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

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

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

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...

The Buddha Of Mercy
Milton says: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt; Surp...

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

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

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

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...

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

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

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

Man Is Good-natured According To Mencius
Oriental scholars, especially the Chinese men of letters, se...

Man Is Bad-natured According To Siun Tsz
The weaknesses of Mencius's theory are fully exposed by anot...

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

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

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

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

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




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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