Linji Yixuan

Línjì Yìxuán (Jap. Rinzai Gigen) (?–866) was the founder of the Linji school of Chan Buddhism during Tang Dynasty China.

Linji was trained by the Chan master Huangbo Xiyun (Jap. Huang Po), but enlightened by the reclusive monk Dàyú. He suddenly realized the emptiness of thoughts, words, and philosophical explanations, and that truth was to be found within the self, in everyday existence. Linji’s teachings encouraged people to have faith that their natural spontaneous mind is the true Buddha-Mind, and to enter simply and wholeheartedly into every activity. When Linji’s students told him they were searching for deliverance from this world, he would ask them, “If you are delivered from this world, where else is there to go?” In 851, Linji moved to the Linji temple in Hebei, where he took his name, which also became the name for the lineage of his form of Zen Buddhism. The Linji school of Buddhism was brought to Japan by Myoan Eisai in 1191.