The Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua on

The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra




      One day the Master summoned his disciples Fa Hai, Chih Ch'eng, Fa Ta, Shen Hui, Chih Ch'ang, Chih T'ung, Chih Ch'e, Chih Tap, Fa Chen, Fa Ju, and said to them, "You are not like other men. After my death you should each be a master in one direction. I will now teach you how to explain the Dharma without straying from the tradition of our school."


One day the Master called his "room-entering" disciples together for a chat. They are called "room-entering" disciples because they received the transmission of the Master's dharma and were therefore permitted to enter his room.

The first of the ten was Fa Hai. You remember him. He edited this Sixth Patriarch's Sutra and was a great disciple. He put his name at the head of the list be cause, no matter what, he had to be number one.

Chih Ch'eng was the Dharma thief who later reformed and joined the Master. Fa Ta was the arrogant Bhiksu who had read the Lotus Sutra over a thousand times but couldn't bring-himself to put his head on the ground before the Master even once. Shen Hui was the thirteen-year-old child who talked back to the Master. There were also Chih Ch'ang, Chih T'ung, and Chih Ch'e ("Flying Cat" Chang), Chih Tao, Fa Chen, and Fa Ju. These were the Master's ten great disciples.

The Master said, "You ten men should each be a teaching host in one direction and there receive offerings from men and gods. I will now teach you how to spread the Dharma without straying from the tradition of our Sudden Enlightenment Dharma Door Teaching.


      "First, bring up the three classes of Dharma doors and then use the thirty-six pairs of opposites so that coming and going you are in the Bodhimandala. When explaining all the dharmas, do not be separated from your self-nature. Should someone suddenly ask you about a dharma answer him with its opposite, if you always answer with the opposite, as they depend upon each other for their existence, both will be eliminated and nothing will be left behind."



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      "In speaking the Dharma," said the Master, "the most important thing is to base your speech on the self nature. How does one do this? Suppose someone asks you a question about the Buddhadharma. Whatever his principle may be, it's bound to have an opposite. You should answer him with the opposite dharma. For example, coming and going are relative (concepts). Without coming there is no going; without going there is no coming. Coming is the cause of going, and going is the result of coming. As opposites depend upon each other for their existence, ultimately they both will be cast out, leaving nothing behind. There will be no coming and no going as there will be no place left to go.


       "The three classes of, Dharma doors are the heaps, the realms, and the entrances.

       "The five heaps are form, feeling, perception, impulses, and consciousness.101 The twelve entrances are outwardly, the six sense objects, form, sound, smell, taste, touchables, and mind objects; and inwardly, the six sense organs, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The eighteen realms are the six sense objects, the six sense organs, and the six consciousness.102
"The self-nature is able to contain all dharmas and is called the 'store enveloping consciousness.'103 If thought arises, it turns into consciousnesses, producing the consciousnesses which go out the six organs and perceive the six sense objects.”


      The self-nature includes all dharma doors and so it is called the "store enveloping consciousness. This is the eighth consciousness, which may be transformed into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom. If you give rise to "thinking and considering, the store enveloping consciousness turns to the seventh consciousness. The seventh consciousness in turn produces the six consciousnesses, which go out the six organs and perceive the six sense objects.


       "Thus this eighteen realms arise as a function of the self-nature. If the self-nature is wrong it gives rise to eighteen wrongs; if the self-nature is right it gives rise to eighteen rights. Evil functioning is that of a living being, whereas good functioning is that of a Buddha. What is this functioning based on? It is based on opposing dharmas within the self-nature."


If you use the self—nature correctly, you are a Buddha, but if you misuse it you are just a living being. Where does this use come from? It comes from the opposites within the self-nature.

101 See note 26.
102 For Chinese and Sanskrit equivalents for eighteen realms see VBS #17, pg. 31, note #12, Heart Sutra.
103 Alaya-vijnana.

Lecture 40


      “External insentient things have five pairs of opposites, heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, yin and yang, water and fire.

      In speaking of the marks of dharmas existence and non-existence, form and formlessness, marked and markless, with outflows and without outflows; form and emptiness, motion and stillness; clarity and turbidity, common and holy, Sangha and laity, old age and youth, great and small.

      “From the self-nature nineteen pairs of opposites arise: long and short; deviant and right: foolishness and wisdom; stupidity and intelligence: confusion and concentration; kindness and cruelty: morality and immorality; straight and crooked; real and unreal; danger and safety: affliction and Bodhi; permanence and impermanence; compassion and harm: joy and anger; generosity and stinginess: advance and retreat; production and extinction: the Dharma body and the form body; the Transformation body and the Reward body."


"Opposite" means relatively dependent, complementary, and mutually opposed. Nineteen opposites arise as a function of the true suchness self-nature. For example, if there were no long, there would be no short. Long is the opposite of short and short is the opposite of long. Long and short are relative terms and between them is the middle way.

Kindness bestows happiness and is the opposite of cruelty. Morality and immorality are opposites. Morality is the practice of all good actions and the absence of all evil. Compassion pulls us out of suffering and is the opposite of harm. Generosity means giving: if you can give, you are not stingy. The Dharma body pervades all places and is the opposite of the form body.


      The Master said, "If one can understand and use these thirty-six pairs of opposites, one can be connected with the dharmas of all Sutras and be separated from either extreme whether coming or going. "When the self-nature is applied in speaking with others, outwardly while in the midst of marks, it is separated from marks; and inwardly while in emptiness, it is separated from emptiness. If you are attached to marks, you will increase your wrong views, and if you grasp at emptiness, you will increase your ignorance.

      "Those who grasp at emptiness slander the Sutras by claiming not to use written words. Since they claim not to use written words, they should in addition not speak, since written words are the marks of language. They also claim that the direct way is not established through written words, and yet just these two words, 'not established' are written words."


      People who are attached to emptiness say that they don't need anything at all. They say that it isn't necessary to study the Sutras and that they don't use written words. "Everything's empty!" they say, "don't use words.  Words are nothing but an attachment to marks!" If this is the case, then no one should speak, because written words are just the appearance of spoken language.

They also say, "The direct mind is the Bodhimandala. Do not establish written words." But unless you quit speaking altogether, you still have language and the two words "not establish" themselves are words.


"When they hear others speaking, they slander them saving that they are attached to, written words. You should know that their own confusion may be permissible, but to slander the Buddha's sutras is not. Do not slander the Sutras, for if you do the obstacles of your offensive action will be numberless."


      Your own confusion is your own business, but do not slander the Buddha's Sutras.


"One who attaches to external marks and practices dharmas in search of the truth, or who builds many Bodhimandalas and speaks of the error and evil of existence and non-existence, will not see his nature for many kalpas.

"Listen to the Dharma and cultivate accordingly. Do not think of the hundred things, for to do so will obstruct the nature of the Way. Listening without cultivating will cause others to give rise to wrong views. Only cultivate according to the Dharma, and when bestowing it, do not dwell in marks."


You should not refrain from thinking, for if you do, you fall into a useless, dull kind of emptiness. You should cultivate as I have instructed you. Do not become attached to appearances.


"If you understand and speak accordingly, function accordingly, practice accordingly, and act accordingly, you will not stray from the basis of our school.

"If someone asks you about a meaning, and the question is about existence, answer with non-existence; asked about non-existence, answer with existence; asked about common, answer with holy; asked about holy, answer with common. As the two principles are mutually dependent between them will arise the meaning of the middle Way. If for every question, you answer with an opposite, you will not stray from the basic principle."


If you answer every question with an opposing dharma, you will not deviate from the basic principle of the Sudden Enlightenment doctrine.


      "Suppose someone asks, 'what is darkness?'

Answer, 'Brightness is the cause and darkness the condition. When there is no brightness there is darkness. Brightness reveals darkness, and darkness reveals brightness. As opposites are mutually dependent, the principle of the middle way is established.

"Answer all questions in this manner, and in the future when you transmit the Dharma, transmit it according to this instruction and you will not stray from the tradition of our school.”

In the seventh month of the year Jen Tsu, the first year of the T'ai Chi and Yen Ho reign periods (ca. 712 A.D.) the Master sent his disciples to Hsin Chou to build a stupa at K.UO En Temple. He ordered them to hurry the work and it was completed by the end of the summer of the following year.


      During the cyclical year Jen Tsu, the reign period was renamed twice.  In the fifth month it was changed from T'ai Chi to Yen Ho. In the seventh month the Emperor yielded his position to his son, and in the eighth month the reign period was renamed Hsien T'ien.

      Hsi Chou was the Master's homeland. His disciples built the stupa there so that the Master's body might rest in it after his death.


On the first day of the seventh month he gathered his disciples together and said, "In the eighth month I wish to leave this world. Those of you with doubts should ask about their, soon so that I may resolve them for you and put an end to your confusion, because when I am gone there will be no one to teach you."


The Great Master rang the bell and beat the drum. The sound rang out, calling all of his disciples to his side. "Pay attention!" he said. "In the eighth month of this year I am going to leave this world."


      Hearing this, Fa Hai and the others cried. Only Shen Hui was unmoved and did not cry. The Master said, "Young Master Shen Hui has attained to the equality of good and evil. He is not moved by blame or praise, and he does not feel sadness or joy. None of you have attained to this. All these years on the mountain—what way have you cultivated?"


      Here he is again! Fa Hai—number one! He didn't even list the names of the other disciples; he just said, "Fa Hai and the others."

      They all cried. Their eyes ran with tears and their noses ran with snot, just like children who have lost their mother and have no milk to drink; they cried like babies. Some of them cried in secret, some cried openly, and some faked tears, fearing it would be impolite not to cry along with everyone else. There was both truth and falsehood in the situation; it was exactly like a play.

But the youngest of the babies did not cry. Was it because he was too young to understand or care that he was about to lose his "mother"? Was he that unattached?

No. Shen Hui was young in years, but old in wisdom. He understood the principle of not moving in any state. Mencius was forty years old before he reached that level. With an unmoving mind,

They praise, and you are not pleased;

They scold, and you are not bothered;

They say you work hard, and you are not moved.

They say you are matter what, you are not moved.

However, when you are really being lazy and someone scolds you, you can't say, "I have samadhi. He doesn't bother me at all." You must have a truly unmoving mind, like Shen Hui. He was really a good child; he was the youngest and yet he did not cry.

The Sixth Patriarch called Shen Hui "Young Master.” In the first ten years after taking precepts one is called a "Young Master" or "junior seated." From ten to twenty years one is "middle seated," and from twenty to thirty years one is "senior seated."

"Young Master Shen Hui is better than all of you," the Master said, "because he doesn't have a discriminating mind. He has truly turned his consciousness into wisdom."

Shen Hui was not moved by praise or blame. Blame; "That Dharma Master does not cultivate! All he does is run after women." Praise: "He really works hard. Not only does he not sleep, he doesn't even lie down. And he only eats once a day! Such austerity!"

If you don't move they can slander you, but it's as if nothing happened. "You're a pig," they may say.

"Fine," you answer, "I'm a pig. No problem." If you don't move they can praise you, but it's no affair.

"You have both virtue and learning," they may say, but you pay no attention.

If you are pleased when someone praises your learning, you really have no learning at all. If you get angry when someone scolds you, you have been turned by a state. To be unmoved in all states is to neither grasp nor reject, love or hate.

"You can tell this Young Master that he is good," said the Master, "but he will not be happy; you can tell him he is bad, but he will not get angry.  He has no thoughts of misery or delight. This is truly a complete understanding of the middle Way. Rare indeed!"

None of you have attained to this. You old ones, you middle aged ones, none of you pass. None of you have out-waited the fire. When your anger sets you ablaze, you should think, "Wait. Wait a minute. Wait a minute, then get angry." Then you wait, and your anger disappears. This is called "out-waiting the fire." If you don't wait the fire burns; but if you can wait it will die out.

When steel is red hot, you can temper it into a vessel. But unless you wait for the fire to burn it red hot, you can't work the metal, and you haven’t outwaited the fire.

"You have been on this mountain for so many years," said the Master.  "What have you been doing all this time? Huh? You hear that I am going to die and you cry like babies. You're all worthless. What way have you cultivated?  Eating and sleeping!"


      "Now you cry. For whom do you worry? Do you worry that I do not know where I am going? I know where I am going; if I did not know I would not have been able to tell you in advance. No doubt you cry because you do not know where I am going, but if you knew you would not need to cry. The Dharma nature originally is not produced or extinguished and it does not come or go."


      "Are you upset because you think I don't know where I'm going? I will tell you something; I do know. Of course I know! There is no reason for you to worry about me. I can take care of myself;

            No big, no small

            No within or without,

            You cultivate, you understand

            You make the arrangements yourself.”


"All of you sit down and I will recite a gatha called 'The True-False, Motion-Stillness Gatha.' If you take it up and recite it, you will be of the same mind as I am. If you rely on it to cultivate you will not stray from the true principle of our school."

The assembly bowed and begged the Master to recite the gatha.


      "Now don't be nervous," the Master said. "Sit down and don't jump around. Don't cry right in front of me like that. Really, you are undisciplined disciples! Listen to my gatha. It discusses the true and the false and the principles of motion and stillness. If you can understand it and bear it in mind, you won't deviate from the Sudden Teaching.


      There’s nothing true in anything,

      So don’t view anything as true.

      If you view anything as true,

     Your view will be completely false.”


      Turn the light around, shine it within your own self-nature, and you can know the truth. If you separate from all the false forms and images of this world, just that is your true mind.


      “You can yourself know what is true.

      Separate from the false is the truth of the mind.

      Your own mind not apart from the false

      And lacking truth, where is the truth?


      If there is no truth within your own mind, where will you find the truth? The truth is not apart from the self-nature; apart from the self-nature there is no truth.


"Those with feeling understand motion.

Those without feeling do not move.

If you cultivate the work of non-movement,

Like one without feeling, you will not move.

If you seek the true non-movement.

In movement, there is non-movement.

Non-movement is non-movement, but

Things without feeling lack the Buddha-seed."


Do not seek non-movement apart from movement, for it is just within movement that stillness can be found. All things with feeling move, but if, having feeling, you can be still, that is true non-movement.


      Well able to discriminate marks,

      Unmoving in the primary meaning,

      The very act of viewing it this way

      Is just the true suchness use”?


If, as a sentient being, you are able to distinguish the marks of all dharmas, not with your conscious ness, but with the Protecting Wisdom, you can give proof to the attainment of the principle substance of your self-nature and obtain the ultimate state. This is true, proper non-movement.



Apply your minds with effort and take care;

At the gate of the Great Vehicle

Do not grasp the wisdom of birth and death."


You are face to face with the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma; do not continue to grasp at your wisdom of birth and death, the wisdom, which is yet attached to marks.


      “If, at these words, there is response,

      Then together let’s discuss the Buddha’s meaning.

      If truly there is no response,

      Join your hands together and be glad.”


"If you can't understand what I am trying to tell you, then put your hands together and cause living beings to be happy."


"The basis of this school is non-contention.

Contention's not the meaning of the Way.

      For in grasping contradiction and contention Dharma doors.

The self-nature enters birth and death."


      "My school of Sudden Enlightenment uses the cultivation of unproduced patience as its basis. There should be no debating. When you argue with others you lose the meaning of the Way.

Debating, the thoughts of victory and defeat

Stand in contradiction to the Way.

Giving rise to the four-mark mind,

How can samadhi be obtained?

If you insist on arguing, your self-nature won't get out of the revolving wheel and will certainly continue to undergo birth and death."


When the followers heard this gatha, they understood it’s meaning and bowed down before the Master. They made up their minds to practice in accord with the Dharma and not to argue, knowing that the Great Master would not remain long in the world.

The Senior Seated Fa Hai bowed again and asked, "After the High Master enters extinction, who will inherit the robe and Dharma?"


      Fa Hai never forgets himself. No doubt he wanted the robe and bowl for himself.


      The Master said, "From the time I lectured on the Dharma in the Ta Fan Temple, transcriptions of my lectures have been circulated."


The students didn't have tape-recorders so they wrote their notes with brush and ink and compared them among themselves.


      "Protect and transmit them so as to take all mankind "across,” If one speaks according to this, that is the right Dharma. I explain the Dharma to you. But I will not transmit the robe because your roots of faith are pure and ripe. Certainly you have no doubts and are worthy of, the Great Affair.  According to the meaning of the transmission gatha of the First Patriarch Bodhi dharma, the robe should not be transmitted.

His gatha said,

Originally I came to this land.

Transmitting Dharma, saving living beings.

One flower opens: five petals and

The fruit come forth spontaneously.


      "You should take good care of these lectures. They are Dharma jewels.  Print and distribute them and thus take living beings "across." I know that you all believe in me, and so I don't need to transmit the robe. Besides, the Great Master Bodhidharma said that beginning with the Sixth Patriarchy the robe should not be transmitted. He said, "I originally came to China in order to transmit the right Dharma and take across all these confused living beings. From me, this one flower in the future five petals will open—the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Patriarchs. And the fruit will ripen of itself,' that is, there will be no need to transmit the robe; transmitting the Dharma will suffice."

This is why the Fifth Patriarch told the Sixth Patriarch! "As this robe is a source of contention, do not transmit it. Should you continue to transmit this robe, your life will hang by a thread."

In the line, "The fruit comes forth spontaneously," you should know that that fruit which ripens is just all of you. The first character of your Dharma names is "Kuo," and it means "fruit" or "result." So don't forget to ripen!

All of you "fruits" should ripen right away. Most important, don't be lazy! Bodhidharma gave you all predictions long ago. The Sixth Patriarch himself said, "The Bodhi fruit accomplishes itself." They both knew that, in the future, in America, there would be all of you disciples with the first name "Kuo," fruit. The fruit they spoke of is just all of you. That fruit is this fruit; this fruit is that fruit. They are not two.

Lecture 41


The Master added, "All of you Good Knowing Advisors should purify your minds and listen to my explanation of the Dharma. If you wish to realize all knowledge, you must understand the Single Mark and the Single Conduct Samadhis. If in all places, you do not dwell in marks, so that while in marks, you do not give rise to hate or love, do not grasp or reject, and do not calculate advantage or disadvantage, but instead remain tranquil, calm and yielding, this is called the Single Mark Samadhi."


      "Wash your minds clean," said the Master, "and get rid of greed, hate, and stupidity. If you wish to realize all knowledge, you need to understand the Samadhi of One Mark, which consists of not dwelling in marks, and the Samadhi of One Conduct which consists of not dwelling in conduct."

      The Single Mark Samadhi: Whether you are in a good place or a bad place, whether moving or still, do not dwell in marks. While in the midst of marks, do not give rise to dislike or to fondness.

Neither love nor hate

Should move the mind;

The mind should not

Grasp or reject.

If you have a thought of love, you will grasp at the object of your desire. The twelve conditioned causes say, "Love causes grasping, grasping causes existence..."

To reject means to cast away. If you hate something then you reject it.  Love and hate cause grasping and rejecting. Do not calculate advantage and disadvantage. If you think, "What's in it for me?" you are just being greedy, self-seeking, and impure. Do you understand? You should not have such thoughts.

You should remain tranquil, with nothing at all to do, and calm, like water without waves. No waves means no afflictions, no love, no hate, no grasping, no rejecting, no advantage, no disadvantage, no success and no failure. You should be yielding, like empty space. Take a look. Everything comes from empty space and yet empty space does nothing at all. It does not set itself up as boss and say, "Go be born! Go die!" Everything is born and dies and undergoes transformation in a most natural way without the slightest difficulty. Yield and be flexible! If you are flexible then whatever happens just happens. That's the way it is. There is no greed, hatred, or stupidity; there is nothing at all. With few wants, there is contentment and one is without longing or self—seeking.

It is no use to think, "Wait until my book gets published. I will be famous, a famous scholar."

You may want to do something strange to cause the world to take notice of you, but you should not have such ideas. You should decrease your desires, no matter what they are, and always be content.

Knowing enough, you're always happy.

Able to be patient, you're always at peace.

If you can be tranquil, calm, and yielding, and while in the midst of marks, leave marks, in the dust, transcend the dust, just that is the Single Mark Samadhi.


      In all places, whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, a uniform and straight mind is the unmoving Bodhimandala and the realization of the Pure Land. This is called the Single Conduct Samadhi."


      No matter where you are, in a good place, a bad place, a wholesome place, an unwholesome place, a right place, a wrong place—walking, standing, sitting, or lying down—maintain a direct mind. The direct mind is the Bodhimandala. Students of the Buddhadharma should not be devious. Be direct in your thoughts, words, and deeds. Speak your mind, don't think east and speak west. The straight mind is the Bodhimandala. If the cause is not straight, the result will be crooked. Your mind should be uniform and of one purity. You who cultivate the Way: toward people, toward yourself, toward everything, be straightforward. Don't try to trick people out of their money. No matter how poor you are, don't...If you borrow a little money and return it right away, you have not lost the virtue of a gentleman, but if you borrow and don't return it, your position is very low.

Be an unmoving Bodhimandala with a straightforward mind, for just this is the realization of the Pure Land and is called the Single Conduct Samadhi.


      "One who perfects the two samadhis is like the earth in which seeds are planted. Buried in the ground, they are nourished and grow, ripen and bear fruit. The Single Mark and the Single Conduct are also thus.

"I now speak the Dharma which is like the falling of the timely rain, moistening the great earth. Your Buddha nature is like those seeds, which, receiving moisture will sprout and grow. Those who receive my teaching will surely obtain Bodhi and those who practice my conduct will certainly certify to the wonderful fruit. Listen to my gatha:
The mind ground contains all seeds;
At the universal rain they all sprout.

Flower and feeling—Sudden Enlightenment.

The Bodhi Fruit accomplishes itself.”


      The timely rain falls just when it is needed. If it falls too soon, it may drown the crops, and if it comes too late, they may wither and die. The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma is like the timely rain, which moistens all of the great earth. Your own inherent Buddha nature is like the seeds, which receive the moisture, flourish and grow, ripening into Bodhi fruits. The Bodhi sprouts become Bodhi fruits.

"You who understand my doctrine are certain to obtain Bodhi. If you cultivate according to this method, you will surely obtain the wonderful Bodhi fruit. Now that I have spoken so much Dharma for you, you are probably all flustered, so pay attention while I speak this gatha. Purify your minds!

Your self-nature contains all seeds;

At the timely rain they all sprout.

When sentient beings suddenly enlighten,

The flower opens, the fruit is ripened, and

The Bodhi fruit accomplishes itself."

The wonderful fruit of Bodhi ripens of itself. Bodhidharma said, "The fruit comes forth of itself," and the Sixth Patriarch said, "The Bodhi fruit accomplishes itself." They were speaking of all of you who have the Dharma name "Kuo" (fruit). You should ripen throughout the world. All places should reap this fruit. What fruit? The Bodhi fruit. The Sixth Patriarch was afraid that you might not understand and so he-spoke it very clearly, "The Bodhi fruit accomplishes itself." You should all ripen on your own. I cannot help you. If you don't ripen, you are just cheating yourselves. So ripen!

Isn't this strange? Your Dharma names all begin with the word "fruit,” and the transmission gatha of our lineage says,

"Contemplate, cultivate the ever—blissful fruit;

Personally transmit the unconditioned teaching."

In the future all of you will personally transmit the unconditioned teaching.


      After speaking this gatha the Master said, “Dharma is non-dual, the mind is likewise, and the Way is pure and without marks. All of you take care not to contemplate stillness or empty the mind. The mind is basically pure and does not grasp or reject anything. Each of you work hard and according to situations, go well."

  At that time his followers made obeisance and withdrew.


      The Master said, "My Sudden Enlightenment Dharma door is not two, it is one. What is the one? It is just the Sudden Teaching. The mind is also not two; it should return to the one. The Way which is cultivated is pure and without marks.

"Although it is without marks, don't make the mistake of contemplating stillness because that's just another attachment. Do not loiter in dull emptiness either because the mind of living beings is naturally and fundamentally pure. The original substance of the mind is pure and immaculate, without grasping or rejecting.

"Work hard, all of you. Go forward and don't be lazy. Go where circumstances take you and build Bodhimandalas. Be good, cultivate your conduct, and work hard."


On the eighth day of the seventh month, the Master suddenly said to hide

disciples, "I wish to return to Hsin Chou. Quickly ready a boat and oars."

The great assembly entreated him earnestly to stay, but the Master said, "All Buddhas appear in the world and then they manifest Nirvana.  Whatever comes must go--this is an eternal principle. This body of mine must return somewhere."

The assembly said, "Master, you are leaving, but sooner or later you will return."

The Master said, "Falling leaves return to the root. There was no day on which I came."


"Patriarch," said the assembly, "you are leaving now, but we can't believe that you would enter Nirvana. Sooner or later you will come back, won't you?"

      The Master said, "Just as leaves fall and return to the root of the trees, so I must go. Besides, there was no day on which I came."

The text reads, "When I came I had no mouth, k’o." But here "mouth" is misprinted for the word "day", jih. However, you can also explain it as, "When I came I had no mouth." The family name Wu,  is made up of the word "mouth", written over the word "day" t'ien

On the day when the Patriarch came into this world, he had no mouth.

      When the Patriarch came, he had no words. He did not speak Dharma when he came, and he did not speak Dharma when he left; coming and going he did not speak Dharma. The Dharma does not increase or decrease, and although he spoke Dharma for so many years, he never spoke Dharma at all. When he came he had no words, no mouth.

There are no fixed Dharmas. You can explain it any way you wish, as long as you are in accord with principle. But if you don't explain it correctly, you can explain your listeners right into the hells, and that is taking the unfixed too far.


They further asked, "Who has received the transmission of the Right Dharma Eye Treasury?" The Master said, "The one who has the Way obtains it; the one without a mind penetrates it."


      His disciples, unable to bear the thought of their Master's imminent departure, tried to delay him with questions until the Master, in exasperation, probably decided that they were just too much trouble. "I'm getting out of here," he probably thought.

The Right Dharma Eye Treasury refers to the robe and bowl. So many disciples, and yet not one of them knew who had received the Dharma transmission. Unless they were greedy for it themselves, they wouldn't have asked this question. Why else would they be "standing by, the river and gazing out to sea?" Unless you were longing for the sea, why would you be standing there? Everyone thought the robe and bowl were extremely important, but the Sixth Patriarch was not a businessman. If he had been, at $65.00 a transmission, he could have made a lot of money.

Who got the transmission? “The one who has the Way obtains it; the one without a mind penetrates it.” Whoever has no self-seeking mind understands my Dharma, because he has obtained the Single Mark and the Single Conduct Samadhis.

The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma is to be found in these gathas, these principles, and if you cultivate according to them, you will obtain his Dharma.


      They further asked, "In the future there won't be any difficulties, will there?"


      Remembering the demon difficulties which had beset the Master during his lifetime—assassination attempts, arson, thieves and spies—the Master's disciples wondered what would happen when he was gone.

I know that the Sutra does not record all of the hardships the Master underwent. There were at least six attempts made to steal the robe and bowl by armed thieves prepared to kill the Master if necessary.

So his disciples asked hopefully, "There won't be any difficulties like that in the future will there? No one will want to kill us, will they? Will they try to kill us in place of you?"


      The Master said, "Five or six years after my extinction, a man will come to take my head. Listen to my gatha:

Offering to the parents with bowed head,

There must be food in the mouth.

When the difficulty of 'Man' is met.

The officials will be Yang and Liu."


      While he was alive, they tried to take his life. After his death, they tried to steal his head! In those days it wasn't easy to be Patriarch. It's not so difficult today, however, so don't retreat.

The Sixth Patriarch's gatha was a prophecy. No one understood it at the time, but later it came true. He said, "Offerings to the parents atop the head..."

Five or six years after the Master’s death, a Korean monk named Chin Ta Pei hired Chan Ching Man of Hung Chou to steal the Patriarch's head so that he could take it bade to Korea and make offerings to it.

Chan Ching Man was poor and hungry and so he took the money because there must be food in the mouth. The Korean monk was no doubt very rich.

At the time of the difficulty of Chan Ching Man, the Magistrate was named "Liu T’ien, and the Governor was named Yang K'an.

      The flesh body of the Patriarch was housed in the Stupa. Having heard the Master's prediction, his disciples had bound his neck with sheets of iron for protection. Chai Ching Man chopped at it with his knife, but he wasn't able to remove the Master's head. He made a lot of noise, and when the Bhiksus came running to catch him they saw a man wearing white mourning clothes run from the stupa. The 'Bhiksus reported the incident to the police, and within five days the thief was arrested and brought to Han Hua Temple to be tried.

"Why did you try to steal the Sixth Patriarch's head?" they asked.

"A Korean monk paid me to do it," he said, "and I was hungry so I took his money."

The Magistrate turned to the Master's disciple Ling T'ao and said, "What do we do now?"

Ling T'ao said, "According to the law, he deserves to die, but in the Buddha's teaching there are no friends or enemies. Besides, the Master predicted that this would happen. Let him go."

"The Buddha's gate is indeed wide," said the Magistrate, and he set the criminal free.

*Erratum: The following missing passage of text should be inserted: there are twelve opposites: (page 7, Lecture 40, line 4).


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