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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
buddhadharma| 23 |spring 2008 curious, he was deeply influenced by Taoism and Huayan Buddhism, and the An Lushan Rebellion apparently only deepened his conviction that sec- tarianism causes nothing but suffering. He had seen where grand schemes and big ambitions could lead, and while differences between people were natural, he taught, when we start attaching values to the differences, we open the door to heartache. “In the Way, there are no Northern or Southern ancestors,” he said; there are only ancestors com- mon to us all. No red states and blue states, he would say today, just Kansas and California and Georgia, in all their complexity. Mazu Daoyi was born in the far west of China near the border with Tibet, the son of the town garbage man. He began studying Chan when he was still young, and his studies eventually brought him to central China. For more than twenty years, during the time of the An Lushan Rebellion and its aftermath, Ma walked from one temple to another through the devastated countryside. Eventually he settled down in Jiangxi province, and his monas- tery became the great Chan training center of the age. Chan teachers usually take their name from the place they live and teach; Ma is the only one who is known by his family surname (Ma) and an honor- ific usually translated as Great Master (Zu). Ma’s teaching style was direct, uncompromis- ing, and often physical. It was clearly influenced by what he saw on his long walk through a devastated land. In those days, people came to the monaster- ies for a lot of reasons, from spiritual turmoil to There is something moving about the large and generous spirit of these two teachers who responded to the devastation around them by saying, This is all me. This is all you. CourteSyoftHeArtiStAndHouldSwortH,london Armour Boys, 2006