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Tiantai School (Tiantaizong 天台宗)

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The Tiantai School 天台宗 (Tiantaizong, Jap. Tendai shū, Kor. Ch'ontae jong) was founded by Zhiyi 智顗 (d. 597), basing on the Lotus Sutra. According to Zhiyi, The Buddha taught different Sutras during his lifetime. Because the early sermons, were too complicated for the mass, The Buddha relied on simplier "Scriptures" (āgama, chin.: ahan 阿含) to preach. Later on, he preached the elementary vāipulya "broad and equal" (chin.: fangdeng 方等) Sutras of the Great vehicle, to end with the "Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom" (Prajñāparāmitā-Sūtra) and the Nirvāna and Lotus Sutras. A central teaching of the Tiantai School is the Threefold Truth (santi 三諦): voidness of all things, temporariness of all Phenomena, and the synthesis of Emptiness and phenomenal existence as the Truth of the mean or middle. The absolute Mind embraces The Universe in its entirety, small and huge things. To separate one's Consciousness from worldy Phenomena (Dharma, Chin. fa 法), Spiritual Concentration and Insight consiousness help to become aware of the non-existance of all appearance and that all is a manifestation of the absolute Mind. The Buddha nature can even be found in inanimate things. The Tiantai School was founded by Zhiyi 智顗 (d. XXX) and is named after the home Monastery of Zhiyi on Mt. Tiantai 天台山/Zhejiang. The original name of this school is Fahua 法華宗 "Flower of the Dharma" because its basic Writing is the Fahuajing 法華經 Sutra (T 263). The genealogy of its patrichars (zu 祖) reches from Nagarjuna (Longshu) to Huiwen 慧文, Huisi 慧思, Guanding 灌頂, Zhiwei 智威, Huiwei 慧威, Xuanlang 玄朗 to Master Zhanran 湛然. A central theory of the Tiantai masters is the concept of the Three Truths of the Complete Interception (yuanrong sandi 圓融三諦). In this theoretical system (written down in the book Mohe zhiguan 摩訶止觀; T XXX), every being (Dharma 法) is characterized as void, empty or a "noumenon" (kong 空) by nature, although it is conceived as having a particular character. In fact, this character is only the consequence of causations (yinyuan 因緣), so that each empirical or phenomenal appearance is purely lend (jia 假; Sakr. prajñapti). The mean principle that unifies the void and the phenomenal character is the "way of the mean" (zhongdao 中道; Sanskr. madhya). The Truth of voidness is also called "Truth of the realiy" (zhendi 真諦), the Truth of the phenomenal is also called the Truth of the ordinary ideas of things (shidi 實諦). Every being or Dharma is always tending to both sides, the side of Emptiness and the side of ordinary virtual appearance, and thus can always be found in a state of golden mean. For the Enlightened it is possible to perceive these ZUSAMMENWIRKEN of these factors (also called "three wisdoms" sanzhi 三智) through the Mind (yixin sanguan 一心三觀). The Mind is able to perceive all dharmas (beings) within the three thousand possible worlds and existances (yixin sanqian 一心三千). All dharmas equally share the same potential (a Buddha, mean people, the Mind: sanfa wucha 三法無差), all dharmas can be good or bad (xing ju shan e 性具善惡), and each single Dharma has the potential to become a Buddha, there is no individuality in everything but instead a common potential to buddhaship (wu qing, you xing 無情有性). To obtain Enlightenment, the adept has to practice twenty-five well-defined observations and renouncements, like the five basics (wu yuanju 五緣具), the renouncement of the five GIER (he wu yu 訶五欲; or wu yu Skandhas, shape, noise, smell, taste, touch), the abolishment of the five covers (qi wu gai 棄五蓋: ), the Balance of the five things (diao wu shi 調五事: ), and the exertion of the five dharmas (xing wu fa 行五法: will, pureness, recitation, Wisdom, unity of the Mind). Master Huisi was one of the most influential teachers of the 6th century. His Meditative practice should eventually influence the Buddhist schools of the north, like the Chan School, while his theoretical discussions should be transmitted to the southern schools, especially through his Disciple Zhiyi who commented numerous Sutras and treatises (e.g. Dazhidu lun 大智度論). In the 9th century the Tiantai School was transmitted to Korea and Japan where branches and sub-sects like the Nichiren 日蓮宗 were founded. During the Song period the disciples of Master Zhili 知禮 founded a "Mountain School" (Shanjia 山家), while disciples of Wu'en 悟恩 were members of a "Non-Mountain School" (山外家). Both contended about the interpretation of the "true Mind" (zhenxin 真心) and the "false imaginative Mind" (wangxin 妄心). An important VERDIENTST of Zhiyi is the classification of Sutras into five different groups of subsequent teachings (in chronological order) by eight different methods (wushi bajiao 五時八教): flower garlands (Huayan 華嚴; Sanskr. avatamsaka), Deer Park (luyuan 鹿苑) or Agama Sutras (Ahan 阿含), XXX (fangdeng 方等), Wisdom (bore ! 般若; Sanskr. Prajna), flower of the Dharma and Nirvana (fahua niepan 法華涅槃). The Eight teachings are divided into four methods (huayi 化儀): like 頓,漸,秘密,不定, and the four intensities (huafa 化法): hiding (cang 藏), opening (tong 通), differentiating (bie 別), and connecting to a whole (yuan 圓).