be undertaken. This essay will merely conduct an introductory exploration of the fundamental ideas of the Chan sect and will not attempt to focus on historical narrative
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DOI 10.2753/CSP1097-146715043
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