Tag Archives: Platform Sutra

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 carry out the affairs of the Buddhadharma. In point of fact, it is Shen-hui who carries the most historical weight as to the origins and early development of this sutra. The story behind the iconic-figure Hui-neng is actually a hagiography—meaning a roughly imaginative account of someone bearing the stature of a saint. Hence, it was all a manufactured history, procured for political reasons at the time. This “political component” makes the origins of this sutra all the more fascinating; indeed, the early development of Ch’an Buddhism itself hinged on political catalysts. The classic-framework for this element of intrigue concerns the Northern School of Ch’an vs. the Southern School. read more

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

The Shape of Things to Come in 2013

This past year of the Water Dragon was indeed a most auspicious year here at UnbornMind.com. In late January into February, the long expected Red Pine translation of the Lankavatara Sutra was covered in a series based on the Noble Sutra itself. Late February into the beginning of April, the Vimalakirti Sutra Series explored the inner-workings of Bodhisattvahood; then from early April into mid-May, the Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma focused on the quintessential importance of Buddha-nature itself. After a summer-break, a singular series, The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead, explored in-depth the nature of the six “bardo-realms” culminating in the vital significance of the Tathatic-stages of Mind Development in best preparation for the final Bardo-stages of Dharmatā and how to avoid the Bardo-stage of re-becoming and rebirth. This vast work extended from late August to the end of October. November was reserved especially for the Diamond Sutra that is perhaps the One-Sutra-Alone that is indispensible for considering the Dharmadhatu as seen through the imageless eyes of the Tathagatas themselves. December has been time well spent with perhaps the greatest Dharma-Master of them all, Huang Po—it’s been a joy walking daily with his indispensible teaching. The Year of the Water Dragon was also a most auspicious year for Tozen and his Zen-School of the Unborn Mind; after some absence, Tozen emerged from his dragon-lair with renewed vigor and was inspired to expound (as only he can in his own singular fashion) further on the Buddhadharma. A special category has been reserved here for Tozen as new-teachings are taking shape even now. read more

Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Sabbatical

Will be taking a “digital-sabbatical” for a time; am presently getting into Andy Ferguson’s book, “Tracking Bodhidharma”, a most interesting—travel-log-type—account of the present day Cultural and Spiritual Renaissance of Ch’an/Zen in China; truly fascinating how many ancient Dharma-seat sites are being reconstructed and are visited daily by thousands of devotees. I also concur with Mr. Ferguson’s position that Bodhidharma is not just some fanciful and mythical persona espoused by many postmodernists, but was an actual living and breathing historical person and force that shaped the spiritual landscape of China for centuries to come. read more

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment