Linji Yixuan (simplified Chinese: 临济义玄; traditional Chinese: 臨濟義玄; pinyin: Línjì Yìxuán; Wade–Giles: Lin-chi I-hsüan; Japanese: 臨済義玄 Rinzai Gigen; died 866 CE) was the founder of the Linji school of Chán Buddhism during Tang Dynasty China.
Information on Linji is based on the Línjì yǔlù (臨濟語錄; Japanese: Rinzai-goroku), the Record of Linji. The standard form of these sayings was not completed until 250 years after Linji's death and likely reflect the teaching of Chán in the Linji school at the beginning of the Song Dynasty rather than those of Linji's in particular.
This contains stories of his interactions with teachers, contemporaries, and students. The recorded lectures are a mixture of the conventional and the iconoclastic. Despite the iconoclasm, the Línjì yǔlù reflects a thorough knowledge of the sutras. Linji's teaching-style, as recorded in the Línjì yǔlù, was exemplary of the development Chán took in the Hongzhou school (洪州宗) of Mazu and his successors, such as Huangbo, Linji's master.
According to the Línjì yǔlù, Linji was born into a family named Xing (邢) in Caozhou (modern Heze in Shandong), which he left at a young age to study Buddhism in many places.
Also according to the Línjì yǔlù, Linji was trained by the Chan master Huángbò Xīyùn (黃蘗希運), but attained kensho while discussing Huángbò's teaching during a conversation with the reclusive monk Dàyú (大愚). Linji then returned to Huángbò to continue his training after awakening. In 851 CE, Linji moved to the Linji temple in Hebei, where he took his name, which also became the name for the lineage of his form of Chán Buddhism.
Linji's teaching style
Linji is reputed for being iconoclastic, leading students to awakening by hitting and shouting.
Three Mysterious Gates
Chán faced the challenge of expressing its teachings of "suchness" without getting stuck into words or concepts. The alleged use of shouting and beating was instrumental in this non-conceptual expression - after the students were well-educated in the Buddhist tradition.
Linji is described as using The Three Mysterious Gates to maintain the Chán emphasis on the nonconceptual nature of reality, while employing sutras and teachings to instruct his students:
- The First Gate is the "mystery in the essence", the use of Buddhist philosophy, such as Yogacara to explain the interpenetration of all phenomena.
- The Second Gate is the "mystery in the word", using the Hua Tou for "the process of gradually disentangling the students from the conceptual workings of the mind".
- The Third Gate is the "mystery in the mystery", "involving completely nonconceptual expressions such as striking or shouting, which are intended to remove all of the defects implicit in conceptual understanding".
References in popular culture
The titular story of Volume 2 of Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima's manga comic Lone Wolf and Cub revolves around Linji's saying "if you meet a buddha, kill the buddha," in which the protagonist must overcome his self to assassinate a living buddha.
In the manga Gensōmaden Saiyūki by Kazuya Minekura, Genjō Sanzō purports to live by the concept of "無一物 (muichimotsu)," as taught by his teacher Sanzō Kōmyō, who is quoted as saying:
|仏に逢えば仏を殺せ||Butsu ni aeba butsu (w)o korose||If you meet a buddha, kill him.|
|祖に逢えば祖を殺せ||So ni aeba so (w)o korose||If you meet your forefather, kill him.|
|何物にも捕われず||Nanimono ni mo torawarezu||Attached to nothing,|
|縛られず||Shibararezu||Bound [to nothing],|
|ただあるがままに己を生きる||Tada aru ga mama ni onore (w)o ikiru||Live your own life simply as it is.|
|CHINESE NAME||LIFE DATES||VIỆT NAME||JAPANESE NAME||KOREAN NAME|
|28 / 1||達磨 / Damo||?||達磨 / Đạtma||だるま / Daruma||달마 / Dalma|
|29 / 2||慧可 / Shenguang Huìke||487–593||Huệ Khả||Eka||혜가 / Hyega|
|30 / 3||僧璨 / Jianzhi Sengcan||?–606||Tăng Xán||Sōsan||승찬 / Seungchan|
|31 / 4||道信 / Dongshan Daoxin||580–651||Đạo Tín||Dōshin||도신 / Doshim|
|32 / 5||弘忍 / Huangmei Hongren||601/2–674/5||Hoằng Nhẫn||Kōnin||홍인 / Hongihn|
|33 / 6||慧能 / Caoxi Huineng||638–713||Huệ Năng||Enō||혜능 / Hyeneung|
|34 / 7||南嶽懷讓 / Nanyue Huairang||677–744||Nam Nhạc Hoài Nhượng||Nangaku Ejō||남악회양 / Namak Hweyang|
|35 / 8||馬祖道一 / Mazu Daoyi||709–788||Mã Tổ Đạo Nhất||Baso Dōitsu||마조도일 / Majo Toil|
|36 / 9||百丈懷海 / Baizhang Huaihai||720?/749?–814||Bách Trượng Hoài Hải||Hyakujō Ekai||백장회해 / Paekchang Hwehae|
|37 / 10||黃蘗希運 / Huangbo Xiyun||?–850||Hoàng Bá Hy Vận||Ōbaku Kiun||황벽희운 / Hwangbyeok Heuiun|
|38 / 11||臨濟義玄 / Linji Yixuan||?–866/7||Lâm Tế Nghĩa Huyền||Rinzai Gigen||임제의현 / Imje Euihyeon|