(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Ch’an Master Ma Zu Dao Yi lived between 709-788, or 688-763, and his lay surname was ‘Ma’ (马). He was also known as ‘Ma Dao Yi’ (马道一), Hongzhou Dao Yi (洪州道一), and Jiangxi Dao Yi (江西道一). He was a famous Tang Dynasty Ch’an Buddhist monk, whose teacher was named Nanyue Huairang (南岳怀让). Ma Zu Dao Yi founded the Hongzhou (洪州) tradition. The history books say that he looked strange. He had the strong bearing of an ox, and the piercing gaze of a tiger. His tongue was long and could touch the tip of his nose, and there was a roundel image imprinted on the sole of each of his two feet. His posthumous title is ‘Da Ji Ch’an Shi’ (大寂禅师), and whilst alive, he was renowned for being a great Ch’an master who led many through the gate of enlightenment – known as the path of ‘Eighty Eight Good Understandings’. Ma Zu Dao Yi had 139 Dharma-heirs. Amongst the most famous were Xitang Zhicang (西堂智藏), Baizhang Huaihai, and Nanquan Puyuan (南泉普愿), who were known as the three Great Scholars of the Hongzhou School. Baizhang Huaihai’s Dharma-descendents founded the Linji (临济) School, whilst the Dharma-descendents of the other two masters eventually propagated the Wei Yang (沩仰) School of Ch’an Buddhism.
Original Chinese Language Article