Linji Chan (Lin-chi Chan) To Lung-shan Temple (Buddhism)

Linji Chan (Lin-chi Chan)

Linji is a major branch of Chan Buddhism and the forerunner of the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen. The Linji school is renowned for its "lightning" or "shock" techniques. In these practices the master suddenly shocks the student, for example, by striking him or her, often with a fly swatter. For instance, in one example, a monk asked the master Linji, "What is the basic idea of the Law preached by the Buddha?" The Master lifted up his swatter. The monk shouted, and the Master beat him" (recorded conversations of Master Zen Master I-hsuan, d. 867, from Chan, 1963, p. 445). Such extreme techniques contrasted with the Caodong (Soto Zen) school, which emphasized "quiet illumination," silent meditation on innate Buddha nature. After a series of debates between Caodong and Linji masters in the early 1100s, the Linji school was known as "koan contemplation Chan" for its emphasis on the study of koans.

The Linji school was founded by Linji Yixuan (d. 867), a Chan master who lived in the Linji Monastery in Hebei, northern China. Linji was one of the seven schools that derived from the Southern school of Chan, traditionally said to descend from Hui Neng (638-713), the sixth Chan patriarch. The Linji school followed a single lineage for six generations after Linji Yixuan. However, in the seventh generation it split into two competing camps, those of Yangqi Fanghui (992-1049) and Huanglong Huinan (1001-69). Eventually the Yangqi school eclipsed the Huanglong.

By the end of the Song dynasty (960-1279) the Caodong and Linji schools had absorbed all the other branches of Chan. However, neither school had a major impact in the post-Song period, when a resurgent Confucianism gained the attention of the ruling classes. The Linji school was later introduced to Japan by Eisai (1141-1215), where it eventually became the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen.

Lin Zhaoen (Lin Chao-en)

(1517-1598) Chinese syncretic religious leader

Lin Zhaoen was an intellectual and religious leader who founded the "Three-in-one" movement that combined elements of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Lin was one of the best-known proponents of religious and philosophical syncretism ("mixing") in Ming dynasty (13681644) China. The long-standing tendency in China to combine religions and philosophies had increased in the 16th century, with the general populace blending Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist ideas and practices. This syncretism underlies the spread of "morality books" (shanshu) and novels such as Xiyouji (Journey to the West). Lin himself had pursued Daoism and Buddhism early in life but returned to Confucianism as time went on. In this he was no different from several of the Song Neo-Confucians (e.g., Zhou Dunyi, Cheng Yi). Lin, however, went further in that he sought to merge all three ways into a new sect. Perhaps not surprisingly, he developed an enthusiastic following.

Lin’s focus was on cultivating the mind common to Confucius, Laozi, and Buddha. He was aided in this pursuit by Daoist "inner alchemy" (neidan) as well as Chan seated meditation (zuo chan). Much of Lin’s aim was to help his followers restore their spiritual and physical health, the two understood as intimately related to each other and to one’s moral state. Lin urged his followers to take special vows to heaven (tian), forming an almost personal relationship with heaven itself. The strongly individualistic quality inherent in Lin’s teachings appealed to many people.

The late Ming government saw such views as an affront since from time immemorial only the emperor (tian zi, the "Son of Heaven") could relate directly to heaven on the people’s behalf. Edicts were issued banning Lin’s teachings, while many books and temples associated with the "Three-in-one" sect were burned. Yet as is often the case in China, official condemnation merely drove a popular movement underground, where it continued to flourish.

The Three-in-one sect remains alive today along China’s southern coast and in Taiwan. Recent sources indicate that there are seven temples in Taiwan where incense is regularly offered to Confucius, Laozi, Buddha, and Lin himself. Another new sect, officially recognized by the Taiwanese government and seemingly related to Lin’s movement, venerates five great figures—Confucius, Laozi, and Buddha as well as Jesus Christ and the prophet Muhammad.

Lion’s Roar

The Buddha often compared himself to a lion. The lion here symbolizes qualities of courage and nobility. His teachings became known as the "Lion’s Roar."

There are two Pali suttas (Sanskrit: sutras) that refer to the Buddha’s "Lion’s Roar." The first, the Shorter Discourse on the Lion’s Roar, discusses separate spiritual paths available to people. The second, the Great Discourse on the Lion’s Roar, discusses his own spiritual qualities.

Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra

This Mahayana sutra was first translated into Chinese in 436 c.e. by Gudabhadra. A second translation was made into Chinese by Bodhiruci in the early 700s. The Sanskrit text exists today only in fragments, and we depend on the Chinese and Tibetan translations. In the sutra Lady Srimala, the daughter of a king of Kosala, a Buddhist kingdom in northern India, discusses in depth the doctrine that Buddha nature is present in all living beings.

Longchenpa (Rabjam Klongchen)

(1308-c. 1364) Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen master

Longchenpa was a 14th-century Nyingma teacher best known for combining two sets of Dzogchen meditation teachings into a workable single system—the Longchen Nyingthig. His work has been integrated over the years into mainstream Nyingma teachings.

Longchenpa was for a time the abbot at Samye, one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, but spent a considerable amount of time wandering around the countryside. His wandering for a time took him to Bhutan, where he fathered two children, a son and a daughter. His son, Trungpa Odzer (1356-c. 1409), later became the primary Nyingma lineage holder.

Longchenpa was also a prolific writer with more than 250 texts attributed to him. His main work, the Three Treasures, was a summary of Buddhist history in Tibet to his lifetime. His work is gradually being translated into English.

Losar (Tibetan New Year)

In Tibet the calendar of major festivals associated with Buddhism or Buddhist figures begins with the New Year. The Grand Summons Ceremony is the largest on the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. It lasts from the third or fourth day of the New Year until the 25th and takes place in Lhasa. It was started by the great Buddhist innovator TSoNG Khapa in 1409. The purpose of the ceremony was to honor Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, while praying for the stability and well-being of the nation. The intent was to gather monks from all schools and tradition together and by joint vows revive Buddhist practice. The preparations for the first festival took two years and involved a complete refurbishing of the Jokhang temple. Tsong Khapa himself donated 500 taels of gold to add a golden crown to the temple’s reclining Buddha.

The literal meaning of the name of the festival, Losar, is "wish" or "request." At the start of the festival the 20,000-some monks resident around Lhasa gather together for a 21-day assembly. on the 15th day of the first month, which is Sakyamuni’s day of enlightenment, the streets surrounding the temple are filled with lanterns in the colorful Butter Lamp Festival (discussed later).


The Grand Summons festival is managed by the Gelug school. From the time of the fifth Dalai Lama the festival has included a sutra debate competition that chooses the best speakers from three large temples in Lhasa. The top seven gesu (scholars) among them join in a procession through the streets led by the Gandan Chiba, the successor to Tsong Khapa.

Besides the debates, another main activity during the festival involves chanting. The body of lamas chant, often in the open, on six separate occasions each day. Onlookers surround the chanting monks on balconies around three sides of the temple. From there they throw money into the midst of the monks as offerings.


Massive amounts of food are required by the monks gathered for the Losar festival. The vat cooking tea alone is one and a half times as high as an average person, and each lot of tea requires four or five mule loads of tea leaves. The food and herbs are stacked in Lubu Square starting six months before the festival. once the ovens are fired up they emit an odor throughout the city.

The water requirements during the festival are managed by a select group of young girls recruited from local tribes surrounding Lhasa. These girls constantly ferry water containers between the Dingba Qumi wells and the food halls. They need to handle the water carefully—since the temperatures are so low at that time of year, if the water spilled on them it would freeze them immediately. To ensure they control the water they sing a unique song. The tune remains the same but the lyrics change each year. The lyrics make fun of the local government’s corruption and invariably mention names of local worthies accused of inappropriate behavior. The lyrics are a constant focus of attention. The people mentioned are, naturally, often unhappy. When they ask the water bearers what they mean by building such accusations into their songs, the girls consistently reply that they do not know the meaning of the words and simply sing what they are taught by the White Lamu Protective Deity of Jokhang Temple. The songs are therefore known popularly as White Lamu Songs.


Unique aspects of the Great Summons festival are the Archery Contest and Sorcerer’s Dance held on the 24th day of the first month, near the end of the festivities. The Gandan Chiba leads the Recitation for Expelling Ghosts texts at Potala Palace. Tribesmen on horseback play the part of 500 Mongol warriors who in the past attacked Lhasa and burned the Potala.


On the morning of the 25th, all participating monks perform a ceremony welcoming the advent of the future Buddha Qiangba Tongzhen (Mai-treya). This includes a procession of the silver Maitreya Buddha image through the streets of Lhasa.


This lantern festival is the highlight of the Grand Summons festival. It is held on the 15th of the first month. It begins when the Dalai Lama visits the White Lamu, the protective deity of the Jokhang Temple. He then leads monks in a sutra recitation.

The night of the 15th sees a multitude of floats assembled in the eight-sided street surrounding Jokhang Temple. This ceremony was traditionally handled by an official responsible for religious affairs. The main temples and gentry families of Lhasa were each given sections of the street in which to build their floats and competed to attract the attention of the Dalai Lama. The floats themselves were built using a foundation of wood frames and ox skin upon which sculptures, made from a mixture of barley oil and wheat flour, were molded and painted into elaborate configuration. The contraptions, some reaching heights of 22 meters, were taken out to line the Eight-Side Road around four or five in the afternoon—any earlier and they are in danger of melting in the afternoon sun.

The barley oil lanterns in fact represent an important form of traditional Tibetan art, called "butter art." Barley flour is easily mixed with various minerals and molded into relatively permanent shapes. The same art form is practiced at Qing Hai’s Da Er Temple. Subject matter for oil sculpture art normally includes Buddhist deity figures, feminine gods, and Tibetan mandalas.

Once night falls the lanterns are lit, producing a wonderland effect on the streets. However, no commoners are allowed to view the sculptures until after the Dalai Lama has seen them. At the appropriate time he leaves the Jokhang Temple and, with his retinue, inspects each work. once he has returned to the temple the ropes holding back the common people are lowered and they flood in from the adjourning side streets to gape at the artistry.


This festival is in fact in preparation for the New Year. On the 29th day of the final lunar month monasteries hold ceremonies to drive off demons in the coming year, and lay people clean their homes.

Lotus Sutra

(Saddarma-pundarikia-sutra, "Lotus of the Superb Religion")

The key idea in the Lotus Sutra is the existence of a single "vehicle," the ekayano (Sanskrit, ekayana), which is the message of the Buddha that will transport cultivators to the final goal of liberation. Although there are three separate groups of followers of the Buddha, those who are disciples, PRATYEKABUDDHAS (those who cultivate the path in solitude), and bodhisattvas, the Lotus emphasizes that the true vehicle of the Buddha is open to all people. In fact, all people are bodhisattvas. The Lotus thus offers the laity the possibility of enlightenment. Many devotees of this sutra believe strongly in the value of reciting and copying the sutra as an act of merit and devotion.

The Lotus Sutra is arguably the most influential Buddhist text in history. Various Sanskrit versions exist; it was translated at least 17 times into Chinese, although only three translations survive, including one by Kumarajiva. Studies date the origin of the oldest parts of this text to between 40 and 220 c.e. The Tian Tai school of Chinese Buddhism considered the Lotus Sutra to be the most sublime and all-encompassing of the sutras. It is still widely read today and can be considered a classic of trans-Asian literature.

The text begins with the Buddha in SAMADHI and emitting a light from between his brows that illuminates the universe. The Buddha then goes on to prophesy that several of his disciples will achieve Buddhahood. He emphasizes that there is but one Path, not three. To illustrate this he relates the well-known parable of the burning house:

A rich man had a very large house. The house had only one entrance, and the timber of which it was made had dried out thoroughly over the years. One day the house caught fire, and the rich man’s many children, heedless of the fire, continued to play in the house. Their father called to them from outside that the house was afire and that they would perish in the flames if they did not come out. The children, not knowing the meaning of "fire" or "perish," continued to play as before. The man called out once more, "Come out, children, and I will give you ox-drawn carriages, goat-drawn carriages, and deer-drawn carriages!" Tempted by the desire for new playthings, the children left the burning house, only to find a single great ox-drawn carriage awaiting them.

Using this example, the Buddha explains that the father was not deceiving the children. Instead, he used skill in means (upaya) to save them. It is the same with the Buddha’s teaching: such a scheme as the three paths to salvation may be used to save some people, but in essence there is only one Path.

Lotus-womb meditation (Taizo-kai)

This Japanese ritual, a representative ritual of Tendai Buddhism’s esoteric (hidden) teachings, is divided into eight segments and can take days to complete. The ritual involves dancing or acting out internal visions of a fire created by the Buddha Acala (also known as Fudo myo-o in Japanese), the Buddha who destroys delusion and protects Buddhism. Each celebrant must envision a Lotus-womb world at the center of which is a Vairocana Buddha, the cosmological Buddha, seated on an eight-petaled lotus. The meditator attempts to merge himself or herself with the figure of Vairocana.

Lu Dongbin (Lu Tung-pin)

Few figures in Chinese history have proved to be as consistently endearing as the famous "Eight Immortals" (ba xian). These mythical personalities are some of the true folk heroes of Chinese Daoism, particularly among peasants. While all eight continue to be favorites among storytellers and those who retain allegiance to traditional Chinese folkways, the most popular by far is Lu Dongbin. Statues of Lu (depicting him as the refined Confucian gentleman he apparently was in life) can often be found in small temples and shrines, and numerous grottoes located on China’s sacred mountains are dedicated in his honor.

As do several other "immortals," Lu appears to have been a real historical figure who lived from the late Tang dynasty (618-908) into the early Song (960-1279). From a strictly historical perspective we can say little about him beyond this. However, there are various traditional stories about him that are clearly the stuff of myth and folklore. Legend has it that he was born Lu Yan in 798 into a family of civil servants in northern China. Later tradition relates that his birth was marked by mysterious perfumes filling his family home and the strains of celestial music wafting from the sky. A mystical white crane descended from the heavens to hover over his birthing bed before vanishing. one story has it that in his youth he traveled south to Lushan, a mountain famous for its magical associations with both Daoism and Buddhism, where he encountered a mysterious fire dragon (a secret Daoist master). The dragon presented Lu with a magical sword and instructed him in methods that bestowed on him the power of invisibility. This sword, named "Demon Slayer," is a major source of Lu’s powers.

The most important tale of Lu concerns his journey to the capital to follow an official career in government. During a stop along this trip he met Zhongli Quan, a fabled immortal who was busily warming some wine. under the influence of Zhongli (and the wine presumably), Lu fell into a deep sleep and had his famous "Yellow Millet Dream." In this dream, Lu attained his government post and, as a result, accumulated great wealth and prestige. He enjoyed this privileged mortal life for some 50 years until he was accused of a great crime. Found guilty, he was stripped of all property, his family was separated from him, and he himself was banished into the mountains. With this Lu suddenly awoke to find his meal of yellow millet had still not finished cooking; his entire official career had lasted for only a few moments.

Realizing that ordinary life is but a fleeting dream, Lu decided to abandon his worldly aspirations and become Zhongli’s disciple, taking the Daoist name Dongbin ("Guest of the Cavern") as a sign of his new religious life. After passing numerous tests, Lu underwent training in the secrets of alchemy. His powers were said to be so great that he retained a youthful appearance even past age 100. He could change his shape and even travel 100 miles in a matter of seconds. Lu Dongbin eventually became a high-ranking immortal, but he turned down the offer to ascend to the celestial realm with his master, preferring to remain on earth to aid all those earnestly seeking Dao. Because of his compassion, Lu was regularly sought after for oracles, healing, and spiritual advice.

Lu is especially known for his healing powers (he is sometimes said to be the "doctor of the poor") and his ability to subdue evil spirits. His sword and his bushy flywhisk symbolize these powers. For Lu, the sword is not a weapon of aggression, but a means of cutting through ignorance and the passions. It also is the means by which he can control evil spirits. Lu’s fly-whisk, a traditional symbol of a cultured scholar-gentleman, symbolizes his ability to fly at will.

Daoist tradition holds that Lu made many important contributions to the sacred arts. For example, Lu is credited with stressing the importance of developing compassion in Daoist self-cultivation—a sign, perhaps, of Buddhist influence. He is also credited with transforming the ancient methods of "external alchemy" (waidan) to those of "internal alchemy" (neidan). To this day, Lu Dongbin is regarded as one of the mythic "founders" of the Quanzhen (complete perfection) school of Daoism, the major monastic order. His official biography is in the Zengxian liexian zhuan (Illustrated biographies of the immortals). Various treatises and poems attributed to Lu have been collected in the Luzu quanshu (complete works of Patriarch Lu). Because of his importance, Lu Dongbin continues to be honored in Daoist temples, which usually hold special feasts in his honor on the 14th day of the fourth lunar month.

Lu has particular honor in Daoist tradition because he is alleged to have passed on his teachings to students who went on to become major Daoist figures in their own right. One of his students was Zhen Xiyi, said to have been a major innovator of techniques of qigong. An even more famous student of Lu’s was Wang Chen Chonyang, the official historical founder of Quan-zhen Daoism and central character in the popular Chinese novel Seven Daoist Masters. Because of his contributions to these lineages, Lu is sometimes regarded as the grand patriarch of "internal alchemy."


Though most of the biographical facts concerning Gautama Buddha are matters of scholarly dispute, tradition locates his birth place as Lumbini, in present-day Nepal. It is now considered one of four major holy places of international Buddhism. Many accept the story that Maya Devi, Buddha’s mother, gave birth while traveling to her parents’ home in Devadaha. She took a rest in Lumbini under a sal tree. The event is dated as early as 642 b.c.e., and as late as 566. The infant is also said to have spoken immediately after separating from his mother, saying, "This is my final rebirth." He then took seven steps to the four cardinal points of the compass, and a lotus flower sprang forth with each step.

It would be several centuries later (249 b.c.e.) when King Asoka visited the area. He erected a stele commemorating the event, ordered the building of a wall around the village, and erected a stone pillar and four stupas to mark the spot. He also reduced the taxes that the village would have to pay in the future.

Lumbini remained a Buddhist center until the ninth century c.e. During the next millennium when first Muslims and then Hindus controlled the region, the Buddhist structures were destroyed and even the memory of the location lost. Then in 1895, Alois A. Feuhrer, a famous German archaeologist, discovered the Asoka stele. Further probing led to the uncovering of a temple, which included scenes of the Buddha’s life. This temple was probably constructed over one of the stupas originally erected by Asoka. Through the 20th century, further excavations were carried out and many of the Buddhist sites rediscovered. Japanese Buddhists raised money to have the area restored and in recent decades it reemerged as a place for Buddhist pilgrims in spite of its remoteness and the difficulty of travel to it.

Today, Lumbini is home to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, a Nepalese temple (which the Burmese former united Nations secretary general u Thant helped finance), the Maya Devi Temple, and the pillar with the Asoka stele. The garden, where the birth actually occurred, is now well kept and visitors may also go to the nearby Puskarmi pond in which the infant Buddha had his first bath.

Lung-shan Temple

Lung-shan Temple in Taiwan was originally constructed for the veneration of Guan Yin, but over the years other bodhisattvas and many non-

Buddhist deities have taken their places in the temple. Currently more than 50 different bodhi-sattvas and deities are found at Lung-shan. Guan Yin remains popular, and the most significant date in the temple’s annual calendar is Guan Yin’s birthday every spring.

The temple is a product of Chinese immigration to Taiwan during the Qing dynasty. After considering various options related to Taiwan, the Manchurian authorities decided in 1684 to occupy the island, at least to the extent of preventing it from becoming a center for piracy or antigovernment revolts. In the process, it moved many people thought loyal to the previous dynasty off the island and replaced them with others, many of them from Fujian Province, immediately across the Taiwan Straits. In the early 18th century, Chinese settlers in Taiwan built five temples all modeled on the Lang-shan Temple in Anhai, Fujian. The temples were erected at Tainan, Fengshan, Lukang, Tamsui, and Wanhua, a district of the future city of Taipei. As Taipei grew in importance, the Lung-shan Temple became an important center of Pure Land Buddhism on the island.

The settlers who built Taipei’s Lung-shan Temple arrived in the area in the mid- to late 1720s. According to a legend, they hung some incense on a tree and lighted it. During the night, they saw the incense glowing bright and interpreted the sight as a sign of the presence of a deity. Thus was the site of the proposed temple decided. (A similar story is told of other temples on Taiwan.) The temple was built in the 1730s and finished in 1738. It was to be dedicated to Guan Yin. An expert on geomancy was hired to determine the correct alignment of the temple according to feng shui. Also, as the temple was to be home to Guan Yin, an area immediately in front of the temple was set aside for a reflecting pool, symbolizing the feminine deity desire and ability to look into the mirrorlike waters.

On several occasions the temple suffered severe damage and required restorations, the last after the end of Japanese occupation and the settlement of the Nationalist Chinese on the island. In 1951 the Taipei Municipal Government designated Lung-shan a historic site. A restoration program began two years later and continued for two decades.

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