Curiously, the Mongols, though Buddhist, did not really support or patronize Buddhism, which was largely left to its own devices. They favored Tibetan Buddhism but really did not financially support the monasteries. When the Mongol rulers decided that too many Buddhists were escaping military service, they instituted a literacy test on Buddhist scriptures. Anyone who couldn't demonstrate literacy in the scriptures lost their military exemption. This put the Mongol rulers in direct conflict with the major Buddhist masters; the central school of Buddhism was Ch'an, or "Meditation" Buddhism. It stressed the primacy of the master over scripture and the silent transmission of religious truth. For that reason, Ch'an Buddhism had no written doctrine. Under pressure from the Mongols, the Ch'an Buddhists began to record their doctrine in a series formulations called kung-an or, in Japanese, the koan.
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