Chan Continues

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With Dahui we conclude our story of Chan. But Chan did not end with Dahui. In fact, rather than continuing to fly apart and diversify as might be suspected, Chan consolidated.

Although the Guiyang and Fayen houses fizzled comparatively quickly, the Yunmen lasted considerably longer, with an identifiable line of transmission lasting
 virtually throughout the Sung Dynasty.

The Caodong house languished for a while, but with Silent Illumination Chan it came
 back strongly during the Sung Dynasty.

Linji split into two factions in the early eleventh century, when two pupils of the Shishuang Chuyuan (986-1036) decided to go their own way. One of these masters, known as Huangmei Hongren (Huang-lung Hui-nan) (1002-1069), started a school which subsequently was transmitted to Japan by the Japanese master Eisai, where it became known as Oryo Zen. However, this school did not last long in China or Japan, becoming moribund after a few generations. The other disciple of Shishuang was a master named Yangchi Fanghui (Yang-ch'i Fa-hui) (992-1049), whose school (known in Japanese as Yogi Zen) eventually became the only school of Chinese Chan, absorbing all other sects when Chan went into its final decline after the Sung. Dahui was part of this school, and it was the branch of the Linji sect that eventually took hold in Japan.

As we end our story of Chinese Chan here we must note that Chan continued on strongly through the Sung largely because the government began selling ordinations for its own profit. Chan also continued to flourish during the Mongol-dominated Yuan Dynasty (1279-1309), with many priests from Japan coming to China for study. So it is worth remembering as you begin learning about Zen in Japan that it was this formalized Chan that Japanese pilgrims encountered, not the Chan of Huineng, Mazu and Zhaozhou they had read about.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368--1644), it merged the Pure Land school of Buddhism and changed drastically. Although Ming-style Chinese Chan still persists today, mainly outside China, its practice bears scant resemblance to the original teachings.

To continue the story of the practice of the classical Chan we have been following in this course, we now turn to Japan.