DUSHUN (557–640), also known as Fashun; first patriarch of the Huayan school in China. Dushun was born in the town of Wannien in Yongzhou Province, the birthplace of many important Buddhists. At the age of eighteen he was ordained by Senzhen of the Yinsheng Si, and studied Buddhist meditation under him. Some years later he went to Qingzhou Province and there recommended that people hold a Buddhist vegetarian feast. According to legend, he is said to have satisfied the hunger of a thousand people with food adequate for only five hundred. According to this same legend, he acquired such great supernatural power through meditation that he was able to effect miraculous cures. Indeed, it is principally for such charismatic powers, and not for his doctrinal contributions, that he is known to later church historians.
As a result of his growing reputation, Dushun was asked to preach at the court of Tang Taizong (627–645). It is said that the emperor bestowed upon him the honorary name Dixing (Imperial heart) in the year 632. In the years after his death at the Yishan Si temple in Nanjiao, popular legend declared Dushun to have been an incarnation of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī.
Little precise information is known about Dushun's religious practice. It is said that he urged Fan Xuanzhi, one of his disciples, to chant the Huayan jing (Mahâvaipulya-buddhagaṇḍavyūha Sūtra) and to learn from it the practice of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra. We can infer from this that his own religious exercises were intimately related to such practices. Dushun had at least four disciples: the above-mentioned Fan Xuanzhi, Zhiyan, who was to become the Huayen school's second patriarch, a monk known simply as Da, and a child of a Li family. The latter two persons are otherwise unknown.
Tradition has long ascribed to Dushun authorship of the seminal Fajie guanmen (On the meditation of the Dharmadhātu ), a work that sets forth the basic doctrinal and practical stance of Huayan Buddhism. Some modern scholars, however, doubt that this book was either edited or written by him. The Xu gaoseng zhuan (Further biographies of eminent monks), which contains the most reliable account of Dushun's life, makes no reference whatsoever to the Fajie guanmen. Nor is there any positive relation between the thought expressed in this work and the thought of Dushun's disciple and patriarchal successor Zhiyan. Finally, the Fapudixin zhang, written by Fazang, the Huayan school's third patriarch, has the same content as this work. Given these arguments, and considering the long tradition of pseudepigraphy in the Buddhist tradition, the association of Dushun with the Fajie guanmen appears doubtful.
Dushun's role in the formation of Huayan Buddhism is the subject of three important articles: Tokiwa Daijō's "Shina kegonshū dentō ron," Tōhōgakuhō (Tokyo) 3 (1932): 1–96 and its sequel, "Zoku kegonshū dentō ron," Tōhōgakuhō (Tokyo) 5 (1934): 1–85; and Yūki Reimon's "Kegon hokkaikanmon ni tsuite," Indogaku Bukkyōgaku kenkyū 6 (1958): 587–593. In my own study of early Huayen thought, Shoki chūgoku kegonshisō no kenkyū (Tokyo, 1977), I question the reliability of the traditional attribution of the Fajie guanmen to Dushun; see especially pages 325–370.
In addition, it is clear that the Wujiao zhiguan (Cessation and contemplation practice in the five teachings) cannot be attributed to Dushun based on its contents. Ishii Kōsei tried to demonstrate a new point of view that it appeared several de-cades after the third patriarch Fazang's death (712) in the article named "Kegonshū no kangyōbunken ni mieru zenshūhihan," Matsugaokabunko kenkyū nenpō 17 (Kamakura, 2003):47–62.
Kimura Kiyotaka (1987 and 2005)