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Te-shan Hsüan-chien

Te-shan Hsüan-chien (Jap., Tokusan Senkan; 782–865). Chʾan/Zen master, dharma-successor (hassu) of Lung-t'an Chung-hsin. Originally trained in the Northern school (see SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN SCHOOLS), and learned in the Diamond Sūtra, he was in some despair at its teaching that it may take thousands of kalpas to attain buddhahood. Hearing of the Southern school, he set out to learn more of it, meeting an old woman on the way who sent him to Lung-tʾan. Lung-t'an handed him a paper torch, and as he took it, Lung-t'an blew it out. He received immediate enlightenment. Next day, he took his commentaries on the Diamond Sūtra and set fire to them. After years of seclusion, he became abbot of Te-shan (hence his name), and taught many disciples in the style of Ma-tsu, with much use of sticks (shippei, kyosaku) and shouts (katsu: see HO).

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