Skip to main content

Lin-chi I-hsüan

Lin-chi I-hsüan (Jap. Rinzai Gigen, d. 867 CE). Chinese master who founded the Zen Buddhist Lin-chi line (Rinzai-shū in Japanese). Lin-chi was noted for his emphasis on shouting (ho) and striking (kyosaku) as techniques for spurring on the spiritual progress of his students. ‘A type of Chinese Socrates’ (Demiéville), he is one of the outstanding figures, not just of Buddhism, but of humanity.

The Lin-chi way is characterized by dialectical formulae, the three statements (sanku), three mysteries (sangen), and three essentials (sanyō); and the sets of four—four alternatives (shiryōken), four conversations, four types of shouting (shikatsu). The threefold formulae are dense and not explained.

His sayings and some biographical information are gathered in Lin-chi lu (tr. R. F. Sasaki, 1975; see also Rinzairoku), which includes the notable command: ‘If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you meet the patriarch, kill the patriarch’, which summarizes the goal of independence from even the highest authority in the achieving of what they alone have the authority to teach.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Lin-chi I-hsüan." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 22 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Lin-chi I-hsüan." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (February 22, 2019).

"Lin-chi I-hsüan." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved February 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.