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








The Third[FN#40] Patriarch was succeeded by Tao Sin (Do-shin), who
being initiated at the age of fourteen, was created the Fourth
Patriarch after nine years' study and discipline. Tao Sin is said
never to have gone to bed for more than forty years of his
patriarchal career.[FN#41] In A.D. 643 the Emperor Tai Tsung
(627-649), knowing of his virtues, sent him a special messenger,
requesting him to call on His Majesty at the palace. But he declined
the invitation by a memorial, saying that be was too aged and infirm
to visit the august personage. The Emperor, desirous of seeing the
reputed patriarch, sent for him thrice, but in vain. Then the
enraged monarch ordered the messenger to behead the inflexible monk,
and bring the head before the throne, in case he should disobey the
order for the fourth time. As Tao Sin was told of the order of the
Emperor, he stretched out his neck ready to be decapitated. The
Emperor, learning from the messenger what had happened, admired all
the more the imperturbable patriarch, and bestowed rich gifts upon
him. This example of his was followed by later Zen masters, who
would not condescend to bend their knees before temporal power, and
it became one of the characteristics of Zen monks that they would
never approach rulers and statesmen for the sake of worldly fame and
profit, which they set at naught.


[FN#40] He died in A.D. 606, after his labour of thirteen years as
the teacher.

[FN#41] He died in A.D. 651-that is, forty-five years after the
death of the Third Patriarch.






Next: The Fifth And The Sixth Patriarchs

Previous: The Second And The Third Patriarchs



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