Archive for the ‘The Platform Sutra’ Category

The Samādhi of One-pointedness of Mind

(Yampolsky) "The samādhi of oneness is straightforward mind at all times, walking, staying, sitting, and lying. The Ching-ming ching says: 'Straightforward mind is the place of practice; straightforward mind is the Pure Land.' Do not with a dishonest mind speak of the straightforwardness of the Dharma. If while speaking of the samādhi of oneness, you fail to practice straightforward mind, you will not be disciples of the Buddha. Only practicing straightforward mind, and in all things having Read more [...]

Predestined Karmic Associations

Part 2: On Prajñā  Prologue:  (Yampolsky) "I was predestined to come to live here and to preach to you officials, monks, and laymen. My teaching has been handed down from the sages of the past; it is not my own personal knowledge. If you wish to hear the teachings of the sages of the past, each of you must quiet his mind and hear me to the end. Please cast aside your own delusions; then you will be no different from the sages of the past.” (Wong Mou-Lam) “Today, I have Read more [...]

Autobiography: Conclusion (Part 2)

(Wong Mou-Lam)  Upon receiving the robe and the begging bowl in the middle of the night, I told the Patriarch that, being a Southerner, I did not know the mountain tracks, and that it was impossible for me to get to the mouth of the river (to catch a boat). "You need not worry," said he. "I will go with you." He then accompanied me to Kiukiang, and there ordered me into a boat. As he did the rowing himself, I asked him to sit down and let me handle the oar. "It is only right for me to carry Read more [...]

Autobiography: Conclusion (Part 1)

(Yampolsky) "At midnight the Fifth Patriarch called me into the hall and expounded the Diamond Sutra to me. Hearing it but once, I was immediately awakened, and that night I received the Dharma. None of the others knew anything about it. Then he transmitted to me the Dharma of Sudden Enlightenment and the robe, saying: 'I make you the Sixth Patriarch. The robe is the proof and is to be handed down from generation to generation. My Dharma must be transmitted from mind to mind. You must make Read more [...]

Sudden Anointment

The eminent Tsung-mi holds the key to deciphering the enlightenment equation. Here is his assessment to Shen-hsiu’s verse: “Sentient beings originally have an enlightened nature just as a mirror a luminous nature, but defilements cover it from view just as a mirror is darkened by dust. If we rely on the teachings of a master and extinguish our deluded thoughts, then, when those thoughts are eliminated, the nature of the mind will be enlightened and there will be nothing that is not known. Read more [...]

A Lesser-able Attempt

(Wong Mou-Lam) The Patriarch one day assembled all his disciples and said to them, "The question of incessant rebirth is a momentous one. Day after day, instead of trying to free yourselves from this bitter sea of life and death, you seem to go after tainted merits only (i.e. merits which will cause rebirth). Yet merits will be of no help if your Essence of Mind is obscured. Go and seek for Prajna (wisdom) in your own mind and then write me a stanza (gatha) about it. He who understands what Read more [...]

A Spiritual Affair

Part 1: Autobiography  (Wong Mou-Lam) Once, when the Patriarch had arrived at Pao Lin Monastery, Prefect Wei of Shao Chou and other officials went there to ask him to deliver public lectures on Buddhism in the hall of Ta Fan Temple in the City of Canton. In due course, there were assembled in the lecture hall Prefect Wei, government officials and Confucian scholars, about thirty each, and bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, Taoists and laymen to the number of about one thousand. After the Patriarch Read more [...]

The Signless Precepts

Southern School Sudden Doctrine, Supreme Mahayana Great Perfection of Wisdom: The Platform Sutra' preached by the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng at the la-fan Temple in Shao-do, one roll, recorded by the spreader of the Dharma, the disciple Fa-hai, who at the same time received the Precepts of Formlessness. The above is the full title for the Sutra as portrayed in the early Dunhuang manuscript, as translated by Philip Yampolsky. Another unique facet of the sutra is that portions of it do reflect Read more [...]

The Platform Sutra: Setting the Stage

The Platform Sutra of Hui-neng is quite unlike any other; usually a sutra has as its basis a teaching directly from the Tathagata, i.e., speaking Ex Tathata. Here we have elements, directly at the beginning, of a formalized autobiographical account with subsequent sermons from a human agency in the guise of Hui-neng. His name was actually fashioned by a 8th century Ch’an monk, Shen-hui (670-762). Breaking it down, Hui=bestowing beneficence on sentient beings, and neng=having the capacity to Read more [...]
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