The Spirit of the Hongzhou School: The Ordinary Mind is the Way—The Chan Teachings of Mazu Daoyi and the Disciples of His Tradition b06dsusu

Media Series: 
Lecture Date: 
Sat, 2011-11-05

Speaker: Dr. Chen Pingkun / School of Life and Values

After the Sixth Patriarch Huineng (638-713), Mazu Daoyi (709-788) was one of the most outstanding of the lineage masters of the Chan tradition who enabled the sudden Chan approach of the Southern School to flourish and spread far and wide in the Tang dynasty.
Chan Master Mazu Daoyi spread the Dharma in the area of Hongzhou at that time, and his tradition turned out many famous Chan masters such as Baizhang Huaihai, Dazhu Huihai, and Nanquan Puyuan. The essence of the teaching of Hongzhou Chan was summed up by Zongmi (780-841) with one sentence: “Realizing that whatever one comes into contact with is the Way, one gives free rein to the mind.” In fact, “the ordinary mind is the Way,” as Mazu Daoyi himself said, more clearly shows where the spirit of of the Hongzhou school teachings lie.
“The ordinary mind is the Way.” And yet, is the path of the Hongzhou Chan teaching really so ordinary? The Chan teachings that Mazu Daoyi and the disciples of his tradition passed on, such as “There is no need to cultivate the Way,” “The mind is precisely the Buddha,” “Apart from the mind, there is no Buddha,” “Sudden elimination of deluded thoughts,” and “There is no attainment in attaining enlightenment,” all contain deep principles and connotations to be explored by followers of Chan. For this speech, let us try together to find a path that will lead us to a better understanding of the  relevant teachings.