The Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism inherits the legacies of both the Linji (Jp. Rinzai) and Caodong (Jp. Soto) schools and integrates the features of Indian and Chinese Buddhism.
The late Chan Master Sheng Yen was a Dharma heir of Venerable Master Dongchu in the Caodong lineage and was given the Dharma name Hui Kong (meaning "wisdom of emptiness") and the Dharma title Sheng Yen (meaning "adorned with holiness"). Sheng Yen was the fifty-second generation descendant of co-founder Master Dongshan (807-869). He was also a Dharma heir of Venerable Master Lingyuan in the Linji lineage and was given the Dharma name Zhi Gang (meaning "to discern resoluteness") and the Dharma title Wei Rou (meaning, "always gentle"). He was the fifty-seventh generation descendant of Master Linji (d. 866). Through his innovative teachings, Master Sheng Yen became one of the best known modern Chan masters in the twentieth century, reviving the practice of Silent Illumination (mozhao) from the Caodong lineage and the Critical Phrase (huatou) method from the Linji lineage. He emphasized both correct views of Buddhadharma and direct realization through practice in a uniquely modern Chinese form of Chan Buddhism called Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan (Fagu zong), which he founded in 2006.