Wendi Adamek's elegantly written and skillfully executed book adds much to our growing understanding of the complex history that is Chan. It centers around the Lidai fabao ji (Record of the Dharma-Jewel through the Generations), a late eighth-century hagiographical work and the only known relic manuscript produced by the short-lived Bao Tang school, a collateral branch of Chan located in Jiannan (Sichuan). This text, lost to history until its rediscovery in Dunhuang in the early twentieth century, offers its rendition of Chinese Buddhist history and an account of the school's founder, Wuzhu (714–74), claiming that he inherited the robe (and hence the patriarchy) of Chan's first patriarch, Bodhidharma (d. ca. 530), which was passed down through (the now canonical) five successive generations to Huineng (638–713), after which it came into the possession of Empress Wu Zetian (r. 684–705) and ultimately to Wuzhu. The text ends with Wuzhu's death, without naming...
Skip Nav Destination
Book Review| May 01 2009
The Mystique of Transmission: On an Early Chan History and Its Contexts
The Mystique of Transmission: On an Early Chan History and Its Contexts. By Wendi L. Adamek.
Columbia University Press,
1pp. $51.50 (cloth).
Journal of Asian Studies (2009) 68 (2): 587–588.
Linda Penkower; The Mystique of Transmission: On an Early Chan History and Its Contexts. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2009; 68 (2): 587–588. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911809000758
Download citation file: