Excerpts from THE
By Professor R. S. Lee
Pai-Chang-Ch'ing-Kuei is also called Ku-Ch'ing-Kuei(), which means the ancient monastic system, (cf. the contents of the Preface of the Ku-Ch'ing-Kuei). The manuscript of the Pai-Chang-Ch'ing-Kuei or the Ku-Ch'ing-Kuei was completely lost after the fall of the Southern Sung Dynasty. Ch'an Master Yuan-hsi(), the monastic successor of Huai-hai at the Pai-Chang mountain, had once intended to revise this Ch'ing-Kuei, but according to his letter to Monk I-shan() which was collected in the Buddhist Tripitaka, he did not succeed in his intention. The original manuscript unfortunately disappeared with Yuan-hsi's death. The only reliable material pertaining to the Ku-Ch'ing-Kuei in the present time is the Preface of Ku-Ch'ing-Kuei by Yang-i(), an official historian of the Sung Dynasty. (Buddhist Tripitaka, Vol. 48).
Yang-i's preface of Pai-Chang-Ch'ing-Kuei was completed in 1004() during the reign of Emperor Chen-tsung (). This preface, according to his own indication, was a work, which followed the emperor's order. The preface summarized the original ideas of Master Huai-hai and the basic structure of the Pai-Chang-Ch'ing-Kuei.
In the preface Yang-i says: "Ch'an Master Ta-chi(), the Dharma name of Huai-hai) of the Pai-Chang mountain has thought that Ch'an Buddhism developed from Shao-shih () (Bodhidharma) until Ts'ao-hsi (, Hui-neng). Most of the Ch'an monks stayed in Lu-ssu (temples of the School of Vinaya). Although the monasteries let them stay in separate living quarters, it was not very convenient for their own kind of teaching and practice. He often pondered this problem and said: 'One must try to preach the path of the original Buddha and not let it be disregarded in the future. Why should we merely follow the collection of the agamas? Some say that the Yogacaryabhumi-sastra() and the Ying-lo-ching ( the Necklace Sutra) deal with Mahayana-vinaya. Why should we not follow them?"
"Master Huai-hai also said, “My intention is not to try and separate Mahayana and Hinayana or to distinguish Mahayana and Hinayana, but I hope to find a permanent system which could be very convenient and useful." (Buddhist Tripitaka, Vol. 48, pp. 1157-1158).
This passage obviously is an early historic account. The passage shows three significant points. The first, that most Ch'an monks until Master Huai-hai had lived in the Southern Buddhist style, a living situation which was inappropriate to Chinese society. This situation posed the second point, as to the possibilities for Buddhism in China. 'The third' is Master Huai-hai's intention to establish a Ch'an monastery. These three significant points provided the change.
To be continued.