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太陽警玄 Dayang Jingxuan (943-1027), aka 警延 Jingyan

(Rōmaji:) Taiyō Kyōgen, aka Kyōen


by Andy Ferguson
In: Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom Publications, pp. 361-363.

DAYANG JINGXUAN (943–1027) was a disciple of Liangshan Yuanguan, and a transmitter of the Caodong Zen lineage. He came from ancient Jiangxia (now the city of Wuchang in Hubei Province). He left lay life to enter Chongxiao Temple in Jinling. There he studied under Zen master Zhitong. At the age of nineteen, after ordination, he left Jinling and traveled widely throughout the country. He first studied under Zen master Yuanjiao Liaoyi. Unsuccessful with that teacher, he continued his travels and eventually met and studied under Liangshan. He remained with Liangshan for a long period, realizing enlightenment and becoming his Dharma heir. When Liangshan died, Dayang traveled to Mt. Dayang in Yingzhou (now the city of Jingshan in Hubei Province), where he assumed his mountain name. There he met and studied with Zen master Huijian. When Huijian died, Dayang assumed the abbacy of the temple. During the period 1008–16 Dayang changed his name from “Jingxuan” to “Jingyan.”*

*Dayang made this change due to a then current taboo on using the word “xuan.”

During Dayang’s life, the Caodong school of Zen experienced serious decline. At the age of eighty, Dayang despaired that the Caodong Zen line had no worthy heirs and would cease to exist when he died. He then took the highly unusual step of enlisting the assistance of the eminent Linji lineage teacher Fushan Fayuan, entrusting to him the Dharma transmission of the Caodong school.157 Dayang then passed away, and the essential teachings of Caodong remained with Fushan, who was a famous master of Linji Zen. After many years, Fushan encountered Touzi Yiqing, an exceptional young monk and worthy “Dharma vessel.” To him, Fushan transmitted the heritage that he previously inherited from Dayang Jingxuan.

Dayang’s first encounter with Liangshan is recorded in the Wudeng Huiyuan.

Upon first meeting Liangshan, Dayang asked, “What is the formless place of realization?”

Liangshan pointed to a painting of Kwan Yin and said, “This was painted by Wu Chu.”

Dayang was about to speak when Liangshan cut him off, saying, “Does this have form? Where is the form?”

At these words, Dayang awakened. He then bowed.

Liangshan said, “Why don’t you say something?”

Dayang said, “It’s true I don’t speak, and I fear putting it to brush and paper.”

Liangshan laughed and said, “Engrave the words on a stone memorial!”

Dayang then offered the following verse:

Formerly my means of studying the Way were confused,
Seeking understanding among myriad streams and countless mountains.
But immediate clarity is not found by sorting through the past.
Directly speaking “no mind” engendered more delusion.
Then, a teacher revealed my situation upon leaving Qin,
Illuminating the time before my parents’ birth.
And now, everything realized, what has been attained?
The night frees crow and cock to fly with the snow.

Liangshan said, “Here the Dongshan line is entrusted.”

In time, Jingxuan’s reputation spread widely.


A monk asked Dayang, “What is a phrase that penetrates the dharmakaya?”

Dayang said, “Red dust rises from the bottom of the sea. Rivers flow sideways at Mt. Sumeru’s summit.”


A monk asked Dayang, “What is Dayang’s state of being?”

Dayang said, “A gaunt crane and an old ape call across the valley in harmony. A slender pine and the cold bamboo are enveloped in blue mist.”

The monk said, “What about the person in that state?”

Dayang said, “What are you doing? What are you doing?”

The monk asked, “What is the master’s family style?”

Dayang said, “A full pitcher that can’t be emptied. Across the great earth, no one hungry.”


A monk asked, “What is a phrase that embodies infinite clarity?”

Dayang said, “When the finger points at emptiness, heaven and earth revolve. On the returning path, a stone horse emerges from a gauze basket.”


A monk asked, “What is a person who has ‘completely arrived’?”

Dayang said, “Throughout vast emptiness no such thing exists.”

The monk said, “What is the pure dharmakaya?”

Dayang said, “A white ox spits up white silk. A black horse rides a crow.”


Zen master Dayang entered the hall and addressed the monks, saying, “A ten-thousand-foot-high peak and a precipitous path to the top, beset with swords, knives, and ice! Who can walk this path? The phrase of the wondrous vehicle cannot be found on the path of words. As to the unsurpassed Dharma gate, even Vimalakirti remained close-lipped. For this reason, Bodhidharma came from the west, sat facing a wall for nine years, and thus allowed us to learn of it. Oh, look how I’m carrying on today! Take care!”


After his death, Dayang received the posthumous title “Great Teacher Bright Peace.”