The Influence of Chan Buddhism Spirit on Chinese Music/DE L'INFLUENCE DU ZEN SUR LA MUSIQUE CHINOISE

By Xiaowei, Lan; Zihua, Qiu | Canadian Social Science, March 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Influence of Chan Buddhism Spirit on Chinese Music/DE L'INFLUENCE DU ZEN SUR LA MUSIQUE CHINOISE


Xiaowei, Lan, Zihua, Qiu, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

Chan Buddhism is an influential school of Buddhism in China; the philosophic thinking it advocates has influenced Chinese music and culture in many ways, which results in four orientations of the development of Chinese music: firstly, Chinese music put emphasis on its artistic conception; secondly, Chinese music emphasizes spiritual charm; thirdly, Chinese music values self-intuition; fourthly, Chinese music values natural beauty.

Key words: Chan Buddhism, Chinese music, Influence

Résumé: Le Zen est un secte bouddhiste influent en Chine. Sa pensée philosophique a exercé des influences diverses sur la culture musicale chinoise, qui s'expriment dans les quatre domaines ci-dessous. Sous l'influence de la pensée de Zen, la musique chinoise insiste sur la beauté d'imagination, la beauté de spiritualité, la beauté de perception et la beauté naturelle.

Mots-Clés: Zen, musique chinoise, influence

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

As one school of Indian Buddhism, Chan Buddhism was imported into China in Han Dynasty. Evolving from three Kingdoms, Western Jin dynasty, Eastern Jin Dynasty, South and North Dynasty, Chan Buddhism had been sinicized and became Chinese Buddhism, till Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, with the Buddhist scriptures being translated in Chinese language and concept. It adopted the idea of Huang-Lao Daoism and Metaphysics of Wei and Jin Dynasty to preach its theory and had been transformed repeatedly under the influence of Confucianism. After a long period of relying-on, resisting and absorbing Confucianism and Daoism, Chinese Buddhism entered into its golden age as well as its sincized period in Sui and Tang period. Chan Buddhism and the other sinicized schools took the thoughts of Confucianism and Daoism, developing their own theories to distinguish themselves from the Indian Buddhism. Especially after the Mid-Tang Dynasty, for the sake of simplicity of doctrine of Chan Buddhism, the long, tedious parts were cut out, so that Chan Buddhism met the requirements of Chinese culture better in terms of both content and form. The ruler of Tang Dynasty implemented the policy of 'three parallel religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism', which objectively promoted the integration of three religions. In Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, the three religions further interacted with each other, creating the trend of combing three religions into one, which eventually resulted in promoting Buddhism to be merged with Chinese local culture and to become one of the most important pillars of Chinese culture. Furthermore, it affected the studies of Confucianism during Song-Ming Dynasty, inspiring the transform of Confucianism and eventually promoted the development of Chinese culture.3(211)

The main characteristics of Chan Buddhism can be summed up in the following four aspects: Firstly, it simplifies the long and tedious doctrines, turning the speculative Buddhism, abstruse theories and fixed ways of ratiocination into situational cases, questions and answers in the form of puzzles, through which nature's mystery is revealed merely by one or two words and Buddhist theory is implied through some simple actions. In this way, all the complex argumentations and scholastic ways of studies of Buddhism have been abandoned; the Buddha-nature shines brightly; Paradise is in front of you and the Pure Land is yourself. Secondly, Chan Buddhism considers subjective intuition as the shortcut for self-cultivation, giving up the classics which emphasized on bitter meditation and long-time sitting without sleeping. HuiNeng (one of the Buddhists) has one pointed out that long time of sitting without sleeping is wrong, by which he expanded the functions of Chan meditation, extended the scope that was suitable for meditation and drew people's attention to the real meaning of Buddhism and valued the importance of understanding and knowledge, if you can see yourself clearly, you can see the world in the same way; everyone can be a Buddha if one is determined and start right now. …

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