Princeton University Library Catalog

Patriarchs on paper : a critical history of medieval Chan literature / Alan Cole.

Cole, Alan, 1964- [Browse]
  • Oakland, California : University of California Press, [2016]
  • ©2016
xvii, 320 pages ; 24 cm
Summary note:
"Chan Buddhism--better known as 'Zen'--produced an enormous amount of literature, and yet many Chan advocates, medieval and modern, insist that Chan and its truths can be found in neither language nor literature. Patriarchs on Paper explores this paradox by considering several genres of Chan literature that appeared during the Tang and Song dynasties (c. 600-1300), including genealogies, biographies, dialogues, poems, monastic handbooks, and koans. Looking carefully at this body of literature, Alan Cole shows how Chan authors gradually constructed, in ever more artful portrayals, images of the perfectly simple masters of the past, best known for their freedom from literature and cultural norms. Patriarchs on Paper explores how this kind of 'fantasy Buddhism' interacted with its more traditional Chinese forms and in so doing sheds new light on how Chan's illustrious ancestors were created in literature to satisfy a wide range of agendas"--Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-297) and index.
Introduction: Chan -- what is it? -- Making history : Chan as an art form -- Plans for the past : early accounts of how perfect truth came to China -- Portable ancestors : Bodhidharma gets two new families -- More local Buddhas appear : Jingjue, Huineng, Shenhui -- Truth, conspiracy, and careful writing : a new version of Huineng -- The Platform Sutra and other conspiracy theories -- Chan "dialogues" from the Tang Dynasty -- Chan compendiums from the Song Dynasty -- Rules for purity : handbooks for running Chan monasteries -- Koans and being there -- Conclusions : Chan, a Buddhist beauty.
  • 9780520284067 ((cloth ; : alk. paper))
  • 0520284062 ((cloth ; : alk. paper))
  • 9780520284074 ((pbk. ; : alk. paper))
  • 0520284070 ((pbk. ; : alk. paper))
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