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Date of Award

4-1-1973

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Sciences

Supervisor

K. Shinohara

Language

English

Abstract

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.

McMaster University Library

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