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The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

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 ...

Thing-in-itself Means Thing-knowerless
How, then, did philosophers come to consider reality to be un...

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

The Theory Of Buddha-nature Adequately Explains The Ethical States Of Man
This theory of Buddha-nature enables us to get an insight int...

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

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

Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

Let Go Of Your Idle Thoughts
[FN#263] A famous Zenist, Mu-go-koku-shi, is said to ha...

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

Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...

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

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...




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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