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Chuang-Tzu and the Chinese Ancestry of Ch'an Buddhism

Livia Knaul
Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Vol.13 (1986), p.411-428
Copyright  1986 by Dialogue Publishing Company, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A

In regarding the development of Ch'an Buddhism much emphasis has traditionally been placed on its Indian background. Of course, it has been recognized that the Indian sources passed through a process of translation and adaptation to the Chinese, but what exactly the native soil was in which the Buddhist seeds fell has not been analyzed all too clearly.

 Chinese philosophy, on the other hand, has been seen as consisting mainly of the three traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Taoism as a philosophy in the Six Dynasties period meant the so-called school of Lao-Chuang, i.e., a mixture of ideas based on the Tao-te-ching and the Chuang-Tzu and on their major Dark Learning commentators Wang Pi and Kuo Hsiang. However, Lao-Chuang did not merely consist of a certain way of looking at the world; it also encompassed a practical ideal of how to deal with this life. Appealing mainly to the educated elite, Lao-Chuang served as a means to comprehend and express ecstatic states experienced by individual literati through absorption into music; wine, or nature. The most famous examples are found in the poetry of Juan Chi, Hsi K'ang, and T'ao Yuan-ming.(1) Because of this function and its ideal of mystical freedom, Lao-Chuang thought can be considered part of the native Chinese mystical tradition.

 This tradition became the major vehicle for the translation of Buddhist concepts into Chinese thinking. In this process of translation, the tradition of Lao-Chuang itself underwent decisive changes. After two centuries of interaction with Buddhism, it ceased to exist as an independent philosophical, mystical alternative.(2) In this context, Ch'an may be seen as the legitimate heir to the Lao-Chuang tradition. It was be the purpose of this paper to delineate the development from Kuo Hsiang's Chuang-Tzu to the direct forerunners of Ch'an.

 Mysticism as found in the Chuang-Tzu is based on the assumption that the Tao, the Absolute, is always here and there and everywhere. Man became separated from the Tao as he developed consciousness, through which he came to hate death and love life, and constantly shifted between emotional and intellectual extremes. To remedy this situation, rather than making choices, he should identify with all, as all is the Tao, and "make all things equal," forgetting himself and the world by "sitting in oblivion".(3) Once freed from the 'fetters and handcuffs' of categorial thinking, he will mentally dissolve into Chaos (hun-tun ),(4) after which there will be no more right and wrong, no more death and life. Man will then become fully at-one with the Tao and able to enjoy everything just as it is. This is the true freedom of man, the 'free and easy wandering" of the first chapter of the Chuang-Tzu. The mind then can roam through the universe in cosmic excursion, but it is also perfectly suited to dealing with everyday realities.(5) The true man is always one in what he does, his mere presence benefits the age. He has a human face, but is actually filled with the emptiness of Heaven; acting like everyone else, he never gets entangled.(6)

 Systematized by Kuo Hsiang,the essential ideas of Chuang-Tzu mysticism are organized into a philosophical world-view. The Tao, the eternal Absolute, which is characterized as changing on and on without beginning or end, is called Self-so or nature. It manifests itself in the world in two aspects, share and principle (fen and li ) which define each being's lot and particular existence. In man they are inborn nature and fate (hsing and ming ) respectively. Only when man remains within the ideal framework delineated for him by nature will he be content and lead a happy life. But consciousness causes him to love and hate and discriminate, spoiling the original purity. In realizing that he is bound by his perception, man can attain a state of utmost accordance with life: by emptying his mind and "sitting in oblivion" the state of realization of nature within himself. This is the interpretation Kuo Hsiang gives for the "free and easy wandering" of the Chuang-Tzu. Mystical union, the merging of one's mind with the Absolute in Chaos, he expresses through the word ming as opposed to hsiang , to think in dualistic patterns. Both terms were later used by Buddhists.

 Furthermore, the Chuang-Tzu ideal of no-mind, wu-hsin , of "keeping a free self in the midst of any and all circumstances, to affirm the here and now actively as one's own"(7), is elaborated by Kuo Hsiang to encompass not only non-action, but also non-happiness, non-reliance, non-knowledge, etc. These are ideal states of mind developed through the complete denial of their imperfect and impure counterparts in the world. With no-mind, the true man, rather than withdrawing into the wilderness, will be able to find the place in society most appropriate for him. Precisely because "he stopped being aware of beings, he is able to enter the crowd". (Comm. ch. 6) Fulfilling his social responsibilities to the utmost, he realizes his given share of the universal truth. As everything is the Tao, no task is too low to grant fulfillment. And tasks are duties in the world and for the good of society, which itself is but a part of the cosmic process with which one should always be in tune. This notion which mirrors Confucian concepts as much as the ideal Taoist state of Great Peace is contradictory to the Buddhist postulation that one has to leave one's family and society in order to realize oneself as a monk and as a true man.

 The first Buddhist thinker to take up the Chuang- Tzu was the monk Chih Tun (314-366)(8). He came from a gently Buddhist family and never left the aristocracy. His Buddhism found expression in his monkish attire, his shaven head and his observance of the five precepts. His thought, however, is fully based on the Dark Learning, especially on Kuo Hsiang, and is expressed in a mixture of Buddhist technical vocabulary and Chuang-Tzu metaphors.

 While Kuo Hsiang says that the Absolute is nature and one has to go beyond beings to realize it, Chih Tun states that one should transcend matter to reach the arcanum which encompasses being and non-being. All matter is ultimately empty, because it arises as part of the chain of dependent origination and does not exist by itself. On the other hand, Chih Tun notes that "Heaven's truth is the original world"(9) and sees the process of purification as a return to truth. As long as there is mentation, (i.e., thoughts, worries, and emotions) Heaven's principle cannot make itself manifest. Even the ten stages of prajna wisdom are no more than the "traces", the outward symbols of the actual doctrine.'(10) Man should forget the traces and what causes them (chi and so-i chi ) , non-being and what causes non-being. Chih Tun uses the so-i construction of Kuo Hsiang to express stages of forgetfulness, of unified perception which are utterly ineffable. But whether someone can pass through these stages fully depends on his "karma-lot" (yuan-fein ) , (11) a combination of the Buddhist concept of retribution with Kuo Hsiang's  notion of the cosmic share.  Mystical union is again fully conceived of in Chuang-Tzu phrasing: "The mind merges (ming ) with the Great Void, in emptiness and identity, change and emotion are forgotten."(l2) "Emptiness and identity" (k'ung-t'ung in the Chuang-Tzu is the name of a mystical mountain. It is related to hun-tun , chaos, phonetically and conceptually, denoting the mystical state of mind, a kind of chaotified perception which alone is able to realize the arcanum. Yet Chih Tun also criticises Kuo Hsiang:(13)
Someone said: Is everyone following his own nature to be considered as wandering at leisure? ' Chih Tun objected: This is not true. The nature of the tyrant Chieh and of Robber Chih was to destroy and to harm, and if one regards following one's nature as the realization of perfect freedom, then their way of life would consequently be "free and easy wandering", too.
 Here the understanding of what comprises man's nature is the significant difference. While Kuo Hsiang postulated that inborn nature was an aspect of the Tao and therefore pure and good (the so-called 'nature' of a tyrant would therefore be a distortion), Chih Tun admits the possibility of an evil nature which has to be fought and suppressed to attain purity. Thus one should purge oneself of desires, cut all attachments to family and state, and fully submit to the precepts of the monk's life.  Fukunaga sees Chih Tun's major contribution to Chinese thought as lying in his exemplary life: for the first time, the elite was exposed to the idea that one should take direct personal action towards salvation, rather than merely unlearning whatever patterns one had inherited. Now an active denial of instincts was proposed which replaced the ideal of just letting go, of mystically 'going along' with one's inner impulses and outer circumstances. The satisfaction or contentment of the true man gains a new dimension with Chih Tun. This is documented in the sole passage that remains of his Chuang-Tzu commentary:(14)

Free and easy wandering refers to the mind of the perfect man. When Chuang-Tzu talked about the Great Tao, he used the analogy of the P'eng bird and the quail. Because the P'eng bird's way of life is untrammeled, it loses all  particular direction in the realms beyond the  body. But because the quail, on the other  hand, lives in the near and scoffs at the far,  there is a certain complacency in the realm  within its mind.
 The perfect man, riding upon the truth of  Heaven, soars aloft, wandering infinitely in  unfettered freedom. Since he treats beings as  beings without being treated as a mere being by  them, therefore in his wandering he is not  self-satisfied. Being mystically in communion  with the universe, he does not act purposefully.  He is not hurried, yet he moves swiftly.  Therefore in his freedom he goes everywhere.  This is how it becomes 'free wandering'. But  if, on the other hand, one has a desire to  fulfill one's own contentment, and to be  content with one's own contentment, such a  person in his happiness has something like  natural simplicity, like a hungry man, once he  is satiated, or like a thirsty man, once his  thirst is quenched. But would such a one  forthwith forget all about cooking and eating  in the presence of grains and cereals, or put  an end to all further toasting and pledging in  the presence of wines and liquors?  Unless it is perfect contentment, how can it be  a means to free wandering?

 Therefore real satisfaction, ultimate happiness, has to go beyond the limits of one's needs, one's instincts, one's inborn nature. Neither the P'eng bird nor the quail reach that. The Chuang-Tzu agrees, stating that even though these two birds follow their in-born nature, they still rely on something. True freedom, however, is non-reliance (wu-tai ) "If he had only mounted on the truth of Heaven and Earth, ridden the changes of the six breaths, and thus wandered through the boundless, then what would he have had to depend on?"(15)

 In summary, the first encounter of Chuang-Tzu mysticism with Buddhism effected an extension of Chuang-Tzu philosophy on three planes: (1) cosmology---the philosophical concept of the emptiness of matter; (2) psychology---the analytical understanding of life and body as conditioned and the introduction of the concepts of the skandhas, etc., and (3) action---the practical way of the denial of instincts and the life of a monk. Despite these additions, the Chuang-Tzu remained the basic system of mystical philosophy. This is also reflected in the use of "matching the meaning" (ko-i) as a method of translation.

 Hsi Ch'ao (336-377)(16),a layman who came from a family with both Taoist and Buddhist connections, probably knew Chih Tun as they were both active in the capital about the same time. His religious thought documented in his only surviving work, the Feng-fa-yao ,(17) appears to be more practically oriented than Chih Tun's. His major concern is retribution and the role of morality in man's life, but he also deals with the absolute state beyond karma and retribution, with prajna, nirvana, and sunyata.

 To reach the Absolute, Hsi Ch'ao maintains, man must first realize his own suffering and his sinful life, then change morally to ensure happiness and good luck through reward in the course of retribution. This statement reminds one of Kuo Hsiang's claim that the true man will always encounter good luck, understood as situations appropriate for him. (Comm. ch. 5) The devotee of Hsi Ch'ao, like Kuo Hsiang's sage, mysteriously responds to the world, having emptied his mind of "gain and loss, slander and fame, praise and ridicule, sorrow and joy."(18) "Forgetting mind" is the practice of the Way, and non-knowledge is the wisdom (prajjna) of the sage who rests his mind in the complete stillness of nirvana. For Hsi Ch'ao,

 "emptiness is an expression for having   forgotten all attachments; it is not a term   denoting a space to dwell in. Non-being means   just non-being; if one imagines it as a   concrete entity, one will be impeded by   categories (feng ).(19) Similarly, being   means just being. Forgetting both is the way to   mystical liberation, as being and non-being   actually issue from mind and have no reality   whatsoever."(20)
 That all dharmas issue from mind is also stated in the Vimalakirti Nidesa, in much the same way as nirvana is described as utter stillness in the Nirvana sutra. Yet Hsi Ch'ao's system of thought is still firmly rooted in the Chinese tradition. In addition to the progress of Chuang-Tzu mysticism wrought by Chih Tun, here psychological details of Buddhist mind-analysis along with the theory of karma and retribution as an individual issue are more significantly stated. It is obvious that the literati, after having been confronted with the active practice of Buddhism and its world-view, now try to properly understand it without letting go of their inherited views. The Feng-fa-yao in this sense belongs together with Sun Cho's Yu-tao-lun, a text documenting the attempt to harmonize the three doctrines of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Lao-Chuang.(21) Members of the elite, searching for an individual personal realization of the universe, had grown conscious of the implications of Buddhism and accepted its doctrines, yet ultimately remained Chinese.

 This also holds true for Tao-an (312-385), the leading Buddhist figure in the north who "was unable to break with his own Chinese past, particularly with the notion that the Chinese classics contain in germ everything a man must have for a complete life."(22) His teaching of' "the original nature of dharmas" (pen-wu ) represents a thorough mixture of Buddhism and Lao-Chuang aptly described by A. Link whose findings I will summarize below.(23)

 According to Tao-an, being and non-being together constitute the whole of existence (tzu-jan '), the nature of which is pen-wu, "transcendental emptiness". The creation of the world is a continuous process,latently present all the time as pen-wu. Likening it to the Taoist "numen of the valley" (Tao-re-ching (6) ) , Tao-an describes "original non-being" as hsu-k 'uo ,"empty openness... a gap or hollow space which is open at both ends."(24) To realize this empty openness, to lodge one's mind in original non-being, means the end to all involvement with reality, a mystical union with the cosmos. The process is described as follows:

The sage wards off lust with the four dhyana so that there is no remainder of lust left, and puts an end to existence with the four attainments of emptiness.(25)
 Again we find the notion of two basic states of mind: one is distorted, full of lust: the other, origirial, pure, empty, open. "By becoming consciously aware of our identity with that living trunk which supports and nourishes our life, we can achieve the calm stillness and certainty of the original "(26) The very life of the sage thereby became a sermon, a realization of truth on earth.

 Hui-yuan (334-416), Robinson says, "strove to pour foreign wine into native bottles, to find a hidden meaning in Chuang-Tzu and the I-Ching."(27) Even though he felt himself a Buddhist, he could not but explain his concepts in the traditional terminology,(28) yet he remained conscious of the difference. Like Hsi Ch'ao, his main concern was the practice of Buddhism; in Hui Yuan's case, it was the position of the sangha. A monk, he claimed, has cut off all the "traces" of the world, so that there was no need for him to obey mundane rules. On the other hand, a monk was to serve as an example for the world, as a teacher to the unenlightened, and as such he had a social responsibility. By cultivating himself spiritual power would radiate, leading to a rectification of the world which in turn would bring about universal salvation. Basically this conception is Confucian and found in the Great Learning. It shows the strong ties Hui-yuan had with the Confucian elite. His organization of the "transcendental" Buddhist church was so fully embedded in "mundane" Confucian issues that Fukunaga even calls Hui-yuan "the most Confucian monk in Chinese history."(29)

 Though Hui-yuan did not make any significant contributions to the theory of Chinese mysticism, his position is important for its overall development. The solid organization of the priesthood and its political stance was to remain, as well as the devotional practices of chanting, making vows, etc., all of which are typical for the Pure Land sect originated by Hui-yuan. Whereas the mystical development from the ordinary to the true man had been considered a philosophical and individual issue until then, it now began to be seen as a group responsibility which was best realized within the community of monks, whose merits would also benefit all other beings. The insight, on the other hand, that a regimented life full of devotion did not always suffice to alter the individual's consciousness, was one of the main pillars for the establishment of independent communities. One of these, the Tung-shan community around Tao-hsin and Hung-jen of the 6th century, became the core of the Ch 'an school.

 The two early Buddhist thinkers who were of the most importance in shaping Ch'an thought were Seng-chao  (374-414) and Tao-sheng  (ca. 360-434).(30) With them, at the beginning of the 5th century, Chinese intellectual mysticism enters a new phase,brought about by a better understanding of Buddhism through texts translated by Kumarajiva and also by the fact that literati with religious aspirations had become accustomed to seeing the world in terms of Buddhism, Thus, Seng-chao, in spite of the fact that he relied heavily on Kuo Hsiang and freely used Lao-Chuang vocabulary, did not consider himself an heir to the Chuang-Tzu tradition, but a Buddhist, a student of Kumarajiva. As such he showed a "thorough familiarity with sutra sunyavada, he understood epistemology, ontology, and the theory of language of the Prajnaparamita Sutras and of the Vimalakirti Nidesa."(31) He accepted the doctrine of two truths (satyadraya) (32), assuming that bodhi, the state of true enlightenment, was a mental state completely cut off from ordinary sense-spheres, a state of no-mentation. Ultimate reality is the One,so "how could what is All be this or that? It is our human mind that makes distinctions."(33)  According to Liebenthal, Seng-chao's mysticism culminated in a state of ecstasy reached through meditation. "What he saw must have been what the Indian meditators also experienced when they entered the meditative state of samadhi. "(34) Robinson criticizes this saying that Seng-chao understood the  "ultimate relation between logical and  dialectical forms and the mystery of reality-he  saw the road to bodhi not in the practice of  trances, but as a journey through, on, and over  propositions about existence and inexistence."  (35)

 Be that as it may, Seng-chao's major concern lay with the human mind, its distortion and purification. In his important essay on "Prajna as Nonknowledge", he pictures the true man's mystical mind as empty, pure, reflecting - in the same terms as the Tao-te-ching and the Chuang-Tzu. As is the Taoist sage, Seng-chao's ideal man appears dull and stupid when compared to ordinary folk who: discriminate and judge their surroundings. The pure mind is inexhaustible and unceasing, in that it has the qualities of the Tao itself. Resting in itself, it functions by responding, like the axis of a wheel. It is utterly free from thoughts, worries, and all mundane strivings. Thus the quality of no-mind, central to Chuang-Tzu and Ch'an, is realized. It transcends all opposites yet endlessly responds to them.

 Comparing Seng-chao's concepts with the Chuang- Tzu, we find that the true man of old has not changed in substance, but the description of no-mind has grown in complexity. The frequency of quotations from the Tao-te-ching and the Chuang-Tzu shows that Chinese mystical thought was significantly formed by these two classics. The two major features of Lao-Chuang mysticism are still conspicuous: the underlying pure entity which is just there (the One, the Tao), and the perfect man who is not bound by perception and emotion. No flight from the world is advised by Seng-chao, but a reflective, responsive attitude towards it. "Because the true man views the transformations of the universe as all of one breath, he passes through, adapting himself to whatever he encounters."(36)

 To illustrate the use of Lao-Chuang thought by a direct forerunner of Ch'an Buddhism, the example of Shih Wang-ming may serve. His original name was Sung Kuan-tai .(36) Born around 516, he strove for the spiritual from an early age and harbored a wish to renounce the world. He was raised in the atmosphere of Pure Talk and Lao-Chuang philosophy, and wandered around sacred mountains for spiritual consolation. In his biography, he is called an heir to Juan Chi and the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. In 553, he accepted an office under Yuan-ti of Liang, but upon the fighting over the issue of his succession that ensued in 555, he left the capital again in 557. This time he turned to Ssuch'uan with the intention of renouncing the world. There he found a gifted teacher, the famous meditation master T'o. When Emperor Wu of the Northern Chou ascended the throne in 561,he conferred a title upon Wang-ming and invited him to take office, but he steadfastly refused to be involved in political affairs. He kept this attitude though urged to accept office again in 567.

 By that time his fame had spread throughout the empire and in order to satisfy the numerous nobles who came to learn from him, he composed the Pao-jen-ming .(38) This is a rather exceptional piece for a scholar-meditator. As Robinson rightly noted in the case of Seng-chao, mystical philosophers in China often have "left not so much as one sentence of explicit spiritual autobiography."(39) Wang-ming says:

  When I was 15, I valued study and texts. At  30,I thought power and position all-important.  Then I was confronted with upheaval and  destruction in the capital, ruin and loss of  office. All the intellectuals within the four  seas were left standing alone and in imminent  danger of death. Thereupon I realized with a  deep sigh: There is a power which overturns  Heaven and topples the sun. All perishes within  a short morning, even things as hard as the  rocks of Mount T'ai collapse and vanish in an  instant. The only thing I know for sure is that this  phenomenal world is without any permanence,  that this floating life is empty and vain. Its  solidity is like the morning dew; how long does  it last. The true man should fight evil in his  life, and with his death feed a tiger. This is  the only way. Practicing meditation is perfect  to nourish the will, and studying the sutras is  good enough to bring me pleasure. Riches,  honor, fame, and praise are but vain endeavors  of man. Therefore I cast off those ornaments  and judgments, cut my hair and took the monk's  robe... Strivings and efforts, knowledge and  struggle only exhaust one's pure mind and  injure one's life. As long as the Tao is  diminished day by day, what use is there of  much knowledge^ I vow to make my body like a  withered tree, my thoughts like dead ashes. I  will exorcise those fetters of worry and search  for emptiness and vastness.
This document heavily relies on Chuang-Tzu   vocabulary, especially where the final   realization is concerned: the meditator's ideal   is being in a trance like "a withered tree and   dead ashes", the ultimate goal being the vision   of "emptiness and vastness".(40) The same   terminology is found in the description of   Bodhidharma's teaching:(41) Entering the true   principle consists of the following: Remain   solid without moving, never follow alien   doctrines, experience mystical union with the Tao and live non-action in emptiness.

 The initial insight instigating the renunciation of the world, however, reflects Buddhist thought and imagery: the impermanence of all phenomena, vanishing like dew; and the true man's life as beneficial to all beings.

 Wang-ming here represents the well-educated official who likes to philosophize. When his world is shattered to the foundations, he commences the search for the one ever-lasting principle, the One that survives even the overturning of Heaven and Earth. His combination of Lao-Chuang philosophy and Taoist vocabulary with Buddhist thought and practice elucidates the early formative phase of the Ch'an world-view. His position is even more obviously seen in the fact that his main philosophical treatise, the Hsi-hsin-ming (on "Resting the Mind") was included in chapter 30 of the Transmission of the Lamp, the history of Ch'an compiled under the Sung. Kamata points out that this chapter contains only works thought important and representative for Ch'an philosophy, as there are Fu Ta-shih's Hsin-wang-ming. Seng-ts'an's Hsin-hsin-ming, Niu-t'ou Fa-jung's Hsin-ming, et. al. All these are concerned with man's mind and reflect the Ch'an concept of consciousness, which is central to the practice and theory of meditation.

 The Hsi-hsin-ming offers fervent advice to stop thinking and worrying:

Don't think much, don't know much  Much knowledge means deep involvement, it is much better to rest the will.  A head full of worries means many failures;  how much better to 'guard the One'?
 It promises tremendous results:

When all mentation and thoughts cease, life and death (=samsara) will be cut off permanently. No more death, no more life, no phenomena, no names. One Tao in emptiness and vastness, the myriad beings all made equal.
 The same attitude towards conscious thinking is also found in another text by Wang-ming, the "Admonition  to  Abolish  Learning"  (Ch'ueh-hsueh-chen . It postulates the uselessness of scriptures and teachings of the sages. This postulation is typical for Ch'an Buddhism and again has a forerunner in the Chuang-Tzu:(42)
When the men of old died, they took with them the things that could not be handed down. So what we are reading must be nothing but the chaff and dregs of the men of old.
  Wang-ming's work was discovered in Tun-huang and is  largely identical with the Hsi-hsin-ming to which it adds,
Charts and scriptures, pens and scrolls are not permanent in their use.(43)
The rejection of learning voiced here can be linked to the absurdity of all efforts and practices postulated much more radically by Niu-t'ou Fa-jung: "Stop meditating and forget all practice." And it is certainly linked to Lin-chi's lesson:(44)
What are you seeking in the realms of changing dependence? The Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the teaching all are so much old paper to mop up messes. The Buddha is an illusory phantom. The patriarchs are old monks.
All there is to be done in order to fulfill the quest is to simply stop the workings of one's mind and look no further outside oneself. Then one will realize no-mind, be free from all mentation, and be everywhere released. One can go back to everyday life.
The Transmission of the Lamp states: "Live a normal life, but don't attach yourself to the things of purposeful activity."(45) So here again we meet the true man who, like Kuo Hsiang's sage, lives his life in society, but is free from anxieties and hopes. Because he realizes his "true inborn nature, he is indifferent to life and death."(46)  A Ch'an mystic, after coming to understand the other side, can come back to work on this side. "After his enlightenment, Fa-jung, instead of sitting in the rock cave, ignored his visitors, went down the mountain, asking alms and carrying riches for 300 people to the temple."(47) The strong emphasis placed by Ch'an Buddhists on manual work, "in carrying water and chopping wood is the wonderful Tao", has to be understood in connection with their concern with the human mind, with a salvation in the here and now. As Lin-ch'i puts it:(48)  
You seek escape from the three worlds. You   foolish people, if you want to get out of the   three worlds, where can you go? The Buddhas and   patriarchs are only phrases of adoration. Do you want to know the three worlds? They do not   differ from the sensation of your listening to   the Dharma now. One of your passionate urges is   the world of desire. A momentary anger is the world of form. And a second's foolish ignorance is the form-less world....we are the three worlds.
 Radical agnosticism and analysis of mind is what attracted Chinese intellectuals to the particular practice of Ch'an Buddhism, which in turn is distinctive because of its "recognition of the individual need."(49) In this respect, it is heir to a long line of mysticism shaped by individual literati who searched for spiritual guidance in Lao-Chuang and later in Buddhism. In summary, Ch'an and Lao-Chuang are two different manifestations of the same latent tendency, of the search for "a truly free way of life for mankind"(50) and, in particular, for themselves. They did not always achieve it completely, some reached only rare moments of freedom in ecstasy or drunkenness, while others found the truth in their office or their garden. But many became monks, meditated and philosophized. The trend remained, the forms changed. Because the basic mystical doctrine came to be Buddhist, the enterprise was raised from private to monastic level. Thereafter, individual freedom had to be fought for anew, and was finally gained. That there is only one truth in the cosmos, and that all men and all things are endowed with it, has remained the basic credo over the ages. Similarly, all these mystics shared the vision of the true man, the individual with a pure mind of truth who is free from anxieties and hopes, loves and hate. No god, they realized, can bestow this state of realization; everyone must work for it by himself. There is not an otherworldly being existing somewhere beyond, but a reality of this present actual world. One begins the search upon realizing the vicious circle of thoughts and emotions. One fulfills the quest in the mystical vision of one in all, then one goes back to normal. The true man does not look, smell or act any differently. "In the last resort, nothing is gained".(51)

In the square pool there is a turtle-nosed serpent.  Ridiculous, indeed, when you come to think of it.  Who pulled out the serpent's head?  In the square pool there is a turtle-nosed serpent.
 1. See my paper, " The Habit of Perfection, A Sum-  mary of Fukunaga's Studies on the Chuang-tzu  Tradition", Cahiers d'Extreme-Asie 1 (1985), 71.

 2. It survived, however, in mystical Taoism, especially  in texts like the Hsi-sheng-ching,the Tso-wang-lun,  etc. Cf. my "Seven Steps to the Tao: Ssu-ma  Ch'eng-chen's Tso-wang-lun ": Monumenta Serica 36  (to appear).

 3. T.Izutsu, The Key Philosophical Concepts in Sufism  and Taoism (Tokyo Keio Univ, 1967), 197.

 4. On Hun-tun see N.J. Girardot, " Returning to the  Beginning and the 'Arts of Mr. Hun-tun' in the  Chuang-Tzu": Journal of Chinese Philosophy 5  (1978), 21.

 5. This is referred to in the term ch'eng-hsin (ac),  realized mind, as formulated in ch. 2 of the  Chuang-Tzu. There are two contradictory  interpretations of this term: one by Kuo Hsiang,  followed also by Fukunaga, Soshi, (Tokyo: Asahi,  1979), I, 72, which sees ch'eng-hsin as parallel  to ch'eng-hsing(ad), realiaed body. Thus the term  comes to mean the manifestation of the True Lord  of the universe, taking his shape and taking his  'mind'. The other interpretation by Ch'eng  Hsuan-ying already shows Buddhist influence. It is  taken up by T'ang Chun-i, Chung-kuo che-hsueh  yuan-lun. (Taipei: Hsueh-sheng, 1966) , 133.  Ch'eng-hsin is explained through the expression  ch'eng-hu-hsin, (ae) formed by mind, appearing in  the text a little later. Thus it means produced,  developed mind, i.e. the basis for categories,  truth distorted.

 6. These statements on the true man are taken from  Chuang-tzu 6, B. Watson. The Complete Works of  Chuang-tzu, (New York: Columbia, 1968) , 80;  Chuangtzu 21. Watson p. 221;and Chuang-tzu 23,  Watson p. 253 respectively.

 7. Fukunaga Mitsuji, " 'No-mind' in Chuang-tzu and Ch'an Buddhism" (tr. L. Hur vitz),Zimbun 12 (1969), 16.

 8. E.Zurcher, The Buddhist Conquest of China. (Leiden:  E. Brill, 1959) , 116; L. Hurvitz, Chih-i  (Bruxelles, 1963), 46. Chih Tun's biography is in  the Kao-seng-chuan, T. 50, 348. On his works see  Zurcher. Conquest, 360.

 9. Fukunaga, " Shi Ton to sane shui " ( "Chih Tun and  his Surroundings") Bikkyo shigaku 5.2 (1956). 101;  Hachiya Kunio, "Soshi shoyoyuu hen o meguru Kaku  Sho to Shi Ton no kaishaku", ("The Commentaries to  the Hsiao-yao-yu Chapter of the Chuang-Tzu by Kuo  Hsiang and Chih Tun"). Hikaku bunka kenkyuu 8  (1967),84.

 10.Fukunaga. " Shi Ton ",100; see also Soshi, III.  117; "Traces" in the Chuang-Tzu denote the effects  of something rather than the real thing, "that  which caused the tracer".

 11. Hachiya, "Soshi",86.

 12. Ibid.,84.

 13. Zurcher,Buddhist Conquest. 129.

 14. Translation by R.B.Mather, A New Account of the World, ( Minneapolis : Univ, of Minnesota Press, 1976), 100.

 15. Chuang-tzu 2, Watson. p.32.

 16. His biography is in Chin-shu 67; see also Zurcher,  Buddhist Conquest, 134; Fukunaga, "Ki Cho no  bukkyo shiso" ("Hsi Ch'ao's Buddhism") ,  Festschnft for Tsukamoto Senryuu, (Kyoto:  Hosokan. 1961), 631

 17. Ed.T.52, 86a-89b, translation Zurcher, Buddhist  Conquest, 164; additional noter, K Ch'en. "A  propos the Feng-fa-yao of Hsi Ch'ao", T'oung-pao  50 (1963). 79. For Hsi Ch'ao's other works, see  Zurcher, Buddhist Conquest, 366.

 18. Zurcher,Buddhist Conquest. 17l;text T. 52, 88a.

 19. This is a technical term from Chuang-Tzu 2,  denoting the third stage of the decline from pure  mind to distorted perception, i.e. the first  appearance of distinctions and categories.

 20. Fukunaga, "Ki Cho", 642;text T.52,89a.

 21. The Yu-tao-lun is found in T.52, 16b; translation  by A. Link and T. Lee,Monumenta Serica 25 (1966), 169.

 22. See Zurcher,Buddhist Conquest, 186;Hurvitz.Chih-i, 63; A.Link, "Biography of Shih Tao-an", T'oun-pao 46 (1958), 1.

 23. D.Bodde/Fung Yu-lan, History of Chinese Philosophy, Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. 1953), II, 244; A. Link "The Taoist Antecedents of Tao-an's Prajna Ontology", History of Religions 9 (1969), 193.

 24. Ibid.,197.

 25. Ibid., 207 preface to the Ta shih-erh-men ching, T.

 55, 46a

 26. Ibid.,199.

 27. R.H.Robinson, Early Madynamika in India and China,  (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1967), 106;  Hui-yuuan's biography was translated by Zurcher,  Buddhist Conquest, 240 See also W. Liebenthal,  "Shih Hui-yuan's Buddhism". Journal of the  American Oriental Sociery 70 (1950), 243.

 28. Fukunaga, "Eon to Roso shiso" ("Hui-yuan and Lao-  Chuang") , Kimura Eiichi, Eon kenkyuu, (Tokyo:  Sobunsha, 1962) , 398-400, lists numerous  Chuang-Tzu and Tao-te-ching quotations from  Hui-yuan's works.

 29. Fukunaga." Eon ", 425 : cf. also Murakami Yoshimi  "Eon no hogai shiso" (The Transcendental  Philosophy, of Hui-yuan") , Rikucho shisoshi  kenkyuu (Kyoto, 1974), 171

 30. Bodde/Fung, History. II,388; W.Liebenthal, Chao-  lun; The Treatises of Sengchao. (Hongkong:  Hongkong Univ. Press. 1968).41

31. Robinson, Early Madyamika. 135; Hurvitz, Chih-i,  73; cf. also Liebenthal, Chaolun; Fukunaga,  "Socho to Roso Shiso" ("Seng-chao and  Lao-Chuang"). Tsukamoto Senryuu, Choron kenkyuu.  (Kyoto: Hosokan, 1955), 252.

 32. Robinson. " Mysticism and Logic in the Thought of Seng-chao ", Philosophy East and West 8 (1958), 105.

 33. Liebenthal. Chao-lun.41.

 34. Ibid,40.

 35. Robinson, "Mysticism and Logic", 120.

 36. Liebenthal, Chao-lun, 54; translation of the Pu-chen-k'ung lun.

 37. His biography is in Hsu Kao-seng-chuan 7, T.50, 481b-482b; see also Kamata Shigeo, Chuugoku bukkyo shisoshi kenkyuu (Tokyo, 1968), 242

 38. Ed.in his biography T.50,481c-482a.

 39. Robinson, "Mysticism and Logic",108.

 40. This is based on Chuang-Tzu 2; Kamata, Chuugoku bukkyo, 247.

 41. Hsu Kao-seng-chuan 16,T.50,511c.

 42 Chuang-Tzu 13,Watson, The Complete Works, 153.

 43. MS. Stein no.2165; Tanaka Ryosho, "So Bomei soku-  shin mei" ("On Wang-ming's Hsi-hsin-ming"), Indo  bukkyo kenkyuu 23 (1964), 175.

 44. Lin-ch'i-lu, Shih-chung 10; I. Schloegl, The Zen  Teaching of Rinzai, ( Berkeley: Shambhala. 1976),  38.

 45. Bodde Fung,History, II,403.

 46. Chung-yuan Chang, "Ch'an Manter Niu-t'ou Fa-jung  and His Teaching on Prajnaparamita", Chinese  Culture 7 (1967),43.

 47. Ibid.,37.

 48. Lin-ch'i-lu 27;Schloegl,The Zen Teaching,45.

 49. Jan Yun-hua, " Tsung-mi, His Analysis of Ch'an Buddhism", T'oung-pao 58 (1972),30.

 50. Fukunaga, "No-mind", 40.

 51. Bodde/Fung, History. II,401.