Excerpts from

Ch誕n Monasticism & Chinese Society

II. The Existence and Historical Value of the Pai-Chang-Ch段ng Kuei

By Professor Francis R.S. Lee

The structure of the Pai-Chang-Ch段ng-Kuei was based on two principal elements. Basically, it followed the original monastic conception of early Buddhism. Socially it was an adaptation of Chinese social requirements. In Master Yang-I's preface he well exemplified the point:

All those enlightened monks, for instance, who possess the eyes to see the path would be named Chang Lao "Elders," just as the Honorable name of Subhuti in India or the Western regions was conditioned by learning and age. They would become the masters of cultivation and stay in the hut, which is the same as the room of Vimalakirti. This room is, of course, not simply a room for resting. (Ibid.)

The essential purpose of Huai-Hai's Pai-Chang-Ch'ing-Kuei, in my personal opinion, is to be seen in his famous proverb: "No daily work, no daily food." (cf. Huai-hai ch誕n-shih ta min , Buddhist Tripitaka, Vol. 481, p. 1156.) This proverb was repeatedly mentioned in all later editions and interpreted in different ways, but when one comprehensively studies the later revised editions, the ideological changes remind us that this proverb is not simply to be understood in its literary connotation as Buddhist scholars interpreted it. This proverb apparently is the central point of the Pai-Chang-Ch段ng-Kuei.

B. The Organization of the Monastery in the Pai-Chang-Ch段ng-Kuei

      In the organization of a Buddhist monastery, under the Abbot (chu Chih} there are two arms. {Ibid. pp. 1120-1133) The two chanceries are called "West Chancery" 
(the chancellors) and "East Chancery" (the central administration). (Ibid.) These two chanceries, as chapter VI explains, were selected by the Abbot after his inauguration (Ibid.) They are departmentalized, with different duties. There are seven different duties in the West chancery. (Ibid.) These seven different duties have no relation to each other. The principal duty in the West Chancery is Shou-tso () literally, "the first seat." There are two different Shou-tso in the West Chancery, the higher one is called Ch'ien-t'ang Shou-tso() which means the first seat in the front hall and the other one is called Hou-tang Shou-tso() which means the first seat in the back hall. A Shou-tso must be a learned monk and must be invited by the Abbot to serve in this position. They will primarily help the Abbot in his teaching duties. A Shou-tso could also be a candidate for the future Abbotship. (Ibid.) The person in charge of the monastic records and announcements, etc., is called Shu-chi(), which means "writer," but his duty was actually like that of a secretary in the present time. The person in charge of the visitors to the monastery was called Chih-k'o(), and he was the master of the guests. This is supposed to be quite an important position after the establishment of monasteries in the mountain' With the self supporting principle, the bath became more important for the daily life in the monastery. A special person in charge of this duty was called Chih-yu(), which means "the bath master." In later modified editions of the Pai-Chang-Ch段ng-Kuei, two new duties were developed. Chih-tsang(), the librarian of the Holy scriptures, and chih-tien() the master of the sanctuary and placed in the West Chancery.

To be continued