Huaisu (625- 698), born in Nanyang City ofHenanProvince, was the founder ofVinayaDongtaSchool.
Huaisu was a Buddhist since his childhood and decided to become a monk despite his parents' opposition. In 645 of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Huaisu apprenticed to Xuanzang, who had just returned fromIndia, to study Buddhism. Huaisu had a Buddhist talent and studied extensively. At the age of 22, he was initiated into monkhood and started the study of Vinaya.
With the development of his knowledge on Vinaya, Huaisu found faults in the works of famous Buddhists and were unsatisfied with them. He summarized former Vinaya and wrote a new bookSi Fen LüKai Zong Ji(records on initiation of Four-Category Vinaya). From then on, Huaisu began to spread his own Vinaya opinions.
Huaisu's theory ofVinayabroke the hackneyed Vinaya and showed his originality. His claim stirred the study atmosphere at that time. Later, Huaisu's theory was named asDongtaSchoolsince he lived at Dongta Yuan ofXitaiyuanTemple.NanshanSchool,XiangbuSchoolandDongtaSchoolwere formed as three mainVinayaschools. Afterwards, theXiangbuSchooland theDongtaSchoolgradually declined. Only theNanshanSchoolprospered without interruption and so-calledVinayarefers to theNanshanSchooltoday.
Huaisu was not only a celebrated Buddhist but also a noted calligrapher whose cursive script was announced an important branch of Chinese calligraphy. His cursive script was similar in spirit to his free and unrestrained personality and influenced many people including Mao Zedong, the initial chairman of the PRC.