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Fathering Your Father: The Zen of Fabrication in Tang Buddhism
Author Alan Cole
Publisher University of California Press
ISBN 9780520254855
Classification Religion > Chinese Religion
Price HK$261.00
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This book offers a provocative rereading of the early history of Chan Buddhism (Zen). Working from a history-of-religions point of view that asks how and why certain literary tropes were chosen to depict the essence of the Buddhist tradition to Chinese readers, this analysis focuses on the narrative logics of the early Chan genealogies—the seventh-and eighth-century lineage texts that claimed that certain high-profile Chinese men were descendents of Bodhidharma and the Buddha. This book argues that early Chan's image of the perfect-master-who-owns-tradition was constructed for reasons that have little to do with Buddhist practice, new styles of enlightened wisdom, or "orthodoxy," and much more to do with politics, property, geography, and, of course, new forms of writing.

About the Author:

Alan Cole taught in the Religious Studies Dept. at Lewis & Clark College from 1994-2012; he currently is teaching in the Philosophy Dept. at National University of Singapore. He is also the author of Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism (Stanford U Press) and Text as Father: Paternal Seductions in Early Mahayana Buddhist Literature (UCal Press).



1. Healthy Skepticism, and a Field Theory for the Emergence of Chan Literature

2. The State of Enlightenment: The Empire of Truth in Zhiyi's Legacy and Xinxing's Sect of the Three Levels

3. Owning It: Shaolin Monastery's In-house Buddha

4. The Future of an Illusion: Du Fei Hijacks Shaolin's Truth-Fathers

5. My Life as a Buddha: Jingjue's Version of the Truth-Fathers

6. Shenhui's “Stop Thief” Bid to Be the Seventh Son

Conclusion: Assessing the Hole at the Beginning of It All

Chinese Glossary



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