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

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

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

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

The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch
Some time after this the Sixth Patriarch settled himself down...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect
In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to ...

Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shi
(So-shoku). The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given ...

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...

Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...

The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists maintain that there are on earth ma...

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

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

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

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

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

Enlightenment Implies An Insight Into The Nature Of Self
We cannot pass over, however, this weighty problem without sa...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period, and after the downfall o...

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

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

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 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.

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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