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The Great Person And Small Person
For these reasons Zen proposes to call man Buddha-natured or ...

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

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

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

The Manliness Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Thirdly, both the Zen monk and the Samurai were distinguished...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

Difficulties Are No Match For The Optimist
How can we suppose that we, the children of Buddha, are put a...

Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...

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

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

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

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

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

Buddha Is Unnamable
Give a definite name to Deity, He would be no more than what ...

Hinayanism And Its Doctrine
The doctrine of Transience was the first entrance gate of Hin...

Zen And Nirvana
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sens...

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

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

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

Real Self
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...




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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