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was the sixth patriarch of the Tiantai
Tiantai is an important school of Buddhism in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. In Japan the school is known as Tendai, and in Korea it is known as Cheontae. Tiantai is also called the "Lotus School", due to its emphasis on the Lotus Sūtra as its doctrinal basis...
school of Chinese Buddhism. His lay surname was Wei 戚 and he was also known as Jingqi 荊溪 after his birthplace (in modern day Yixing
Yixing is a county-level city in Jiangsu province, in eastern China with a population of 1.3 million. It is well-known for its Yixing clay and the pottery -- especially the "zisha"-style teapots -- made from the clay...
宜興 county, Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...
province). Zhanran is best known for his scriptural exegesis of such works as Zhiyi's
Zhiyi is traditionally listed as the fourth patriarch, but is generally considered the founder of the Tiantai tradition of Buddhism in China. His standard title was Śramaṇa Zhiyi , linking him to the broad tradition of Indian asceticism...
(The Great Calming and Contemplation), as well as his promotion of the doctrine of universal Buddha-nature
Buddha-nature, Buddha-dhatu or Buddha Principle , is taught differently in various Mahayana Buddhism traditions. Broadly speaking Buddha-nature is concerned with ascertaining what allows sentient beings to become Buddhas...
. He is the author of The Adamantine Scalpel (金剛錍 Jin'gang Pi
) among other works.