The Chan monk Huihong 惠洪 (1071–1128) constructed stories of Su Shi's 蘇軾 (1037–1101) past life as Wuzu Shijie 五祖師戒, a Chan monk in the Yunmen 雲門 lineage. In this article, we will show that Huihong not only constructed the storyline but also recorded in his Buddhist collections all the elements that would shape Wuzu Shijie's image. This article argues that Huihong's accounts should be viewed in the context of a shift of lineage affiliation that occurred in the Northern Song: Huanglong Huinan 黃龍慧南 (1002–69), founding master of the Huanglong branch to which Huihong belongs, changed his affiliation from the Yunmen to the Linji 臨濟. By constructing stories linking Su Shi's past life with the image of Wuzu Shijie, Huihong sought to defend Huinan's reputation from accusations of betrayal and justify his move: rather than betraying the Yunmen lineage, Huinan was the true recipient of Wuzu Shijie's dharma mind and the successor to the orthodox Yunmen lineage. This article also shows that when the story of Su Shi's past life was introduced into dramas and novels in vernacular society and incorporated with the Honglian stories, Wuzu Shijie was misrepresented as Chan master Wujie (Wujie Chanshi 五戒禪師), whose image has become the most widespread version of Su Shi's past life.

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