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An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

Universal Life Is Universal Spirit
These considerations naturally lead us to see that Universal ...

Bodhidharma And His Successor The Second Patriarch
China was not, however, an uncultivated[FN#29] land for the s...

The Four Alternatives And The Five Categories
There are, according to Zen, the four classes of religious an...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

The Five Ranks Of Merit
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind accord...

No Need Of The Scriptural Authority For Zen
Some Occidental scholars erroneously identify Buddhism with t...

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

The Progress And Hope Of Life
How many myriads of years have passed since the germs of life...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

Where Then Does The Error Lie?
Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

The Next Step In The Mental Training
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our b...

Life Consists In Conflict
Life consists in conflict. So long as man remains a social a...

Bodhidharma And The Emperor Wu
No sooner had Bodhidharma landed at Kwang Cheu in Southern Ch...

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

Epicureanism And Life
There are a good many people always buoyant in spirit and mir...

The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen
Now we have to observe the condition of the country when Zen ...

Life And Change
A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form ...

Life And Change
Transformation and change are the essential features of life;...




Missionary Activity Of The Sixth Patriarch








As we have seen above, the Sixth Patriarch was a great genius, and
may be justly called a born Zen teacher. He was a man of no
erudition, being a poor farmer, who had served under the Fifth
Patriarch as a rice-pounder only for eight months, but he could find
a new meaning in Buddhist terms, and show how to apply it to
practical life. On one occasion, for instance, Fah Tah (Ho-tatsu), a
monk who had read over the Saddharma-pundarika-sutra[FN#46] three
thousand times, visited him to be instructed in Zen. Even if you
read the sutra ten thousand times, said the Sixth Patriarch, who
could never read the text, it will do you no good, if you cannot
grasp the spirit of the sutra. I have simply recited the book,
confessed the monk, as it is written in characters. How could such
a dull fellow as I grasp its spirit? Then recite it once,
responded the master; I shall explain its spirit. Hereupon Fah Tah
began to recite the sutra, and when he read it until the end of the
second chapter the teacher stopped him, saying: You may stop there.
Now I know that this sutra was preached to show the so-called
greatest object of Shakya Muni's appearing on earth. That greatest
object was to have all sentient beings Enlightened just as He
Himself. In this way the Sixth Patriarch grasped the essentials of
the Mahayana sutras, and freely made use of them as the explanation
of the practical questions about Zen.


[FN#46] One of the most noted Mahayana sutras, translated by
Dharmaraksa (A.D. 286) and by Kumarajiva (A.D. 406). The reader has
to note that the author states the essential doctrine in the second
chapter. See Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxi., pp. 30-59.






Next: The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch

Previous: The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen



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