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The Parable Of A Drunkard
Now the question arises, If all human beings are endowed with...

Where Does The Root Of The Illusion Lie?
Now let us examine where illusion lies hidden from the view o...

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...

Nature Is The Mother Of All Things
Furthermore, man has come into existence out of Nature. He i...

Each Smile A Hymn Each Kindly Word A Prayer
The glorious sun of Buddha-nature shines in the zenith of Enl...

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

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

Great Men And Nature
All great men, whether they be poets or scientists or religio...

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

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

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

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

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

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

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

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

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

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...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...




The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs








Tao Sin transmitted the Law to Hung Jan (Ko-nin), who being educated
from infancy, distinguished himself as the Abbot of the Hwang Mei
Monastery at Ki Cheu. The Fifth Patriarch, according to his
biographer, gathered about him seven hundred pupils, who came from
all quarters. Of these seven hundred pupils the venerable Shang Sin
(Jin-shu) was most noted for his learning and virtues, and he might
have become the legitimate successor of Hung Jan, had not the Kachaya
of Bodhidharma been carried away by a poor farmer's son of Sin Cheu.
Hwui Nang, the Sixth Patriarch, seems to have been born a Zen
teacher. The spiritual light of Buddha first flashed in his mind
when he happened to hear a monk reciting a sutra. On questioning the
monk, be learned that the book was
Vajracchedika-prajnya-paramita-sutra,[FN#42] and that Hung Jan, the
Abbot of the Hwang Mei Monastery, was used to make his disciples
recite the book that it might help them in their spiritual
discipline. Hereupon he made up his mind to practise Zen, and called
on Hung Jan at the Monastery. Who are you, demanded the Fifth
Patriarch, and whence have you come? I am a son of the farmer,
replied the man, of Sin Cheu in the South of Ta Yu Ling. What has
brought you here? asked the master again. I have no other purpose
than to attain to Buddhahood, answered the man. O, you, people of
the South, exclaimed the patriarch, you are not endowed with the
nature of Buddha. There may be some difference between the
Southern and the Northern people, objected the man, but how could
you distinguish one from the other as to the nature of Buddha? The
teacher recognized a genius in the man, but he did not admit the
promising newcomer into the order, so Hwui Nang had to stay in the
Monastery for eight months as a pounder of rice in order to qualify
himself to be a Zen teacher.


[FN#42] The book was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in A.D.
384. 417; also by Bodhiruci in A.D. 509, and by Paramartha in A.D.
592; then by Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 648. Many commentaries have been
written on it by the prominent Buddhist authors of China and Japan.






Next: The Spiritual Attainment Of The Sixth Patriarch

Previous: The Fourth Patriarch And The Emperor Tai Tsung (tai-so)



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