Bodhidharma with Dazu Huike. Painting by Sesshū Tōyō, 15th century.

Chan Buddhist monks – The spirit of the Bodhidharma

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Bodhidharma was a semi-legendary Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch.

According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu.

The Chan ( in Japanese) school of Chinese Buddhism began when, in the 7th century, a small religious community gathered around a Buddhist monk named Hongren.

Over the centuries, Chan Buddhism spread from China south to Vietnam as Thiền and north to Korea as Seon, and, in the 13th century, east to Japan as Japanese Zen.

Relationships between Chan monks and political rulers were crucial to Chan’s success.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, monks and rulers created the so-called Chan “golden age” and the classic principles of Chan identity.

While the daily routine may require monks to meditate for several hours each day, during the intensive period they devote themselves almost exclusively to Chan practice.

This is a list of well-known Chan Buddhist monks past and present.

Hsuan Hua

, also known as An Tzu, Tu Lun and Master Hua by his Western disciples, was a Chinese monk of Chan Buddhism and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the late 20th century.


Sheng Yen, born Zhang Baokang, was a Taiwanese Buddhist monk, religious scholar, and writer. He was one of the mainstream teachers of Chan Buddhism. He was a 57th generational dharma heir of in the Linji school and a third-generation dharma heir of Hsu Yun. In the Caodong lineage, Sheng Yen was a 52nd-generation Dharma heir of (807-869), and a direct Dharma heir of Dongchu (1908–1977).

Zhaozhou Congshen

Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn (778–897) was a Chán (Zen) Buddhist master especially known for his “paradoxical statements and strange deeds”.


Gikū or Yikong was an early Heian period Buddhist monk from Tang China. He is Japan’s first Buddhist monk who exclusively taught Zen.


Heshang was a late 8th century Buddhist monk associated with the East Mountain Teaching. He became famous for representing Chan Buddhism in the so called “Council of Lhasa,” a debate between adherents of the Indian teachings of “gradual enlightenment” and the Chinese teachings of “sudden enlightenment,” which according to tradition was won by the “gradual teachings.”

Dongshan Liangjie

Dongshan Liangjie (807–869) was a Chan Buddhist monk of ninth-century China. He founded the Caodong school, which was transmitted to Japan in the thirteenth century by Dōgen and developed into the Sōtō school of Zen. Dongshan is also known for the poetic Five Ranks.

Kwang Sheng

Sik is the current vice president of the Singapore Buddhist Federation, the abbot of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, and the founder of the Buddhist College of Singapore.

Liangshan Yuanguan

was a Zen Buddhist monk during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. His first appearance in the historical record is in the Transmission of the Lamp, which was compiled around 1004. No precise dates are available for when he lived, and information about his life is scant.

Mazu Daoyi

(709–788) was an influential abbot of Chan Buddhism during the Tang dynasty. The earliest recorded use of the term “Chan school” is from his Extensive Records. Master Ma’s teaching style of “strange words and extraordinary actions” became paradigmatic Zen lore.

Nanyue Huairang

(677–744) was the foremost student of Dajian , the 6th Patriarch of Ch’an (Zen) and teacher of one of his Dharma heirs, Mazu Daoyi.


Zhenzhou , also called P’u-k’o, and best known by his Japanese name, Fuke, was a Chinese Chán (Zen) master, monk-priest, wanderer and eccentric, mentioned in the Record of Linji. Fuke was used to create a legend for the komusō samurai-monks that appeared in Edo-period Japan. They used their self-named Fuke Zen to establish a constructed connection to Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism in the 17th or 18th century. The legend is written in the Kyotaku Denki (虚鐸伝記), first published in 1795 together with a “Japanese Translation” of the “original” in literary Chinese (kanbun). The original text may have been written in the middle of the 17th century, but there are no historic texts to support this. For the komusō (虚無僧) samurai-monks, he was considered the traditional antecedent—at least in spiritual, mythological, or philosophical terms—of their order, which was formally established in Edo Japan. It is possible that the ideological roots of the sect derived from the Rinzai poet and iconoclast Ikkyū and the monk Shinchi Kakushin (心地覺心) who traveled to and from China and Japan in the 13th century. Still, according to some accounts, the sect is simply a more direct derivative of the Rinzai school and its teachings.

Qiji (monk)

Qiji, also known by his art name Hengyue Shamen, was a Tang dynasty Chinese Buddhist monk and poet. Qiji wrote more than 852 poems, after Li Bai (701-762), Du Fu (712-770), Bai Juyi (772-846), Yuan Zhen (779-831), he ranks at the fifth position in terms of numbers of poems within the Tang poets. He was one of the big three of Tang dynasty poetmonks (诗僧), along with Guanxiu (832-912) and (730-799).

Shi Ming Yi

Ven. is a Buddhist monk from Singapore.


Jiaoran, also known by his courtesy name Qingzhou, was a Tang dynasty Chinese poet and Buddhist monk. Jiaoran has written more than 470 poems and was one of the three major Tang dynasty poet-monks (诗僧), along with Guanxiu (832–912) and Qiji (863–937). He was the 12th generation grandson of Xie An (320–385), a Jin dynasty (266–420) statesman who, despite his lack of military ability, led Jin through a major crisis—attacks by Former Qin (351–394). His friend, Lu Yu, is venerated as the Sage of Tea for his contribution to Chinese tea culture and the writer of The Classic of Tea.

Tongan Daopi

was a Zen Buddhist monk during the end of the Tang Dynasty and the beginning of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Very little is known about him. Traditional biographies record that he was the abbot of Tongan Monastery on Mount Fengchi near modern Nanchang. The earliest source of information on monks of this era is the Zutang ji, which was completed in 952, but it fails to mention Tongan Daopi as a disciple of his supposed teacher . The Zutang ji does, however, record someone with the name Tongan asking a question to Yunju Daoying. The scholar Ui Hakuju has written this could likely refer to Tongan Daopi. He is first explicitly mentioned in the Transmission of the Lamp, which was compiled around 1004. However, in that work, it does not mention Tongan Daopi as having any disciples. The commonly accepted version of his lineage holds that is Tongan Daopi’s successor. However, this comes from Huihong’s Sengbao zhuan, which was completed in 1119, much longer after Tongan’s death than the other works. The Transmission of the Lamp instead claims that Tongan Guanzhi is the disciple of a Tongan Wei, in turn a student of Jufeng Puman, with Jufeng being an apparently obscure student of the famous Dongshan Liangjie. Both Tongan Wei and Jufeng Puman are listed for the first time in the Transmission of the Lamp, and neither with much information. However, , who in Huihong’s version of the lineage is a descendant of Tonagan Daopi, is recorded in the Transmission of the Lamp as being descended through Jufeng Puman and Tongan Wei. Dayang was close with Wang Shu, one of the compilers of Transmission of the Lamp, suggesting that it is unlikely that an error would have been made therein about his lineage. This suggests that Tongan Guanzhi is much more likely to have been a student of Tongan Wei and not Tongan Daopi as commonly accepted.

Tongan Guanzhi

Tongan Guanzhi was a Zen Buddhist monk during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China. Traditionally, he is considered to be the student of Tongan Daopi. However, the basis for this belief comes from a text by Huihong called the Chanlin sengbao zhuan, which was completed in 1119, many years after Tongan’s death.

Wansong Xingxiu

or Wansong Yelao (1166–1246) was a Chinese Buddhist monk who lived under the Jin dynasty and Mongol Empire. He was an influential member of the Caodong school of Chan Buddhism.

Wuzhun Shifan

was a Chinese painter, calligrapher, and prominent Zen Buddhist monk who lived during the late Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Xiangyan Zhixian

was a Tang dynasty Chan master of the Guiyang school. A Dharma heir of Weishan Lingyou (溈山靈祐), the story of Xiangyan’s enlightenment is rather famous in the Chan and Zen traditions. According to his enlightenment story, he had been an accomplished scholar of Buddhist sūtras, but for many years had made very little headway in his meditation practice. One day, his master asked him what his original face was before birth, to which he could not respond—this question became his kōan, and he subsequently burned his sūtras and set out to settle the matter. One day, while working, he heard the sound of a tile striking the ground and attained enlightenment.


or Hsu Yun was a renowned Chinese Chan Buddhist master and one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Yaoshan Weiyan

was a Zen Buddhist monk who lived during the Tang dynasty.

Yongjia Xuanjue

, also known as Yongjia Zhenjue, was a Zen and Tiantai Buddhist monk who lived during the Tang dynasty. The name Yongjia is derived from the city of his birth, which is now called Wenzhou. He is also known by his nickname “The Overnight Guest” because of his first encounter with his teacher, Huineng. On a visit to Caoxi (漕溪), where Huineng’s Nanhua Temple is located, Yongjia was convinced to stay just one night, during which his enlightenment was acknowledged. He supposedly died while meditating in 713. He is best remembered today as the author of the Song of Enlightenment, often known by its Japanese name Shodoka (證道歌). This work remains popular in contemporary Zen practice.

Yunmen Wenyan

Yúnmén Wényǎn, was a major Chinese Zen master in Tang-era China. He was a dharma-heir of

Kun Can

(髡殘) was a Chinese Buddhist monk and painter during Ming and Qing dynasties. He hailed from Hunan, but spent most of his life in Nanjing. He became a Chan Buddhist monk at an early age and in Nanjing was abbot of a monastery on Niushou Shan. His style of landscape painting was influenced by Wang Meng and he is one of the Four Monk Masters in the early Qing Dynasty. The others being Zhu Da, Hong Ren, and Shitao. As he was also known as Shi Xi he was at times said to be one of the “Two Shi”. Few of Kun Can’s works survive.


or Muxi, also known as Fachang, was a Chinese Chan Buddhist monk and painter who lived in the 13th century, around the end of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). Today, he is considered to be one of the greatest Chan painters in history. His ink paintings, such as the Daitokuji triptych and Six Persimmons are regarded as essential Chan paintings. Muqi’s style of painting has also profoundly impacted painters from later periods to follow, especially monk painters in Japan.


Ryūki (1592–1673) was a poet, calligrapher, and monk of Linji Chan Buddhism from China. He is most known for founding the Ōbaku school of Zen in Japan.

Huangbo Xiyun

Huángbò Xīyùn was an influential master of Zen Buddhism during the Tang Dynasty.

Hongzhi Zhengjue

, also sometimes called Tiantong Zhengjue (1091–1157), was an important Chinese Chan Buddhist monk who authored or compiled several influential texts. Hongzhi’s conception of silent illumination is of particular importance to the Chinese Caodong Chan and Japanese Sōtō Zen schools. Hongzhi was also the author of the Book of Equanimity, an important collection of kōans.

Heng Sure

is an American Chan Buddhist monk. He is a senior disciple of Hsuan Hua, and is currently the director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, a branch monastery of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. He is probably best known for a pilgrimage he made for two years and six months from 1977–1979. Called a three steps, one bow pilgrimage, Heng Sure and his companion Heng Chau, bowed from South Pasadena to Ukiah, California, a distance of 800 miles, seeking world peace.

Hanshan Deqing

Hānshān Déqīng (1546–1623), formerly transliterated Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing, was a leading Buddhist monk and poet of Ming Dynasty China who widely propagated the teachings of Chán and Pure Land Buddhism.

Hanshan (poet)

Hanshan is a Chinese Buddhist and Taoist figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was, when he lived and died, or whether he actually existed. In the Chinese Buddhist tradition, Hanshan and his sidekick Shide are honored as emanations of the bodhisattvas Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra, respectively. In Japanese and Chinese paintings, Hanshan is often depicted together with Shide or with , another monk with legendary attributes.


Fenggan was a Chinese Zen monk-poet lived in the Tang Dynasty, associated with Hanshan and Shide in the famed “Tiantai Trio” (天台三聖).

Guo Jun

Ven. is a Buddhist monk in Singapore, and one of the youngest Dharma heirs of Chan Master . His complete Dharma name is Zhengyan Guojun (正彥果峻). He has published three books: Essential Chan Buddhism, Chan Heart, Chan Mind and Falling is Flying: The Dharma of Facing Adversity together with Ajahn Brahm.

Xueting Fuyu

Xuětíng Fúyù (雪庭福裕), 1203–1275, was an abbot of the Shaolin Monastery of the Caodong lineage. He is famous for inviting all of the martial artists in China to the Temple to discuss, practice, and fight, refining their technique into one Shaolin style. He held these symposiums three times, each for a period of three years. As the martial artists returned to their home towns, they brought back the Shaolin techniques with them. This is why so many Asian martial arts systems can trace their roots to the Shaolin Temple, and why the Temple is sometimes erroneously known as “The birthplace of martial arts”.

Dayang Jingxuan

Dayang Jingxuan was a Zen Buddhist monk during the early Song Dynasty. During his life, he was apparently the only living teacher representing Caodong/Sōtō school, and he was the last monk of that tradition to be mentioned in the influential Transmission of the Lamp, compiled in 1004. However, as that work was compiled during his lifetime, it lacked biographical information. A did not appear until the Xudeng lu of 1101. He left his birth city to become a monk at Chongxiao Temple in Jinling. His teacher there was named Zhitong, but Dayang soon left when he was 19. He studied with Yuanjiao Liaoyi for a time, but eventually moved on, finally settling on Liangshan Yuanguan as his teacher.

Dao Zheng

(道證法師) was a Buddhist nun from Taiwan, known for her various writings and dharma talks. She is well known for her famous painting of Amitabha, which she painted while bedridden with cancer.

Xianzi (monk)

Xianzi, or Kensu in Japanese, also known as the Shrimp Eater, was a semi-historical Chan/Zen monk, considered to be one of the “scattered sages,” who were deviant or otherwise unusual figures within the Chan tradition. Infamous for his iconoclastic breaking of the taboo on eating meat set forth in the Vinaya Code of monastic rules, the Shrimp Eater appears in several traditional Zen paintings as both a comedic figure that underscores the Zen tradition of humor, as well as an eccentric, enlightened individual.

Xuecheng (monk)

Xuecheng is a Chinese Buddhist monk, a former member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and a popular blogger. He was president of the Buddhist Association of China from 2015 to 2018 when he resigned after allegations that he had engaged in corruption and sexual assault surfaced. He was ordered to be punished by the National Religious Affairs Administration after they corroborated the allegations.

Xuefeng Yicun

Xuefeng Yicun (822-908) was a Chinese Chan-master who was influential during the Tang Dynasty. The Yunmen school and Fayan school originated with descendants of his lineage.

Chi Chern

was the first appointed Dharma heir of renowned Chan Master Sheng-yen. He is also one of the most respected meditation teachers in Malaysia and Singapore. Born in Malaysia and ordained as a monk by Master Chuk Mor in Penang, he later went to Taiwan to study at Fo Guang Shan Institute of Chinese Buddhism.

Danxia Zichun

(1064–1117) was a Zen Buddhist monk during the Song Dynasty. He was born in a city called Zitong, which is in modern Sichuan Province. He is buried in south of Mt Hong near the modern city of Wuhan. While not a particularly notable monk himself, his three students, Hongzhi Zhengjue, Zhenxie Qingliao, Huizhao Qingyu, were each especially famous during their lifetimes. He is the only student of that has a collection of recorded sayings that has survived to the present. In these sayings, he advocated a silent illumination approach to seated meditation. For example, he is recorded as saying, “You must completely let go of all worldly concerns and sit totally still in the dry wood hall. You must die a turn and then in this death establish everything in the whole universe.”

Yantou Quanhuo

(828–887) was an ancient Ch’an master of Yantou Monastery in Ezhou, China. A dharma heir of Deshan Xuanjin, Quanho was born in Quanzhou and became a novice monk at Baoshu Temple in Changan, China. Known to be an avid traveler, Yantou eventually began studying Ch’an under Deshan and received Dharma transmission from him. he then became master of Yantou Monastery, where he led a congregation of students. In 887 on the “eighth day of the fourth month” his temple was raided by bandits. When the bandits realized the temple had nothing of value to take, one of them stabbed Yantou—murdering him. it is said that his scream at death could be heard for ten miles. He was given the title Ch’an Master Clear Severity following his death. Yantou is the subject of several koan cases that appear in the Mumonkan such as case number 13, titled “Tokusan carries his bowls”.

Daai Yuk

was a Chan Buddhist master who is credited with teaching Southern Dragon Kung Fu, or Lung Ying 龍形拳, to Lam Yiu Gwai. He was a monk at Wa Sau Toi, one of the many temples on the sacred mountain Luofushan.

Wei Chueh

was a Chinese Bhikshu from Taiwan. He is the founder of the Chung Tai Shan monastery and Buddhist order. Wei Chueh is often credited for reviving the traditional teachings of Chan Buddhism.

Yuanwu Keqin

(1063–1135) was a Han Chinese Chan monk who compiled the Blue Cliff Record.

Yunju Daoying

Yunju Daoying was a Zen Buddhist monk and teacher during the late Tang Dynasty. According to traditional biographies, he became a monk when he was 25 at Yanshou Temple, although he later left to study at Mount Nan before finally taking on Dongshan Liangjie as his teacher on Mount Dong. After receiving dharma transmission from Dongshan, he went to a place called Three Peak Hermitage, and finally to Mount Yunju, northeast of modern Nanchang in Jiangxi Province. Here he established Jenru Temple, where he taught for 30 years and eventually attracted 1,500 students.

Chan Yun

was a renowned Buddhist monk, teacher and cultivator. The abbot of the Lianyin Temple, Chan Yun was one of many mainstream Buddhist teachers in Taiwan.

Yunyan Tansheng

was a Chán Buddhist monk during the Tang Dynasty. Ancient biographies record that he was from Jianchang. He is said to have become a monk when he was sixteen at Shimen Temple with as his teacher. After twenty years with him, Baizhang died and Yuyan had still had not attained enlightenment. He visited many teachers before settling on Yaoshan Weiyan as his new master. The first part of his name comes from Yunyan Mountain, which is outside of modern Changsha, where he taught after studying with Yaoshan. Recorded dialogues involving Yunyan often include him and his fellow student, Daowu Yuanzhi. He supposedly died from illness, the day before which he ordered his students to prepare for a banquet because a monk was preparing to depart the monastery.

Wumen Huikai

(1183–1260) was a Chinese Chán master during China‘s Song period. He is most famous for having compiled and commentated the 48-koan collection The Gateless Barrier.


Venerable Master (1933–2003) was a Chinese Buddhist monk and thirteenth generation successor in the Yunmen lineage of the Chan (Zen) school of Chinese Buddhism.

Deshan Xuanjian

, was a Chinese Zen Buddhist monk during the Tang Dynasty. He was born in Jiannan in what is now Sichuan Province. He is remembered for hitting his students with a cane to express awakening. Through his student Xuefeng Yicun, he is the ancestor to two of the Five Houses of Zen, the Yunmen School and the Fayan School. Earlier in his life he was a scholar focused on the Vinaya, and later he became famous for his knowledge of the Diamond Sutra. However, a famous kōan story recorded in the Blue Cliff Record and Shōbōgenzō Shin fukatoku relates an encounter he had with an old woman that convinced him that scriptural study on its own fails to bring about awakening. After this he studied under the Zen teacher Longtan Chongxin. During the reign of Emperor Wuzong of Tang, the brief but intense Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution was initiated and Deshan was forced from a thirty year long position in Lizhou into hiding on Mt. Dufu. Afterwards the governor of Wuleng in what is now Hunan Province asked Deshan to come to live on Mount Virtue, known in Chinese as “Deshan”, the mountain after which he is named.

Furong Daokai

Furong Daokai (1043-1118), was a Zen Buddhist monk during the Song Dynasty. He was born in a city known at the time as Yizhou, which is the present-day city of Linyi in the southern part of Shandong Province. Along with his fellow student Dahong Baoen, Daokai is considered to have returned the Caodong/Sōtō Zen lineage to prominence after its near extinction a generation earlier. He was so prominent, in fact, that an extensive biography appeared in the Xudeng lu, a compendium of biographies of prominent monks, in 1101, before he had even reached the height of his career, which was quite unusual for such biographies. The earliest full account of his life appears in Juefan Huihong’s biographical compilation of 1119, the Chanlin sengbao zhuan. This source speaks very highly of Daokai, despite the fact that its author was a member of the competing Rinzai school. According to his funerary inscription of 1127, he ordained 93 students during his life, and many of these went on to become prominent teachers themselves.

Linji Yixuan

Linji Yixuan was the founder of the Linji school of Chan Buddhism during Tang Dynasty China.

Baizhang Huaihai

Baizhang Huaihai (720–814) was a Zen master during the Tang Dynasty. A native of Fuzhou, he was a dharma heir of Mazu Daoyi. Baizhang’s students included Huangbo, Linji and Puhua.

Guo Yuan (Zen monk)

Guo Yuan is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk trained in Chan Buddhism. He is a senior disciple of Chan master Sheng-yen of Taiwan. In 1985 he first encountered Sheng-yen’s teachings while attending a seven-day retreat in New York. He then decided to become a disciple before finally leaving his job in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to become a monk in the Chan tradition. He was ordained in 1987 in Taiwan. He is active in zen retreats in Dharma Drum Mountain.

Guo Xing

Ven. Fa Shi is one of the Dharma heirs of Ch’an (Zen) Master Sheng-yen. He was born in Taiwan and ordained as a monk in 1986 after previously studying Ch’an under Master Sheng-yen for about two years. Since then he committed himself to service in the Dharma Drum Mountain sangha. He entered solitary retreat in Thailand in 1991. He also studied Theravada meditation in that country. After returning to Taiwan, he resumed service at Dharma Drum Mountain.

Guang Qin

was a renowned Buddhist monk, teacher and cultivator.


Heze was a Chinese Buddhist monk of the so-called “Southern School” of Zen, who “claimed to have studied under Huineng.”

Shi Yan Ming

is a 34th generation Shaolin warrior monk, teacher and actor, best known as the founder of the USA Shaolin Temple. Trained at the Shaolin Temple in Henan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) since the age of five, Shi Yan Ming came to the United States in 1992, before opening the USA Shaolin Temple in Manhattan, where he has taught hundreds of students, including numerous celebrities. He has made various media appearances in television, film and print, including National Geographic, PBS, History, Time magazine, and the 1999 American samurai action film, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

Wang Bo (martial artist)

Wang Bo is a martial artist, Zen Buddhist monk, Shaolin Kung Fu master, and Shifu of the Shaolin Temple Torrance, located in Torrance, CA, a main branch of the original Shaolin Temple of China. He is the founder of Hungrymonk Yoga.

Shi Yanjue

is a Chinese Buddhist monk and the current president of the Buddhist Association of China, succeeding Shi Xuecheng, who accused of sexual harassment.

Shitou Xiqian

Shítóu Xīqiān (700-790) was an 8th-century Chinese Chán (Zen) Buddhist teacher and author. All existing branches of Zen throughout the world are said to descend either from or from his contemporary Mazu Daoyi.


or Stonehouse (1272–1352) was a Chinese Chan poet and hermit who lived during the Yuan Dynasty. Shiwu was born in the town of Changshu, taking his name from the Shihwutung in Yushan. In 1292 Shiwu became a novice at Yushan’s Hsingfu temple, a major monastic center at the time. He studied under master Yung-Wei and three years later was ordained and received the dharma name Ch’ing-hung.

Tiantong Zongjue

, was a Chinese Zen Buddhist monk during the Song Dynasty. He was born in Hezhou, but left home to practice Buddhism at the age of sixteen. His ordination took place two years later. Zuzhao Daohe of the Yunmen School was his first teacher. However, Daohe retired and was replaced by Zhenxie Qingliao of the Caodong/Sōtō School, who became the teacher that gave Zongjue dharma transmission. In 1132, Zongjue became the abbot of Yuelin Temple where he served for 23 years. After this period, his abbacy switched to Mt. Xuedou. He remained there for four years before becoming the abbot of Tiantong Monastery near the modern city of Ningbo in 1159. He was replacing the former abbot, the famous Hongzhi Zhengjue, who died there in 1157. It was from this final temple, where Zongjue died in 1162, that he took his name. Tiantong temple was the same monastery where Eihei Dogen studied under Tiantong Rujing before bringing the teaching back to Japan and founding the Sōtō School.


Dajian Huineng (traditional Chinese: 大鑒惠能; pinyin: Dàjiàn Huìnéng; Wade–Giles: Ta4-chien4; Japanese: Daikan Enō; Korean: Hyeneung; 638–713), also commonly known as the Sixth Patriarch or Sixth Ancestor of Chan, is a semi-legendary but central figure in the early history of Chinese Chan Buddhism. He was said to have been an uneducated layman who suddenly attained awakening upon hearing the Diamond Sutra. Despite his lack of formal training, he demonstrated his understanding to the fifth patriarch, Daman Hongren, who then supposedly chose Huineng as his true successor instead of his publicly known selection of Yuquan Shenxiu. Twentieth century scholarship revealed that the story of Huineng’s Buddhist career was likely invented by the monk Heze Shenhui, who claimed to be one of Huineng’s disciples and was highly critical of Shenxiu’s teaching. Huineng is regarded as the founder of the “Sudden Enlightenment” Southern Chan school of Buddhism, which focuses on an immediate and direct attainment of Buddhist enlightenment. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (六祖壇經), which is said to be a record of his teachings, is a highly influential text in the East Asian Buddhist tradition.

Touzi Yiqing

, sometimes also Touzi Qing Huayan, was a Zen Buddhist monk during the early Song Dynasty.

Ashin Jinarakkhita

, born Tee Boan-an 戴满安 was an Indonesian-born Chinese who revived Buddhism in Indonesia. He was also known as Bhante Ashin, Tizheng Lao Heshang 體正老和尚, Teh-ching, Sukong 師公 (Grandmaster), and The Flying Monk.

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Parliament of the World's Religions

Zen Buddhist spiritual teachers from America

Although it is difficult to trace the precise moment when America first became aware of as a distinct form of Buddhism, the visit of Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen monk, to Chicago during the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is often pointed to as an event that enhanced the profile of Zen in the Western world. It was during the late 1950s and the early 1960s that the number of Westerners other .