Cizhou 慈舟

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Cízhōu 慈舟

There were at least two major Chinese monks with this name who were active in the 20th century.

Cízhōu 慈舟 (1877-1958)
  • Name surname 姓: Liáng 梁
  • Courtesy name 字: Cízhōu 慈舟
  • Dharma name 法名: Pǔhǎi 普海
  • Born 1877 (Guāngxù 光緒 3) in Suí County 隨縣, Húběi 湖北
  • Died January, 1958 at the Ānyǎng Hermitage 安養精舍 in Běijīng 北京.
Notable Associates:
  • Article editor: Erik Hammerstrom

Cízhōu 慈舟 (1877-1958)

A student of Yuèxiá 月霞, Cízhōu lectured extensively on the Huáyán Sūtra 華嚴經 from the late 1920s into the 1940s.


Cízhōu first realized he wanted to ordain while pursuing a traditional education as a youth, but due to the opposition of his parents he was not able to follow his wish. He was finally able to get his mother's permission to ordain in 1910 (Xuāntǒng 宣統 2) after his father passed away. He took tonsure under Yuánzhào 元照 at Fóhuán Temple 佛洹寺 in his home county. Later that year he ordained under Dàhuì 大繪 at Guīyuán Temple 歸元寺 in Hànyáng 漢陽.

In 1913, Cízhōu traveled to Shànghǎi 上海 to enroll in the first class at Huáyán University 華嚴大學, run by Yuèxiá 月霞. His fellow students included Chángxǐng 常惺 and Chísōng 持松. Cízhōu moved to Hángzhōu 杭州 with the school in 1914 and graduated in 1916. After graduation he became an itinerant for a year. In 1917, he accompanied Yuèxiá on a lecture tour in the Wǔhàn 武漢 area. Cízhōu remained in the area giving and attending sūtra lectures until 1920, when he and two of his former monastic classmates reestablished Huáyán University in Hànkǒu 漢口. The University shut down with the graduation of the first class in the spring of 1923. Cízhōu immediately accepted a position as the abbot of Qīyǐn Temple 棲隱寺 in Hànkǒu, but left it that summer to assist Huìzōng 惠宗 run the Dharmadhatu Seminary 法界學院 in Chángshú County 常熟縣, Jiāngsū 江蘇 (which had been established by Cízhōu's former teacher Yīngcí 應慈 in 1919).

In the spring of 1925, Cízhōu took a break from the Seminary, and went lecturing until 1926. From 1927 to 1933, Cízhōu traveled around the Jiāngnán 江南 and Wǔhàn areas giving sūtra lectures.

Between 1933 and 1936, Cízhōu set up two "franchises" of the Dharmadhatu Seminary in Fúzhōu 福州. He started a branch at Yǒngquán Temple 湧泉寺 on Gǔshān 鼓山, which began classes in 1933. The curriculum seemed to have consisted of Cízhōu lecturing on the Huáyán Sūtra 華嚴經. This school ran until the spring of 1936. Later in 1936, Cízhōu was invited to start another lecture series under the same name that year at the nearby Fǎhǎi Temple 法海寺. Cízhōu left the course soon after it started when he received an invitation from Tánxū 倓虛 to come lecture on the precepts at the latter's Zhànshān Temple Buddhist Seminary 湛山寺佛學院 in Qīngdǎo 青島. From that point on the course was led by Dàoyuán 道源, a former student of the Xīngfú Temple branch of the Dharmadhatu Seminary.

In the winter of 1936, Cízhōu became abbot of Jìnglián Temple 淨蓮寺 in Běijīng 北京. In February of 1937, he launched another Dharmadhatu Seminary, which again consisted primarily of his lectures on the Huáyán Sūtra. This seminary ended in the spring of 1939.

In 1949 Cízhōu was invited to Hong Kong 香港, but was unable to get there because of the Civil War. He returned to Běijīng and took up residence at the Ānyǎng Hermitage 安養精舍, where he died in 1958.

During his life, Cízhōu lectured on all of the major sūtras in Chinese Buddhism, and many of these lectures were recorded by students and disciples. In general, he practiced Pure Land, followed the vināya, and taught Huáyán thought.

Important Works

  • His many lectures and writings are recorded in 慈舟大師法彙
    • Selected Contents:
    • 阿彌陀經講記
    • 八大人覺經講錄
    • 大乘起信論述記
    • 金剛經講義
    • 菩薩戒本疏
    • 普賢行願品親聞記
    • 心經講錄及述意

Notable Students


  • Shì Dōngchū 釋東初. Zhōngguó Fójiào jìndài shǐ 中國佛教近代史 (A History of Early Contemporary Chinese Buddhism), in Dōngchū lǎorén quánjí 東初老人全集 (Complete Collection of Old Man Dongchu), vols. 1-2. Taipei: Dongchu, 1974 Pp. 2.784-786.
  • Yú Língbō 于凌波, ed. Xiàndài Fójiào rénwù cídiǎn 現代佛教人物辭典 (A Dictionary of Modern Buddhist Persons), 2 vols. Taipei: Foguang, 2004. Pp. 2.1276c-1279c.

Cízhōu 慈舟 (1915-2003)
  • Name surname 姓: Shi3 史
  • Name 名: Yuán 源
  • Courtesy name 字: Cízhōu 慈舟
  • Dharma name 法號: Yuèjì 月濟
  • Born 1915 in Xīnghuà County 興化縣, Jiāngsū 江蘇
  • Died 3:03 a.m., February 10, 2003 in the Lankāvatara Room 楞伽丈室 at Jiāngtiān Temple 江天禪寺
Notable Associates:
  • Article editor: Erik Hammerstrom

Cízhōu 慈舟 (1915-2003)

Late abbot of Lóngchāng Temple 隆昌寺 on Mt. Bǎohuá 寶華山, and a living link in the Chinese vianaya tradition from before to after the Cultural Revolution.


Cízhōu was tonsured by Héngjìng 恒淨 in 1927, and was ordained a monk in 1934 at Lóngchāng Temple 隆昌寺 on Mt. Bǎohuá 寶華山. The following year he tested into the Jiāoshān Buddhist Seminary 焦山佛學院 in Zhènjiāng 鎮江. He graduated three years later, at which point he returned to Qīnglóng Hermitage 青龍庵 in his hometown.

In 1942 he entered Jiāngtiān Temple 江天禪寺 on Jīnshān 金山. He stayed there, holding various offices, until 1954. In that year, he went to Běijīng 北京 and entered the Buddhist Academy of China 中國佛學院. After graduating, he returned to Jīnshān.

During the Cultural Revolution, Cízhōu was forced to return to lay life, but in 1980, he once again returned to Jīnshān in order to reestablish the monastic center there. He became abbot in 1984. He worked tirelessly to rebuild the temple and he traveled extensively both within China and abroad in order to raise the funds to do so.

In 1994, Cízhōu established the Jīnshān Buddhist Seminary 金山佛學院 at Jiāngtiān Temple. Cízhōu became the principal, with Xīnchéng 心澄 acting as vice principal and head of curriculum, which included Indian Buddhist history, chanting, basics of Buddhism, ancient Chinese language studies, Chinese history, politics, and calligraphy. The seminary was run very strictly, and in addition to formal meals, students were required to practice meditation for at least two periods each day.

At that time, Cízhōu also served as the principal for the Mt. Bǎohuá Vinaya Seminary 寶華山律學院. The vice principals were Línxiáng 林祥 and Xīnpíng 心平. At that time there were eight teachers and fifteen students. 70% of their coursework consisted of Buddhists subjects such asvinaya studies, while the other 30% of their coursework was comprised of cultural classes such as English, law, history, and calligraphy.

Cízhōu died at 3:03 a.m., on February 10, 2003 in the Lankāvatara Room 楞伽丈室 at Jiāngtiān Temple.

Important Works

Notable Students


  • Yú Língbō 于凌波, ed. Xiàndài Fójiào rénwù cídiǎn 現代佛教人物辭典 (A Dictionary of Modern Buddhist Persons), 2 vols. Taipei: Foguang, 2004. Pp. 2.1279c-1280c.
  • 茶語清 Entry


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