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覺範慧洪 Juefan Huihong (1071-1128)
德洪 Dehong; 清凉慧洪 Qingliang Huihong

(Rōmaji:) Kakuhan Ekō

Juefan Huihong. (J. Kakuhan Ekō; K. Kakpŏm Hyehong 覺範慧洪) (1071–1128).
Chinese CHAN monk in the HUANGLONG PAI collateral line of the LINJI
ZONG during the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) and major proponent of
“lettered Chan” (WENZI CHAN), which valorized belle lettres, and especially
poetry, in the practice of Chan. Huihong entered the monastery after he was
orphaned at fourteen, eventually passing the monastic examinations at age
nineteen and receiving ordination at Tianwangsi in the eastern capital of Kaifeng.
After studying the CHENG WEISHI LUN (*Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi) for four
years, he eventually began to study at LUSHAN with the Chan master Zhenjing
Kewen (1025–1102), under whom he achieved enlightenment. Because of
Huihong’s close ties to the famous literati officials of his day, and especially with
the statesman and Buddhist patron ZHANG SHANGYING (1043–1122), his own career
was subject to many of the same political repercussions as his associates; indeed,
Huihong himself was imprisoned, defrocked, and exiled multiple times in
his life when his literati colleagues were purged. Compounding his problems,
Huihong also suffered along with many other monks during the severe Buddhist
persecution (see FANAN) that occurred during the reign of Emperor Huizong (r.
1100–1125). Even amid these trying political times, however, Huihong managed
to maintain both his monastic vocation and his productive literary career.
Huihong is in fact emblematic of many Chan monks during the Song dynasty,
when Chan enters the mainstream of Chinese intellectual life: his practice of
Chan was framed and conceptualized in terms that drew from his wide learning
and profound erudition, tendencies that helped make Chan writings particularly
appealing to wider Chinese literati culture. Huihong decried the bibliophobic
tendencies in Chan that were epitomized in the aphorism that Chan “does not
establish words and letters” (BULI WENZI) and advocated that Chan insights
were made manifest in both Buddhist sūtras as well as in the uniquely Chan
genres of discourse records (YULU), genealogical histories (see CHUANDENG
LU), and public-case anthologies (GONG’AN). Given his literary penchant, it is
no surprise that Huihong was a prolific author. His works associated with Chan
lineages include the CHANLIN SENGBAO ZHUAN (“Chronicles of the
SAṂGHA Jewel in the Chan Grove”), a collection of biographies of about a
hundred eminent Chan masters important in the development of lettered Chan;
and the Linjian lu (“Anecdotes from the Groves [of Chan]”), completed in 1107
and offering a record of Huihong’s own encounters with fellow monks and literati
and his reflections on Buddhist practice. Huihong also wrote two studies of poetics
and poetic criticism, the Lengzhai yehua (“Evening Discourses from Cold Studio”) and
Tianchu jinluan (“Forbidden Cutlets from the Imperial Kitchen”),
and numerous commentaries to Buddhist scriptures, including the

(The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 2014)


PDF: Who Has the Last Word in Chan? Transmission, Secrecy and Reading During the Northern Song Dynasty
by Juhn Y. Ahn
Journal of Chinese Religions 37 (2009), pp. 1-71.


A Monk's Literary Education: Dahui's Friendship with Juefan Huihong
by Miriam Levering
Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal, No.13.2 (May 2000) pp. 369–384.



Linjian lu 林閒錄 [Records from the (Chan) groves]. Juefan Huihong 覺範慧洪. XZJ 148.

林間錄 Linjian lu
(Rōmaji:) Rinkan-roku
(English:) Tales From the [Chan] Grove / Forest Record / Anecdotes from the Groves [of Chan]

Juefan had embarked on the task of collecting this rich anecdotal material primarily,
it seems, to correct misperceptions about Chan and to document good learning habits from the
past. Due perhaps to a mixture of diligence and good company, Juefan’s collection eventually
grew to about three hundred or so tales and by then it must have seemed clear to Juefan that
the time to properly collate and publish the collection was long overdue. Indeed, with
a preface prepared in 1107 by the famed (Jiangxi school) poet Xie Yi 謝逸 (1069-1113) from
Linchuan 臨川 county in present day Jiangxi province, the collection was finally edited into
two volumes by Juefan’s otherwise little-known student Benming 本明 (d.u.) and published
under the title Linjian lu 林間錄 or Tales From the [Chan] Grove.


Chanlin sengbao zhuan 禪林僧寶傳 [Chronicle of the saṃgha treasure in the groves of Chan (monasteries)]. Juefan Huihong 覺範慧洪. XZJ 137.

禪林僧寶傳 Chanlin sengbao zhuan
(Rōmaji:) Zenrin sōbōden
Transmission of Monk's Treasures from the Chan Grove / Chronicles of the Saṃgha Jewel in the Forests of Chan

Chanlin sengbao zhuan. (J. Zenrin sōbōden; K. Sŏllim sŭngbo chŏn 禪林僧寶傳).
In Chinese, “Chronicles of the SAṂGHA Jewel in the Forests of CHAN”;
compiled in the twelfth century by the “lettered Chan” (WENZI CHAN) monk
JUEFAN HUIHONG (1071–1128). Huihong intended for this chronicle to serve
as a supplement to his own “Biographies of Eminent Monks” (GAOSENG
ZHUAN), which is no longer extant. Huihong collected the biographies of over a
hundred eminent Chan masters who were active in the lettered Chan movement
between the late Tang and early Song dynasties, appending his own comments to
each biography. Huihong’s collection is said to have been pared down to eighty-
one biographies by the Chan master DAHUI ZONGGAO. Later, Dahui’s disciple
Jinglao (d.u.) of Tanfeng added a biography of WUZU FAYAN, the teacher of
Dahui’s own master YUANWU KEQIN, and two other masters to the conclusion
of Huihong’s text, giving a total of eighty-four biographies in the extant collection.
A postscript by XUTANG ZHIYU appears at the end of the compilation. Unlike
Chan “lamplight histories” (CHUANDENG LU), which are typically arranged
according to principal and collateral lineages, the monks treated in this
compilation are listed according to their significance in the origin and
development of the “lettered Chan” movement; Huihong’s treatment undermines
the neat charts of master–disciple connections deriving from the lamplight
histories, which have become so well known in the literature. In Japan, a copy of
the Chanlin sengbao zhuan was published as early as 1295 and again in 1644.
(The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 2014)

Chanlin sengbao zhuan 禪林僧寶傳 (Biographies of monks of the Chan school), 30 fascicles (x 79: #1560). Commonly abbreviated to Sengbao zhuan 僧寶傳. Compiled by Juefan Huihong 覺範慧洪 (1071–1128), who biographed one hundred monks active from the late Tang to his own time and entitled the work Chanlin baishi zhuan 禪林百師傳 (Biographies of one hundred Chan masters). Later, however, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (1089–1163) and others eliminated nineteen biographies for a total of eighty-one monks, and the collection was published in 1331 as the Chanlin sengbao zhuan. Later editions of the work have a supplementary section added by Qinglao 慶老 (n.d.), a disciple of Dahui, giving biographies of Wuzu Fayan 五祖法演 (1024?–1104) and two other masters.


Lengzhai yehua 冷齋夜話 (“Evening Discourses from Cold Studio”)

The Lengzhai yehua 冷齋夜話 "Nocturnal talks in the Cold Study" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) Buddhist monk Huihong 惠洪 (1071-1128), sometimes erroneously written 慧洪), later called Dehong 德洪, style Juefan 覺範 or Jiyin zunzhe 寂音尊者. His worldy family name was Peng 彭. He came from Xinchang 新昌 in the prefecture of Yunzhou 筠州 (modern Yifeng 宜豐, Jiangxi). After passing the ordination in 1089 he became a monk in the Tianwang Monastery 天王寺 in the Song capital Bianjing 汴京 (modern Kaifeng, Henan). Four years later he returned to the south and settled down on Mt. Lushan 廬山 as a disciple of the Chan master Zhenjing 真淨禪師 . His next station was the Stone Gate 石門 in Hongzhou 洪州, then Qingliang Monastery 清涼寺. Hui Hong then became a retainer of Counsellor-in-chief Zhang Shangyin 張商英, but when the latter was charged with a crime and dismissed, he was exiled to Zhuya 朱崖 (modern Zhuxian 崖縣, Guangdong). Three years later he returned home and sought again a monastic life in Hetang Monastery 荷塘寺. He was then again charged with conspiration as a member of the faction of Zhang Huaisu 張懷素, but was soon released from prison. Huihong was an excellent painter specializing on plum trees, plum flowers, and bamboo, and was also an excellent poet. He has also written the books Shimen wenzi chan 石門文字禪, Sengbao zhuan 僧寶傳 and Linjianlu 林間錄.

The 10 juan "scrolls" long Lengzhai yehua covers a wide range of themes, but far the largerst part is dedicated to poetry and poetry critique. It quotes from a lot of poets freshly written during the Yuanyou reign 元祐 (1086-1093), when Huihong was a young man. Among these the poems of Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅 played a great role with whom Huihong was befriended. Chen Shan's 陳善 book Menshi xinhua 捫虱新話 says that the Lengzhai yehua included a poem by Hong Yan 洪贗, but this poem can not be found in the transmitted version, probably because it was rated as of minor quality or a forgery and therefore eliminated from the text at some time. Each chapter of the Lengzhai yehua has a title, but these have often nothing to do with the content. This might be the result of later revisions and changes, yet in the end, it diminished the value of the Lengzhai yehua as a source on Song period poetry and its contents only slightly.

The Lengzhai yehua is included in the collectanea (= congshu 叢書) Baihai 稗海, Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Biji xiaoshuo daguan 筆記小說大觀, Yinlizaisitang congshu 殷禮在斯堂叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 (with a length of 10 juan), Shuofu 說郛 (Wanwei shantang edition), Gujin shuobu congshu 古今說部叢書 (with the length of 1 juan), the Shangwu yinshuguan edition of the Shuofu (not counted in juan), and, with only seven paragraphs, in the Jiuxiaoshuo 舊小說. In 1988 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 has published a modern edition in a joint version with the books Fengyuetang shihua 風月堂詩話 and Huanxi shihua 環溪詩話, annotated by Chen Xi 陳新.


Shimen wenzi chan 石門文字禪 [Literary Chan from Shimen (monastery)]. Juefan Huihong 覺範慧洪. Sibu congkan, chubian jibu, vol. 56.

Shimen wenzi chan 石門文字禪 (Stone Gate literary Chan), 30 fascicles. A collection of the poetry of the important Chan scholar-monk Juefan Huihong 覺 範慧洪 (1071–1128; “Stone Gate” was an appellation for Huihong). Edited by his disciple Jueci 覺慈 and published in a Ming-dynasty collection of supplementary canonical materials (續藏經) in 1597.


Tianchu jinluan 天廚禁臠 (“Forbidden Cutlets from the Imperial Kitchen”)


by Andy Ferguson
In: Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom Publications, 2011, pp. 441-443.

JUEFAN HUIHONG (n.d.) was a student of Yunan Kewen. He came from Benchun in Jiangxi Province. He was not only one of the great Zen teachers of the Linji/Huanglong lineage, but was a pivotal figure in an era when Zen literature reached its zenith. He authored and compiled a large number of classic Zen commentaries and biographies, including the Treasured Biographies of the Monks of the Zen Monasteries (in Chinese, Chan Lin Seng Bao Zhuan 禪林僧寶傳) and a volume of Biographies of Eminent Monks (in Chinese, Gao Seng Zhuan 高僧傳).

At the age of nineteen, Juefan received ordination at the Celestial Kings Temple in Luoyang, where he received his first Dharma name, Huihong (“Vast Wisdom”). Juefan reportedly possessed a photographic memory and the ability to remember a book completely after one reading. He wrote poetry under the pen name “Hongdong Jinghua.” A Buddhist scholar and philosopher, he thoroughly mastered the “consciousness-only” doctrine of Buddhist thought. The Wudeng Huiyuan provides a brief account of his life.


When Qingliang was fourteen, his mother and father died. He then lived as a novice monk under Zen master Sanfeng Qing. Every day he learned several thousand words [of the sutras]. Qingliang mastered a great number of books and completely attained his teacher's Dharma. At the age of nineteen he passed his examinations and entered the clergy at Tianwang Temple in Luoyang, receiving ordination there. He then learned the Madhyamika and consciousness-only doctrine from the monk Xuanmi.

After four years, he stopped studying sutras, and proceeded to study under Master Zhenjing at Guizong. When Zhenjing moved to Shimen, Juefan followed him there. Zhenjing feared that Qingliang suffered from the illness of being too erudite. Whenever Zhenjing spoke of Xuansha's situation before his enlightenment, he would engender doubts in Qingliang. Whenever Qingliang would say something, Zhenjing would say, “Is what you are saying in accord with the Way?”


One day, Qingliang suddenly lost all his doubts. He then composed this verse:

When Lingyun saw them once, he never looked again,
Those branches adorned in red and white did not reveal blossoms.
The wretched fisherman who caught nothing from his boat
Has returned to net fish and prawns on dry land.

Zhenjing was delighted with Qingliang's verse, declaring it to be of the highest order. Not long after this, Qingliang went on to visit many other famous teachers. They all praised him highly, and because of this he became famous throughout the many Zen monasteries.

The official Xian Mozhu invited Qingliang to become abbot of Beijingde Temple in Fuzhou. Later, he moved to Qingliang Temple [in Nanjing].


Qingliang said to the monks, “In the Surangama Sutra, the Tathagata said to Ananda, ‘When you smell the fragrance of the sandalwood log that burns in this hearth, the fragrance appears to come from a single sandalwood log, yet everywhere within forty li of the city of Shravasti it may be perceived at the same time. What do you say about this? Does this fragrance arise from the sandalwood; does it arise from your nose; or does it arise in the air?

“Ananda! If you say it arises in your nose, then it could be said to be created by your nose. In that case it would come forth from your nose. There is no sandalwood within your nose. So how is there the scent of sandalwood in your nose? If you say that you smell the fragrance, such that it enters your nose, and that within your nose the fragrance is created, then to say that ‘you smell' the fragrance is illogical. If the fragrance arises in the air, then because the nature of the air is permanent, the fragrance would always be present. So why then would we need to burn this sandalwood log in the hearth? If the fragrance exists in the wood, then the material of this fragrance would be reduced to smoke when the wood is burned. If the nose were thought to be smelling the smoke of this fragrance, then when the smoke rushed into the sky, it could not travel too far. How could it be smelled at a distance of forty li?

“For this reason, it may be said that the fragrance, the nose, and the perception of the fragrance, all have no abode. Thus, the smelling and fragrance are both empty illusions, fundamentally linked to causality, and having no self-nature.'”

Zen master Qingliang then said, “Enter this perception of the nose. Closely observe for yourself that it is unborn!”


[Qingliang then raised an example from the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, wherein] the Buddha asked, “What is it that hears? Does ‘hearing' employ the ears to hear? Is it ‘hearing consciousness' that hears? It may be proposed that it is the ears that hear, but the ears do not have consciousness, so they cannot hear. If it is proposed that it is ‘hearing consciousness' that hears, then does not such consciousness exist only in a moment of thought? Thus it would not be able to differentiate [different sounds], and would therefore not be able to hear. If it is proposed that it is consciousness itself that hears, then I say it cannot do so. Why is this? The five senses perceive the five objects of the senses. Thereafter, consciousness perceives consciousness. Consciousness cannot simultaneously perceive the five objects of the senses. It can only perceive these objects as existing in the past or in the future. If consciousness were able to perceive the manifestation of the five objects of the senses, then even someone blind and deaf would be able to perceive sound. Why is this? It is because consciousness is indivisible.”

Qingliang then said, “It is this ‘perception of the objects of the senses' that accords with the fundamental mystery. It gives evidence to what is unborn and accords with the fundamental mystery. What, after all, is this state?”

After a long pause, Qingliang said, “The white ape has long since called across the thousand cliffs. Blue ropes enmesh the furnace of words!”


In the second year of the Jiangyan era of the Song dynasty [1128], Juefan died at Tongan. As a result of a petition to the emperor by the official Kuo Tianmin, Juefan received the posthumous name “Precious Enlightenment Perfect Clarity.”