Lesson
14

Mazu

9 of 9

Mazu is reported in the chronicles to have had 139 enlightened disciples, many of whom went on to become Chan leaders in their own districts. The most outstanding were the monks Huaihai and Nanquan and a layman named Pang—all three of whom are today remembered in anecdotes that have become Chan scriptures. But others were probably just as active and enlightened.

Southern Chan was expanding, with mountaintop retreats blossoming everywhere. Many teachers probably have been forgotten only because they had no disciples who took the pains to transcribe and preserve their teachings. Mazu himself also apparently wrote nothing, but he was more fortunate in his disciples. 

Baizhang: "What is the essential meaning of of Buddhism?"

Mazu: "What is the meaning of this moment?"

Baizhang: "What is the essential import of the school?"

Mazu: "It's just the place where you let go of your body and life."