The Differences Between Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen in a Nutshell

This time period saw the Rinzai and Soto actively deny their Chinese cultural roots, and support the government’s anti-China policies. This coincided with the Rinzai and Soto Zen traditions ‘abandoning’ the Vinaya Discipline for ordained monks and nuns because it was viewed as both ‘Indian’ and ‘Chinese’, and therefore ‘un-Japanese’ in nature. This abandoning of the Vinaya Discipline marks a significant deviation of the Japanese Zen tradition from its Chinese Ch’an origin.

The Hua Tou (話頭) Method.

‘These facts demonstrate that master Dahui did not refer to his own enlightening method as either a ‘hua tou’, or indeed a ‘kan hua’, and did not view what he was doing as some thing ‘new’ and ‘original’. In fact, the impression one gets from Dahui is that he is following an older tradition that has been forgotten by those around him.’