VVol. 16/1989


 CCopyright@ 1989 by Dialogue Publishing Company

P.37     The term and the concept of No-thought (wu-nien) has been  well  known  to  scholars   of  Buddhism   since   D.T. Suzuki(1870-1966) published  his Zen Doctrine  of No-Mind  in 1949.  Even then,Hu Shih(a) (1895-1972) already had published on the subject in the nineteen  thirties.(1) But these works, though helpful in understanding the Buddhist doctrine., often leave erroneous impressions. Hu studied the concept as a part of  his  research  on the  thought  and  life  on Shen-hui(b) (670-762), which he regarded  as a revolution  of the Chinese Mind against  what he called  Indian Buddhist  scholasticism. This might leave readers  with the impression  that Nothought is a Chinese idea.  Suzuki was preoccupied by his thesis that the doctrine  of No-mind  was the central  idea  in the South School  of  Ch'an(c)  Buddhism.  But  this  might  leave  the impression that the doctiine was universally important to all the thinkers of the Ch'an school.  The need for a comparative inquiry into the indian background of the Buddhist concept,as well as the development of the doctrine of the Ch'an schools, is obvious.     This paper will focus on three points: First, the usage of  the  term   wu-nien(d)  in  pre-Ch'an   Buddhist   texts, especially  the Chinese  translations  Of Indian  works: this will demonstrate that the concept was not a Chinese idea, but rather  a Buddhist  concept  introduced  to the Chinese  from India.  Second, the development  of the concept  in the Ch'an school, noting continuities  and differences of understanding and use among  the four  leading  Ch'an  masters  during  the seventh and eigth centuries A.D; the concept reached its most significant  development  through  the efforts  of those four thinkers. The doctrine was also not uniform in its importance B"d  place  in  the  thought  of  those  masters.   Third,  a comparison of the p.38 concept  as found in both the Indian  and Chinese  texts: The pattern  of the Chinese  assimilation  of foreign  ideas will become  clear, as well as the advantages  and limitations  of comparative equily.                             I      Contrary  to most standard  references, wu-nien is not a term exclusive to Ch'an Buddhism.  It appeared in the Chinese translations  of Indian Buddhist  texts centuries  before the formation  of the Ch'an  schools, and was also used  in other Chinese Buddhist works. The concept is found, for example, in the  tranlsations  of the Fo-shuo  hui=yin  san-mei  ching(f) (Tathaagatajnaanamudraasamaadhi)  ,    as    well    as    the Vimalakiirtinirdes'a  by the Indo-scythian  monk, Chihch'iene (fi.  A.D. 222-229).(2) The former text discusses samaadhi or concentration;   the  latter  is  usually   related   to  the Perfection  of Wisdom literature  because of to philosophical inclinations.     The first  text, related  to samaadhi, its describes  the process leading to sameness  (samata) which is representative of the Indian usage of wunien in meditation.  Considering the significance  of the  work  and  its early  date, the passage should be quoted in full:     What   is  the   characsteristic   of  no-work?  The     characteristic  is  unobtainability.   What  is  the     characteristic of unobtainability? The characteritic     is innumerability.  What  is the  characteristic  of     innumerability? The  characteristic  is  nothing  to     arise.  What  is the  characteristic  of nothing  to     arise? The  character  is nothing  to make  extinct.     What  is  the  characteristic  of  nothing  to  make     extinct? The characteristic is nothing to gain. What     is  the  characteristic  of  nothing  to  gain?  The     characteristic is nothing to depend on.  What is the     characteristic   of  nothing   to  depend   on?  The     characteristic  is  nowhere  to  stay.  What  is the     characteristic    of    nowhere    to    stay?   The     characteristic  is nowhere to go away from.  What is     the characteristic  of nowhere  to go away from? The     characteristic   of   immovability.   What   is  the     characteristic  of immovability? The  characteristic     is the freedom from movability. What is the p.39     characteristic   of  freedom  from  movability?  The     characteristic    is    no-mind.    What    is   the     characteristic  of  no-mind? The  characteristic  is     no-thought (wu-nien).  What is the characteristic of     no-thought? The characteristic is non-duality.  What     is   the   characteristic    of   non-duality?   The     characteristic is the same- ness of things.(3) The statement contains a number of technical  terms of Indian Buddhism  which are clearly not of Chinese  origin.  Although the original  Indian  text of this work is no longer  extant, some of these  technical  terms  are identifiable  from other works.(4)     The  text  begins  with  the statement  on 'no-work'  (or wu-tsuo(g)) which is rather ambiguous in the Chinese context, since  the word tsuo can mean  "to rise"  or "to create," "to make," and hence "to work" in ancient Chinese. If it were put into an Indian  context,:the term  would  relate  to karma  or 'action,' so that the.work'  negated in the statement  would mean  all  that  which  leads  to  the  formation  of  karma. Thereafter, the passage  seems  clear: the practitioner, step by  step,  enters  into  progressively   deeper   stages   of concentration. In the final four states of the practice, once one  has  reached  no-mind, there  will  be  no thought;  and consequently  one  attains  non-duality  and  sameness.   The process   from  no-work  to  sameness   is  very  systematic, especially  compared to the Abhidharma doctrines.  It is also clear  from the passage  that no-mind  and nothought  are two different  states in the process.  They are not identical  as Suzuki argued. The text explicitly states that No-mind is the characteristic  of "freedom from movability;"  and No-thought is  the  characteritic   Of  No-mind.   The   attainment   of non-duality  is possible  from No-mind, but only through  the state of No-thought.     No-thought is also linked with concentration in other Chinese translations  of Indian Buddhist  scriptures.  In the Ch'ih-hsin-fan-t'ien         so-wen        ching(h)        or Visesacintbrahmapariprccha, (6)  there  is  a  passage  which reads:      No-consciousness and no-thought...when the four      consciousnesses are stopped, one will then  not      abide in anything nor stay in thoughts.   Those      who are not abiding in thoughts will p.40     abide in the absolute (chen-chi(i)). When abiding in     the absolute, one does  not abide  in anything;  the     consciousness    does   not   stay   anywhere.    If     consciousness abides anywhere, it is not real and it     should be called false (mrsa/hsuu)(j).(7) The stopping of the four consciousnesses  mentioned here is a translation  of  "the  Four  Foundations  of Mindfulness"  or Smrtyupasthanna,  which   is  one  of  the  oldest   Buddhist meditation  teachings.  The  most  significant  point  of the passage is the relationship of the absolute and thought: "Not abiding in thoughts"  is abidance  in the absolute.  In other words, No-thought  is the way and the state  of the absolute; abidance in any thought is a falsehood.     The relation between thoughts  and falsehood, and between Nothought  and  the  absolute,  are  both  confirmed  in  the Ch'ih-shih  ching(k) translated  by Kumarajiva (344-409).  In the chapter on the Eightfold Noble Path, when "good knowledge and correct thought" for the Boddhisattva and Mahasattvas are discussed,it states:     All thoughts  from knowing and seeing are heterodox.     Whatever    thoughts    abide    are   all heterodox.     No-recollection and no-thought are named the correct     thought (samyaksmrti).(8) Once a Bodhisattva has attained the path of correct thought, he     will  not follow  nor be conditioned  by thought  or     No-thought.  This is because  when he attains to the     unconditioned, he will realise that all thoughts are     really  not thoughts, he will no longer  be bothered     either by thought or no-thought.  Thus he peacefully     abides in the correct thought.(9) First,  regarding  the  identification   of  No-thought  with Mindfulness,  Nothought   is  a  technical   term  in  Indian Buddhism;the  thought  that  is to be negated  does  not have broader senses.  Second, the thought precisely referred to in the context  denotes  contemplative  thought  on four  items: body, feeling, mind  and  mind-objects.  Third, one  can  rid oneself  of worldly greed and grief through contemplation  on these four items; in this way one p.41 may ardently  and consciously  remain  an the Buddhist  path. Because of the negation of worldly greed and grief as well as remaining  on  the  path, an  early  and  authentic  Buddhist scripture,the Satipatthana-sutta, evaluates the effectiveness of mindfulness in these words.     This is the only way, monks, for the purification of     beings,   for   the   overcoming   of   sorrow   and     lamentation, for  the destruction  of suffering  and     grief,  for  reaching   the  right   path,  for  the     attainment  of Nibbana, namely  the four Foundations     of Mindfulness.(10) The claim of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as the "only way"  to  achieve  the  religious  goal  of  Buddhism,  makes Mindfulness something very special.  It is much more advanced than views  (ditti) and thought  (sankappa).  Mindfulness  is concerned   with  religious   achievement   and  realization; philosophical  views and understanding  relate to the outlook of world  phenomena  and  personal  attitudes  towards  these phenomena.  Views  and understanding  mark  the beginning  of religious awareness; mindfulness denotes an advanced stage of religious cultivation.     Preferences  to  No-thought  are  found  in  a number  of scriptures  which have a philosophical  inclination: However, only one Buddhist scripture, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa, will be studied, as it is regarded  by scholars  as an authentic  and authoritative work on Indian Mahayana Buddhism that was vital to the development of Ch'an thought in China.      In the earliest  Chinese translation  of the Vimalakirti Nirdesn by Chih-ch'ien of the third century A.D., a  passage refers to the term Nothought: "Dharmas have no   seeing  and hearing, no-thought and no knowledge.  Whatever  has  seeing hearing, thinking and knowing of  dharmas,  it  has  already discriminated."(11) This means that thought is empirical; the object   of   thought   is   dharma,  and   its   nature   is discriminative.    From   the   Buddhist   point   of   view, discriminative   thought  inevitably  relates  to  subjective judgement  and value which create  situations  that condition and trap  man in bondage.  The text  therefore  teaches  that "the religious  seeker is one who seeks nothing  from seeing and hearing."(12)     The term No-thought occurs more frequently in a later translation Of the same scripture done by Kumarajiva. As this translation has been p.42 more  authoritative  and influential  in China, some passages are worth examining. In one place,     Bodhi can be won by neither body nor mind. For Bodhi     is the state of calmness  and extinction  of passion     (i.e., nirvaana), because  it wipes  out all  forms.     Bodhi is unseeing, for it keeps from all causes.(13) This statement  contrasts  world by phenomena  with wisdom or bodhi. The former consists of body, mind, seeing, thought and forms;  while the latter  wipes out passions  and forms.  The religious  goal  cannot  be achieved  if all forms, including thought, are not negated. For this reason, the text states,     (External) disturbance  and  (inner) thinking  are a     duality.  When disturbance  subsides, thinking comes     to  an end  and  the  absence  of thought  leads  to     non-discriminating.    Reaching    this   state    is     initiation into non-duality.(14) No-thought  or the absence  of thought  is both the procedure and the purpose  of Buddhist  soteriology.  As procedure, the psychology  moves from external disturbance  to thought, from thought    to   no-thought,   and    from    no-thought    to non-discrimination,  thus   achieving   non-duality   or  the absolute  religious   experience.   As  for  the  purpose  of No-thought, it is the path  leading  to the religious  goal - non-duality.  When the wisdom of nonduality  is entirely free from all forms, though  of external  or inner forms will have been negated.  Therefore, the Vimalakiirti  Nirdes'a  teaches that   Bodhisattvas   must   "unceasingly   search   for  the thought-free (wu-nien) Wisdom of reality."(15)     Another usage of No-thought in the Chinese translation of Indian Buddhist  texts is found in the Fa-chi ching(l) or the Dharmasamgiiti-suutra  by  Bodhiruci  (fl.  508-537).(16) The text classifies  the six kinds  of empirical  consciousnesses into  three  kinds  of thoughts, of which  the  first  one is "upside  down"  thoughts  (viparyaya) .  These  thoughts  are related  to the  triple  spheres  of existence: the  sensuous world, the fine-material  world and the immaterialworld.  The second refers to thoughts that are not p.43 "upside  down,"  which  means  the  thought  of  nirvaana, as understood   by  the   Hinayana   Buddhist.   The  third   is "No-thought." The text comments:     What is No-thought? That which is separated from the     first two kinds of thought is named No-thought. What     does  this  mean, "separated  from the two kinds  of     thought"?  It  means  the  thought  of  the  supreme     Buddhas.(17) This usage is very useful for clarifying  which thoughts  are being identified.  Since the whole discussion begins from the six kinds  of consciousness, it is clear  that the first kind of thought relates to empirical  experience.  The second kind of thought refers to Hinayana doctrines. In the view of those who belonged  to the Great  Vehicle  of Buddhism, thought  of personal liberation is far from perfect;  it lacks compassion towards fellow beings, though it has a correct outlook on the world.  The third  is a negation  of the first  two kinds  of thought,which  means  that  this usage  is Mahayanistic.  The proclaiming  of  No-thought  as the  thought  of the  Supreme Buddhas  is thus similar  to the other passages  referred  to previously.                             II     The earliest known usage of No-thought  in Ch'an Buddhism is found in the Platform  Sutra  of the Sixth Patriarch.  The usage  is presented  in a very  dramatic  fashion.  The sutra states  that the Ch'an school set up "No-thought  as the main doctrine, non-form  as the substance, and  nonabiding  as the basis."(18) The terms "main doctrine" (tsung(m)), "substance" (t'ih) and"basis"(pen(o))(19) were,  originally  metaphysical terms  for  the  absolute  in Neo-Taoism.  The Ch'an  thinker borrowed these metaphysical terms and applied them to his own system, thus making  the concept  of No-thought  an essential component  of Ch'an Buddhism.  This is the ftrst  time that a Buddhist  had choosen  these  three  terms  from  among  many concepts  and used them as the basic teaching.  The selection and emphasis  given to the terms marked a new development  in the history  of Buddhist  thought  in general, and of Chinese Buddhism in particular.     What did 'thought'  mean? The Platform Sutra teaches that thought p.44 passes  through  a stream  of  moments, "successive  thoughts follow  one after  the other without  cessation."  It further explains,     'No' is the 'no' of what? 'Thought'  means  thinking     of what? 'No'  is the separation  from  the  dualism     that produces the passions. 'Thought' means thinking     of the original nature of True Reality. True Reality     is  the  substance  of thoughts;  thoughts  are  the     function of True Reality.(20) This explicitly  states that the thoughts referred  to in the term 'No-thought'  mean the dualist thoughts that are capable of producing  passions.  These passions  are the conditioning factors  responsible  for  trapping  man  in bondage.  If one wishes  to stop  and remove  the passions, it has to be wiped out at its source -- the thoughts that produce the passions.     The Platform  Sutra explains both the productive  process from  thought  to passion, passion  which  in turn conditions man's  existence, and how the stopping  of thought  frees man from bondage.  The text states  that "If one thought  clings, then  successive  thoughts  cling;  this  is  known  as being fettered."(21)  Contrarily,  "If  in  all  things  successive thoughts do not cling, then you are unfettered." Why? Because     if one  instant  of thought  is cut off, the  Dharma     body  separates  from the physical  body, and in the     midst of successive  thoughts there will be no place     for attachment to anything.(22) To not be attached to anything means to not be conditioned by things  and  the feelings  of things  that  one confronts  in everyday life. Once a person is unstained by his environment,     then,  in  regard   to  things,  thoughts   are  not     produced. If you stop thinking of the myriad things,     and cast aside  all thoughts, as soon as one instant     of thought is cut off, you will be reborn in another     realm. It is easy to see why and how the idea of No-thought has been so crucial to the religious philosphy of Ch'an. p.45     lThe  concept  of  No-thought  continuously  occupied  an important  place  in the  thought  of Shen-hui(670762).  To a large  extent, this  monk  was  instrumental  in  making  the concept  the core of Ch'an  Buddhism.  The monk  defined  the concept  of No-thought  in these  words: "Just do not have any intention, and no arising  of the mind, it is the true [state of]  No-thought."(23) In the  view  of Shen-hui, mind  arises when it is provoked by intention  or purpose.  No-thought  is not  a complicated  concept  in  philosophy, but  a practical recipe.  It is simply  to drop  away  from  any intention  or purpose, and let the mind remain in an unprovoked state. When the  mind  is  freed  from  conditioning   factors,  it  will spontaneously reveal its own potentiality.     Shen-hui  also gave concrete  content to the concept.  In contrast  to previous definitions, this thinker now described the concept of No-thought in a number of passages.  In one of the documents attributed to Shen-hui, it is written:     What is called  'No-thought'? It means  not to think     of existence or non-existence;  not to think of good     and evil;  not to think of absolute or non-absolute;     not to think of limited  or unlimited;  not to think     of bodhi  and  not  taking  bodhi  as the object  of     thought;  not  to think  of nirvaana  and not taking     nirvaana   as  the  object   of  thought.   This  is     No-thought.(24) The items of No-thought  given in the passage  may be divided into two groups: thoughts of existence  and nonexistence  and so forth are connected  with secular life;  while thoughts of bodhi and nirvaana  are the goal of sacred cultivation.  Both are negated in the thought of Shen-hui.     The  place  of No-thought  in Shen-hui's  system  is very fundamental, as when the thinker identified  No-thought  with the Buddhist  concept  of absolute.  He said,"Those  who  are confronted with No-thought will be free from contamination in their  six  sense-organs, and  will  obtain  the wisdom  that proceeds  to  the  Buddha."(25)  He  went  on  to  teach  the attainment   of  Reahty   (Shih-hsiang(p) )  by  No-Thoughts, declaning  it to be the First Principle  of the Middle  Path, the  achievement  of innumerable  merits, the mastery  of all things  and  the  "all-embracing  doctrine."  How  could  the negation of thought possess such a power? Shen-hui said that p.46 once thought is free from purpose, "there will be the destiny of wisdom (chih-ming(q)) within No-thought.  This destiny  of wisdom itself is Reality.  All Bodhisattvas use No-thought as the dharma body of liberation."(26)     In another  of the Shenhui  documents, he was asked  by a disciple  whether the doctrine  of No-thought  was a teaching for laymen  or for holy men.  Is it different  from  Suchness (chen-ju(r)')? He answered  that the teaching was exclusively for  holy  men and  that  No-thought  was not different  from Suchness.   Shen-hui  not  only  offered  a  definition  with concrete content and evaluated the importance of the concept, he also offered  advice for the practical  implementation  of the concept. He said,     Good friends, those who are still  remaining  in the     state of learning, should illuminate  the arising of     the mind, when  you are aware  of the arising.  When     the arising mind has perished, the illumination will     be eliminated  by itself.  This  is Nothought.  This     No-thought  is identical  with  the negation  of all     realms. It will not be No-thought even if there is a     single realm that still remains.(27) Althought Shen-hui developed the concept of No-thought in his teachings,  the  concept   was  only  one  of  his  principal doctrines. There were still a number of other ideas that were equally important  in his thought.(28) It was the two schools of  Ch'an  Buddhism  that  developed  in  the  state  of  Shu (presently  Sichuan) which  gave  further  attention  to  the concept.  In fact, these  two  schools  made  No-thought  the exclusive  doctrine  of their teachings.  It was Wu-hsiang(s) (684-762), originally  a native  of the Silla kingdom  in the Korean  peninsula  and  more  well-known  in  China  as Monk. Kim(29), who initiated the development.  In the early part of a document  related  to his teachings, the monk taught  three concepts,   namely,  "No recollection   is   the   discipline; No-thought  is the  meditation;  and No-forgetfulness  is the Wisdom."(30) However, in the later part of his teachings, the monk declared,     No arising of thought is the entrance of discipline,     no   arising   of  thought   is  the   entrance   of     meditation,  and  no  arising  of  thought  is  the     entrance of wisdom. No-thought itself is the p.47     complete  attainment  of discipline, meditation  and     wisdom.  The  innumerable  Buddhas  of the past  and     future  as well  as the  present  all  entered  into     Buddhahood  through  this gate.  If there is another     gate,it is certainly nonexistant.(31) Monk   Kim  claimed   that  this  triple   entrance   is  the Ah-embracing  Gate, or the only entrance into reality.  Apart from this gate there is no other gate.  The monk followed the theoretical framework of the Awakening of Faith, dividing the principle of One Mind into two aspects: "One is the aspect of Mind in terms of the Absolute (tathataa/Suchness);  the other is the aspect of Mind in terms of phenomena (samsaara;  birth and death)."(32) The monk then stated that "No-thought is the aspect  of the  Absolute, anti  thoughts  are the  aspect  of phenomena."(33)     For the first time in the history  of Ch'an Buddhism the concept  of No-thought  had been  declared  the exclusive doctrine, and the doctrine was systematically identified with the absolute  aspect  of Mind as discussed  in an influential scripture.  This significant contribution  to the concept, as well as the monk who taught the doctrine, were both missed by Suzuki when he wrote The Zen Doctrine Of No-Mind.     The concept  of No-thought  was still  further  developed after Monk Kim.  In the sermons  given by Wu-chut (14-774), a disciple of Monk Kim, No-thought  was also the most important doctrine of the Ch'an monk.(34) Althought Wu-chu is known for his threefold  or fourfold  teaching(viz., No-thought  as the discipline, No-action  as the  concentration, Non-duality  as the Wisdom, and No-elaborated arrangement in religious places as practices),(35) the  concept  of No-thought  is still  the only theme repeatedly found in his sermons.  It is clear from these  sermons, however, that Wuchu's  concept  of No-thought for refers to different levels of thought.       At the  first  level, the  thoughts  that  have  to  be negated refer to discriminative  thought, the experiences  and views  that  men  encounter  in  daily  life.   As  indicated previously, the Buddhist regards these views as "upside down" and responsible for trapping men in bondage. Liberation means to liberate man from bondage.  A correct understanding of the easons  responsible   for  a  person  being  caught  in  this situation begins with understanding man's view point.  Wu-chu stated that: p.48     If no thought then no production; if no thought then     no annihilation.  If no thought then no love;  if no     thought  then  no  hate.   If  no  thought  then  no     grasping;  if no thought then no abandonment.  If no     thought then no high; if no.thought then no low.  If     no  thought  then  no [distinction  of]  man;  if no     thought  then  no  [distinction  of]  women.  If  no     thought then no [claim of] right; if no thought then     [no claim] of wrong.  At the moment when there is no     thought, No thought is not selfexistent.(36) The abandonment of discriminative  views and values is common to all schools of Buddhism, so this is not new. However, some new  elements  do emerge.  All the discriminative  views  are exclusively  linked  with  Nothought;  also  the  content  of No-thought  reflects  Chinese  usages  and  is  nontechnical. No-thought  is obviously the central concept in the teachings of this Ch'an school, and it becomes  easier for the believer to understand.     The  idea  of No-thought  is  not  limited  by the  above discriminations, but is also contrasted with "correct views", which may be regarded as the second level of the concept.  In one of his sermons, Wu-chu taught,     If no thought, then no form;  to have  thought  then     becomes  empty  and  false.  No  thought, then  gone     beyond the triple realms; to have thought then caught     within  the  triple-realms.  If no thought, then  no     [claim of] right;  if no thought  then no [claim of]     wrong.  If ho thought  then  no self;  if no thought     then no others. To be free from [the distinction of]     self  and  others, one  accomplishes  the wisdom  of     Buddhas.(37) Here  conventional  values  and  views  are  contrasted  with religious  wisdom, indicating  the  direction  in  which  the religious philosophy is aimed, namely, the accomplishment  of wisdom, and by this means becoming a Buddha.     Wu-chu also identified a third level of No-thought, where not only the thought  of discrimination  and the contrast  of false and real were abandoned, but the discrimination between the  sacred  and  profane  was  also  negated.  In one of his sermons, he first contrasted p.49 bondage  and  liberation, nirvaana  and samsaara, wisdom and ignorance, selfand others. He then stated:     If no thought, then no Buddhas;  if no thought  then     no sentient beings.  In the great wisdom of praj~naa,     there is no Buddha  nor sentient  beings.  No Buddha     that  attained  nirvaana, nor nivraana  for Buddhas.     Those who understand  this clearly  are the ones who     truly understand.(38) If   a  practitioner   of   Ch'an   is  able   to   transcend discriminative  views through No-thought, to contrast worldly views with religious wisdom through Nothought, and finally to abandon any discriminative  thought including the distinction between sacred and profane through No-throught, only then may he be regarded  as one who really  understands  the truth  of Ch'an Buddhism. Wu-chu explained:     The venerable one of Great Enlightenment created and     spoke about the doctrine  of No-thought.  No-thought     leads  to no  arising  of  the  mind;  the  Mind  is     producing   constantly   and  inextinguishable.   It     remains  independent  through  all periods  of time:     neither following  nor turning, neither floating nor     drowning,  neither  flowing  nor  stagnant,  neither     moving  nor  shaking,  neither   coming  nor  going,     remaining   lively  as  the  sitting  of  meditation     whether one is walking or sitting.(39)                             III                              A     The  concept  of  No-thought  was  not  unique  to  Ch'an Buddhism. It had a long tradition of usage in India and often occurred  in Chinese  translations  of Indian Buddhist  texts from the third  cnetury  A.D.  until  the formation  of Ch'an schools in China. At least three usages of the term are found in  these  translated   texts:  meditative,  reflective   and doctrinal.  Whatever  the differences  between  usages, their goals were the same: to p.50 effectively overcome discriminative thought, and thus achieve non-duality.     Though  No-thought  occupied  an important  place  in the texts referred to, at the same time, the concept was only one of many items or methods in an Indian context. In the context of  meditation,  for  example,  there   are  fifteen   states beginning from no-work and ending with sameness. The state of No-thought  is  thirteenth  on the  list.  In the  reflective context,  the  usage   of  the  term  in  Vimalakiirtinird'sa indicates the same tendency.  In the chapter "Initiation Into the Non-dual Dharma," more than thirty Bodhisattvas responded to the question: How do you understand  the non-dual  Dharma? Of the  various  answers  only  one was  Nq-thought.(40) More significantly,  when  the  questions  and  the  answers  were completed,  Ma~nju'srii,  the  leading  Bodhisattva   of  the assembly  asked  Vimalakirti: "Please  tell  us what  is  the Bodhisattva's  initiation  into  the  non-dual  Dharma?"  The learned  lay wiseman, however, "kept silent without  saying a word."  Mannju'srii  then realized  and exclaimed  that until words and speech  are no longer  used, it would be impossible for  a  Bodhisattva   to  be  initiated   into  the  non-dual Dharma.(41) In other  words, all  the  understandings  of the Bodhisattvas, including  the  concept  of  No-thought, cannot lead  the  pratitioner   into  non-duality   until  words  or differentiated forms all end in silence.     In the doctrinal  usage of No-thoght, the concept  refers to negating common experiences  of the six consciousness  and being freed from them.  Both common experience  and Hinaynaic views,  though  differing  in  many  points,  are  systematic analysies based on discriminative  consciousness.  It is this usage that seems closer to the concept of No-thought in Ch'an Buddhism, in which  both  secular  and  religious  views  are finally  rejected.   At  the  same  time,  the  negation   of these views is  identified  with  the  supreme  wisdom  of  the Buddhas.     When the Indian usages of the concept  are reviewed  as a whole, it is clear  that the idea  is one of many  means  for religious  cultivation, at  least  as far  as meditation  and wisdom are concerned. Even in the context of doctrinal usage, the subject still remains in the domain of wisdom. The Indian Mahayana  Buddhists  usually  regarded  the  six  perfections (paramitas) or the ten stages  (bhumis) as standard  programs for Bodhisattvas' cultivation. Wisdom and meditation are only two items of this complex.  If the concept  of No-thought  is related only to meditation and wisdom, it is p.51 clear  that  the two are not the exclusive  means  either  in religious understanding or practice; they are only components of a more complicated system.                            B     Although the term wu-nien or No-thought is not Chinese in origin, its place in Ch'an Buddhism  is quite different  from the Indian context.  The concept  was;  for the first time in history,  upgraded  by  the  Platform   Sutra  of  the  Sixth Patriarch  to become one of the three key teachings  of Ch'an Buddhism.    Monk   Shen-hui   was   responsible    for   the concretization of the concept with a number of items. He also regarded  No-thought  as the only way to attain  reality.  He stated clearly that this was the exclusive  way only for holy men. However, there are other important teachings besides the concept of No-thought, both in the Platform sutra was well as in Shen-hui's  sermons.  The ideas of the original  purity of Buddha-nature    in   all   sentient   beings,   the   Sudden Enlightenment, the non-duality  of meditation and wisdom, and the precepts of formlessness are good examples.(42)     It was during the 8th century  AJ).  that the concept  of No-thought  reached  its  climax  in the history  of Buddhist thought, when Monk Kim proclaimed it as the whole of Buddhist teachings.  For Kim, the doctrine  of No-thought  covered all the practices and wisdoms of Buddhism. The concept became the "all-embracing dharma" (tsung-chih-fa(u)) of the Ch'an school under his leadership.     Although  his disciple Wu-chu taught other doctrines, the concept of No-thought  is actually  the core teaching  of his sermons. Wu-chu fol- lowed his teacher, Monk Im, in regarding No-thought  as the "all  embracing  dharma"  of Buddhism  and studied Shen-hui for the content of the concept.  With Wu-chu No-thought  became  a concentrated  and  intensified  way  to achieve  the  religious  goal  of  Mahaayaana  Buddhism,  the attainment of Buddha-hood.  This way starts from the negation of  discriminative   and  common  thoughts,  contrasts  these thoughts  with  religious   ones,  and  finally  negates  all together  the  discrimination  between  common  and religious thoughts. p.52     When the structure and content of the concept as found in the Ch'an  documents  are compared  with those  found  in the translations  of  Indian  Buddhist  texts, two  contradictory tendencies  emerge.  On  the  one  hand, the  Ch'an  thinkers followed a reductionistic  pattern by brushing aside a number of ideas that were associated  with the concept of No-thought in the Indian  texts;  yet, at the same time, they  developed the concept by making it the core of Buddhism  with a new and concrete content.  It is true that some technical  terms from Indian Buddhism  still remained  as important  ideas in Ch'an doctrine, yet most forms are Chinese in flavor. No-thought is thus no longer a foreign, abstract  and remote concept beyond the grasp of the average Chinese.  Both structure and content have been transformed  into a form that is more suitable  and effective in the Chinese context.                               C     This comparative study of No-thought in translated Jndian texts  and its Chinese  development, can  be taken  as a case study  in the  Chinese  assimilation  of foreign  ideas.  The pattern of this assimilation  confirms  that of other studies on  the  subject.   For  example,  Pure  Land  Buddhism   and T'ien-t'aiv  in China both underwent  a pattern of selective, concentrative  and  intensified  development.(43) The Chinese geverally  selected one or two foreign ideas or practices out of many, set the rest  aside, and devoted  themselves  to the selected  few that suited  their needs and were effective  in solving their problems.  This pattern  is clearly seen in the present study.  Of the many concepts  in Indian Buddhism, the Ch'an  thinkers  selected  a few, made them  main  doctrines, practised  them and verified  them by their experience;  they then further  reduced the number, retained  and enriched  the most  effective  one, thereby  making  it  Ch'an's  exclusive doctrine.     In   this   pattern      the     selection-concentration- intensification  process  began  with many, then reduced  the many to a few, and finally  ended with one.  The process  is, therefore, reductionistic.  This approach is necessary  since religious   philosophy   or  practice   always  aims  at  the liberation of an individual from bondage.  This liberation is possible only through the p.53 concentrated  use  of one  of  the  ideas  or methods.  As no individual  can do everything  at a given  moment, especially with  regard  to  such  a  serious  matter  as  salvation, it therefore  becomes  necessary  to select a method  that suits one's own situation.  By concentrating on it and deepening it in one's  experiences, one is able to achieve  freedam.  This pattern  is clearly  seen in both Pure Land Buddhism  and the schools of Ch'an Buddhism.     This should not, however, be regarded as the sole pattern of the Chinese absorption  of foreign ideas.  There are other patterns, too.  In the case of the philosophical  schools  of Chinese   Buddhism,   like   T'ien-t'ai   and   Hua-yen(w)  , developments followed another pattern.  Both of these schools took a number  of concepts  and practical  ideas from various texts  that  originated  from  different  schools  of  Indian Buddhism and reorganized  them into comprehensive  systems of their  own.  The  contrast  of the  two  patterns  of Chinese absorption  of foreign  concepts  illustrates  an interesting point: namely,  schools  of  Buddhism  which  concentrate  on religious   cultivation   usually  follow  the  redudionistic pattern, whereas  the schools with philosophical  inclination often follow an expansionistic  pattern.  The development  of Chinese  Buddhism  generally   followed   one  of  these  two different patterns.     The  approach   of  this  paper   has  been  comparative. Comparisons of Chinese translations of Indian texts were made in section I;  comparisons of four Ch'an masters' concepts of No-thought  were made in the second;  the characteristics  of the Indian and Chinese  usages  of No-thought  were discussed above.  The results illustrate the importance  of comparative study  in  improving  our  understanding  of the  concept  of No-thought, for it would  othervise  have been impossible  to determine   either  the  content   or  the  context   of  the development of the doctrine of No-thought.     This  confirms  the  point  made  by  a Chinese  Buddhist thinker, Tsung-mi(x) (780-841) who pointed  out long ago that a comparative  investigation  is essential for broadening the vision  of a student.(44) The student  sees that outside  his own field there is still a large world rich with pos- p.54 sibilities with which he is not familiar. These possibilities might  not be useful  and effective  for one's  problems, yet they might be suitable and effective  for others.  This broad vision  is  helpful  in  remedying   dogmatic   outlooks  and assertiveness, available  options for meeting his owns needs, as  well  as  helping him  advise  others  on  finding  proper remedies for a particular problem.  A wrong prescription will not only  fail  to cure  a disease, but might  even  kill the patient that is supposed to be cured.     But a sticky  point  still  remains.  The development  of No-thought  in the Ch'an schools has followed  the pattern of selection, concentration  and intensification.  This  pattern contradicts the broad vision and extensive knowledge that are prerequisties  to comparative  studies.  Does  this mean  the comparative  approach is useless in terms of the practicality of  religious  life?  What  this  study  has  discovered   is otherwise.   The  comparative   approach  is  essential   and irreplaceable  as far  as the  clarification  of concepts  is concerned.  However,  most  Buddhist  thinkers  believe  that understanding  can  salve  only  certain  kinds  of problems. Knowledge  without  practice  is mere  empty  theory  and  is meaningless   for  religious   life.   Tsung-mi   calls  such intellectuals "wild wiseman" (k'uang-hui(y)).  He also calls, ia the same tone, those who merely  practice  but do not know what  they  are  doing,  "dull   practitioners"   (ch  'ih-ch 'an(z)).(45) The Chinese thinker counseled  that once a broad vision  and knowledge  had been  gained  through  comparative study, one must move beyond the comparitive.  One must not be afraid  of choosing  one of the paths or concepts  that suits his   personality   and  problems,  and  then   practice   it exclusively and intensively.  One "must not not worry that he might be limited by the particularity, and thus loose himself in the vastness  and have  nothing  to rely on,"(46) Tsung-mi advises.  The 'vastness'  here mentioned  refers to the broad range  of  knowledge;   "something  to  rely  on"  means  the exclusive practice that is needed by an individual in a given situation.  Only when a broad understanding  and an exclusive practice are simultaneously achieved, can liberation from the conditioned be expected. McMASTER UNIVERSITY p.55                           NOTES 1.  Slizuki, The Zen Doctrine  of No-mind  (London, 1949) has     been translated  into French by H.  Benoit, Le non-mental     selon  la pensee  Zen (Paris, 1952), and into  German  by     Emma von Pelet, Die  Zen-lehre  vom     nicht-bewusstsein      (Muunchen, 1957).     Hu Shih(a), Shen-hui ho-shang i-chi(aa) (Shanghai, 1930);     especially  his "Ho-tse ta shih shen-hui  shen-hui  chuan     (ab)published  in the same year.  The latter is collected     in Hu Shih wen-ts'un(ac)  IV,  pp.  245--288.   See  also     J.  Gernet,  transl.   Entretien   du  Maitre  de  Dhyana     Chen-houei    du    Ho-tso    (Hdnoi,   1949)   and   the     "Complement   aux  Entretiens  du   Maitre   de    Dhyana     Chen-houei (668--760), " BEFEO XLIV (1954), pp. 453-66. 2.  For Chih-ch'ien's career, see E.  Zurcher, The Buddhist     Conquest of China (Leiden, 1959), 48--51. 3.  Translated from Taishoo shinshuu daizookyo(ad), vol. IS,     p.  466c.  Unless  it is noted, all quotations  from  the     Chinese  collection  of the Buddhist  scriptures  are     from the Taisho edition  of Ta-tsang-ching(ae), hereafter     referred to as T. 4.  The term "no work" is probably  a Chinese translation  of     its Sanskrit  equivalent, akarmaka;  'unobtainable', from     anupalabdhya;  'innumberable', from aksaya;  "nowhere  to     stay" from asthanaa "immovable" from acala; "nomind" from     acitta;  "non-duality" from advaya;  and "sameness", from     samataa. 5.  Cf.   ku-han-yu  Ch'ang-yung-tzu   tzu-tien(af)  (Peking,     Shang-wu yin-shu-kuan, 1979), p. 342. 6.  This work was translated  into Chinese by Chu Fa.hu"g  or     Dharmaraksa,whose career an a translator  is discussed by     Zurcher,op.  ah., pp. 65 -70, 7.  Translated from T. Vol.15,p. 7a. 8.  Translated from T. Vol. 14,p.661c. 9.  Ibid. 10. From  "The Foundations  of Mindfulness," translated  by     Nyanasatta Thera, (Kandy, 1968),p.27. 11. Translated from T. Vol. 14, p.527a. 12. Ibid. 13. From  the translation  of Charles  Luk, The Vimalakirti     Nirdesa Sutra (Berkeley, 1972),37. 14. Ibid.,93. 15. Ibid.,116. 16. For the career of this translator, see P.  C.  Bagchi, Le     canon bouddhique en Chine, Vol. 1 (Calcutta, 1927),p. 252     ff. 17. Trans. from the Chinese text in T. 17, p. 614 c. 18. From  the translation  by P.  B.  Yampolsky, The Platform     Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (New York, 1967), pp.     137-38. 19. Ch'an has discussed these Neo-Taoist terminologies in the     "Introduction"  of Commentary  on the Lao Tzu by Wang A',     transl. by A. Rump with col- p.56     laboration of W. T. Chan (Honolulu, 1979), esp. xiii-ff. 20. Yampolsky,op.cit..p. 139. 21. Ibid.,p.138. 22. Ibid. 23. Translated  from  Hu  Shih,  op.cit.,  Shen-hui  ho-shang     i-chi, p.  246.  This  sermon  has been translated  by W.     Liebenthal,  "The  Sermon  of  Shen-hui", Asia  major, n.     111:2 (1953), pp. 132--155. The quoted passage occurs on     p.   151,  which   he  has   rendered   loosely   as   "A     consciousness in which no thoughts arise which are     reactions." 24. Trans. fromibid., p.308. 25. Trans.  from ibid., p. 123. Comp.  J. Gernet, (1949), op.     cit. p. 45, 26. Trans. fromibid., p. 101; Gernet,ibid.,p.13 27. Trans. fromibid., p.308-9. 28. Ibid., pp.49-51,321-328. 29. About  the life of this  monk, see Jan, "Mu-sang  and His     Philosophy of No Thought," in the Proceedings  of the Vth     International  Symposium, National  Academy  of Sciences,     Republic  of Korea  (Seoul, 1977), pp.  55-86;  and  Jan,     "Tung-hai    ta-shih   Wuhsiang   chuan   yen-chiu"   ("A     Biographical Study of Musang (694--762), the Great Master     of  Ch'an  Buddhism   from  Silla  Kingdom") ,  Studieson     Tun-hwng IV (1979), pp. 47--60. 30. Trans.  from  Li-tai  fa-pao  ch(ah) in the  edition  of     Yanagida Seizan(ai) Shoki no Zenshi(aj) II (Tokyo.1976),     p. 143. See also Yanagida, "The Litai fa-pao     chi  and  the Ch'an  Doctrine  of Sudden  Enlightenment,"     transl.  into English  by Carl Beilefeldt, in Early Ch'an     in  China  and  Tibet,  ed,  by  1, .  Lancaster, ct  al.     (Berkeley, 1983), pp.13-49. 31. Trans. from Li-tai fa-pao chi, op, cit., p. 143. 32. From the translation  of Y.  S.  Hakeda, The Awakening of     Faith (New York, 1967),p.31. 33. Trans. from Li-tai fa-pao chi, op. cit., p. 143. 34. See Jan, "Tsung-mi  and his analysis  of Ch'an Buddhism,"     TP LVIII (1972), pp. 43-45. 35. Li-tai  fa-pao chi, op.  cit., p.200. 36. Trans.  from ibid., p.213. 37. Trans.  from ibid., p.239. 38. Trans.  from ibid., p.248. 39. Trans.  from ibid.,p.245. 40. Charles Luk, op.cit., pp.92ff. 41. Ibid., p.100. 42. Hu Shih, op. cit., pp.37-59. 43. See S.  Yanagida(ai), Bukkyoo no shisho 7 -  -Mu no tangu     (Chugoku Zen)(ak) (Tokyo, 1970), pp. 106-7. p.57 44. Jan, "K'an-hui  or the  'Comparative  Investigation': The     Key Concept  in Tsung-mi's  Thought, " in the Korean  and     Asian Religious Tradition, ed. by C.S. Yu(Toronto, 1977),     pp. 12-24. 45, See Tsung-mi, Ch'an-yuan  chu-ch 'uan-chi  tu-hsu(aj) ed.     by S. Kamada in Zen no goroku 9 (Tokyo, 1971), p. 30. 46. Jan,"K'an-hui", p.19. p.58              CHINESE GOLSSARY a 胡適                        u 總制法 b 神會                        v 天台 c 禪                          w 華嚴 d 旡念                        x 宗密 e 支謙                        y 狂慧 f                             z 痴禪 g 旡作                        aa神會和尚遺集 h                             ab荷澤大師神會傳 i 真智                        ac胡適文存 j 虛                          ad大正新修大藏經 k 持也經                      ae大藏經 l 法集經                      af漢語常用字字典 m 宗                          ag竺法護 n 體                          ah歷代法寶記 o 本                          ai柳田聖山 p 實相                        aj初期的禪史 q 智明                        ak佛教的思想; r 真如                          無的探求(中國禪) s 旡相                        al禪源諸詮集都序 t 旡