Yoshizen's Blog

Poetry Contest (2)

Not necessary having a thought, I suddenly realized that the story of the Poetry Contest of Huineng and Shenxui was not right.    Its contest was the 5th patriarch, Hongren try to find who should succeed him and become 6th patriarch of the Zen.   Unlike the other sect of Buddhism, Zen does their learning without rely on the words. = the action in the practice or a thing or phenomenon trigger the understanding.

So, the founder of Rinzai Zen, Rinzai said to have uttered that, “On the way, (may mean Pathway) when you saw the scriptures, through them away.  When you saw the monks kill them or met Lord Buddha, kill him too.” —– (this advice was meant be getting rid of any notion, and empty the mind.) 

[]On the said Poetry Contest, for the answer to the Hongren’s request to show the Zen mind, well-learned top-rank monk, Shenxui wrote “Mind is like a mirror, I polish the mirror diligently for no dust to settle on it” —– opposing to this, one low rank monk, Huineng wrote “Since Mirror is not exists in the first place, where could dust settle

—– Hongren found that Huineng has much deeper understanding in Zen, he chose Huineng to be his successor.

[]Zen teaching was started by Bodhidharma on 5th century.   Though, as a matter of fact, there were numerous legend and myth about Bodhidharma but little historical facts were known, therefore any story has to be treated with a pinch of salt.

—–When Bodhidharma wanted to choose his successor, there was a similar story.   He asked his disciples  “Can each of you say something to demonstrate your understanding ?”

Dao Fu stepped forward and said, “It is not bound by words and phrases, nor is it separate from words and phrases. This is the function of the Tao.”

Bodhidharma: “You have attained my skin.” 

The nun Zong Chi stepped up and said, “It is like a glorious glimpse of the realm  of Akshobhya Buddha. Seen once, it need not be seen again.”

Bodhidharma; “You have attained my flesh.” 

Dao Yu said, “The four elements are all empty. The five skandhas are without actual existence. Not a single dharma can be grasped.”

Bodhidharma: “You have attained my bones.” 

Finally, Huike came forth, bowed deeply in silence and stood up straight. 

Bodhidharma said, “You have attained my marrow.”

Bodhidharma passed on the symbolic robe and bowl of dharma succession to  Huike and, some texts claim, a copy of the Lankavatara Sutra

Bodhidharma then either returned to India or died. (This story from Wikipedia)

(There was the conflicting stories, —– He might returned to Persia.  Or even killed in the mass execution at Heyin in 528.) []

My doubt was that why Shenxui, studying under Hongren did have such poor understanding ?  (While Huineng who was working in the kitchen could still pick up the Zen understanding from overheard conversation of other monks.)   

And the same question goes to the colleagues of Huike too. = they were no ordinary monks, THE direct disciples of  Bodhidarma.   As they lives together, they must have  lots of discussion even arguments. —– still keep maintaining such variety of idea = quite logical and full of blah blah, but where the “Teachings of the Master” which was supposedly on the principle of Void and abhorrence to the words, has gone ?

 And, what was the 5th Patriarch, Hongren’s understanding and the teachings of “mind” ? —– (Was he thinking, “There is Zen Mind” ? )  

— Who recorded those stories ?  — Was that came from the diary of Hongren ?  — weren’t those stories made-up to glorify each Huineng and Huike ? ? ?

While making others looks fool = makes stories interesting.  And this kind of practice was behind of all those compilation of “Sutra” or scriptures.  It’s mean, we need very critical sharp eyes to distinguish what was the true teachings.    🙂




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