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The Bad Are The Good In The Egg
This is not only the case with a robber or a murderer, but al...

Decline Of Zen
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Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

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[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...

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The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

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Where, then, does the error lie in the four possible proposit...

Zen And The Regent Generals Of The Ho-jo Period
No wonder, then, that the representatives of the Samurai clas...

Pessimistic View Of The Ancient Hindus
In addition to this, the new theory of matter has entirely ov...

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

The Mystery Of Life
Thus far we have pointed out the inevitable conflictions in l...

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

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

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
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Zen And Supernatural Power
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be a...




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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