It was during this fertile period—[the seventh and eighth centuries, or] “early Chan”—that the lineage myths, doctrinal innovations, and distinctive rhetorical voice of the Chan, Zen, Son, and Thien schools first emerged. Although hundreds of books and articles have appeared on the textual and doctrinal developments associated with Chan, relatively little has been written on the distinctive meditation practices, if any, of this movement. This essay emerged from an attempt to answer a seemingly straightforward question: what kinds of meditation techniques were promulgated in early Chan circles? The answer, it turned out, involved historical and philosophical forays into the notion of “mindfulness”