Legacy YM

Sutra 4, Chapter 8 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Royal Patronage


AN EDICT DATED the 15th day of the First Moon of the 1st year of Shin Lung, issued by the Empress Dowager

Chek Tin and the Emperor Chung Chung, read as follows:--

"Since we have invited Grand Masters Wei-on and Shin-shau to stay in the Palace and receive our offerings,

we have continued to study under them as far as we could find time after attending to our imperial duties.

Out of sheer modesty, these two Masters recommended that we should seek the advice of Dhyana Master Hui-neng

of the South, who had inherited the secret Dharma and the robe of the Fifth Patriarch as well as the 'Heart

Seal' of the Lord Buddha.

"We hereby send Eunuch, Sit Kan, as the courier of this Edict to invite His Eminence to come, and we trust

His Eminence will graciously favor us with an early visit, etc., etc."

On the ground of illness, the Patriarch sent a reply declining the royal invitation and craved permission

to be allowed to spend his remaining years in the "forest."

(In due time Sit Kan, the imperial envoy, arrived at Tso-kai and interviewed the Patriarch as


"In the capitol, Dhyana experts unanimously advise people to meditate in the 'crosslegged' position to

attain Samadhi; they say that this is the only way to realise the 'Norm' and that it is impossible for any

one to obtain liberation without going through this meditation


exercise. May I know your way of teaching, Sir?"

"The Norm is to be realised by the mind," replied the Patriarch, "it does not depend upon the crosslegged

position. The Vajrakkhedika Sutra says that it is wrong 'for any one to assert that Tathagata comes or goes,

sits or reclines.' Why? Because Tathagata's Dhyana of Purity implies neither coming from anywhere nor going

to anywhere, neither becoming nor annihilation. All Dharmas are calm and void, such is Tathagata's Seat of

Purity. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as 'attainment'; why should we bother ourselves about the

crosslegged position?"

"Upon my return," said Sit Kan, "Their Majesties will ask me to make a report. Sir, will you kindly give

me some hints as to your essential teachings, so that I may make them known, not only to Their Majesties, but

also to all Buddhist scholars at the Capital. As the flame of one lamp may kindle hundreds of thousands of

others, the ignorant will be enlightened and light will produce light without end."

"The Norm implies neither light nor darkness," replied the Patriarch. "Light and darkness signify the idea

of alternation. (It is not correct to say) 'light will produce light without end'; since light and darkness

are a pair of opposites, there must be an end as well as a beginning. The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra says,

'The Norm has no analogy; it is not a relative term.'"

"Light signifies wisdom, and darkness signifies defilement. If a pilgrim of the Path does not get rid of

defilement by wisdom, how is he going to free himself from the 'wheel of birth and death,' which is



The Patriarch continued, "Defilement (klesa) is wisdom (bodhi); The two are the same and are

not different from each other. To break up klasa by Bodhi is only a teaching of the followers of the 'Small'

and 'Middle' vehicles. To those of keen intellect and superior mental attainment, such teaching is


"What, then, is the teaching of the Mahayana?"

"From the point of ordinary men," replied the Patriarch, "enlightenment and ignorance are two separate

things. Wise men who thoroughly realise Mind-essence, know that they are of the same nature. This sameness of

nature, that is, this non-duality of nature, is what is called 'true nature'; it neither decreases in the

case of an ordinary man and ignorant person, nor increases in the case of an enlightened sage; it is

undisturbed in an annoying situation, and is calm in Samadhi. It is neither eternal, nor not-eternal; it

neither goes, nor comes, it is to be found neither in the interior, nor in exterior, nor in the space

intervening between. It is beyond existence and nonexistence; its nature and its phenomena are always in a

state of 'tathata'; it is both permanent and immutable. Such is the Norm."

Sit Kan asked, "You speak of it as beyond existence and non-existence. How do you differentiate it from

the teaching of the heretics, who teach the same thing?"

The Patriarch replied: "In the teaching of the heretics, non-existence means the 'end' of existence, while

existence is used in contrast with non-existence. What they mean by 'non-existence' is not actual



and what they mean by 'existence' really does not exist. What I mean by 'beyond existence and

non-existence' is this: intrinsically it exists not, and at the present moment it is not annihilated. Such is

the difference between my teaching and the teaching of the heretics. If you wish to know the essentials of my

teaching, you should free yourself from all thought--good ones as well as bad ones--then your mind will be in

a state of purity, ever calm and serene, the usefulness of which will be as apparent as the sands of the


This preaching of the Patriarch, awoke Sit Kan to full enlightenment. He made obeisance to the Patriarch

and bade him, adieu. Upon his return to the Palace, he reported to Their Majesties, what the Patriarch had


In that same year on the 3d day of the 9th Moon, an Edict was issued commending the Patriarch in the

following terms:--

"On the ground of old age and poor health, the Patriarch declined our invitation to the Capital. Devoting

his life, as he does, to the practice of Buddhism for the benefit of us all, he is, indeed, 'a field of

merit' for the nation. Following the example of Vimalakirti who recuperated in Vaisali, he widely spreads the

Mahayana-teaching, transmitting the doctrines of the Dhyana School, expounding especially the 'non-dual'

Dharma. Through the medium of Sit Kan to whom the Patriarch imparted the 'Buddha-knowledge,' we are fortunate

enough to have an opportunity to understand clearly his teachings of Higher Buddhism. This must be due to the

accumulated merit and our 'root of


goodness' planted in past lives, otherwise we would not be contemporaries of His Eminence.

"In appreciation of the graciousness of the Patriarch, we find ourselves hardly able to express our

gratitude. (As a token of our great regard for him) we present him herewith a Korean Mo-la robe and a crystal

bowl. The Prefect of Shiu-chow is hereby ordered to renovate his monastery, and to convert his old residence

into a temple which is to be named, Kwok-yen. By royal favor, etc., etc."

Sutra1 Chapter1 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Discrimination
Sutra1 Chapter2 - The Lankavatara Sutra - False-Imagination and Knowledge of Appearances
Sutra1 Chapter3 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Right Knowledge or Knowledge of Relations
Sutra1 Chapter4 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Perfect Knowledge, or Knowledge of Reality
Sutra1 Chapter5 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Mind System
Sutra1 Chapter6 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Transcendental Intelligence
Sutra1 Chapter7 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Self-Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter8 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Attainment of Self- Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter9 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Fruit of Self- Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter10 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Discipleship: Lineage of the Arhats
Sutra1 Chapter11 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Bodhisattvahood and Its Stages
Sutra1 Chapter12 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Tathagatahood Which Is Noble Wisdom
Sutra1 Chapter13 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Nirvana
Sutra2 Chapter1 - The Diamond Sutra - The Diamond Scripture
Sutra3 Chapter1 - Sutra of Transcendental Wisdom - Sutra of Transcendental Wisdom
Sutra4 Chapter1 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Autobiography of Hui-Neng
Sutra4 Chapter2 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Prajna
Sutra4 Chapter3 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Dhyana and Samadhi
Sutra4 Chapter4 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Repentance
Sutra4 Chapter5 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on the Three-Bodies of Buddha
Sutra4 Chapter6 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Dialogues Suggested by Various Temperaments and Circumstances
Sutra4 Chapter7 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Attainment
Sutra4 Chapter8 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Royal Patronage
Sutra4 Chapter9 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Final Words and Death of the Patriarch

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