The Linji-lu is one of the most influential of all Zen texts. Presumably a collection of the lectures and sermons of Linji Yixuan (died 866), founder of the Linji school of Chan Buddhism, it helped form the Rinzai sect of Zen in Japan.

As iconoclastic as he was charismatic, Linji was famous for encouraging his students to discover their own Buddha-nature self even, or particularly, if this freed them from the influence of doctrinal concepts.

It was he who famously wrote: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha." He was also of the opinion that the Bodhidharma was "an old bearded barbarian," and that both Nirvana and Bodhi are "dead stumps to tie your donkey to."