Patriarchs on Paper: A Critical History of Medieval Chan by Alan Cole

By Alan Cole

the reality of Chan Buddhism—better often called “Zen”—is on a regular basis stated to be past language, and but Chan authors—medieval and modern—produced an incredible volume of literature over the centuries. To make experience of this famous paradox, Patriarchs on Paper explores a number of genres of Chan literature that seemed in the course of the Tang and music dynasties (c. 600–1300), together with genealogies, biographies, dialogues, poems, monastic handbooks, and koans. operating via this different physique of literature, Alan Cole info how Chan authors built numerous ideas to rouse pictures of an ideal Buddhism during which splendidly easy masters transmitted Buddhism’s ultimate fact to each other, unexpectedly and simply, and, after all, autonomous of literature and the complexities of the Buddhist monastic system. Chan literature, then, reveled in staging pleasant photos of a Buddhism freed from Buddhism, tempting the reader, many times, with the opportunity of discovering in the back of the thick façade of genuine Buddhism—with all its ideas, texts, doctrines, and institutional solidity—an airy global of natural spirit.  Patriarchs on Paper charts the emergence of this type of “fantasy Buddhism” and info the way it interacted with extra conventional sorts of chinese language Buddhism with a view to exhibit how Chan’s illustrious ancestors have been created in literature which will extra quite a lot of real-world agendas.

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