Simply use this mind, and you will achieve Buddhahood directly and completely—The Chan teachings of Master Hui Neng in the Platform

Media Series: 
Lecture Date: 
Sat, 2011-09-17

Dr. Chen Pingkun /Research Assistant at the School of Life and Values, Dharma Drum College

Liu Zongyuan, a great writer in the Tang dynasty, once talked about the development of Chinese Chan Buddhism in his time by saying, “All that is said about Chan is all based on Caoxi.” “Caoxi” here refers to the Chan teachings advocated by Master Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Chan school. His teachings can mainly be found in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. Therefore, if one wants to know about the Chan teachings as taught by Master Hui Neng, one can start with this prominent scripture in the Chinese Chan school.
The Chan teachings of Master Hui Neng put much emphasis on their actualization in daily life. As the Platform Sutra puts it, “With a heart that is tranquil, why labor to maintain the precepts? With practice that is direct, what use is it to cultivate Chan!” In addition, the Master did not maintain that one has to attain enlightenment by means of sitting meditation in cultivating Chan. Since then, the teachings of Chinese Chan Buddhism have gained more and more popularity.
Among the teachings, the entrance route of “non-abiding with our every thought,” the extraordinary illustration that “the Buddha-nature is impermanent,” the spontaneous practice and realization of “sudden enlightenment and sudden practice,” and the teachings regarding the pure land that “the enlightened person purifies his mind,” are all most inspiring words for Chan practitioners. In this lecture the presenter will use some of the most representative quotations found in the sutra to show how they have edified the Way of Chan.