There are three well known accounts of the Chinese Zen Master Nanyue Huairang (Jp. Nangaku Ejo): 1) he is the Dharma heir of the sixth Chinese patriarch Huineng; 2) he is considered by later generations to be an important figure as the teacher of monk Mazu Daoyi (Jp. Baso Doitsu; 707-788); 3) according to the historical account Baolin zhuan (Jp. Horin-den; 801), he achieved his enlightenment under the instruction of the Master Laoan (Jp. Roan; ?582-709?). This slight contradiction poses important questions about Nanyue's position in the Dharma lineage.
Nanyue's memorial epitaph was made at the request of disciples of Mazu. The implication of this event reveals an intentional distortion created by linking the two masters' Dharma lineages, Huineng and Mazu. In fact, there is almost no historical evidence that can clearly show the successive trans-mission of the three masters in their Dharma lineage. From this point of view, it is possible to argue that their genealogy was created in response to the needs of the related Chan circle. Simultaneously, this argument even raises doubts about Nanyue's historical existence itself.