The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
: HISTORY OF ZEN IN CHINA
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,
as 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.