The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen

After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Siu,

though not the legitimate successor of his master, was not inactive

in the propagation of the faith, and gathered about him a number of

enthusiastic admirers. This led to the foundation of the Northern

school of Zen in opposition to the Southern school led by the Sixth

Patriarch. The Empress Tseh Tien Wa Heu,[FN#45] the real ruler of

China at that time, was an admirer of Shang Siu, and patronized his

school, which nevertheless made no further development.

[FN#45] The Emperor Chung Tsung (Chu-so, A.D. 684-704) was a nominal

sovereign, and the Empress was the real ruler from A.D. 684 to 705.

In the meanwhile the Sixth Patriarch, who had gone to the South,

arrived at the Fah Sing Monastery in Kwang Cheu, where Yin Tsung

(In-shu), the abbot, was giving lectures on the Mahayana sutras to a

number of student monks. It was towards evening that he happened to

overhear two monks of the Monastery discussing about the flag

floating in air. One of them said: It is the wind that moves in

reality, but not the flag. No, objected the other, it is the

flag that moves in reality, but not the wind. Thus each of them

insisted on his own one-sided view, and came to no proper conclusion.

Then the Sixth Patriarch introduced himself and said to them: It is

neither the wind nor the flag, but your mind that moves in reality.

Yin Tsung, having heard these words of the stranger, was greatly

astonished, and thought the latter should have been an extraordinary

personage. And when he found the man to be the Sixth Patriarch of

Zen, he and all his disciples decided to follow Zen under the master.

Consequently Hwui Nang, still clad like a layman, changed his

clothes, and began his patriarchal career at that Monastery. This is

the starting-point of the great development of Zen in China.

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity The Disciples Under The Sixth Patriarch facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail