Buddhism came from India to China in the 1st century CE, the first establishment being in the Han capital of Luoyang, White Horse temple (Bai-ma si). The development of the religion in China was dominated by the schools and thinkers of Mahayana Indian and Central Asian Buddhism. Sinification of Buddhism had its beginnings with such figures as Tao-an, Tao-sheng and Kumarajiva. A turning point however, was reached when Bodhidharma arrived in southern China in the late fifth century CE. From this beginning marks the development of a truly Chinese school of Buddhism, Ch’an. While sharing the same doctrines common to all schools, the Ch’an approach to teaching and meditation was unique and fresh, recapturing the vibrancy of Buddhism in India a thousand years earlier, separate from the analytical approach to Buddhist sutras and treatises that had been adopted in China previously.
Below are a series of articles on the periods of Ch’an development which we hope you will find interesting. More pages will follow when we feel they are ready and what is below will be revised from time to time. Please feel free to comment.
Page Title Description Link
Chan, A Short History The history of Chan can be understood in terms of three periods of development Link
Chan of the Patriarchs From Bodhidharma to Huineng, the six patriarchs of Chan gave the foundation to this important school Link
Northern and Southern Schools The controversy over sudden or gradual enlightenment was a watershed moment for Chan Link
Founders of the Two Lineages From these two important Chan masters came the five houses of Ch'an Link
The Five Houses of Chan The Rise of the Five Schools of Chan Link