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Dharma Characteristics school

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Dharma Characteristics school
法相宗 (Chin Fa-hsiang-tsung; Jpn Hosso-shu)

    A school that aims to clarify the ultimate reality by analyzing and classifying the aspects and characteristics of things and phenomena. The basic scriptures of the school comprise six sutras and eleven treatises, including the Revelation of the Profound Secrets Sutra, The Treatise on the Establishment of the Consciousness-Only Doctrine, and The Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice. The Dharma Characteristics doctrine classifies all phenomena into five categories, which are further subdivided into one hundred dharmas, or elements of existence. It maintains that all phenomena arise from the alaya-consciousness, and that nothing can exist without the alaya-consciousness. The doctrines of this school derive from the teachings of the Consciousness-Only school of Maitreya, Asanga, and Vasubandhu, which was introduced to China by Paramartha and Hsüan-tsang. In the first half of the seventh century, Hsüan-tsang journeyed to India and brought back The Treatise on the Establishment of the Consciousness-Only Doctrine, which he translated into Chinese with the aid of his disciple Tz'u-en. Based on its teachings, Tz'u-en founded the Dharma Characteristics school. His teachings were transmitted to Hui-chao and then to Chih-chou. The school prospered during the T'ang dynasty (618-907) but later declined. Its teachings were introduced to Japan on four occasions: by Dosho, who went to China in 653 and studied under Hsüan-tsang; by Chitsuand Chitatsu, who made the journey in 658 and also studied under Hsüan-tsang and Tz'u-en; by Chiho, Chi-ran, and Chiyu, who went in 703 and received the teachings from Chih-chou; and by Gembo, who went in 716 and also studied under Chih-chou. Dosho's line, based at Gango-ji temple, is called "the transmission of the Southern Temple," while Gembo's, based at Kofuku-ji, is called "the transmission of the Northern Temple."

See also Consciousness-Only school.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org