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Zen Is Iconoclastic
For the followers of Bodhidharma, however, this conception of...

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction
A grain of sand you, trample upon has a deeper significance t...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch
Some time before his death (in 675 A.D.) the Fifth Patriarch ...

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

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...

The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs
Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being e...

The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,...

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

The Method Of Instruction Adopted By Zen Masters
Thus far we have described the doctrine of Zen inculcated by ...

Do Thy Best And Leave The Rest To Providence
There is another point of view which enables us to enjoy life...

Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...

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

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

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Religion And Morality
Similarly, it is the case with religion and morality. If we ...

Man Is Not Good-natured Nor Bad-natured But Buddha-natured
We have had already occasion to observe that Zen teaches Bud...




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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