Rinzai Zen Buddhism (臨済宗)

That is not a transmission based on words (logos). For this reason, it is considered crucial to choose the right Zen master. That means not just choosing one who has gained enlightenment, but one who fits with one's own personality. Actually, it does not mean that an enlightened Zen master instructs and enables someone gain enlightenment. Masters in the Tang dynasty did not learn to get enlightenment from anybody - not to mention Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha, Shakuson), who gained enlightenment without a teacher. While it is impossible to define enlightenment with words, words are one of many methods that can describe the boundaries of enlightenment. That is why, especially after it was brought to Japan, enlightenment has been expressed through artistic expression such as poetry and painting, so that one can get a taste of its aroma. Other than in art, it is also expressed in deportments such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement; and methods to get a taste of the world of enlightenment have also been born. That is not an intellectual understanding.

Rinzai Zen Buddhism is one of the Chinese five Houses/seven Schools of Zen (Rinzai, Igyou, Soto, Unmon, Hogan) and Gigen RINZAI (? - 867) of Tang was its founder. He was known as "RINZAI of Katu (meaning to help wake up the sleeping mind) " and "General RINZAI", and rose to the top of Chinese Zen with his distinctive style. With its Zen Talks that try to awaken self awareness through study of Koan, it differs from the Silent Zen of the Soto sect, which just does meditation.

Rinzai School in China
As the name implies, Rinzai School started with its founder Gigen RINZAI at the end of the Tang dynasty, after the anti-Buddhist movement at the Kaishou era. RINZAI was the disciple of Kiun OBAKU; the school grew as a religious movement centered in the province of Hebei, with the support of Changshi WANG of the Hanchin government, but in the confusion that arose around the end of the Tang dynasty, Hebei was at the center of the tumultuous five dynasties and it became difficult to sustain a religious movement. The central figure around that time was Enshou FUKETSU.

It was in the Northern Song dynasty that Rinzai School became vibrant again, below the gates of Sekiso SOEN, along with Enan OURYU and Houe YOUGI who came from Jiangxi province and created the two main sectes of Rinzai (Ouryu and Yougi), and swept across all of China.

When it came to the Southern Song dynasty, Soukou DAIE, a disciple of Kokugon ENGO who belonged to the Yougi sect, started the Daikan sect in Zhejiang province, which became a major sect in the Rinzai School.

Rinzai School in Japan
According to doctrine, it was brought over to China from India by Bodhidharma, the 28th successor of the 10 disciples (called Kasho) who directly received the teaching (enlightenment) of Siddhartha Gautama. Later the Rinzai school, which achieved the pinnacle of Zen teaching, was brought to Japan in the Kamakura period by Eisai, who went to China to study in the Southern Song period. Japan's Rinzai is one of Zen schools in Japan.
It emphasizes the transmission of enlightenment from teacher to disciple. (Hassu is the disciple who inherited the teaching of the master.)
It calls Sakyamuni the Original Teacher Venerable Sakyamuni Buddha, Bodhidharma the First Ancestor and Great Teacher Bodhidharma, and RINZAI the Founder and Great Teacher Rinzai. In contrast to the Soto Zen school which spreads through regional clans and the general people, the Rinzai School received support from Samurai families in government, and was esteemed in the politics and culture. Later, the Rinzai School was rebuilt in the Edo period by Master HAKUIN, and continued to be called Hakuin Zen.

Transmission of enlightenment from masters to disciples continues down to the present day (Hassu is the disciple who inherited the teaching of the master). The important interaction between the master and disciple is called "a secret in the room" and is not to be taken out of the master's room and revealed publicly. What is extracted from the interactions between a master and disciple, or Zen lecture transcripts that record the actions of a master, is called a Koan (precedent) and various collections have been compiled since the Song dynasty; but enlightenment is not something that can be communicated with words, so when people today try to understand the text, the Koan itself refuses them. However, they contain hints that lead people toward enlightenment, and there are a great many Zen books from the beginning down to the present day. Also since the Song dynasty, the Zen schools changed to a Kannazen style in which masters give lectures using transcripts of Zen talks and the masters became not to display the same majesty as those in the Tang dynasty including Rinzai. Although masters choose their successors when they die, the successors have not necessarily attained enlightenment by that time, but that fact is only known to the master and the successor himself. Even if the new master had not attained enlightenment, the disciples would have been able to do so if it is within a few generations from that of the master who gained enlightenment, therefore it is possible to take such a measure. It is possible for a master to leave behind several new masters, or at his discretion not to leave a successor and bring his line to an end. Many lines have split, and some have disappeared; in this way some of those lines have come down from the 7th century to the present day.

The Zen sects generally emphasize enlightenment over knowledge. Enlightenment in Zen means that all living things realize the inherent buddha nature they possess. For this reason, masters in the Tang dynasty struggled to enlightenment through much hardship. However, they began to devise many techniques for gaining enlightenment from the Song dynasty. These were systematized so that enlightenment could be gained by performing training such as Zazen (not the same as meditation), Koan (understanding stories that surpass intellectual understanding), Dokyou (reading sutras), or Samu (everyday work) under an already enlightened Zen master. Enlightenment is thought to pass from the master to the disciple as a candle flame passes to a candle that is unlit (called Dentou).

The Koan System
The Koan system came together after the Song dynasty, and though they might be fabricated it has made even more enlightenments possible. Most Koan are made up of conversations between a master and disciple, telling the truth of the moment when the disciple gained enlightenment. Koan cannot be received with logical, intellectual understanding, and are stories beyond logic that can be understood only by completely becoming the Koan itself instead of thinking. The Koan system was established by collecting these Koan stories as a method for leading disciples and was composed of 500 to 1900 Koan stories. Koan system differs according to the master's style.

Examples of Koan stories in the beginning. "Does a dog have buddha-nature?" "It does not have." As the background, any Buddhist knows that "all living things have Buddha-nature."

The Sound of One Hand Clapping
A disciple has to listen to the sound of clapping with one hand and show that to the master. By intellectual understanding, it is impossible to clap with one hand and make a sound.

Kenni-ji sect
The sect began when Eisai came back from Southern Song China in 1202. Eisai was the first to bring the Zen tradition to Japan.

Head temple is Kenni-ji in Kyoto. Kenni-ji is the oldest Zen temple in Japan.

Tofuku-ji sect
The sect began in Kyoto when Benen ENNI returned from Song China in 1236.

Head temple is Tofuku-ji in Kyoto.

Ekei ANKOKUJI, who was a monk and also acted as a diplomat for the Mori clan in the Warring States period, belonged to this school.

Kencho-ji sect
The sect was established by Douryuu RANKEI in 1253, who was invited from Southern Song China by Tiyori HOJOU, the 5th regent of the Kamakura Shogunate.

Head temple is Kencho-ji in Kamakura, founded by Douryuu RANKEI. Kencho-ji was the first Zen temple that opened the first pure Zen training hall in Japan, with more than 1,000 monks training there at one time.

Enkaku-ji sect
The sect began in Kamakura in 1282 when Sogen MUGAKU was invited from China.

Head temple is Enkaku-ji in Kamakura. Enkaku-ji Temple was passed from Sogen MUGAKU to Kennichi KOUHOU and Soseki MUSOU, and was at one time the center of Japanese Zen.

Famous Zen masters after the Meiji period include Kousen IMAKITA, Souen SHAKU, and Sougen ASAHINA. Daisetsu SUZUKI who introduced Zen to the West experienced Zen under the two masters, IMAKITA and Souen SHAKU as a lay buddhist. Also, Soseki NATSUME approached Souen SHAKU and wrote about that experience in The Gate.

Nanzen-ji sect
The sect began by Fumon MUKAN in 1291.

Head temple is Nanzen-ji in Kyoto.

Kokutai-ji sect
The sect began by Myoi JIUN around 1300.

Head temple is Kokutai-ji (Takaoka City in Toyama Prefecture), which was rebuilt in the Meiji period by Tesshuu YAMAOKA. Taninaka-no-Zenseian, founded by Tesshuu, is a famous temple of the Kokutai-ji sect.

Daitoku-ji sect
The sect began in 1315 by Myouchou SHUUHOU.

Head temple is Daitoku-ji in Kyoto. It was razed during the Onin War in the Muromachi period, but Soujun IKKYUU rebuilt it.

Kogaku-ji sect
The sect began by Tushou BASSUI in 1327.

Head temple is Kogaku-ji in Koushuu City, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Myoshin-ji sect
The sect began in 1337 by Egen KANZAN.

Head temple is Myoshin-ji in Kyoto. Subsidiary temples include Keishunin, Shunkouin, and Taizouin.

It is the largest sect of the Rinzai School, with more than 3,400 sect temples.

Tenryu-ji sect
The sect began in 1339 by Soseki MUSOU.

Head temple is Tenryu-ji in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

Eigen-ji sect
The sect began in 1361 by Genkou JAKUSHITSU.

Head temple is Eigen-ji in Higashioumi City, Shiga Prefecture.

It has about 150 branch temples mainly in the area of Shiga Prefecture.

Belonged to the Tofuku-ji sect until 1880.

Hoko-ji sect
The sect began by Gensen MUMON in 1384.

Head temple is Hoko-ji in Inasa Town, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu City.

It has about 170 branch temples mainly in the area of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Belonged to the Nanzen-ji sect until 1904.

Shokoku-ji sect
The sect began by Soseki MUSOU in 1392.

Head temple is Shokoku-ji in Kyoto, established by Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA.

It has about 100 branch temples nationwide. Kinkaku-ji Temple and Ginkaku-ji Temple are affiliated.

Buttsu-ji sect
The sect began by Shuukyuu GUCHUU in 1397.

Head temple is Buttsu-ji in Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture. It has about 50 branch temples mainly in the area of Hiroshima Prefecture.

Belonged to the Tenryu-ji sect until 1905.

Affiliated Educational Institutions
Hanazono University
Shogen Junior College
Hanazono Middle School/High School

[Original Japanese]