Hongzhi Zhengjue (Chinese: ?; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Hung-chih Cheng-chueh, Japanese: Wanshi Sh?gaku), also sometimes called Tiantong Zhengjue (Chinese: ?; Japanese: Tendo Sh?gaku) (1091-1157), was a Chinese Chan (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist monk who authored or compiled several influential Buddhist texts. Hongzhi's conception of silent illumination is of particular importance to the Chinese Caodong Chan and Japanese S?t? Zen schools; however, Hongzhi was also the author of an important collection of k?ans, although k?ans are now usually associated with the Chinese Linji or Japanese Rinzai schools.
According to the account given in Taigen Dan Leighton's Cultivating the Empty Field, Hongzhi was born to a family named Li in Xizhou, present-day Shanxi province. He left home at the age of eleven to become a monk, studying under Caodong master Kumu Faqeng, among others, including Yuanwu Keqin, author of the famous k?an collection, the Blue Cliff Record.
In 1129, Hongzhi began teaching at the Jingde monastery on Mount Tiantong, where he remained for nearly thirty years, until shortly before his death in 1157, when he ventured down the mountain to bid farewell to his supporters.
The main text associated with Hongzhi is a collection of one hundred of his k?ans, known in English as The Book of Equanimity, The Book of Serenity, or The Book of Composure (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), or Sh?y?roku () in Japanese. This book was compiled after his death by Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246) at the urging of the Khitan statesman Yelü Chucai (1190-1244), and first published in 1224, with commentaries by Wansong. This book is regarded as one of the key texts of the Caodong school of Zen Buddhism. A collection of Hongzhi's philosophical texts has also been translated by Leighton.
Hongzhi is often referred to as an exponent of Silent Illumination Chan (Mokush? Zen in Japanese).
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