Yunmen Wenyan

Yunmen Wenyan

When we talk about Zen Buddhism born from the influence that Taoist philosophy has had on the teachings of the Buddha, we cannot fail to mention the master Yunmen Wenyan. Author of The Gathering of the Blue Rock, his koans express the enlightenment of this master.

Yunmen Wenyan

Like all major religions in the world, Buddhism is also made up of many different schools. Tibetan Buddhism , influenced by shamanism and Tantrism , is very different from that practiced in China, from Mongolian, or from India and Southeast Asia, or from Japanese Zen. 


Different interpretations of the texts, different traditions, or a greater or lesser importance given to this or that aspect of Buddhism, demonstrate a great vitality at the origin of this religion . It will not be surprising to discover that new schools of Buddhism are still being born today.

  • From student to abbot
  • The collection of the blue rock
  • The koans of master Yunmen



From student to abbot

When we talk about Zen Buddhism born from the influence that Taoist philosophy has had on the teachings of the Buddha, we cannot fail to mention the master Yunmen Wenyan . 


The Japanese term Zen comes from the Chinese Chan, schools of Buddhism strongly focused on the practice of meditation . Yunmen Wenyan was the founder of the Yunmen school , one of the five most important Chan schools, called the “five houses of Chan”. 


Yunmen Wenyan began studying and practicing Buddhist meditation  from a very young age, he lived between 800 and 900 AD, becoming first a monk and then abbot of a monastery. He was immediately considered a real authority, able to strike everyone with his lapidary phrases, always full of deep meanings beyond the surface meanings. 


He traveled to monasteries, consolidating more and more the high reputation he had earned, but at the same time, declining honorable roles  offered him by various religious and political authorities. There is still a lineage of monks descending from the school of Yunmen Wenyan , but the greatest influence he left to those who did not decide to retire to monastic life in China are his koans of him, considered to be among the most graceful, paradoxical and powerful. 


The collection of the blue rock

The influence of his koans has produced the Biyan Lu , (100 verses from ancient cases), published in Italian with the name of The collection of the blue rock , still considered today one of the unattained masterpieces of Zen Buddhism and recommended for those preparing for retreat. meditative.


The koans of master Yunmen

If we want to know more about Master Yunmen, we need to tap into his koen which convey the enlightened consciousness he came in contact with and realized in himself. He often cited to his students
of an ” elusive further “ capable of containing everything they were looking for, an intuitive and poetic way to refer to a new meaning , different from the five we are endowed with, to perceive all
the answers that exist around we. 


He always tried to avoid excessive recourse to the mind and dialogue. In fact, he referred to the fact that Buddha had taught for almost fifty years, without his tongue moving in his mouth. He based his conscience on direct experience, in fact when asked what the Way was, he loved to answer with a curt “ Go! ”, As if to say
“ Follow it and you will know ”. 


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