Huihai & Huaihai
The Strange Story of Two
Zen Masters of the Tang Dynasty
Mazu Daoyi was by
anyone's standards one of the most
influential and iconoclastic Zen masters in the illustrious history of
Zen. Born in Sichuan Province, China, he studied under the
master Nanyue Huairong on Mount Hengshan in Hunan
Province, before travelling to Jiangxi Province and teaching many
students and disciples there.
Two of his most well-known disciples, who sometimes get
confused with each other were Dazhu
Huihai and Baizhang
The reason for the
confusion stems from the fact that their Buddhist
"initiation names" are very similar, at least in the modern
romanization--Huihai and Huaihai, and they were both
the same master. But, as you can see in the above box, which include
the Chinese characters, they are different characters, different
syllables, and different meanings.
"box" above to which Oshobob refers was not found at Archive.org.
The image here was created from the data available at the Huihai and
pages. It is apparent that there are more similarities than the
explanation suggests: The
"characters" (ideograms) are indeed different, though the last one,
corresponding to "Hai", is the same, leaving aside stylistic
differences. As to "syllables", when it comes to the Japanese, we have
"Ekai" making the last two syllables the same. Possibly historical
Japanese usage has contributed to the confusion. And with meanings,
there is a
significant similarity in "Wisdom Ocean" for both.
And when we come to their histories below, we will find more identity
not mentioned here but appearing elsewhere in Oshobob's pages.]
In the seminal Chinese Chan (Zen) book The Transmission of the
Lamp, first printed in 1004 in the Song Dynasty, these two students
of Mazu both received extensive chapters recording incidents in their
Zen lives, both as students and as masters. Oddly enough, Dazhu
Huihai did not have any disciples who became masters, and his
lineage therefore died out with him. Baizhang Huaihai on the other
hand, went on to become one of the most well-known Zen figures in
its history, producing many succeeding masters, including the famous
Huangbo (Obaku, J.), and Guishan (Isan, J.). The Linji (Rinzai,
J.) sect of Zen stems from this group of people.
Dazhu Huihai was given his name Dazhu by Mazu, which was a pun
on his Chinese surname Zhu. They are two different characters
written forms, but pronounced the same. Da zhu means "Great
Pearl." He left Mazu at some time in his life, and returned to his
original teacher in the Yuezhou state, a man named Daozhi. The
Transmission of the Lamp says that there, "obscuring his traces,
concealing his activities, Master Huihai pretended to be a fool, but he
distinguished himself by writing a book in one scroll entitled The
Essentials of Entering into the Tao by Abrupt Awakening." This line
of thinking became known as the "sudden enlightenment" way of
viewing the ultimate Zen liberation from mind to no-mind.
historical overlap can be found in Oshobob's Huihai and Huaihai pages.
Referred to above is Huihai's original teacher Daozhi. We find in
page that "Baizhang's 1st teacher was a man named Daozhi, who
gave him the dharma name Huaihai". How about that! And the only
material in Osho's quote about him (as Hyakujo) concerns this "sudden
enlightenment", though that may be related to the confusion of Osho's
sutra compilers as mentioned below.]
When someone later brought this scroll to Mazu, he read it and
proclaimed to his students, "In Yuezhou there is a great pearl which
is round and clear. Its light penetrates freely through everything
without obstruction." A pretty strong stroke from the master, and a
group of Mazu's student's went to Huihai to study, but strangely, no
one carried the "lamp" on, and the Great Pearl's stream fizzled out
into a dead end scenario.
Baizhang Huaihai had better luck it seems, and after leaving Mazu,
climbed high up on Baizhang Mountain and created an extremely
successful monastery with many students. He was known for being
the first to lay down Zen monastery rules--his famous saying "A day
without work is a day without food" broke the long-standing
of Buddhist monks being veritable parasites on the rest of society,
begging for their food, etc. Huaihai also had the distinctly unique
experience of having his master Mazu roar a shout on his head so
loud that his ears were deafened for three days.
The modern Zen master
Osho in his illuminating book Hyakujo: The
Everest of Zen, with Basho's Haikus, somehow combines both of
these two different Zen masters, melding their two stories into one.
Although not exactly faithful to the record of Chan, Osho simply
reads what his editors have put in front of him, and manages in his
inimitable way, to make it all make sense--weaving his own
interpretations into Hyakujo(the Japanese pronunciaton of
Baizhang), who seems to have for the moment swallowed Dazhu
Huihai whole in this contemporary retelling of the never ending story
of the Zen search. The British author and Buddhist seeker, John
Blofeld wrote a book, The Teachings of Hui Hai, one of the
English language attempts at translating a Chinese Chan master's
record. This book is on Dazhu Huihai, and is included in Osho's
Books I Have Loved. This may be part of the confusion of Osho's
editors and sutra writers for his discourses--i.e., they think "Huihai"
"Huaihai"(just a small 'a' difference). But still, in the true Zen
the truth is One, individuals are simply waves on the ocean, and the
real "Great Matter" is beyond facts, names, and dates. Is that right?
last paragraph above is also, curiously, found currently in Terebess' sprawling,
encyclopedic Dharma site.]
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