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Phase 6 – Hanshan Deqing: (1191 C.E. – 1868 C.E.)

Hanshan Deqing 1

Caption: The Chinese illustration above depicts the first and only Woodblock painting of Hanshan Deqing, the greatest reformer of Chinese Buddhism during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. Hanshan is revered as one of the most powerful reformers of Chinese Buddhism through his refurbished concept of the Nianfo technique and the dual practice of Pure Land and Chan methods. Additionally, Deqing was a commentator and a lecturer, which explains his stern adherence to the Buddhist principles.

Ever since I was young, it was evident that Buddha had selected me among the people to continue the teachings of Chan and Pure Land teachings. At the period, the Ming Dynasty discredited the Chan Buddhism teachings based on the reason that they encouraged disobedience to authority. Regardless, I viewed such allegations as an attempt by the ruling family to abhor the Chinese people from experiencing the aspect of Enlightenment and Insight from Buddha. Hence, this reason and influence from the scholar, Wang Yangming, propelled me to reform the teachings of Chan (Brook, 87). The aspect of using the Sutras as the main source of knowledge did not appeal to me as it did to other contemporaries because I believed that direct understanding, through interaction and Zazen, was possible for understanding the teachings of Buddha. In addition, the teachings of Chan were highly suppressed especially after the fall of the Song Dynasty. Embarking on reinforcement of the Chan teachings required me to study about practices such as Hua Tou and Shikantaza and teaching techniques such as the Koans, which were used for meditation, personal study, and other aspects encompassing meditation of Buddha’s teachings (Brook, 102). I introduced the amalgamation of Chan and Pure Land teachings in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment from Buddha through meditation and study. By combining the Chan and Pure Land teachings, I was able to theorize Chan teachings and provide practicum on meditation through the practice of Visualization, where one is able to obtain spiritual enlightenment by visualizing and reflecting Amitabha Buddha. However, I also believed that attaining enlightenment required one to have a purified mind, hence my reason for developing the Nianfo technique (Keown, 104). Nevertheless, I learned that attaining enlightenment is a path towards acquiring self-realization.

Works Cited

Brook, Timothy. The Chinese State in Ming Society. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005. Print.

Keown, Damien. A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print

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