15 Facts About Dahui Zonggao

1. Dahui Zonggao was the dominant figure of the Linji school during the Song dynasty.

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2. Dahui Zonggao introduced the practice of kan huatou, or "inspecting the critical phrase," of a koan story.

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3. Dahui Zonggao was a vigorous critic of what he called the "heretical Chan of silent illumination" of the Caodong school (Wade–Giles: Ts'ao-tung; Japanese: Soto).

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4. Dahui Zonggao was born in Xuancheng, Anhui, to the Xi family.

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5. Dahui Zonggao studied under a Caodong master and mastered the essentials of the Five Ranks in two years.

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6. Dahui Zonggao sought out instruction on the sayings of the old masters collected and commented on by Xuedou Chongxian which became the basis for the koan collection, the Blue Cliff Record.

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7. Dahui Zonggao agreed, saying, "This is precisely my point of doubt.

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8. On his way to Tianning Wanshou, a monastery in the old imperial city of Bian, Dahui Zonggao vowed to work with Yuanwu for nine years and if he did not achieve enlightenment, or, if Yuanwu turned out to be a false teacher, giving approval too easily, Dahui Zonggao would give up and turn to writing scriptures or treatises.

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9. Dahui Zonggao threw himself into the koan and struggled with it day and night, giving forty-nine answers to the koan, but all were rejected by his teacher.

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10. Dahui Zonggao became a great favorite of the educated and literate classes as well as Chan monks and in 1137, at the age of forty-nine, Chancellor Zhang Jun, a student of Dahui, appointed him abbot of Jingshan monastery in the new capital Lin-an (modern Hangzhou, Zhejiang).

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11. Dahui Zonggao wrote a final verse for his disciples, saying, "Without a verse, I couldn't die.

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12. Dahui Zonggao saw this practice of commenting on gongans in his time as becoming a superficial literary study.

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13. Dahui Zonggao warned his students that they must 'doubt' words to not be fooled by them.

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14. Dahui Zonggao thought that teachers who taught this method of meditation had "never awakened themselves, they don't believe anyone has awakened.

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15. Dahui Zonggao compiled the Chanlin Bao Xun, instructions of former Chan abbots about the virtues and ideals of monastic life, in collaboration with another monk, Dagui.

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