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Master Dezhang

Zen Master Dezhang (in the Northern Song Dynasty), a disciple of Zen Master Shishuang Chuyuan, lived in the West Sutra House of Daxiangguo Temple. Emperor Renzong of the Song Dynasty had summoned him several times to the imperial court so that Emperor Renzong could inquire into Buddhism. The first summon was given in the 8th year of Qingli period (1048 AD) and Zen Master Dezhang went in response to Yanchun Pavilion to discuss Zen with Zen Master Pufa. The second summon took place in the the next year and Zen Master Dezhang went again to discuss Zen with Zen Master Pufa. The third summon brought Zen Master Dezhang to Chenghua Hall to probe into Zen with Zen Master Shouxian. The second year of Huangyou period (1050 AD), Zen Master Dezhang asked Emperor Renzong for permission to return to mountains for seclusion and spend his last years in retirement. Emperor Renzong approved of his request and made him serve as the abbot in Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou and preach on Zen. All of these show that Zen Master Dezhang was extraordinarily influential at his time.

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