An important early-eighth-century "transmission of the lamp (灯史)" text compiled by Jingjue (浄覚), Record of the Masters and Disciples of the La?kāvatāra-sūtra (『楞伽師資記』), contains the origin of Chan Buddhist dialogue, which is referred to as "Inquiries about things (指事問義)". Because of its resemblance to the gong'ans (kōan 公案) of later Chan, "Inquiries about things" has attracted many people's notice, but its concrete content has not yet been revealed. Because in this text we are presented with only one viewpoint – the master's questions – there are neither students'responses nor any hints of context to explain for what these questions were intended. However, we can understand these "Inquiries about things" through the metaphor of the mirror, which is used in this text to describe the Northern school's doctrines. These "Inquiries of things" seem only to question the external world, while at the same time soliciting the parameters of the students'understanding. In other words, these inquiries are a type of edification by the masters employed to lead disciples to an aspect of the ultimate truth just as it is (如相), after denying the existence of phenomena (有相) and nonphenomena (無相). In addition, through comparison with other literary texts we can begin to understand one important aspect of the evolution of Chan thought.