believable was part of the "special practice" of this style and only enhanced the literary effect. In the end Welter finds that the Record is the work of Song dynasty literati who manipulated tales of Linji to create a hero. The upshot of their efforts is that much of what has been subsequently accepted as fact about Linji, the Record, and, more broadly, Tang dynasty Chan can be shown to be products of these later editors/ creators. Does all this mean that the traditional view is historically incorrect? Well, as Welter points out, not necessarily. But, it is equally clear from the conclusion that the Linji of the Record is at least as much a Song literati creation as a Tang historical fact. Welter's very detailed and carefully researched work charts new directions for the study of this text and sheds new light on the history of Chan. Additionally, though it exceeds the scope of his conclusions, the inquiry also implicitly suggests areas for further study. For example, thoughtful readers who are familiar with modern Japanese and Western versions of this Chan school will be struck by the fact that the complex process of manipulating the Linji story
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 27, 2010
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