Readings of the Platform sūtra by Morten Schlütter

By Morten Schlütter

The Platform Sutra includes a variety of vital Chan/Zen Buddhist teachings. imagined to comprise the autobiography and sermons of Huineng (638–713), the mythical 6th Patriarch of Chan, the sutra has been well known between monastics and the knowledgeable elite for hundreds of years. the 1st examine of its type in English, this quantity bargains essays that introduce the background and concepts of the sutra to a basic viewers and interpret its practices. major experts on Buddhism speak about the text's ancient heritage and its vaunted legacy in chinese language tradition.

Incorporating contemporary scholarship and idea, chapters contain an summary of chinese language Buddhism, the the most important position of the Platform Sutra in the Chan culture, and the dynamics of Huineng's biography. They probe the sutra's key philosophical arguments, its paradoxical teachings approximately transmission, and its place on ordination and different associations. The publication encompasses a personality word list and broad bibliography, with valuable references for college kids, basic readers, and experts all through. The editors and participants are one of the most dear students within the examine of Buddhism, and so they verify where of the Platform Sutra within the broader context of chinese language concept, commencing the textual content to all readers attracted to Asian tradition, literature, spirituality, and religion.

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Additional resources for Readings of the Platform sūtra

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McRae here argues that the Platform Sūtra was written by a member of the Oxhead school; see the discussion of this theory below. McRae, Seeing Through Zen, 46–48. See the discussion of Daosheng in Ch’en, Buddhism in China, 112–20. On the sudden and gradual debate, see the essays in Peter N. , Sudden and Gradual Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought, Kuroda Institute, Studies in East Asian Buddhism, 5 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1987). See Yanagida Seizan, Shoki zenshū shisho no kenkyū (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1967), 136–212 and 253–77, summarized in Carl Bielefeldt and Lewis Lancaster, “T ’an Ching (Platform Scripture),” Philosophy East and West 25, no.

He argued for rectifying the proper dynastic succession and designating the ruling emperor, Xuanzong, the sixth emperor in the Tang. 30 These intense debates over legitimacy and succession are reflected in the Platform Sūtra. The text calls Huineng the Sixth Patriarch and records the verses of the preceding five patriarchs in China. The Platform Sūtra points out that Śākyamuni was the seventh of the buddhas and predicts the advent of Shenhui (Yampolsky, 176–79), seemingly implying that Shenhui would be the Seventh Patriarch of Chan.

The story continues that Huineng made a living selling firewood in the marketplace. One day a government official bought some firewood, which Huineng carried to an official lodging house. After being paid, he heard a lodger chanting the Diamond Sūtra, a famous digest of the doctrine of emptiness in the prajñāpāramitā system of thought, which immediately produced a flash of enlightenment. Huineng then asked the lodger where he had obtained the scripture and was told that he had gotten it from the monastic assembly of the Fifth Patriarch, the monk Hongren (601– 674), at Dongshan (East Mountain) in Huangmei County in Qizhou.

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