Baizhang Huaihai
Caoshan Benji
Dahui Zonggao
Daman Hongren
Danxia Tianran
Dayi Daoxin
Dazhao Puji
Dazhu Huihai
Dazu Huike
Deshan Xuanjian
Dongshan Liangjie
Guifeng Zongmi
Guishan Lingyou
Guizong Zhichang
Heze Shenhui
Hongzhi Zhengjue
Huangbo Xiyun
Huanglong Huinan
Jinshan tanying
Linji Yixuan
Longtan Chongxin
Luohan Guichen
Mazu Daoyi
Nanquan Puyuan
Nanta Guangyong
Nanyang Huizhong
Nanyue Huairang
Niutou Farong
Qingliang Wenyi
Qingyuan Xingsi
Shishuang Chuyuan
Shitou Xiqian
Tianhuang Daowu
Xiangyan Zhixian
Xitang Zhizang
Xuansha Shibei
Xuedou Chongxian
Xuefeng Yicun
Yangqi Fanghui
Yangshan Huiji
Yantou Quanhuo
Yaoshan Weiyan
Yongjia Xuanjue
Yongming Yanshou
Yunmen Wenyan
Yunyan Tansheng
Yuquan Shenxiu
Zhaozhou Congshen
Xitang Zhizang
Mazu Daoyi
Jilin Daoyi, Hongshe
XITANG ZHIZANG (735–814) was a student of Mazu Daoyi. He came from Qianhua City in ancient Qian Province. When young, he had an unusually noble appearance. People said that he would likely be an “assistant to the Dharma King” (a servant of Buddha). After receiving ordination at the age of twenty-five, he went traveling, and finally came to study under Mazu Daoyi. A fellow student of Baizhang, they together received Dharma transmission from Master Ma.Among Zhizang’s numerous disciples were the Korean monks Jilin Daoyi and Hongshe. These two adepts transmitted Zen to their native country. There, they helped to establish the “Nine Mountains,” nine prominent schools of Korean Zen.
Following Mazu's death in 788, Xitang became the leader of the monastic community at Kaiyuan monastery.10 He
Following Mazu's death in 788, Xitang became the leader of the monastic community at Kaiyuan monastery.10 He taught there for at least the next few years, and Mazu's followers looked to him for guidance more than any other senior disciple.11 Despite Xitang's prominent role, Chan sources provide little information about him. His biographies in the Chan chronicles, including Chuandeng lu, are brief, and he was not accorded a record of sayings. The lack of biographical information about Xitang during the tenth century is evident in Zutang ji. There, toward the end of Xitang's brief hagiographic entry, which contains virtually no biographical information, the compilers note: “Besides these [three short stories], we have not seen any other records about his activities, and the dates of his death and birth are not known.”12 Moreover, although Zanning allocated separate biographies to more than thirty of Mazu's disciples in Song gaoseng zhuan, he did not provide a full biographical entry for Xitang, possibly because of a lack of sufficient information. The text of Xitang's stele inscription was not widely circulated and was not included in the standard collections of documents from the Tang period. With the exception of a few short stories of questionable provenance, there are also no records of Xitang's teachings.
Xitang's neglect at the hand of later writers and historians reflects a subsequent demotion of his stature. After the Tang period, other monks, in particular Baizhang and Nanquan, supplanted him as leading representatives of the Hongzhou school's second generation. Even so, because his historical position as Mazu's leading disciple was established, he could not be ignored, and Chan chronicles usually mention him as one of Mazu's two main disciples, along with Baizhang.13 Xitang's emergence as one of Mazu's principal disciples goes back to the late 760s, when Mazu left him in charge of the monastic community at Gonggong mountain at the time of Mazu's move to Hongzhou. He also appears second, after Dazhu, in the list of senior disciples in Mazu's stele inscription.14 Another indication of Xitang's prominence comes from an inscription for a monastery in Mazu's native Sichuan that was composed by the famous poet Li Shangyin (812–858).15 The inscription commemorates Mazu, Xitang, Wuxiang, and Wuzhu. Xitang was presumably included in that illustrious company as a representative of Mazu's disciples, even though he is the only one of the four monks with no connection to Sichuan. Zongmi's Pei xiu sheyi wen also mentions Xitang—together with Huaihui, Baizhang, Weikuan and Daowu—as one of the five main disciples of Mazu.16 Predictably, Xitang's stele inscription describes him as Mazu's most influential and capable disciple. It states that Xitang and Weikuan were the two main disciples whose teachings flourished in the South and the North, respectively.17 That statement suggests an analogy with the famous representation of Shenxiu and Huineng as the Chan school's leaders in the North and the South, respectively. Song gaoseng zhuan also states thatXitang received Mazu's robe. Since the transmission of the robe served as a metaphor for the transmission of Chan enlightenment, Mazu's putative bestowal of his robe indicates the selection of Xitang as his spiritual successor.
Xitang was born in 738 in Qianhua prefecture (in present-day Jiangxi).19 His family name was Liao. He entered monastic life when he was only eight years old. In 750, at the age of twelve, he joined Mazu, who at the time was residing at Xili mountain in Fuzhou.20 The young novice followed Mazu in the move to Gonggong mountain, located in Xitang's native prefecture.21 In 761, at the age of twenty-three, Xitang received full monastic ordination.22 As has been noted, when two decades later Mazu received an invitation to take up residence in Hongzhou, he left Xitang to lead the community at Gonggong mountain. During the later part of his life, Xitang emerged as a prominent and well- connected Chan teacher. His lay disciples included powerful local officials such as Li Jian and Qi Ying (748–795). Li became Mazu's disciple and supporter after he assumed the position of governor of Jiangxi in 785.24 Li and Xitang were together involved in the organization of Mazu's funeral. Subsequently, Li remained a supporter of the monastic community and continued his study of Buddhism with Xitang. Qi Ying, a jinshi examination graduate, Regional Spread of the Hongzhou School followed Li Jian as a civil governor of Jiangxi after 791. Another official connected to Xitang was Li Bo (773–831), the author of his first stele inscription.
Xitang's biography in Chuandeng lu also records this conversation between him and the famous Confucian apologistLi Ao (772–841):
Secretary of State Li Ao once asked a monk, “What was the teaching of Great Master Ma?”
The monk replied, “The Great Master sometimes would say that mind is Buddha; sometimes he would say that it isneither mind nor Buddha.”
Li said, “All pass here.” Li then asked the master [i.e., Xitang], “What was the teaching of the great master Ma?”
The master called, “Li Ao!”
Li responded.
The Master said, “The drum and the horn moved.”
There is not much information about the last two decades of Xitang's life. Presumably he spent his late years at Gonggong mountain. He died in 817, at the age of seventy-nine. His disciples erected him a stūpa on the grounds of the monastery on Gonggong mountain. According to the stele inscription, at the time of his death Xitang did not suffer from any illness. He simply asked his disciples to assemble and then quietly departed from this world. In 824, Emperor Muzong (r. 820–824) posthumously bestowed on him the title Dajue (Great Awakening), in response to a request made by Li Bo.
His memorial pagoda was named Da bao guang (Great Precious Light). Wei Shou (dates of birth and death unknown) compiled a record of Xitang's teachings and life, which is no longer extant.
Xitang did not have disciples who made any notable impact on the subsequent history of Chan in China, which is one reason behind his neglect by later historians.30 On the other hand, he was a teacher of Korean monks who exerted significant influence on the growth of the Chan (Sŏn) tradition on the Korean peninsula. Three of the reputed founders of the main Sŏn schools that emerged during the Silla dynasty—Toŭi (d. 825), Hongch'ŏk (fl. 826), and Hyech'ŏl (785– 861)—were disciples of Xitang. The first of the Korean monks to come to study with Xitang was Toŭi. According to his biography, he met Xitang while the latter was residing at Kaiyuan monastery.31 This meeting probably happened after Toŭi's arrival in China in 784. After his study with Xitang, Toŭi also visited Baizhang's monastery. The Korean monks presumably went to study with Xitang because at the time he was Mazu's best-known disciple; consequently, he ended up attracting the largest number of Korean disciples among his contemporaries."
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