Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The Ch'an Master Shen-hsiu was a pivotal figure in the development of Ch'an Buddhism in China. Traditionally, he has been cast as a staunch defender of "gradual enlightenment", in contradistinction to his rival and surpasser, Hui-neng, who espoused the "sudden doctrine".
This thesis re-examines the above portrayal of Shenhsiu as a "Patriarch manqué " in light of several doctrinal and biographical documents, heretofore untranslated. We conclude, on the basis of this examination, that Shen-hsiu has indeed been mis-represented in traditional accounts; however, it is our further contention that this portrait itself---when viewed as a "negative paradigm" --- serves to underscore the centrality of the enlightenment experience.
Lachman, Charles Henry, "The Ch'an Master Shen-hsiu (+606? +706): Three Literary Portraits of a Patriarch Manqué" (1973). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5676.
McMaster University Library