Huang Di, or the Yellow Emperor, is a legendary Chinese sovereign and cultural hero presented in Chinese mythology. He is said to be the ancestor of all Huaxia Chinese. According to many sources he was one of the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 BCE or 2696–2598 BCE. He is regarded as the founder of Chinese civilization.
Yao (simplified Chinese: 尧; traditional Chinese: 堯; pinyin: Yáo; Wade–Giles: Yao), (traditionally c. 2356-2255) was a legendary Chinese ruler, one of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors. Also known as Taotang Shi, he was born Yi Fangxun or Yi Qi as the second son to Emperor Ku and Qingdu. He is also known as Tang Yao.
Often extolled as the morally perfect and smart sage-king, Yao's benevolence and diligence served as a model to future Chinese monarchs and emperors. Early Chinese often speak of Yao, Shun and Yu as historical figures, and contemporary historians believe they may represent leader-chiefs of allied tribes who established a unified and hierarchical system of government in a transition period to the patriarchal feudal society. In the Book of History, (aka the Classic of History) one of the Five Classics, the initial chapters deal with Yao, Shun, and Yu.
According to legend, Yao became the ruler at 20 and died at 119 when he passed his throne to Great Shun, to whom he gave his two daughters in marriage.
Of his many contributions, Yao is said to have invented the game of Weiqi, reportedly to favorably influence his vicious playboy son Danzhu. After the customary three year mourning period after Yao's death, Shun named Danzhu as the ruler but the people only recognized Shun as the rightful heir.
The Bamboo Annals offers a different story. Shun rebelled and imprisoned Yao where he is left to die. Danzhu is exiled and later defeated by Shun.
Reigned after right after Yao. Second of the great sage kings.
The third of the great Sage Kings of Yao, Shun, Yu.
King Wǔ of Zhōu or King Wu of Chou was the first sovereign, or ruler of the Chinese Zhōu Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 1046-1043 BCE or 1049/45-1043. Various sources quoted that he died at the age of 93, 54 or 43. He was considered a just and able leader. Zhou Gong Dan was one of his brothers.
King Wǔ was the second son of King Wen of Zhou. After ascending to the throne, King Wǔ tried to accomplish his father's dying wish: the defeat of the Shang Dynasty. King Wu used many wise government officials—most notably Prime Minister Jiang Ziya, a man evidentially declared as "the master of strategy"—resulting in the Zhou government growing far stronger as the years elapsed.
In 1048 BCE, King Wǔ marched down the Yellow River to the Mengjin ford and met with more than 800 dukes. In 1046 BCE, seeing that the Shang government was in a shambles, King Wǔ launched an attack along with many neighboring dukes. In the Battle of Muye, Shang forces were destroyed, and King Zhou of Shang set his palace on fire and burned himself to death.
Following the victory, King Wǔ established many smaller feudal states under the rule of his brothers and generals. He died three years later in 1043 BCE.
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from 770 to 221 BC, an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China. Even though this period - known in its earlier part as the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period in its latter part was fraught with chaos and bloody battles, it is also known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely.
Or Former of Western Han
Ruling from 141 to 87. Organized a strong a centralized Confucian state. One of the greatest emperors.
Usurpation of Wang Mang
Or Eastern Han
Wei, Shu, and Wu
Or Western Jin
In the south
In the north
Ch'i-tan in the north
Or Northern Sung
Jurchen in the north
According to Chinese tradition, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE, a contemporary of Confucius. Historians variously contend that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, that he is a mythical figure, or that he actually lived in the 4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period.
Zhuangzi, or “Master Zhuang” (also known in the Wade-Giles romanization as Chuang-tzu) was, after Laozi, one of the earliest thinkers to contribute to the philosophy that has come to be known as Daojia, or school of the Way. According to traditional dating, he was an almost exact contemporary of the Confucian thinker Mencius, but there appears to have been little to no communication between them. He is ranked among the greatest of literary and philosophical giants that China has produced. His style is complex—mythical, poetic, narrative, humorous, indirect, and polysemic.
Zhuangzi espoused a holistic philosophy of life, encouraging disengagement from the artificialities of socialization, and cultivation of our natural “ancestral” potencies and skills, in order to live a simple and natural, but full and flourishing life. He was critical of our ordinary categorizations and evaluations, noting the multiplicity of different modes of understanding between different creatures, cultures, and philosophical schools, and the lack of an independent means of making a comparative evaluation. He advocated a mode of understanding that is not committed to a fixed system, but is fluid and flexible, and that maintains a provisional, pragmatic attitude towards the applicability of these categories and evaluations.
The text through which we know his work was the result of the editing and arrangement of the Jin dynasty thinker and commentator Guo Xiang (Kuo Hsiang, d. 312 CE), who reduced what had been a work in fifty-two chapters to the current edition of thirty-three chapters, excising material that he considered to be spurious. Zhuangzi’s version of Daoist philosophy was highly influential in the reception, interpretation, and transformation of Buddhism in China.
An ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia and until today. It is comparable in importance to the Hippocratic Corpus in Greek medicine or the works of Galen in Islamic and medieval European medicine. The work is composed of two texts each of eighty-one chapters or treatises in a question-and-answer format between the mythical Huangdi (Yellow Emperor or more correctly Yellow Thearch) and six of his equally legendary ministers.
The first text, the Suwen, also known as Basic Questions, covers the theoretical foundation of Chinese Medicine and its diagnostic methods. The second and generally less referred-to text, the Lingshu [Spiritual Pivot], discusses acupuncture therapy in great detail. Collectively, these two texts are known as the Neijing or Huangdi Neijing. In practice, however, the title Neijing often refers only to the more influential Suwen.
Dating is difficult, though generally it's agreed that the text can't be older than about 320 BCE and can't be more recent than 250 AD
The Yellow Court Classic ("Huang Ting Jing") a Chinese Taoist Internal Alchemy (Neidan) text, was received from the unknown source (according to a lore, as a Heavenly Scripture from the Highest Purity Realm) by Lady Wei Huacun, one of the founders of Highest Purity Tradition (Shangqing), in the 288 CE. The first reference to the text appears in the archives of the famous alchemist and collector of Taoist texts, Ge Hong in the 4th century CE.
The manuscript comprises the two parts, the External (Wai) and Internal (Nei) Scenery Scripture. All characters of the shorter (100 verses) text of the External Scripture are fully contained in the longer (435 verses) text of the Internal Scripture. Together, both of the texts are also referred to (within the manuscript itself) as "Jade Book" or "Jade Writing". Fourth century “Sage of Calligraphy”, Wang Xizhi presented the full text of the Internal Scenery Scripture of the Yellow Court on the stone tables in his classic artwork, a well-known masterpiece of the East Asian calligraphy .
The Purple Texts
Scripture on Salvation
(Time not certain, but it existed during this time)
Scripture of the Inner Explanations of the Three Heavens
The Fengdao kejie or Rules for Worshipping the Dao dates from the early seventh century and is a key text of medieval Daoist priesthood and monasticism, which was first formally organized in the sixth century. Compiled to serve the needs of both monastic practitioners and priests in training, it describes the fundamental rules, organizational principles, and concrete establishments of Daoist institutions. Speaking in their own voices and presenting the ideal Daoist life of their time, priests and recluses come to life in this fascinating ancient document.
The Zhou Dynasty first used this as a reason for overthrowing Shang Dynasty.
The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged on annalistic principles. The text is extremely concise and, if all the commentaries are excluded, about 16,000 words long. Because of this its meaning can only be appreciated with the aid of ancient commentaries, especially the traditional Commentary of Zuo.
Because it was traditionally regarded as having been compiled by Confucius (after a claim to this effect by Mencius), it was included as one of the Five Classics of Chinese literature.
The origin of the Yi Jing dates back to approx 3000 BCE, but it wasn't until Confucius wrote his commentaries on it during the Spring and Autumn Period that it became a confucian classic.
The earliest extant version of the text, written on bamboo slips, albeit incomplete, is the Chujian Zhouyi, and dates to the latter half of the Warring States period (mid 4th to early 3rd century BC), and certainly cannot be later than 223 BC, when Chu was conquered by Qin.
Some songs from as early as 1000 BCE. By Confucius's time, there were supposedly ~3000 songs of which Confucius chose 305.
Zisi, who was the only grandson of Confucius, supposedly taught Mencius and wrote the Doctrine of the Mean.
The Doctrine of the Mean (Chinese: 中庸; pinyin: zhōng yōng), is both a concept and one of the books of Neo-Confucian teachings . The composition of the text is attributed to Zisi (or Kong Ji) the only grandson of Confucius. The term is originally derived from a verse of the Analects which reads:
“ The Master [Confucius] said, The virtue embodied in the doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people ”
— Doctrine of the Mean, 6:26 (Burton Watson tr.)
However, the Analects never expands on what this term means.
The Doctrine of the Mean as a text belongs to the later Confucian Canon of the Neo-Confucian movement as compiled by Zhu Xi, and delves into great detail the meaning of this term, as well as how to apply it to one's life.
The Great Learning was one of the "Four Books" in Confucianism. The "Four Books" were selected by the neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) during the Song Dynasty as a foundational introduction to Confucianism and examinations for the state civil service in China. His commentary of the book provided additional support to Confucius' ideals.
The Great Learning had come from a chapter in the Classic of Rites, also known as the Li Chi or the Li Ji, which formed one of the 5 classics.
The Great Learning consists of a short main text attributed to the teachings of Confucius and then ten commentary chapters accredited to one of Confucius' disciples, Zeng Zi. The ideals of the book were Confucius's; however the text was written after his death.
Began by Confucius's pupils 30-50 years after his death. Collated around 150 BCE and finalized around 55 BCE
The book consists of 58 chapters (including eight subsections), of which 33 are generally considered authentic works from the Warring States or earlier. The first five chapters of the book purport to preserve the sayings and recall the deeds of such illustrious emperors as Yao and Shun, who reigned during legendary age; the next 4 are devoted to the Xia Dynasty, the historicity of which has not been definitively established; the next 17 chapters deal with the Shang Dynasty and its collapse. The blame for this is placed on the last Shang ruler, who is described as oppressive, murderous, extravagant, and lustful. The final 32 chapters cover the Zhou Dynasty until the reign of Duke Mu of Qin.
The Classic of History contains some of the earliest examples of Chinese prose, and is considered one of the Five Classics.
Xun Zi (ca. 312–230 BC) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived during the Warring States Period and contributed to one of the Hundred Schools of Thought. Xun Zi believed man's inborn tendencies need to be curbed through education and ritual, counter to Mencius's view that man is innately good. He believed that ethical norms had been invented to rectify mankind.
Educated in the state of Qi, Xun Zi was associated with the Confucian school, but his philosophy has a pragmatic flavour compared to Confucian optimism. Some scholars attribute it to the divisive times.
Xunzi was one of the most sophisticated thinkers of his time, and was the teacher of Li Si and Han Fei Zi.
It described the social forms, governmental system, and ancient/ceremonial rites of the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050–256 BCE). The original text is believed to have been compiled by Confucius himself, whilst the edition usually referred to today was edited and re-worked by various scholars during the Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE).
Zhū Xī or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China. His contribution to Chinese philosophy included his assigning special significance to the Analects of Confucius, the Mencius, the Great Learning, and the Doctrine of the Mean (the Four Books), his emphasis on the investigation of things (gewu), and the synthesis of all fundamental Confucian concepts.
For us: The writings of, and on spirit beings.
Buddhism appeared in India around the time of Confucius and started leaking into China several hundred years later, supposedly via the Silk Road. By 300 AD, Buddhist establishments began to be regulated in the 300's AD by the rulers of the northern dynasty.
Sishi'er zhang jing. This is regarded as the first Indian Buddhist scripture to be translated into Chinese.
188 was the earliest found Chinese translation, supposedly extant around 100 AD.
The Lotus Sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by the Buddha toward the end of his life. The tradition in Mahayana states that the sutra was written down at the time of the Buddha and stored for five hundred years in a realm of nāgas. After this they were reintroduced into the human realm at the time of the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir. The sutra's teachings purport to be of a higher order than those contained in the āgamas of the Sūtra Piṭaka, and that humanity had been unable to understand the sutra at the time of the Buddha, and thus the teaching had to be held back
The Amitābha Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 阿彌陀經; pinyin: Āmítuó Jīng; Vietnamese: A di đà kinh; Japanese: Amida Kyō) is a popular colloquial name for the Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. The Amitābha Sūtra is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text, and it is one of the primary sūtras recited and upheld in the Pure Land Buddhist schools.
The Amitābha Sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva in 402 CE, but may have existed in India as early as year 100 CE, composed in a Prakrit language.
The Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra (Sanskrit; traditional Chinese: 佛說觀無量壽佛經; simplified Chinese: 佛说观无量寿佛经; pinyin: fó shuō guān wúliàngshòufó jīng; Japanese: 観無量寿経), is one of the three major Buddhist sūtras found within the Pure Land branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Amitāyus is another name for the buddha Amitābha, the preeminent figure in Pure Land Buddhism, and this sūtra focuses mainly on meditations involving complex visualization. This is reflected in the name of the sūtra, which translates to the "Amitāyus Meditation Sūtra."
Translated by Kalayasas during the Liu Song Dynasty
Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century and is traditionally credited as the leading patriarch and transmitter of Zen (Chan) to China.
The Zen monastic regulations (Qinggui in Chinese; Shingi in Japanese) are an outgrowth of the early Buddhist Vinaya, the ethical injunctions dispensed by the Buddha. The first legendary Zen monastic rules are traditionally attributed to Baizhang Huaihai (749-814; Hyakujo Ekai in Japanese).Baizhang is widely regarded in the tradition as the founder of the Zen work ethic, for example with his famous statement, "A day without work is a day without eating."
Guifeng Zongmi (圭峰 宗密) (Wade-Giles: Kuei-feng Tsung-mi; Japanese: Keiho Shumitsu) (780–841) was a Tang dynasty Buddhist scholar-monk, installed as fifth patriarch of the Huayan (Chinese: 華嚴; pinyin: Huáyán; Japanese: Kegon; Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) school as well as a patriarch of the Heze (WG: Ho-tse) lineage of Southern Chan.
He wrote a number of vitally important essays on the contemporary situation of Buddhism in Tang China, and is one of the most important figures in East Asian Buddhist history in terms of providing modern scholars with a clear analysis of the development of Chan (Zen) and Huayan and the general intellectual/religious climate of his times.
A meticulous scholar, Zongmi wrote extensive critical analyses of the various Chan and scholastic sects of the period, as well as numerous scriptural exegeses. He was deeply affected by Huayan thought and is famous for his work in the area of doctrinal classification: the attempt to account for the apparent disparities in the Buddhist doctrines by categorizing them according to their specific aims. Zongmi, like many later Korean monks on whom he extended his influence, was deeply interested in both the practical and doctrinal aspects of Buddhism, and was especially concerned about harmonizing the views of those that tended toward exclusivity in either direction.
Among many other important texts written by Zongmi is his Inquiry into the Origin of Humanity, (alt., On the Original Nature of Man or The Debate on an Original Person) (原人論 Yüan jen lun) written sometime between his being given the purple robe in 828 and his downfall in 835. This essay, which became one of his best-known works, surveys the current major Buddhist teachings of the day as well as Confucian and Taoist teachings and not only shows how Buddhism is superior to the native Chinese philosophies but also presents a hierarchy of the profundity of the Buddhist schools.
Only 4 temples each in Ch'ang-an and Loyang. 4,600 monasteries and 40,000 temples and shrines wiped out. 260,500 monks and nuns returned to Laity. Millions of acres of tax-exempt farmland confiscated and returned to the tax registers. Great weakening of institutional influence.
Side Note: Han Yu (768–824), born in Nanyang, Henan, China, was a precursor of Neo-Confucianism as well as an essayist and poet, during the Tang dynasty. The Indiana Companion calls him "comparable in stature to Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe" for his influence on the Chinese literary tradition. He stood for strong central authority in politics and orthodoxy in cultural matters. He is also among China's finest prose writers, second only to Sima Qian, and first among the "Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song". Song Dynasty poet Su Shi praised Han Yu that he had written prose which "raised the standards after 8 dynasties of literary weaknesses"
Creator of the Baodingshan, built in 70 years starting in 1179 under his leadership.
aodingshan is located 15 kilometers to the northeast of longgang Town, seat of Dazu country, 527.83 meters above sea level. Baodingshan Rock Carvings include those at Dafowan and Xiaofowan centering around the Saint Longevity Monastery. These carvings were created under the supervision of Zhao Zhifeng in more than 70 years from A.D.1174 to 1252 according to an overall plan. With nearly 10000 statues, the rock carvings at Baodingshan form in a large ritual site of Tantric Buddhism. Moreover,it is the locus of elite in Dazu Rock Carvings ,and it have reached a new peak.
Baodingshan Rock Carvings differ from those of earlier Chinese grottoes in many aspects:
1). Baodingshan Rock Carvings form a large grotto ritual site of Tantric Buddhism rarely seen in China. Dafowan is the outer site where Buddhist followers are preached, while Xiaofowan is an inner courtyard for devotees to be initiated into monkhood or nunhood and to practice Buddhism. They combine to form a complete system， with each carrying characteristics of its own. Carved at the protrusive part of the grotto is the Ritual Site of Liu Benzen and an attached epigraph, and standing at the center of stanes more than 20 spots are the images of Liu benzen and Zhao Zhifeng who have just becomes Buddhas.
2). Baodingshan Rock Carvings have developed a form of expression different from any others in Chinese speleology. Among the thousands of statues at Dafowan, for instance, none repeat each other in terms of subject matters. The niches and caves are bath linked together by Buddhist doctrines and connected with each other in form to constitute an organic entirety. The contents of these statues start from idealistic desires and end with the enlightenment of Liu Benzun and his final becoming into a Buddha. Embodies in these statues is a complete system composed of Buddhist doctrines, philosophical ideas, and final consequences of behaviours. Attached to the narratives sutras have been carved scriptures, Buddhist hymns, and panegyrics. Excellent in both drawing and text, they differ from sutras in collection. As carved Buddhist documents that had not been entered into and collections of sutras, they have great academic value in the study of Buddhist classics.
3). With close attention to the expounding of philosophical principles, these statues reflect the integration of the basic doctrines of Buddhism, the ethics of confucianism, the disposition of rationalism, and Taoism. Incorporating the principles of various schools of thinking, they reflect the characteristics of Buddhist ideology on China’s Song Dynasty.
4). Baodingshan Rock Carvings are examples of nationalization and lifelike reproduction of speleology in china. The sculptors had strived to represent life in as vivid a way as possible when choosing the contents and models of the statues. In the Picture of Parental Love sutra, for instance, a series of episodes in daily life such as prayer for a child, pregnancy, childbirth, wedding, and funeral have been described to depict in great details the whole process of great painstaking efforts by parents to foster their off springs. They are extremely vivid and impressive. With springs flowing in forests and mountains, clouds flying over, 10 buffaloes grazing under the cave of 10 herdsmen, the Picture of Buffaloes and herdsmen which runs more than 30 meters ling is a lyric reproduction of the life of herdsmen. The flute-playing girl, the happy chicken-raising girl, and the drunken father failing to recognize his son, the drunken husband failing to recognize his wife the drunken brother failing to recognize his brother, and the drunken sister failing to recognize her younger one in the Picture of Drunkards are all true to life. The careful experience and accurate reproduction of by the sculptors really compel admiration.
5). Baodingshan Rock Carvings are the culmination and creative development of the art of speleology in many aspects. The principle followed by sculptors in the creation of the statues is to persuade and arouse the piety of Buddhist followers. When modeling images, attaching decorations, arranging layouts, providing drainage and lighting, using supports, and producing perspectives, the sculptors had paid great attention to creating beauty in both form and mood. The 1007 arms of the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara, for instance, are all unevenly placed, with closed-up fingers, and some haring hands with extending fingers. They create a scene like the splendid tail of a peacock. The miracle of Buddhist art in the world is as well as the largest Avalokitesvara of this kind in China, the whole carving is full of grandeur and magnificence. The Image of Sakyamuni Entering Nirvana is 31 meters long, with the upper part of his body exposed. So far as its composition is concerned, the image gives one an impression of hidden beauty by forcing one to feel instead of to see and to read beyond what can be seen. This is a successful application of the traditional aesthetic concept of expressing the infinite with the finite as commonly used in Chinese landscape paintings. The Nether World is consisted of horrific 18-storied hells where the figures with horrifying oxen heads or horse faces and sinners crying under cruel torture with daggers, saws, boiling oil, freezing ice, or boiling water form a shocking picture. The scores of statues in the Cave of Full Enlightenment, on the other hand, are delicately carved. Wearing clothes resembling sick or satin, they sit on platforms like wood carvings. A skylight has been arranged at the upper part of the cave for the purpose of lighting. Through this skylight, lights shed straight into the center of the cave which, when juxtaposed by darkness and brightness, becomes even more mysterious, The lofty statues of the Three Saints of Huayan school stand by a cliff in a forward bending manner, thus successfully avoiding perspective deformation. They wear kasayes with rolling folds, and their capes drape from their elbows down to their foot as supports to their arms. This is why the stone pagoda, which weighs hundreds of jin, has stood steadily in the hand of Manjusri after a thousand years. Using the natural mountain spring on the cliff, the carving of Nine dragons Bathing the Prince is composed of nine dragons carved at the upper part of a cliff, with clear spring water gushing from the mouth of the dragon in the middle to wash the Prince all year round, adding life into the statue. This is a fine example of suiting measure to local conditions.
Han Fei (also Han Fei Zi) (ca. 280 BC – 233 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who, along with Li Si, Gongsun Yang, Shen Dao and Shen Buhai, developed the doctrine of the School of Law or Legalism. Unlike the other famed philosophers of the time, Han Fei was a member of the ruling aristocracy, having been born into the ruling family of the state of Han during the end phase of the Warring States Period. In this context, his works have been interpreted by some scholars as being directed to his cousin, the King of Han.
The Huáinánzǐ (Chinese: 淮南子; Wade–Giles: Huai-nan Tzu; literally "The Masters/Philosophers of Huainan") is a 2nd century BCE Chinese philosophical classic from the Han dynasty that blends Daoist, Confucianist, and Legalist concepts, including theories such as Yin-Yang and the Five Phases. It was written under the patronage of Liu An, Prince of Huainan, a legendarily prodigious author. The text, also known as the Huainan honglie 淮南鸿烈 ("The Great Brilliance of Huainan"), is a collection of essays presented as resulting from literary and philosophical debates between Liu and guests at his court, in particular the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan.
The Huainanzi was the first Chinese classic text to use the Pythagorean comma, and to precisely analyze 12-tone tuning in Chinese music (McClain and Ming 1979:213, 206), although the latter was preceded by bronze inscriptions on the (433 BCE) bells of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (Temple 1986:199).
The concept of the Diyu and the 18 hells originated in Tang dynasty, and was originally Hindu, but spread throughout China and all of its idea systems.
Both Toaists and Zen Buddhists claim Han-shan as theirs. The poetry of Han-shan shows a familiarity with both traditions, though he seems to have enjoyed poking fun at Taoists and Buddhists alike.
An early biography places the dates of his life in the seventh century, but Red Pine (the translator of The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain) points out arguments that seem to suggest dates in the late eighth century.
It is difficult to speak of Han-shan's life with historical certainty since so much folk legend has also grown up around him. Autobiographical hints appear in several of his poems and there are a few historical references to him, as well as his two companions, Feng-kan (Big Stick) and Shih-te (Pickup).
As a young man, Han-shan was apparently a part of the privileged civil servant class, but he left his family and wealth at about age thirty to take up the life of a hermit poet, settling in a remote cave beneath a rocky overhang. It was from this natural retreat that Han-shan took his name, which means Cold Mountain or Cold Cliff. (Han-shan is known in Japan as "Kanzan.")
Han-shan is said to have been handicapped, having difficulty walking. He describes himself in one poem wearing heavy wooden clogs, which are thought to have helped him to walk.
About a day's journey away was the Kuoching Temple at Mount Tientai. It was there that he befriended Feng-kan (Big Stick) and Shih-te (Pickup). Many stories are told of the antics of these three, as they poked fun at the self-importance of many of the monks, while they themselves, in their foolishness, enacted the true Dharma or Way.
Traditionally, Han-shan is said to have lived to be 120 years old and, in fact, in one of his poems he states that he is over 100 years old, so this may be true.
In the legendary stories surrounding Han-shan, he does not die; he disappears. A high official is said to have finally recognized that Han-shan, despite the crazy image he cultivated, was actually a great spiritual being. The official sent several people to Han-shan's isolated retreat to bring him back but, on seeing their approach, Han-shan wedged himself into a crack within the cliff wall, crying out "Thieves!" Then the crack closed around him. The fissure of that crack is still said to be visible.
After Han-shan's disappearance, the poems he had inscribed on local stones and trees were gathered together, along with the poems of his companions, Shih-te and Feng-kan, and they soon began to circulate.
Han-shan was popularized in the West by the Beats. Gary Snyder did an early translation of Han-shan's poetry and Jack Kerouac dedicated The Dharma Bums to Han-shan.
The precise dates for Hanshan are much disputed due to textual inconsistencies and anachronisms (possibly due to attempts to give him greater stature, a not uncommon practice). But what is certain is that he can definitely be dated to either the 8th or 9th century CE. After Hanshan's disappearance, a Taoist named Xu Lingfu (徐灵府), a native of Hangzhou, apparently collected his poems from the various mountains, rocks, trees, and walls they were written on. This collection, however, is not mentioned in any of his written works, and as Xu ceased to write after 825 CE, that puts a lower bound on the date of Hanshan's death, and an upper bound as Xu must have collected Hanshan's corpus before Xu's own death in 841. Legend has it that Hanshan disappeared 12 years before dying, which would bracket his death between 837 and 851 CE. No information exists on his date of birth, so speculation is futile.
Liu Zhi (ca. 1660 - ca. 1739) was a Chinese Muslim scholar of the Qing period from Nanjing.
Written by Jack Kerouac about Gary Snyder, a Reedie!
Li Hongzhi's new Cultivation Practice based on the eleven lectures in Zhuan Falun.
(Moved to present site in 618-907 CE) -- Daoist, Mountain Sacrifice
~200 BCE -- Daoist, Worship of Heaven and Earth
Buddhist (First known Buddhist temple)
196 - 219 (Hut set up); 420 - 589 (Temple built) -- Buddhist
~300 AD -- Buddhist
~400 AD -- Daoist
~500 AD -- Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian
First temple, 7th Century AD; Organized complex during Ming Dynasty -- Daoist
~970 AD -- Daoist
Constructed -- Emperors