In light of what Wright goes on to describe, what is a “trans-historical textual community” in the case of Zen?

1) Wright (pp. 4–5) cites Robert Alter in his discussion of Zen canonicity: “A canon is above all a trans-historical textual community. Knowledge of the received texts and recourse to them constitute the community, but the texts do not have a single authoritative meaning, however many the established spokesmen for the canon at any given moment may claim that it is the case.” What does this citation mean, in your own words, and what are its implications for religious writing generally? In light of what Wright goes on to describe, what is a “trans-historical textual community” in the case of Zen?

2) Take about 15 minutes to think about some of the core tenets of Mahāyāna Buddhism, especially with regard to the tenet of emptiness and its issue with language and discursive thought. What contradictions or paradoxes do you see in the process of Mahāyāna Buddhist writing, which now doubt requires language and discursive thought? Do these contradictions matter? Why or why not?

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    WrightTheZenCanon39.pdf