The most prominent Buddhist monks of the Tang dynasty
The Tang dynasty, or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD.
Table of Contents
- 1 - The golden age of cosmopolitan culture
- 2 - The Buddhist memorial service
- 3 - The translation of sanskrit texts
- 4 - The Emperor Tantric rites
- 5 - The decline of the dynasty
- 6 - Noticeable Buddhist monks of Tang period
- 6.1 - Amoghavajra
- 6.2 - Dongshan Liangjie
- 6.3 - Vajrabodhi
- 6.4 - Xuanzang
- 6.5 - Moheyan
- 6.6 - Gikū
- 6.7 - Budai
- 6.8 - Daoxuan
- 6.9 - Qiji (monk)
- 6.10 - Tongan Guanzhi
- 6.11 - Kuiji
- 6.12 - Jizang
- 6.13 - Xiangyan Zhixian
- 6.14 - Jiaoran
- 6.15 - Jianzhen
- 6.16 - Zhaozhou Congshen
- 6.17 - Huiguo
- 6.18 - Huangbo Xiyun
- 6.19 - Hanshan (poet)
- 6.20 - Yunmen Wenyan
- 6.21 - Yaoshan Weiyan
- 6.22 - Guanxiu
- 6.23 - Tongan Daopi
- 6.24 - Fenggan
- 6.25 - Puhua
- 6.26 - Egaku
- 6.27 - Dushun
- 6.28 - Yongjia Xuanjue
- 6.29 - Dongshan Shouchu
- 6.30 - Nanyue Huairang
- 6.31 - Liangshan Yuanguan
- 6.32 - Shide (monk)
- 6.33 - Shouwen
- 6.34 - Xue Huaiyi
- 6.35 - Wukong (monk)
- 6.36 - Yi Xing
- 6.37 - Yijing (monk)
- 6.38 - Yuquan Shenxiu
- 6.39 - Zhang Ce
- 6.40 - Shangguan Yi
- 6.41 - Le Yanzhen
- 6.42 - Shandao
- 6.43 - Guifeng Zongmi
- 6.44 - Chengguan (monk)
- 6.45 - Dao-xuan
- 6.46 - Daochuo
- 6.47 - Dayi Daoxin
- 6.48 - Du Hongjian
- 6.49 - Fahai
- 6.50 - Faru (monk)
- 6.51 - Huaisu
- 6.52 - Qiao Lin
- 6.53 - Jia Dao
- 6.54 - Jingwan
- 6.55 - Kim Gyo-gak
- 6.56 - Bianji
- 6.57 - Li Hanzhi
- 6.58 - Liu Zong
- 6.59 - Liyan (Buddhist monk)
- 6.60 - Muzha (given name)
- 6.61 - Zhisheng
The golden age of cosmopolitan culture
Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.
From the outset, religion played a role in Tang politics. In his bid for power, Li Yuan had attracted a following by claiming descent from the Taoism sage Lao Tzu.
People bidding for office would request the prayers of Buddhist monks, with successful aspirants making donations in return.
The Buddhist memorial service
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, and in 629 he had Buddhist monasteries erected at the sites of major battles so that monks could pray for the fallen on both sides of the fight.
Thereafter many Chinese Buddhist monks came to Japan to help further the spread of Buddhism.
The translation of sanskrit texts
Two 7th-century monks in particular, Zhi Yu and Zhi You, visited the court of Emperor Tenji (r. 661–672).
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built by 709, adjacent to the Dajianfu Temple in Chang’an, where Buddhist monks gathered to translate Sanskrit texts into Chinese.
As a result, religion became central in the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–756).
The Emperor Tantric rites
The Emperor invited Taoist and Buddhist monks and clerics to his court an in 726 he called upon the Indian monk Vajrabodhi (671–741) to perform Tantric rites to avert a drought.
In 742 he personally held the incense burner while Amoghavajra (705–774, patriarch of the Shingon school) recited “mystical incantations to secure the victory of Tang forces.”
The decline of the dynasty
The prominent status of Buddhism in Chinese culture began to decline as the dynasty and central government declined as well during the late 8th century to 9th century.
Buddhist convents and temples that were exempt from state taxes beforehand were targeted by the state for taxation.
In 845 Emperor Wuzong of Tang finally shut down 4,600 Buddhist monasteries along with 40,000 temples and shrines, forcing 260,000 Buddhist monks and nuns to return to secular life.
Noticeable Buddhist monks of Tang period
This is a list of particularly noticeable Buddhist monks who lived during the Tang dynasty period.
Amoghavajra was a prolific translator who became one of the most politically powerful Buddhist monks in Chinese history and is acknowledged as one of the Eight Patriarchs of the Doctrine in Shingon Buddhism.
Born in Samarkand of an Indian merchant or a brahmin father and a mother of Sogdian origin, he went to China at age 10 after his father’s death.
In 719, he was ordained into the sangha by Vajrabodhi and became his disciple.
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.
Vajrabodhi was an Indian esoteric Buddhist monk and teacher in Tang China. He is one of the eight patriarchs in Shingon Buddhism. He is notable for introducing Vajrayana Buddhism in the territories of the Srivijaya Empire which subsequently evolved into a distinct form known as Indonesian Esoteric Buddhism.
Xuanzang, born Chen Hui / Chen Yi, also known as Hiuen Tsang, was a 7th-century Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator. He is known for the epoch-making contributions to Chinese Buddhism, the travelogue of his journey to India in 629–645 CE, his efforts to bring over 657 Indian texts to China, and his translations of some of these texts.
Heshang Moheyan 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.”
Gikū or Yikong was an early Heian period Buddhist monk from Tang China. He is Japan’s first Buddhist monk who exclusively taught Zen.
Budai, Hotei or Pu-Tai is a semi-historical Chinese monk who is venerated as deity in Chinese Buddhism and was also introduced into the Japanese Buddhist pantheon. He allegedly lived around the 10th century in the Wuyue kingdom. His name literally means “Cloth Sack”, and refers to the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying as he wanders aimlessly. His jolly nature, humorous personality, and eccentric lifestyle distinguishes him from most Buddhist masters or figures. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the “Laughing Buddha”. The main textual evidence pointing to Budai resides in a collection of Zen Buddhist monks’ biographies known as the “Jingde Chuandeng Lu”, also known as The Transmission of the Lamp.
Daoxuan was an eminent Tang dynasty Chinese Buddhist monk. He is perhaps best known as the patriarch of the Four-part Vinaya school. Daoxuan wrote both the Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks and the Standard Design for Buddhist Temple Construction. Legends retold in his biographies also associate him to a relic of the Buddha which came to be called Daoxuan’s tooth, one of the four tooth relics enshrined in the capital of Chang’an during the Tang dynasty. He is said to have received the relic from Nezha, a divinity associated with Indra.
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 Jiaoran (730-799).
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.
Kuījī, also known as Ji, an exponent of Yogācāra, was a Chinese monk and a prominent disciple of Xuanzang. His posthumous name was Cí’ēn dàshī, The Great Teacher of Cien Monastery, after the Daci’en Temple or Great Monastery of Compassionate Grace, which was located in Chang’an, the main capital of the Tang Dynasty. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in Daci’en Temple in 652. According to biographies, he was sent to the imperial translation bureau headed by Xuanzang, from whom he later would learn Sanskrit, Abhidharma, and Yogācāra.
Jizang (549–623) was a Persian-Chinese Buddhist monk and scholar who is often regarded as the founder of East Asian Mādhyamaka. He is also known as Jiaxiang or Master Jiaxiang because he acquired fame at the Jiaxiang Temple.
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.
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.
Jianzhen, or Ganjin in Japanese, was a Chinese monk who helped to propagate Buddhism in Japan. In the eleven years from 743 to 754, Jianzhen attempted to visit Japan some six times. Ganjin finally came to Japan in the year 753 and founded Tōshōdai-ji in Nara. When he finally succeeded on his sixth attempt he had lost his eyesight as a result of an infection acquired during his journey. Jianzhen’s life story and voyage are described in the scroll, “The Sea Journey to the East of a Great Bonze from the Tang Dynasty.”
Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn (778–897) was a Chán (Zen) Buddhist master especially known for his “paradoxical statements and strange deeds”.
Huiguo (746–805) was a Buddhist monk of Tang China who studied and taught Chinese Esoteric Buddhism, a Vajrayana tradition recently imported from India. Later Huiguo would become the teacher of Kūkai, founder of Shingon Buddhism, a prominent school of Buddhism in Japan.
Huángbò Xīyùn was an influential master of Zen Buddhism during the Tang Dynasty.
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 Fenggan, another monk with legendary attributes.
Yúnmén Wényǎn, was a major Chinese Zen master in Tang-era China. He was a dharma-heir of Xuefeng Yicun
Yaoshan Weiyan was a Zen Buddhist monk who lived during the Tang dynasty.
Guanxiu was a celebrated Buddhist monk, painter, poet, and calligrapher. His greatest works date from the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The collapse of the central Tang government in 907, meant artists and craftsmen lost their most powerful patrons. The imperial Tang court had inspired a golden age of literature and art at its apogee. The various provincial courts who claimed to represent a continuation of the tradition of Tang government also claimed continuity in the arts and culture. The state of the Former Shu had acted as the traditional western sanctuary ever since Emperor Xuanzong had sought refuge there during the An Shi Rebellion in 755. By the collapse of the Tang Dynasty something like a miniature Tang court existed at Chengdu. Guanxiu arrived in chengdu in 901, and remained there until his death.
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 Yunju Daoying. 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 Tongan Guanzhi 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, Dayang Jingxuan, 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.
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).
Zhenzhou Puhua, 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.
Egaku or Hui’E was a well-connected 9th century Japanese scholar-monk who made frequent trips to Tang China for pilgrimage and bringing back Buddhist teachings to Japan. Egaku had a huge impact on the religious and cultural history of China and Japan. In Japan, he is famous for bringing the first Rinzai Zen monk Gikū and the works of the Chinese poet Bai Juyi to Japan. In China, he is renowned for his role in establishing a developed pilgrimage site in Putuoshan, one of the four major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China.
Dushun (557–640) was the First Patriarch in the Huayan School of Chinese Buddhism, which has the Indian Avatamsaka Sutra as its central scripture.
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.
Dongshan Shouchu was a Chinese Zen teacher and an heir to Yunmen Wenyan. Dongshan is the subject of Case 18 “Three Pounds of Flax” in The Gateless Barrier, a collection of koans authored by the Chan master Wumen Huikai in 1228.
Nanyue Huairang (677–744) was the foremost student of Dajian Huineng, the 6th Patriarch of Ch’an (Zen) and teacher of one of his Dharma heirs, Mazu Daoyi.
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.
Shide was a Tang Dynasty Chinese Buddhist poet at the Guoqing Temple on Mount Tiantai on the East China Sea coast; roughly contemporary with Hanshan and Fenggan, but younger than both of them. As close friends the three of them formed the “Tiantai Trio”. Shide lived as a lay monk, and worked most of his life in the kitchen of Guoqing Temple.
Shǒuwēn was a 9th-century Buddhist Chinese monk credited with the invention of the analysis of Middle Chinese as having 36 initials, later ubiquitously used by the rime tables. However, the Dunhuang fragment Pelliot chinois 2012, held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, which operates using an earlier tradition of 30 initials, credits him as his author. Pulleyblank, noting that this fragment does recognize a distinction between labial stops and labiodental fricatives despite not enumerating the latter among the 30 initials, suspects that Shǒuwēn out of deference to the Qieyun tradition decided not to list these initials although he clearly recognized them.
Huaiyi, né Feng Xiaobao (馮小寶), also referred to as Xue Huaiyi (薛懷義), was a Buddhist monk who was known for being the lover of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in the history of China.
Wukong (Chinese: 梧空; pinyin: Wú kōng; Wade–Giles: Wu2-k’ung1; EFEO: Ou-k’ong; 730 to after 790 CE) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, translator, and writer during the medieval Tang dynasty. His earlier religious name was Fajie (Chinese: 法界) (Sanskrit: Dharmadhātu = ‘Realm of the Dharma’.) His family name was Ju (Chinese: 車; pinyin: Jū; Wade–Giles: Chü1 and his personal name was Che Fengzhao. He was descended from the 拓跋 (Tuoba) clan of the Xianbei – the Northern Wei dynasty which ruled China from 365 to 534 CE.
Yi Xing, born Zhang Sui, was a Chinese astronomer, Buddhist monk, inventor, mathematician, mechanical engineer, and philosopher during the Tang dynasty. His astronomical celestial globe featured a liquid-driven escapement, the first in a long tradition of Chinese astronomical clockworks.
Yijing, formerly romanized as I-ching or I-tsing, born Zhang Wenming, was a Tang-era Chinese Buddhist monk famed as a traveller and translator. His account of his travels is an important source for the history of the medieval kingdoms along the sea route between China and India, especially Srivijaya in Indonesia. A student of the Buddhist university at Nālandā, he was also responsible for the translation of many Buddhist texts from Sanskrit and Pali into Chinese.
Yuquan Shenxiu was one of the most influential Chan masters of his day, a Patriarch of the East Mountain Teaching of Chan Buddhism. Shenxiu was Dharma heir of Daman Hongren (601–674), honoured by Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty, and the putative author of the Guan Xin Lun, a text once attributed to Bodhidharma.
Zhang Ce (張策), courtesy name Shaoyi (少逸), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and the succeeding Later Liang of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Later Liang’s founding emperor Zhu Wen.
Shangguan Yi, courtesy name Youshao (游韶), formally Duke of Chu (楚公), was a Chinese poet and politician. He was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozong. In 664, with Emperor Gaozong displeased with his wife Empress Wu for her controlling behavior, and also he grew resentful of her controlling influence in the empire, Shangguan proposed that Empress Wu be deposed, a proposal that Emperor Gaozong was initially receptive to but disavowed once Empress Wu discovered it. Empress Wu then had Shangguan accused of plotting treason with Emperor Gaozong’s oldest son, the former crown prince Li Zhong, and Shangguan was executed. Empress Wu then began to attend state assemblies and to oversee the emperor’s actions and decisions, hearing all the details of the government and obvious intervening in the government. also, His granddaughter Shangguan Wan’er later served as a key secretary to Empress Wu and a beloved concubine to her son Emperor Zhongzong.
Le Yanzhen, né Le Xingda (樂行達), was a warlord late in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, who ruled Weibo Circuit as its military governor (Jiedushi) from 883 to 888.
Shandao was an influential writer for the Pure Land Buddhism, prominent in China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan. His writings had a strong influence on later Pure Land masters including Hōnen and Shinran in Japan. The Samguk yusa records him among the 3 monks who first brought Buddhist teaching, or Dharma, to Korea: Malananta Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Baekje in the southern Korean peninsula, Shandao monk who brought Buddhism to Goguryeo in northern Korea and Ado monk who brought Buddhism to Silla in central Korea. Buddhism, a religion originating in what is now India, was transmitted to Korea via China in the late 4th century. In Jōdo Shinshū, he is considered the Fifth Patriarch.
Guifeng Zongmi (780–841) was a Tang dynasty Buddhist scholar and bhikkhu, installed as fifth patriarch of the Huayan school as well as a patriarch of the Heze school of Southern Chan Buddhism.
Chengguan (738–839) was an important representative of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism, under whom the school gained great influence. Chengguan lived through the reigns of nine emperors and was an honored teacher to seven emperors starting with Xuanzong (玄宗) until Wenzong (文宗). The General Survey of Longxing’s Chronology chronicled during Southern Song and A Brief Account of the Five Patriarchs of Fajiezong of Qing recorded a difference of one year in Chengguan’s birth year, but both documented that he lived to be 102. According to the Song Biographies of Preeminent Monks Chengguan had studied the vinaya, the Three Śāstras when they were popular studies in the south and under more than one teacher, perused commentaries such as Awakening Faith in the Mahāyāna, studied the Avataṃsaka Sūtra with Indian master Fashen 法詵, the Lotus Sūtra and the Vimalakīrti Sūtra and their treatises, the Chan methods of north and south, not to mention the various Chinese philosophical classics, historical works, philology, the Siddham script, Indian philosophies, the four Vedas, the five sciences, mantras, and rituals. This erudite intellectual lectured on the Avataṃsaka Sūtra and its insights, including his various commentaries.
Dao-xuan or Dōsen in Japanese was a prominent Chinese monk in early Japanese Buddhism, responsible for importing Northern School Chan teachings, Huayan school teachings and the Bodhisattva Precepts to Japan in 736. He also served as the Risshi for ordination prior to the arrival of Ganjin, and presided over the opening of the Tōdai-ji Temple.
Daochuo, was a Chinese Buddhist scholar of the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra who later became an eminent scholar of Pure Land Buddhism. In Chinese Buddhist tradition, he is considered the second patriarch of Pure Land Buddhism while In Jōdo Shinshū, he is considered the Fourth Patriarch.
Dayi Daoxin, who lived from 580–651, was the fourth Chán Buddhist Patriarch, following Jianzhi Sengcan and preceding Hongren, posthumous name Daman, was the 5th Patriarch of Chan Buddhism.
Du Hongjian (杜鴻漸), courtesy name Zhisun (之巽), formally Duke Wenxian of Wei (衛文憲公), was a Chinese Buddhist monk and politician during the Tang dynasty who served as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Daizong. He was known, and much criticized by traditional Chinese historians, for his devotion to Buddhism, one manifestation of which was his patronage of the Chan master Wuzhu.
Fahai, born Pei Wende, was a monk who lived in Tang Dynasty, and was identified as a compiler of Zen Buddhism according to the Dun-huang edition of the Platform Sutra. Fahai was a disciple of the Six Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Hui-neng.
Faru was a prominent Buddhist monk during the Tang Dynasty in China. He was originally a student of Huimíng, but this teacher reportedly sent Faru to East Mountain to study under Daman Hongren. Under Hongren, with whom he studied for sixteen years, Faru is traditionally thought to have received dharma transmission. After his time on East Mountain, Faru left to Luoyang, spending some time at Shaolin Monastery and helping to re-establish its prominence.
Huaisu, courtesy name Zangzhen (藏真), was a Buddhist monk and calligrapher of the Tang Dynasty, famous for his cursive calligraphy. Fewer than 10 pieces of his works have survived. One of his representative works is Huai Su’s Autobiography.
Qiao Lin (喬琳) was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor briefly early in the reign of Emperor Dezong. He later served the rebel ruler Zhu Ci, and after Tang forces destroyed Zhu’s regime, was executed despite his old age.
Jia Dao (779–843), courtesy name Langxian (浪仙), was a Chinese Buddhist monk and poet active during the Tang dynasty.
Jingwan was a Buddhist monk who flourished in the 7th Century, based at Yunju Temple, Fangshan, China. Inspired by apocalyptic stories of the decline of Buddhism, in about 609 CE he conceived a project to carve Buddhist sutras onto stone tablets or steles to preserve them. The project began ca. 611 with major donations from the Empress and her brother Xiao Yu in 611 CE. Other donations soon followed and Leiyin Cave was completed ca 616 CE. Once begun, the project was to continue, off and on, for 1000 years and produced the most extensive collection of sutra engravings in China.
Kim Gyo-gak, or Jin Qiaojue in Mandarin, was a Korean Buddhist monk believed to be the manifestation of Ksitigarbha at Mount Jiuhua, one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism, located in Anhui province, China.
Bianji was a Buddhist monk who lived in the Tang Dynasty. He was also the translator and author of Great Tang Records on the Western Regions. Little is known about his life, apart from that he translated several Buddhist scriptures and sutras. He was executed by Emperor Taizong for having an illicit affair with the emperor’s daughter Princess Gaoyang.
Li Hanzhi, formally the Prince of Longxi (隴西王), nickname Li Moyun (李摩雲), was a Chinese Buddhist monk, military general, politician, and warlord of the late medieval Tang dynasty. He was initially a follower of the major agrarian rebel Huang Chao, and later became a Tang general, mostly known for his service under Li Keyong. He was known for ferocity in carrying out raids.
Liú Zǒng, dharma name Dàjué (大覺), formally Duke of Chǔ (楚公), was a general of the Táng Dynasty. He took over control of Lúlóng Circuit in 810 after killing his father Liú Jì (劉濟) as well as his brother Liú Gǔn (劉緄), and thereafter ruled the circuit de facto independently from the imperial government. In 821, he submitted the circuit to imperial control and took tonsure to be a Buddhist monk. He died shortly after.
Liyan (Buddhist monk)
Lìyán’ was a Buddhist monk (沙門) from Kucha. According to the Biographies of eminent monks compiled during the Song period, he was originally from Kucha. He was ordained in 726, and is said to have mastered a wide range of Buddhist texts and the Chinese classics. He acted an amanuensis to the Indian Buddhist monk Dharmacandra when he translated Pǔbiànzhìcáng bōrěbōluómìduō xīnjīng, a version of the Prajñāpāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra in 738 CE.
Muzha (given name)
Mucha (Chinese: 木叉; pinyin: Mùchā; Wade–Giles: Mu4-ch’a1), more commonly known as Muzha (Chinese: 木吒; pinyin: Mùzhā; Wade–Giles: Mu4-cha1), is a short form of Pratimokṣa in Chinese (Chinese: 波羅提木叉; pinyin: Bólúotímùchā; Wade–Giles: Po1-lo2-t’i2-mu4-ch’a1) and also a given name.
Zhìshēng was a Chinese Buddhist monk and bibliographer from the Tang dynasty. Little is known about his life, but it is known that he became a monk early in his life and studied Mahayana and Theravada doctrines, and was particularly knowledgeable on the Vinaya. He is best known for his Catalogue of Śākyamuṇi’s Teachings of the Kaiyuan Era of the Great Tang Era or simply the Kaiyuan Catalogue (T2154) completed in 730 CE. This was significant because the organisation of it formed the basic structure of the Chinese Buddhist Tripiṭaka. “It is generally considered the single most important bibliographical catalogue in terms of the role it played in the history of East Asia Buddhist Canonical publications”.