Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Farewell Stanza from Hui-neng


The Master passed away on the third day of the eighth month of the second year of Hsien-t’ien (= August 28,713). On the eighth day of the seventh month he called his disciples together and bade them farewell. In the first year of Hsien-t’ien the Master had constructed a pagoda at the Kuo-en Temple in Hsin-chou, and now in the seventh month of the second year of Hsien-t’ien he was taking his leave. read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , | 2 Comments



The remainder of the Platform Sutra consists in an assortment of miscellaneous and unrelated subject matter. A portion amounts to a repetition of the sermon material on prajñā, along with sundry accounts of the superiority of the Sudden School over the Northern, Gradual School. Some of these sections are bracketed by certain interlocutors who pose questions to Hui-neng revolving around his teachings. By and large, these disparate accounts can be grouped into categories; our first consideration: the transmission of the Platform Sutra itself as proof of one’s familiarity with the Sudden School and one’s authority to pass on its teachings.  read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Proclamation of the Bodhi-Dharma

(Wong Mou-Lam) 

Learned Audience, when we use Prajñā for introspection we are illumined within and without, and in a position to know our own mind. To know our mind is to obtain liberation. To obtain liberation is to attain Samādhi of Prajñā, which is *’thoughtlessness’. What is ‘thoughtlessness’? ‘Thoughtlessness’ is to see and to know all Dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’, we attain Samādhi of Prajñā, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘thoughtlessness’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.  read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Walk like a Tathāgata

(Wong Mou-Lam)

“Learned Audience, in this system of mine one Prajñā produces eighty-four thousand ways of wisdom, since there are that number of ‘defilements’ for us to cope with; but when one is free from defilements, wisdom reveals itself, and will not be separated from the Essence of Mind. Those who understand this Dharma will be free from idle thoughts. To be free from being infatuated by one particular thought, from clinging to desire, and from falsehood; to put one’s own essence of Tathata into operation; to use Prajñā for contemplation, and to take an attitude of neither indifference nor attachment towards all things – this is what is meant by realizing one’s own Essence of Mind for the attainment of Buddhahood.” read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment



 “What is prajñāPrajñā is wisdom (chih-hi). When at all times successive thoughts contain no ignorance, and you always practice wisdom, this is known as the practice of prajñā. If but one instant of thought contains ignorance, then prajñā is cut off; but if one instant of thought contains wisdom, then prajñā is produced  read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Taking Refuge

Receiving the signless precepts through the recitation of the three refuges


“Having finished repentance, I shall give you the formless precepts of the three refuges.” read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

O’ Wanderer, Turn-About and Save Thyself

Reciting the four Bodhisattva Vows


“Now that you have already taken refuge in the threefold body of Buddha, I shall expound to you the four great vows. Good friends, recite in unison what I say: ‘I vow to save all sentient beings everywhere. I vow to cut off all the passions everywhere. I vow to study all the Buddhist teachings everywhere. I vow to achieve the unsurpassed Buddha Way.’ (Recite three times.) read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Three Bodies of the Tathagata


“Good friends, you must all with your own bodies receive the precepts of formlessness and recite in unison what I am about to say. It will make you see the threefold body of the Buddha in your own selves. ‘I take refuge in the pure Dharmakaya Buddha in my own physical body. I take refuge in the ten thousand hundred billion Nirmanakaya Buddhas in my own physical body. I take refuge in the future perfect Sambhogakaya Buddha in my own physical body.’ (Recite the above three times). The physical body is your own home; you cannot speak of turning to it. The threefold body which I just mentioned is within your own self-natures. Everyone in the world possesses it, but being deluded, he cannot see it and seeks the threefold body of the Tathagata on the outside. Thus he cannot find the threefold Buddha body in his own physical body. read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fatal Obstructions


“Good friends, in this teaching from the outset sitting in meditation does not concern the mind nor does it concern purity; we do not talk of steadfastness. If someone speaks of ‘viewing the mind,’ [then I would say] that the ‘mind’ is of itself delusion, and as delusions are just like fantasies, there is nothing to be seen. If someone speaks of ‘viewing purity,’ [then I would say] that man’s nature is of itself pure, but because of false thoughts True Reality is obscured. If you exclude delusions then the original nature reveals its purity. If you activate your mind to view purity without realizing that your own nature is originally pure, delusions of purity will be produced. Since this delusion has no place to exist, then you know that whatever you see is nothing but delusion. Purity has no form, but, nonetheless, some people try to postulate the form of purity and consider this to be Ch’an practice. People who hold this view obstruct their own original natures and end up by being bound by purity. One who practices steadfastness does not see the faults of people everywhere. This is the steadfastness of self-nature. The deluded man, however, even if he doesn’t move his own body, will talk of the good and bad of others the moment he opens his mouth, and thus behave in opposition to the Tao. Therefore, both ‘viewing the mind’ and ‘viewing purity’. will cause an obstruction to Tao.” read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment



Good friends, in the Dharma there is no sudden or gradual, but among people some are keen and others dull. The deluded recommend the gradual method, the enlightened practice the sudden teaching. To understand the original mind of yourself is to see into your own original nature. Once enlightened, there is from the outset no distinction between these two methods; those who are not enlightened will for long kalpas be caught in the cycle of transmigration. read more

Posted in The Platform Sutra, Zen | Tagged , , | 1 Comment