Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
Chan Buddhism at Dharma Drum Mountain inherits the legacies of both the Linji and Caodong schools and integrates the features of different schools in Indian and Chinese Buddhism. While committed to tradition, it is also innovative.
The late Chan Master Sheng Yen was a Dharma heir of Venerable Master Dongchu in the Caodong lineage, of which the spirit is “relaxing the body and mind, living in the present.” He was given the Dharma name Hui Kong (meaning “wisdom emptiness”) and the Dharma title Sheng Yen (meaning “sacred solemnity”). He was also a Dharma heir of Venerable Master Lingyuan in the Linji lineage, of which the spirit is “taking up and letting go at any time.” He was given the Dharma name Zhi Gang (meaning “able to be as resolute as iron”) and the Dharma title Wei Rou (meaning “always remaining pliant”).
With his personal innovative ideas and interpretations, Master Sheng Yen had not only revived the Silent Illumination practice of the Caodong lineage, but also substantialized the essence of Huatou Chan of the Linji lineage, emphasizing both right view and realization, and so creating a unique modern Chinese Chan called Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism(Fagu zong) in 2006.
The Master drew on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism for inspiration, seeking to nurture and enhance the development of Chinese Buddhism for the modern world. It features inclusiveness, tolerance, and adaptability, and can accommodate the needs of contemporary people and society.
The Master encouraged Dharma Drum Mountain’s monastic and lay practitioners to take up the mission of reviving Chinese Chan Buddhism, as well as the responsibility of connecting the past with the future in order to benefit people in the world.
In the Linji lineage, Master Sheng Yen was :
A sixty-seventh generation descendant of the First Patriarch of Chan, Bodhidharma ( ?-ca. 530)
A sixty-second generation descendant of the Sixth Patriarch of Chan, Huineng (638-713)
A fifty-seventh generation descendant of Master Linji (?-866)
A third generation descendant of Master Xuyun (1840-1959)
A direct descendant of Master Lingyuan (1902-1988)
In the Caodong lineage, Master Sheng Yen was:
A sixty-second generation descendant of the First Patriarch of Chan, Bodhidharma (?-ca. 530)
A fifty-seventh generation descendant of the Sixth Patriarch of Chan, Huineng (638-7130)
A fifty-second generation descendant of co-founder Master Dongshan (807-869)
A direct descendant of Master Dongchu (1908-1977)