Eminent Nuns: Women Chan Masters of Seventheenth-Century by Beata Grant

By Beata Grant

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Additional resources for Eminent Nuns: Women Chan Masters of Seventheenth-Century China

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32 The famous story of her Dharma encounter with the querulous and skeptical monk Guanxi Zhixian (d. 895) is referred to again and again, often as evidence of women’s religious potential, in the discourse records of both male and female Chan masters of the seventeenth century. Indeed, one of the highest compliments that most male Chan masters could think to pay a Chan nun was either to refer to her as a reincarnation of Moshan or, at the very least, to assure her that she was worthy of carrying on the Moshan lineage.

He complains that it has become more and more difficult to know when people are acting out of sincere realization, and when they are just acting. Not only that, but because “true inscriptions and sham texts are nowadays all mixed up and no distinction is made between them,” there is no way of verifying the truth of what is written of those said to have embodied the teachings. With this as a prologue, Muchen Daomin then sets out to provide a “true” account of the life of a woman he believes truly did embody the teachings and, in so doing, put to shame both male monastics and men in general.

32 The famous story of her Dharma encounter with the querulous and skeptical monk Guanxi Zhixian (d. 895) is referred to again and again, often as evidence of women’s religious potential, in the discourse records of both male and female Chan masters of the seventeenth century. Indeed, one of the highest compliments that most male Chan masters could think to pay a Chan nun was either to refer to her as a reincarnation of Moshan or, at the very least, to assure her that she was worthy of carrying on the Moshan lineage.

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