A Directory of various Zen, Dhyāna, Ch'an, Son, Thien Lineages



Perhaps the most well known schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism is the Zen tradition.

Japanese "Zen", the Vietnamese "Thien", and the Korean "Son" originate from the Chinese "Ch'an" which in turn is a continuation of the Indian "Dhyāna" tradition. Zen's description as "direct transmission outside the sutras" comes from China. Then the various newly imported Buddhist schools, vying for acceptance and support, based their claims of authenticity on the authenticity of their doctrinal texts - translations of sanksrit Buddhist texts. Not relying on doctrinal texts, Zen's claim to legitimacy was based upon of a "direct transmission outside the sutras". By presenting a transmission lineage of twenty-eight Indian Patriarchs originating with Śākyamuni Buddha it's authenticity as a legitimate Buddhist school was slowly accepted. Shunning intellectual discussions, Zen expressed it's nature with spontaneous, ostensibly nonsensical, expressions of the enlightend mind (kōans) which under the appropriate circumstances brought numerous monks, nuns and laypeople to a deep enlightenment.

By the 8th century Zen had won the favour of the ruling Emperors whose personal Zen teachers were designated as "Kokushi" (j.) or "National Master". Many important masters however avoided notoriety and as a result the mainstream of Zen existed outside of the easily accesible towns. Because of the remoteness of most Zen monasteries, Zen survived the buddhist persecution by the Tang Emperor Wuzong in the year 845 CE relatively intact.

Later Zen took root in Vietnam, Korea and Japan where Dharma descendents still preserve this "direct transmission outside the sutras". Today, especially in the Rinzai school, the kōans originating from old China are used to goad practitioneers into an enlightenment experience.

The pages linked below outline, in detail, the original Indian and Chinese transmission lineages of these old masters as well as the subsequent transmission lineages to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.




Śākyamuni Buddha
|
|_ The Early Indian Patriarchs
|
|_ The Indian Dhyāna Lineage leading to Bodhidharma--------(Detail)
|
|_ The Chinese Patriarch Lineage
        |
        |_ The Oxhead Lineage
        |
        |_ The Northern School
        |
        |_ The Vietnamese Ty Ni Da Lu Chi Lineage
        |
        |_ The Chinese Nangaku/Nan-yüeh Branch
        |        |
        |        |_ The Chinese P'u-hua and Japanese Fuke Lineage
        |        |
        |        |_ The Chinese Igyō/Kuei-yang Lineage
        |        |
        |        |_ The Vietnamese Vō Ngōn Thōng Lineage
        |        |
        |        |_ The Chinese Rinzai/Lin-chi Lineage
        |                |
        |                |_ The Chinese Rinzai Ōryō/Linchi Huang-lung Lineage
        |                |
        |                |_ The Chinese Rinzai Yōgi/Linchi Yang-ch'i Lineage
        |                        |
        |                        |_ The Japanese Ōtōkan Rinzai Lineage
        |                        |
        |                        |_ The Japanese Ōbaku Lineage
        |                        |
        |                        |_ The Vietnamese Lam Te/Lieu Quan Lineage
        |                                |
        |                                |_ Thich Nhat Hanh
        |
        |_ The Chinese Seigen/Ch'ing-yŁan Branch
                |
                |_ The Chinese Hōgen/Fa-yen Lineage
                |
                |_ The Chinese Ummon/YŁn-mên Lineage
                |        |
                |        |_ The Vietnamese Thao Dong Lineage
                |
                |_ The Chinese Sōtō/Ts'ao-tung Lineage
                        |
                        |_ The Japanese Sōto Lineage



Vietnamese Thien Lineages:

An Overview of Vietnamese Thien Lineages

Lian Giac Lineage

Tao Dong Lineage

Truc Lam Dao Da Lineage

"Central" and "Northern" Lineages

Tran Nhan Tong Lineage




Main Directories:

Main Page Theravāda Mahāyāna Vajrayana Resources etc. Essays/Books

©
URL: http://zen.triratna.info/index.html
Last modification: 080105