Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

“Who Is Reciting the Name of the Buddha?” as Gongan in Chinese Chan Buddhism

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Frontiers of History in China

Chan Buddhism’s ambivalent relationship with language and literature is perhaps most starkly seen in its practice of gongan meditation. This practice was first instituted by the famous Linji master Dahui and involves an intense meditational focus on the “punch line” (huatou) of what is typically a story about an ancient Chan master or an enigmatic question like “why did [the legendary founder of Chan] Bodhidharma come from the West?” In the Ming dynasty, a new gongan became widely used in Chan meditation: the phrase “who is reciting the name of the Buddha?” This was a reference to the widespread practice of chanting homage to the Buddha Amitābha in hope of getting reborn into his paradise. In using this new gongan, Chan seemingly embraced oral practice in an unprecedented move and appeared to combine the other-power of Amitābha worship with the self-power of Chan meditation. Scholars have struggled to understand this development, and several have dismissed it as an example of the degeneration of Chan and its later pandering to lay people. I argue that the development of this gongan can best be seen as an attempt to reframe the practice of Buddha-recitation in a Chan meditative framework; and further explore the rationale for the practice as given by the influential Buddhist thinker Yunqi Zhuhong, who was a staunch advocate of Buddha-recitation.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Frontiers of History in China — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation