About Tongan Daopi

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.
Tang emissaries to Sogdian King Varkhuman in Samarkand, 648–651 CE, Afrasiab murals

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

Chan Buddhist monks – The spirit of the Bodhidharma

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 .