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雪竇智鑑 Xuedou Zhijian (1105-1192), aka 足庵 Zu'an

(Rōmaji:) Setchō Chikan


Xuedou Zhijian (Chinese: 雪窦智鑑; Pinyin: Xuědòu Zhìjiàn; Japanese: Setchō Chikan), was a Chinese Zen Buddhist monk during the Song Dynasty. He was born in an ancient town called Chuzhou in what is now Anhui Province. The details of his life have not survived in great detail. In 1154, he is known to have become the abbot of Xizhen Temple near modern Hangzhou. He moved again in 1184 to Mount Xuedou, where he was said to have many students. In the years leading up to his death in 1192, he apparently lived in seclusion in a cottage to the east of his temple. According to the Conglin shengshi (Glorious matters from the monasteries), written in 1199 by Guyue Daorong, Zhijian wrote a popular verse that poked fun at the renowned teacher Hongzhi Zhengjue. The verse is: “Obtaining one Zong, losing one Chong; Joining his palms in front, beating his chest in back.” "Zong" refers to a well-known student of Hongzhi named Sizong, while "Puchong" is a reference to Yetang Puchong, a student who studied under Hongzhi, but later left to study under Caotang Shanqing, a teacher of the rival Rinzai/Linji school.


by Andy Ferguson
In: Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom Publications, pp. 489-490.

XUEDOU ZHIJIAN (1105–92) was the Dharma heir of the Caodong lineage teacher Tiantong Zongjue. He came from ancient Chuzhou (located within modern Anwei Province). Information about his life in the lamp records is sketchy.


One day when Zhijian was a boy, his mother noticed a mark on his hands as she washed them. She said, “What is this?”

The boy said, “My hands are like the Buddha’s hands [have the marks of the Buddha].”

He first studied under Zen master Zhenxie Qingliao at Changlu. Later he continued study under Zhenxie’s Dharma heir, Tiantong Zongjue, who recognized him as a “great vessel of the Dharma.”

He subsequently lived in seclusion on Mt. Xiang, where it is recorded that he attained enlightenment late one night despite the appearance of one hundred strange apparitions.239 He then returned to see Zongjue, who confirmed his awakening and passed to him the Dharma seal of the Caodong school.


In the year 1154, Zhijian became abbot of Xizhen Temple near Hangzhou. 240 In 1184 he moved to Mt. Xuedou, where a large number of students gathered to study with him. During his final years he lived in seclusion in a cottage located east of the temple. He died in 1192, the ongoing transmission of the lineage passing to his most famous student, Tiantong Rujing.


Upon assuming the abbacy, Zhijian recited a verse to the monks in praise of the scriptural passage, “The World-Honored One had a secret word. Mahakashyapa did not conceal it. All night it rained flowers and the city was awash in fragrance”:

My hand was like the Buddha’s.
My teachers expounded endlessly.
I concealed myself on Xiang Mountain
And outside walked raging spirits,
But when I connected with Tiantong
The hundred ghosts disappeared.
Bodhidharma didn’t see that
The World-Honored One concealed nothing.