頓漸品第八 Sudden School vs Gradual School
While the Patriarch was living in Bao Lin Monastery, the Grand Master Shen Xiu was preaching in Yu Quan Monastery of Jing Nan. At that time the two Schools, that of Hui Neng of the South and Shen Xiu of the North, flourished side by side. As the two Schools were distinguished from each other by the names “Sudden” (the South) and “Gradual” (the North), the question which sect they should follow baffled certain Buddhist scholars (of that time).
師謂眾曰：「法本一宗，人有南北，法即一種，見有遲疾；何名頓漸？法無頓漸，人有利鈍，故名頓漸。」 (Seeing this), the Patriarch addressed the assembly as follows: “So far as the Dharma is concerned, there can be only one School. (If a distinction exists) it exists in the fact that the founder of one school is a northern man, while the other is a Southerner. While there is only one Dharma, some disciples realize it more quickly than others. The reason why the names ‘Sudden’ and ‘Gradual’ are given is that some disciples are superior to others in mental dispositions. So far as the Dharma is concerned, the distinction of ‘Sudden’ and ‘Gradual’ does not exist.”
(In spite of what the Patriarch had said,) the followers of Shen Xiu used to criticize the Patriarch. They discredited him by saying that as he was illiterate he could not distinguish himself in any respect.
Shen Xiu himself, on the other hand, admitted that he was inferior to the Patriarch, that the Patriarch attained wisdom without the aid of a teacher, and that he understood thoroughly the teaching of the Mahayana School. “Moreover,” he added, “my teacher, the Fifth Patriarch, would not have transmitted to him the robe and the bowl without good cause. I regret that, owing to the patronage of the state, which I by no means deserve, I am unable to travel far to receive instructions from him personally. (But) you men should go to Cao Xi to consult him.”
One day he said to his disciple, Zhi Cheng, “You are intelligent and bright. On my behalf, you may go to Cao Xi to attend the lectures there. Try your best to remember what you learn, so that upon your return you may repeat it to me.” Acting on his teacher’s instruction, Zhi Cheng went to Cao Xi. Without telling whence he came he joined the crowd there to call on the Patriarch.
時，祖師告眾曰：「今有盜法之人，潛在此會。」志誠即出禮拜，具陳其事。師曰：「汝從玉泉水，應是細作。」對曰：「不是！」師曰：「何得不是？」對曰：「未說即走，說了不是。」”Someone has hidden himself here to plagiarize my lecture,” said the Patriarch to the assembly. Thereupon, Zhi Cheng came out, made obeisance, and told the Patriarch what his mission was. “You come from Yu Quan Monastery, do you?” asked the Patriarch. “You must be a spy.” “No, I am not,” replied Zhi Cheng. “Why not?” asked the Patriarch. “If I had not told you,” said Zhi Cheng, “I would be a spy. Since I have told you all about it, I am not.”
“How does your teacher instruct his disciples?” asked the Patriarch.
“He tells us to meditate on purity, to keep up the sitting position all the time and not to lie down,” replied Zhi Cheng.
“To meditate on purity,” said the Patriarch, “is an infirmity and not Dhyana. To restrict oneself to the sitting position all the time is unprofitable. Listen to my stanza:
A living man sits and does not lie down (all the time),
While a dead man lies down and does not sit.
On this physical body of ours
Why should we impose the task of squatting?”
Making obeisance a second time, Zhi Cheng remarked, “Though I have studied Buddhism for nine years under the Grand Master Shen Xiu, my mind has not yet been awakened for enlightenment. But as soon as you speak to me my mind is enlightened. As the question of incessant rebirths is a momentous one, please take pity on me and give me further instruction.”
“I understand,” said the Patriarch, “that your teacher gives his disciples instructions on Sila (disciplinary rules), Dhyana (meditation), and Prajna (Wisdom). Please tell me how he defines these terms.”
“According to his teaching,” replied Zhi Cheng, “to refrain from all evil actions is Sila, to practice whatever is good is Prajna, and to purify one’s own mind is Dhyana. This is the way he teaches us. May I know your system?”
“If I tell you,” said the Patriarch, “that I have a system of Law to transmit to others, I am cheating you. What I do to my disciples is to liberate them from their own bondage with such devices as the case may need. To use a name which is nothing but a makeshift, this (state of liberation) may be called Samadhi. The way your master teaches Sila, Dhyana, and Prajna is wonderful; but my exposition is different.”
“How can it be different, Sir,” asked Zhi Cheng, “when there is only one form of Sila, Dhyana and Prajna?” “The teaching of your master,” replied the Patriarch, “is for the followers of the Mahayana School, while mine is for those of the Supreme School. The fact that some realize the Dharma more quickly and deeply than others accounts for the difference in the interpretation. You may listen, and see if my instruction is the same as his.
In expounding the Law, I do not deviate from the authority of the Essence of Mind (i.e., I speak what I realize intuitively). To speak otherwise would indicate that the expositor’s Essence of Mind is under obscuration and that he can touch the phenomenal side of the Law only. The true teaching of Sila, Dhyana and Prajna should be based on the principle that the function of all things derives from the Essence of Mind. Listen to my stanza:
To free the mind from all impurity is the Sila of the Essence of Mind.
To free the mind from all disturbance is the Dhyana of the Essence of Mind.
That which neither increases nor decreases is the Vajra
(Diamond, used as a symbol for the Essence of Mind);
‘Coming’ and ‘going’ are different phases of Samadhi.”
Having heard this, Zhi Cheng apologized (for having asked a foolish question) and thanked the Patriarch for his instruction. He then submitted the following stanza:
The ‘Self’ is nothing but a phantasm created by the union of five Skandhas,
And a phantasm can have nothing to do with absolute reality.
To hold that there is a Tathata (Suchness) for us to aim at or to return to
Is another example of ‘Impure Dharma’.
(Note: For Pure Law is above concept and speech)
Approving what he said in his stanza, the Patriarch said to him again, “The teaching of your master on Sila, Dhyana and Prajna applies to wise men of the inferior type, while mine to those of the superior type. He who realizes the Essence of Mind may dispense with such doctrines as Bodhi, Nirvana, and ‘Knowledge of Emancipation’. Only those who do not possess a single system of Law can formulate all systems of Law, and only those who can understand the meaning (of this paradox) may use such terms.
It makes no difference to those who have realized the Essence of Mind whether they formulate all systems of Law or dispense with all of them. They are at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’ (i.e., they may remain in or leave this world at their own free will). They are free from obstacles or impediments. They take appropriate actions as circumstances require. They give suitable answers according to the temperament of the enquirer. They see that all Nirmanakayas are one with the Essence of Mind. They attain liberation, psychic powers (Siddhi) and Samadhi, which enable them to perform the arduous task of universal salvation as easily as if they were only playing. Such are the men who have realized the Essence of Mind!”
志誠再啟師曰：「如何是不立義？」”By what principle are we guided in dispensing with all systems of Law?” was Zhi Cheng’s next question.
師曰：「自性無非、無癡、無亂；念念般若觀照，常離法相，自由自在，縱橫盡得，有何可立？ “When our Essence of Mind is free from impurity, infatuations and disturbances,” replied the Patriarch, “when we introspect our mind from moment to moment with Prajna, and when we do not cling to things and phenomenal objects we are free and liberated. Why should we formulate any system of Law when our goal can be reached no matter whether we turn to the right or to the left?
Since it is with our own efforts that we realize the Essence of Mind, and since the realization and the practice of the Law are both done instantaneously, and not gradually or stage by stage, the formulation of any system of Law is unnecessary. As all Dharmas are intrinsically Nirvanic, how can there be gradation in them?”
Zhi Cheng made obeisance and volunteered to be an attendant of the Patriarch. In that capacity, he served both day and night.
Bhikkhu Zhi Che, whose secular name was Zhang Xing Chang, was a native of Kiangxi. As a young man, he was fond of chivalric exploits. Since the two Dhyana Schools, Hui Neng of the South and Shen Xiu of the North, flourished side by side, a strong sectarian feeling ran high on the part of the disciples, in spite of the tolerant spirit shown by the two masters, who hardly knew what egotism was.
Calling their own teacher, Shen Xiu, the Sixth Patriarch on no better authority than their own, the followers of the Northern School were jealous of the rightful owner of that title whose claim, supported by the inherited robe, was too well known to be ignored. (So in order to get rid of the rival teacher) they sent Zhang Xing Chang (who was then a layman) to murder the Patriarch.
With his psychic power of mind-reading the Patriarch was able to know of the plot beforehand. (Making ready for the coming of the murderer), he put ten taels by the side of his own seat.
Zhang duly arrived, and one evening entered the Patriarch’s room to carry out the murder. With outstretched neck the Patriarch waited for the fatal blow. Thrice did Zhang cut, (but) not a single wound was thereby inflicted!
The Patriarch then addressed him as follows: “A straight sword is not crooked, While a crooked one is not straight.I owe you money only; But life I do not owe.”
The surprise was too great for Zhang; he fell into a swoon and did not revive for a considerable time. Remorseful and penitent, he asked for mercy and volunteered to join the Order at once. Handing him the money, the Patriarch said, “You had better not remain here, lest my followers should do you harm. Come to see me in disguise some other time, and I will take good care of you.” As directed, Zhang ran away the same night. Subsequently, he joined the Order ubder a certain Bhikkhu. Upon being fully ordained, proved himself to be a very diligent monk.
One day, recollecting what the Patriarch had said, he took the long journey to see him and to tender him homage. “Why do you come so late?” asked the Patriarch. “I have been thinking of you all the time.”
“Since that day you so graciously pardoned my crime,” said Zhang, “I have become a Bhikkhu and have studied Buddhism diligently. Yet I find it difficult to requite you adequately unless I can show my gratitude by spreading the Law for the deliverance of sentient beings. In studying the Maha Parinirvana Sutra, which I read very often, I cannot understand the meaning of ‘Eternal’ and ‘Not Eternal’. Will you, Sir, kindly give me a short explanation.”
“What is not eternal is the Buddha-nature,” replied the Patriarch, “and what is eternal is the discriminating mind together with all meritorious and demeritorious Dharmas.”
“Your explanation, Sir, contradicts the Sutra,” said Zhang.
“I dare not, since I inherit the ‘Heart-Seal’ of Lord Buddha,” replied the Patriarch.
“According to the Sutra,” said Zhang, “the Buddha-nature is eternal, while all meritorious and demeritorious Dharmas, including the Bodhi-citta (the Wisdom-heart) are not eternal. As you hold otherwise, is this not a contradiction? Your explanation has now intensified my doubts and perplexities.”
“On one occasion,” replied the Patriarch, “I had Bhikkhuni Wu jin-Zang recite to me the whole book of the Maha Parinirvana Sutra, so that I could explain it to her. Every word and every meaning I explained on that occasion agreed with the text. As to the explanation I give you now, it likewise differs not from the text.”
曰：「學人識量淺昧，願和尚委曲開示。」”As my capacity for understanding is a poor one,” observed Zhang, “will you kindly explain to me more fully and more clearly.”
“Don’t you understand?” said the Patriarch. “If Buddha-nature is eternal, it would be of no use to talk about meritorious and demeritorious Dharmas; and until the end of a Kalpa no one would arouse the Bodhi-citta. Therefore, when I say ‘Not-Eternal’ it is exactly what Lord Buddha meant for ‘Truly Eternal’. Again, if all Dharmas are not eternal, then every thing or object would have a nature of its own (i.e., positive essence) to suffer death and birth. In that case, it would mean that the Essence of Mind which is truly eternal does not pervade everywhere. Therefore when I say ‘Eternal’ it is exactly what Lord Buddha meant by ‘Truly Not-Eternal’.
“Because ordinary men and heretics believe in ‘heretical eternalism’ (i.e., they believe in the eternity of soul and of the world), and because Sravakas (aspirants to arhatship) mistake the eternity of Nirvana as something not eternal, eight upside-down notions arise. In order to refute these one-sided views, Lord Buddha preached exoterically in the Maha Parinirvana Sutra the ‘Ultimate Doctrine’ of Buddhist teaching, i.e., true eternity, true happiness, true self and true purity.
汝今依言背義，以斷滅無常，及確定死常，而錯解佛之圓妙最後微言，縱覽千遍，有何所益？」”In following slavishly the wording of the Sutra, you have ignored the spirit of the text. In assuming that what perishes is non-eternal and that what is fixed and immutable is eternal, you have misinterpreted Lord Buddha’s dying instruction (contained in the Maha Parinirvana Sutra) which is perfect, profound, and complete. You may read the Sutra a thousand times but you will get no benefit out of it.”
行昌忽然大悟，說偈云：All of a sudden Zhang awoke to full enlightenment, and submitted the following stanza to the Patriarch:
In order to refute the bigoted belief of ‘Non-eternity’
Lord Buddha preached the ‘Eternal Nature’.
He who does not know that such preaching is only a skilful device
May be likened to the child who picks up pebbles and calls them gems.
Without effort on my part
The Buddha-nature manifests itself.
This is due neither to the instruction of my teacher
Nor to any attainment of my own.
“You have now thoroughly realized (the Essence of Mind),” commended the Patriarch, “and hereafter you should name yourself Zhi Che (to realize thoroughly).” Zhi Che thanked the Patriarch, made obeisance, and departed.
(Note. – The Buddha’s object is to get rid of bigoted belief in any form. He would preach ‘Non-eternity’ to believers of Eternalism; and preach ‘neither Eternity nor Non-eternity’ to those who believe in both.)
有一童子，名神會，襄陽高氏子，年十三，白玉泉來參禮。師曰：「知識遠來艱辛，還將得本來否？若有本則合識主，試說看。」A thirteen-year-old boy named Shen Hui, who was born of a Gao family of Xiang Yang, came from Yu Quan Monastery to tender homage to the Patriarch. “My learned friend,” said the Patriarch, “it must be hard for you to undertake such a long journey. But can you tell me what is the ‘fundamental principle’? If you can, you know the owner (i.e., the Essence of Mind). Try to say something, please.”
“Non-attachment is the fundamental principle, and to know the owner is to realize (the Essence of Mind),” replied Shen Hui.
“This Samanera (novice) is fit for nothing but to talk loosely,” reproved the Patriarch.
Thereupon Shen Hui asked the Patriarch, “In your meditation, Sir, do you see (your Essence of Mind) or not?”
Striking him three blows with his staff, the Patriarch asked him whether he felt pain or not. “Painful and not painful,” replied Shen Hui. “I see and I see not,” retorted the Patriarch.
神會問：「如何是亦見，亦不見？」 “How is it that you see and see not?” asked Shen Hui.
“What I see is my own faults,” replied the Patriarch. “What I do not see is the good, the evil, the merit and the demerit of others. That is why I see and I see not. Now tell me what you mean by ‘painful and not painful’. If you feel no pain, you would be as a piece of wood or stone. On the other hand, should you feel pain, and anger of hatred is thereby aroused, you would be in the same position as an ordinary man.
“The ‘Seeing’ and ‘not Seeing’ you referred to are a pair of opposites; while ‘painful’ and ‘not painful’ belong to that category of Dharma which becomes and ceases (i.e., Samskrita Dharma, conditioned or caused elements). Without having realized your own Essence of Mind, you dare to hoodwink others.”
Shen Hui apologized, made obeisance, and thanked the Patriarch for his instruction.
Addressing him again the Patriarch said, “If you are under delusion and cannot realize your Essence of Mind, you should seek the advice of a pious and learned friend. When your mind is enlightened, you will know the Essence of Mind, and then you may tread the Path the right way. Now you are under delusion, and do not know your Essence of Mind. Yet you dare to ask whether I know my Essence of Mind or not. If I do, I realize it myself, but the fact that I know it cannot help you from being under delusion. Similarly, if you know your Essence of Mind your knowing would be of no use to me. Instead of asking others, why not see it for yourself and know it for yourself?”
Making obeisance more than a hundred times, Shen Hui again expressed regret and asked the Patriarch to forgive him. (Henceforth) he worked diligently as the Patriarch’s attendant.
Addressing the assembly one day, the Patriarch said, “I have an article which has no head, no name nor appellation, no front and no back. Do any of you know it?” Stepping out from the crowd, Shen Hui replied, “It is the source of all Buddhas, and the Buddha-nature of Shen Hui.”
師曰：「向汝道無名無字，汝便喚作本源佛性。汝向去有把茆蓋頭，也只成箇知解宗徒。」”I have told you already that it is without name and appellation, and yet you call it ‘Source of Buddhas’ and ‘Buddha-nature’,” reproved the Patriarch. “Even if you confine yourself in a mat shed for further study (as is the wont of the Bhikkhus), you will be a Dhyana scholar of secondhand knowledge only (i.e., knowledge from books and verbal authority instead of Knowledge obtained intuitively).
After the death of the Patriarch, Shen Hui left for Loyang, where he spread widely the teaching of the Sudden School. The popular work entitled ‘An Explicit Treatise on Dhyana Teaching’ was written by him. He is generally known by the name Dhyana Master He Ze (the name of his monastery).
Seeing that many questions were put to him in bad faith by followers of various Schools, and that a great number of such questioners had gathered around him, the Patriarch addressed them out of compassion as follows:
“A treader of the Path should do away with all thoughts, good as well as evil ones. It is merely as an expedient that the Essence of Mind is so called; it cannot really be named by any name. This ‘non-dual nature’ is called the ‘true nature’, upon which all Dharma systems of teaching are based. One should realize the Essence of Mind as soon as one is spoken to about it.”
諸人聞說，總皆作禮，請事為師。Upon hearing this, every one made obeisance and asked the Patriarch to allow them to be his disciples.
護法品第九 Royal Patronage
An edict dated the 15th day of the first Moon of the first year of Shen Long, issued by the Empress Dowager Ze Tian and the Emperor Zhong Zung ran as follows:
“Since we invited Grand Masters Hui An and Shen Xiu to stay in the palace to receive our offerings, we have studied the ‘Buddha Vehicle’ under them whenever 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 has esoterically inherited the Dharma and the robe of the Fifth Patriarch as well as the ‘Heart Seal’ of Lord Buddha.
“We hereby send Eunuch Xue Jian as the courier of this Edict to invite His Holiness to come, and trust His Holiness will graciously favor us with an early visit to the capital, etc., etc.”
On the ground of illness, the Patriarch sent a reply to decline the royal invitation and asked to be allowed to spend his remaining years in the “forest’.
“Dhyana experts in the capital,” said Xue Jian (when interviewing the Patriarch), “unanimously advise people to meditate in the sitting position to attain Samadhi. They say that this is the only way to realize the Norm, and that it is impossible for anyone to obtain liberation without going through meditation exercises. May I know your way of teaching, Sir?”
“The Norm is to be realized by the mind,” replied the Patriarch, “and does not depend on the sitting position. The Vajracchedika (Diamond) Sutra says that it is wrong ‘for anyone to assert that the Tathagata comes or goes, sits or reclines.’ Why? Because the Tathagata’s ‘Dhyana of Purity’ implies neither coming from anywhere nor going to anywhere, neither becoming nor causing to be. All Dharmas are calm and void, and such is the Tathagata’s ‘Seat of Purity’. Strictly speaking, there is even no such thing as ‘attainment'; why then should we bother ourselves about the sitting position?”
“Upon my return,” said Xue Jian, “Their Majesties will certainly ask me to make a report. Will you, Sir, kindly give me some essential hints on your teaching, so that I can make them known not only to Their Majesties, but also to all Buddhist scholars in the capital? As the flame of one lamp may kindle hundreds or thousands of others, so the ignorant will be enlightened (by your teaching), 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) that light will produce light without end, because there is an end, since light and darkness are a pair of opposites. The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra says, ‘The Norm has no comparison, since it is not a relative term’.”
“Light signifies wisdom,” argued Xue Jian, “and darkness signifies Klesa (defilement). If a treader of the Path does not break up Klesa with the force of wisdom, how is he going to free himself from the ‘wheel of birth and death’, which is beginningless?”
師曰：「煩惱即是菩提，無二無別。若以智慧照破煩惱者，此是二乘見解，羊鹿等機，上智大根，悉不如是。」”Klesa is Bodhi,” rejoined the Patriarch. “The two are the same and not different. To break up Klesa with wisdom is the teaching of the Sravaka (aspirant to Arhatship) School and the Pratyeka Buddha School, the followers of which are of the ‘Goat Vehicle’ and ‘Deer Vehicle’ standard respectively. To those of superior mental dispositions such teaching would be of no use at all.”
“What then, is the teaching of the Mahayana School?” asked Xue Jian.
“From the point of view of ordinary men,” replied the Patriarch, “enlightenment and ignorance are two separate things. Wise men who realize thoroughly the Essence of Mind know that they are of the same nature. This same nature or non-dual nature is what is called the ‘real nature’, which neither decreases in the case of ordinary men and ignorant persons, nor increases in the case of the enlightened sage; which is not disturbed in a state of annoyance, nor calm in a state of Samadhi. It is neither eternal nor non-eternal; it neither goes nor comes; it is not to be found in the exterior, nor in the interior, nor in the space between the two. It is above existence and non-existence; its nature and its phenomena are always in a state of ‘Thusness'; it is permanent and immutable. Such is the Norm.”
Xue Jian asked, “You say that it is above existence and non-existence. How then do you differentiate it from the teaching of the heretics who teach the same thing?”
“In the teaching of the heretics,” replied the Patriarch, “‘non-existence’ means the end of ‘existence’, while ‘existence’ is used in contrast with ‘non-existence’. What they mean by ‘non-existence’ is not actually annihilation and what they call ‘existence’ does not really exist. What I mean by ‘above 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 that of the heretics.
“If you wish to know the essential points of my teaching, you should free yourself from all thoughts, good ones as well as bad; then your mind will be in a state of purity, calm and serene all the time, and its usefulness as manifold as the grains of sand in the Ganges.”
The preaching of the Patriarch suddenly awoke Xue Jian to full enlightenment. He made obeisance and bid the Patriarch adieu. Upon his return to the palace, he reported what the Patriarch had said to Their Majesties.
In that same year, on the third day of the ninth Moon, an edict was issued commending the Patriarch in the following terms:–
「師辭老疾，為朕修道，國之福田，師若淨名，托疾毗耶，闡揚大乘，傳諸佛心，談不二法， “On the ground of old age and poor health, the Patriarch declined our invitation to come to the capital. Devoting his life to the practice of Buddhism for our benefit, he is indeed the ‘field of merit’ of the nation. Like Vimalakirti, who recuperated in Vaisali, he widely spreads the Mahayana teaching, transmits the doctrine of the Dhyana School, and expounds the system of ‘Non-dual’ Law.
薛簡傳師指授如來知見，朕積善餘慶，宿種善根，值師出世，頓悟上乘。感荷師恩，頂戴無已，”Through the medium of Xue Jian, to whom the Patriarch has imparted the ‘Buddha-knowledge’, we are fortunate enough to have a chance to understand for ourselves the teaching of the Supreme Vehicle. This must be due to our accumulated merits and our ‘root of goodness’ planted in past lives; otherwise, we should not be the contemporaries of His Holiness. “
In appreciation of the graciousness of the Patriarch, we present to him herewith a Mo Na robe and a crystal bowl. The Prefect of Shao Chou is hereby ordered to renovate his monastery and to convert his old residence into a temple which is to be named ‘Guo En’ (State Munificence), by royal favor, etc., etc.”
付囑品第十 Final Instructions
One day the Patriarch sent for his disciples, Fa Hai, Zhi Cheng, Fa Da, Shen Hui, Zhi Chang, Zhi Tong, Zhi Che, Zhi Dao, Fa Zhen, Fa Ru, etc., and addressed them as follows:–
“You men are different from the common lot. After my entering into Parinirvana, each of you will be the Dhyana Master of a certain district. I am, therefore, going to give you some hints on preaching, so that when doing so, you may keep up the tradition of our School.
“First mention the three categories of Dharmas, and then the thirty-six ‘pairs of opposites’ in the activities (of the Essence of Mind). Then teach how to avoid the two extremes of ‘coming in’ or ‘going out’. In all preaching, stray not from the Essence of Mind.
Whenever a man puts a question to you, answer him in antonyms, so that a ‘pair of opposites’ will be formed. (For example), ‘coming’ and ‘going’ are the reciprocal cause of each other; when the interdependence of the two is entirely done away with there would be, in the absolute sense, neither ‘coming’ nor ‘going’.
「三科法門者，陰界入也。”The three categories of Dharmas are: Skandhas (aggregates), Ayatanas (places or spheres of meeting), Dhatus (factors of consciousness).
The five Skandhas are:– Rupa (matter), Vedana (sensation), Samjna (perception), Samskara (tendencies of mind), and Vijnana (consciousness).
The twelve Ayatanas are:
Six Sense Objects (external) Six Sense Organs (internal)
Object of sight Organ of sight
Object of hearing Organ of hearing
Object of smell Organ of smell
Object of taste Organ of taste
Object of touch Organ of touch
Object of thought Organ of thought
The eighteen Dhatus are: The six sense objects, six sense organs and six recipient vijnanas.
“Since the Essence of Mind is the embodiment of all Dharmas, it is called the Repository Consciousness (Alaya). But as soon as the process of thinking or reasoning is started, the Essence of Mind is transmuted into (various) vijnanas.
When the six recipient vijnanas come into being, they perceive the six sense objects through the six ‘doors’ (of sense). Thus, the functioning of the eighteen dhatus derive their impetus from the Essence of Mind.
自性若邪，起十八邪；自性若正，走十八正。含惡用即眾生用，善用即佛用。用由何等，由自性有。」Whether they function with an evil tendency or a good one depends upon what mood — good or evil — the Essence of Mind is in. Evil functioning is that of a common man, while good functioning is that of a Buddha. It is because there are ‘pairs of opposites’ inherent in the Essence of Mind that the functioning of the eighteen dhatus derive their impetus.
「對法外境，無情五對：天與地對，日與月對，明與暗對，陰與陽對，水與火對，此是五對也。”The thirty-six ‘Pairs of opposites’ are: Five external inanimate ones: Heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, positive element and negative element, fire and water.
法相語言十二對：語與法對，有與無對，有色與無色對，有相與無相 對，有漏與無漏對，色與空對，動與靜對，清與濁對，凡與聖對，僧與俗對，老與少對，大與小對，此是十二對也。Twelve Dharmalaksana (phenomenal objects): Speech and Dharma, affirmation and negation, matter and non-matter, form and without form, taints (asravas) and absence of taint, matter and void, motion and quiescence, purity and impurity, ordinary people and sages, the Sangha and the laity, the aged and the young, the big and the small.
自性起用十九對：長與短對，邪與正對，癡與慧 對，愚與智對，亂與定對，慈與毒對，戒與非對，直與曲對，實與虛對，險與平對，煩惱與菩提對，常與無常對，悲與害對，喜與嗔對，捨與慳對，進與退對，生與 滅對，法身與色身對，化身與報身對，此是十九對也。」Nineteen pairs denoting the functioning of the Essence of Mind: Long and short, good and evil, infatuated and enlightened, ignorant and wise, perturbed and calm, merciful and wicked, abstinent (Sila) and indulgent, straight and crooked, full and empty, steep and level, Klesa and Bodhi, permanent and transient, compassionate and cruel, happy and angry, generous and mean, forward and backward, existent and non-existent, Dharmakaya and physical body, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.
師言：「此三十六對法若解用，即通貫一切經法，出入即離兩邊， “He who knows how to use these thirty-six pairs realizes the all-pervading principle which goes through the teaching of all Sutras. Whether he is ‘coming in’ or ‘going out’, he is able to avoid the two extremes.
“In the functioning of the Essence of Mind and in conversation with others, outwardly we should free ourselves from attachment to objects, whence come contact with objects; and inwardly, with regard to the teaching of the ‘Void,’ we should free ourselves from the idea of Nihilism.
若全著相。即長邪見，若全執空，即長無明。To believe in the reality of objects or in Nihilism would result in deep-rooted fallacious views or intensified ignorance respectively.
“A bigoted believer in Nihilism blasphemes against the Sutras on the ground that literature (i.e., the Buddhist Scriptures) is unnecessary (for the study of Buddhism). If that were so, then neither would it be right for us to speak, since speech forms the substance of literature. He would also argue that in the direct method (literally, the straight Path) literature is discarded. But does he appreciate that the two words ‘is discarded’ are also literature?
Upon hearing others speak of Sutras, such a man would criticize the speakers as ‘addicted to scriptural authority’. It is bad enough for him to confine this mistaken notion to himself, but in addition, he blasphemes against the Buddhist scriptures. You men should know that it is a serious offence to speak ill of the Sutras, for the consequence is grave indeed!
若著相於外，而作法求真，或廣立道場，說有無之過患，如是之人，累劫不可見性， “He who believes in the reality of outward objects tries to seek the form (from without) by practicing a certain system of doctrine. He may furnish spacious lecture-halls for the discussion of Realism or Nihilism, but such a man will not for numerous Kalpas realize the Essence of Mind.
“We should tread the Path according to the teaching of the Law, and not keep our mind in a state of indolence, thereby creating obstacles to the understanding of the Norm. To preach or to hear the Law without practicing it would give occasion for the arising of heretical views.
Hence, we should tread the Path according to the teaching of the Law, and in the dissemination of the Dharma we should not be influenced by the concept of the reality of objects.
“If you understand what I say, and make use of it in preaching, in practice, and in your daily life, you will grasp the distinguishing feature of our School.
“Whenever a question is put to you, answer it in the negative if it is an affirmative one; and vice versa. If you are asked about an ordinary man, tell the enquirer something about a sage; and vice versa. From the correlation or interdependence of the two opposites the doctrine of the ‘Mean’ may be grasped. If all other questions are answered in this manner, you will not be far away from the truth.
“(Let me explain more fully). Suppose someone asks you what is darkness, answer him thus: Light is the Hetu (root condition) and darkness is the pratyaya (Conditions which bring about any given phenomenon). When light disappears, darkness is the consequence. The two are in
contrast to each other. From the correlation or interdependence of the two the doctrine of the ‘Mean’ arises.
“In this way all other questions are to be answered. To ensure the perpetuation of the aim and object of our School in the transmission of the Dharma to your successors, this instruction should be handed down from one generation to another.”
師於大極元年壬子延和七月命門人往新州國恩寺建塔，仍令促工。次年夏末落成。In the 7th Moon of the year of Ren Zi, the first year of Tai Ji or Yan He Era, the Patriarch sent some of his disciples to Xin Zhou to have a shrine (stupa) built within the Guo En monastery, with instructions that the work should be completed as soon as possible. Next year, when summer was well-nigh spent, the stupa was duly completed.
On the 1st day of the 7th Moon, the Patriarch assembled his disciples and addressed them as follows: “I am going to leave this world by the 8th Moon. Should you have any doubts (on the doctrine) please ask me in time, so that I can clear them up for you. You may find no one to teach you after my departure.”
法海等聞，悉皆涕泣，惟有神會，神情不動，亦無涕泣。師云：「神會小師，卻得善不善等，毀譽不動，哀樂不生，餘者不得。數年山中，竟脩何道？汝今悲泣，為憂阿誰？若憂吾不知去處，吾自知去及；吾若不知去處， 終不預報於汝。汝等悲泣，蓋為不知吾去處；若知吾去處，即不合悲泣。法性本無生滅去來，汝等盡坐，吾與汝說一偈，名曰『真假動靜偈。』汝等誦取此偈，與吾 意同，依此脩行，不失宗旨。」
The sad news moved Fa Hai and other disciples to tears. Shen Hui, on the other hand, remained unperturbed. Commending him, the Patriarch said, “Young Master Shen Hui is the only one here who has attained that state of mind which sees no difference in good or evil, knows neither sorrow nor happiness, and is unmoved by praise or blame. After so many years’ training in this mountain, what progress have you made? What are you crying for now? Are you worrying for me because I do not know whither I shall go? But I do know; otherwise I could not tell you beforehand what will happen. What makes you cry is that you don’t know whither I am going. If you did, there would be no occasion for you to cry. In Suchness (Tathata) there is neither coming nor going, neither becoming nor cessation. Sit down, all of you, and let me read you a stanza on reality and illusion, and on Motion and Quietude. Read it, and your opinion will accord with mine. Practice it, and you will grasp the aim and object of our School.”
The assembly made obeisance and asked the Patriarch to let them hear the stanza, which read as follows:
In all things there is nothing real, And so we should free ourselves from the concept of the reality of objects. He who believes in the reality of objects Is bound by this very concept, which is entirely illusive.
He who realizes the ‘Reality’ (i.e.,Essence of Mind) within himself
Knows that the ‘True Mind’ is to be sought apart from false phenomena.
If one’s mind is bound by illusive phenomena
Where is Reality to be found, when all phenomena are unreal?
有情即解動，無情即不動，若脩不動行，同無情不 動。Sentient beings are mobile;
Inanimate objects are stationary.
He who trains himself by exercise to be motionless
(Gets no benefit) other than making himself as still as an inanimate object.
Should you the find true type Immobility
There is Immobility within Activity.
Immobility alone (like that of inanimate objects) is immobility (and not Dhyana),
And in inanimate objects the seed of Buddhahood is not to be found.
He who is adept in the discrimination of various Dharmalaksana
Abides immovably in the ‘First Principle’ (Nirvana).
Thus are all things to be perceived,
And this is the functioning of Tathata (Suchness).
Treaders of the Path, Exert yourself and take heed
That as followers of the Mahayana School
You do not embrace that sort of knowledge
Which binds you to the wheel of birth and death.
若言下相應，即共論佛義，若實不相應，合掌令歡喜。With those who are sympathetic
Let us have discussion on Buddhism.
As for those whose point of view differs from ours
Let us treat them politely and thus make them happy.
(But) disputes are alien to our School,
For they are incompatible with its doctrine
To be bigoted and to argue with others in disregard of this rule
Is to subjects one’s Essence of Mind to the bitterness of mundane existence.
Having heard this stanza, the assembly made obeisance in a body. In accordance with the wishes of the Patriarch, they concentrated their minds to put the stanza into actual practice, and refrained from religious controversy.
Seeing that the Patriarch would pass away in the near future, the head Monk, Fa Hai, after prostrating himself twice asked, “Sir, upon your entering Nirvana, who will be the inheritor of the robe and the Dharma?”
“All my sermons,” replied the Patriarch, “from the time I preached in Da Fan monastery, may be copied out for circulation in a volume to be entitled ‘Sutra Spoken on the High Seat of the Treasure of the Law’. (Dharmaratha) Take good care of it and hand it down from one generation to another for the salvation of all sentient beings. He who preaches in accordance with its teachings preaches the Orthodox Dharma.
So much for the Dharma, as to transmission of the robe, this practice is to be discontinued. Why? Because you all have implicit faith in my teaching, and being free from all doubts you are able to carry out the lofty object of our School. Furthermore, according to the implied meaning of the stanza by Bodhidharma, the first Patriarch, on Dharma transmission, the robe need not be handed down to posterity. The stanza reads:–
The object of my coming to this land (i.e., China)
Is to transmit the Dharma for the deliverance of those under delusion
In five petals the flowers will be complete.
Thereafter, the fruit will come to bearing naturally.
師復曰：「汝等若欲成就種智，須達一相三昧，一行三昧。The Patriarch added, “Learned Audience, purify your minds and listen to me. He who wishes to attain the All-knowing Knowledge of a Buddha should know the ‘Samadhi of Specific Object’ and the ‘Samadhi of Specific Mode’.
若於一切處而不住相，於彼相中不生憎愛，亦無取捨，不念利益成壞等事，安閑恬靜，虛融澹泊，此名一 相三昧。若於一切處行住坐臥，純一直心不動道場，其成淨土，此名一行三昧。In all circumstances we should free ourselves from attachment to objects, and our attitude towards them should be neutral and indifferent. Let neither success nor failure, neither profit nor loss, worry us. Let us be calm and serene, modest and accommodating, simple and dispassionate. Such is the ‘Samadhi of Specific Object’. On all occasions, whether we are standing, walking, sitting or reclining, let us be absolutely straightforward. Then, remaining in our sanctuary, and without the least movement, we shall virtually be in the Kingdom of Pure Land. Such is the ‘Samadhi of Specific Mode’.
“He who is complete with these two forms of Samadhi may be likened to the ground with seeds sown therein. Covered up in the mud, the seeds receive nourishment therefrom and grow until the fruit comes into bearing.
“My preaching to you now may be likened to the seasonable rain which brings moisture to a vast area of land. The Buddha-nature within you may be likened to the seed which, being moistened by the rain, will grow rapidly. He who carries out my instructions will certainly attain Bodhi. He who follows my teaching will certainly attain the superb fruit (of Buddhahood). Listen to my stanza:
Buddha-seeds latent in our mind
Will sprout upon the coming of the all-pervading rain.
The ‘flower’ of the doctrine having been intuitively grasped,
One is bound to reap the fruit of Enlightenment.
Then he added, “The Dharma is non-dual and so is the mind. The Path is pure and above all forms. I warn you not to use those exercises for meditation on quietude or for keeping the mind a blank. The mind is by nature pure, so there is nothing for us to crave for or give up. Do your best, each of you, and go wherever circumstances lead.”
爾時，徒眾作禮而退。Thereupon the disciples made obeisance and withdrew.
On the 8th day of the 7th Moon, the Patriarch gave a sudden order to his disciples to get ready a boat for his going back to Xin Zhou (his native place). In a body they entreated him earnestly and pitifully to stay.
“It is only natural that I should go,” said the Patriarch, “for death is the inevitable outcome of birth, and even the various Buddhas who appear in this world have to go through an earthly death before entering Parinirvana. There can be no exception for my physical body, which must be laid down somewhere.”
“After your visit to Xin Zhou,” entreated the assembly, “please return here sooner or later.”
“Fallen leaves go back to where the root is, and when I first came, mouth I had not,” replied the Patriarch.
Then they asked, “To whom, Sir, do you transmit the Womb of the Dharma Eye?”
“Men of principle will get it, and those who are mind-less will understand it.”
又問後莫有難否? 師曰: 吾滅後五、六年，當有一人來取吾首。聽吾記曰: They further asked, “Will any calamity befall you hereafter?”
“Five or six years after my death,” replied the Patriarch, “a man will come to cut off my head. I have made the following prophecy of which please take note:–
To the top of the parent’s head, offerings are made, For the mouth must be fed.
When the calamity of ‘Man’ befalls, Yang and Liu will be the officials.
He added, “Seventy years after my departure two Bodhisattvas from the East, one a layman and the other a monk, will preach contemporaneously, disseminate the Law widely, establish our School on a firm basis, renovate our monasteries and transmit the doctrine to numerous promising successors.”
“Can you let us know for how many generations the Dharma has been transmitted, from the appearance of the earliest Buddha up to now?” asked the disciples.
“The Buddhas who have appeared in this world are too many to be counted,” replied the Patriarch. “But let us start from the last seven Buddhas. They are: Of the last Kalpa, the Alamkarakalpa: Buddha Vipassin, Buddha Sikhin, Buddha Vessabhu.
Of the present Kalpa (the Bhadrakalpa): Buddha Kakusundha, Buddha Konagamana, Buddha Kassapa, Buddha Gautama (Sakyamuni).
“From the Buddha Sakyamuni, the Law was transmitted to the:
「釋迦文佛首傳 (It was then in turn transmitted to)
第一、摩訶迦葉尊者1st Patriarch Arya Mahakasyapa
第二、阿難尊者 2nd Patriarch Arya Ananda
第三、商那和修尊者 3rd Patriarch Arya Sanavasa
第四、優波(毛匊)多尊者 4th Patriarch Arya Upagupta
第五、提多迦尊者 5th Patriarch Arya Dhritaka
第六、彌遮迦尊者 6th Patriarch Arya Michaka
第七、婆須蜜多尊者 7th Patriarch Arya Vasumitra
第八、佛馱難提尊者 8th Patriarch Arya Buddhanandi
第九、伏馱蜜多尊者 9th Patriarch Arya Buddhamitra
第十、脇尊者 10th Patriarch Arya Parsva
第十一、富那夜奢尊者 11th Patriarch Arya Punyayasas
第十二、馬嗚大士 12th Patriarch Bodhisattva Asvaghosa
第十三、迦毗摩羅尊者 13th Patriarch Arya Kapimala
第十四、龍樹大士 14th Patriarch Bodhisattva Nagarjuna
第十五、迦那提婆尊者 15th Patriarch Kanadeva
第十六、羅睺羅多尊者 16th Patriarch Arya Rahulata
第十七、僧伽難提尊者 17th Patriarch Arya Sanghanandi
第十八、伽耶舍多尊者 18th Patriarch Arya Sangayasas
第十九、鳩摩羅多尊者 19th Patriarch Arya Kumarata
第二十、闍耶多尊者 20th Patriarch Arya Jayata
第二十一、婆脩盤頭尊者 21st Patriarch Arya Vasubandhu
第二十二、摩拏羅尊者 22nd Patriarch Arya Manura
第二十三、鶴勒那尊者 23rd Patriarch Arya Haklenayasas
第二十四、師子尊者 24th Patriarch Arya Sinha
第二十五、婆舍斯多尊者 25th Patriarch Arya Vasiastia
第二十六、不如蜜多尊者 26th Patriarch Arya Punyamitra
第二十七、般若多羅尊者 27th Patriarch Arya Prajnatara
第二十八、菩提達摩尊者 28th Patriarch Arya Bodhidharma (the first Patriarch in China)
第二十九、慧可大師 29th Patriarch Grand Master Hui Ke
第三十、僧璨大師 30th Patriarch Grand Master Seng Can
第三十一、道信大師 31st Patriarch Grand Master Dao Xin
第三十二、弘忍大師 32nd Patriarch Grand Master Hung Ren
And I am the 33rd Patriarch (i.e.,the 6th Patriarch in China). Thus, by pupillary, the Dharma was handed down from one Patriarch to another. Hereafter, you men should in turn transmit it to posterity by passing it on from one generation to another, so that the tradition may be maintained.
On the 3rd day of the 8th Moon of the year of Kui Chou, the second Year of Xian Tian Era (A.D. 713), after taking food at the Guo En Monastery, the Patriarch addressed his disciples as follows: “Please sit down, for I am going to say good-bye.”
Thereupon Fa Hai spoke to the Patriarch, “Sir, will you please leave to posterity definite instructions whereby people under delusion may realize the Buddha nature.”
“It is not impossible,” replied the Patriarch, “for these men to realize the Buddha-nature, provided they acquaint themselves with the nature of ordinary sentient beings. But to seek Buddhahood without such knowledge would be in vain even if one shall spend aeons of time in the search.
“Now, let me show you how to get acquainted with the nature of the sentient beings within your mind, and thereby realize the Buddha-nature latent in you. Knowing Buddha means nothing else than knowing sentient beings, for the latter ignore that they are potential Buddhas, whereas a Buddha sees no difference between himself and other beings.
When sentient beings realize the Essence of Mind, they are Buddhas. If a Buddha is under delusion in his Essence of Mind, he is then an ordinary being. Purity in the Essence of Mind makes ordinary beings Buddhas. Impurity in the Essence of Mind reverts even a Buddha to an ordinari being. When your mind is crooked or depraved, you are ordinary beings with Buddha-nature latent in you. On the other hand, when you direct your mind to purity and straightforwardness even for one moment, you are a Buddha.
“Within our mind there is a Buddha, and that Buddha within is the real Buddha. If Buddha is not to be sought within our mind, where shall we find the real Buddha? Doubt not that Buddha is within your mind, apart from which nothing can exist. Since all things or phenomena are the production of our mind,
The Sutra says, ‘When mental activity begins, various things come into being; when mental activity ceases, they too cease to exist.’ In parting from you, let me leave you a stanza entitled ‘The Real Buddha of the Essence of Mind’. People of future generations who understand its meaning will realize the Essence of Mind and attain Buddhahood. It reads:
The Essence of Mind or Tathata (Suchness) is the real Buddha,
While heretical views and the three poisonous elements are Mara.
Enlightened by Right Views, we call forth the Buddha within us.
When our nature is dominated by the three poisonous elements,
We are said to be possessed by Mara;
But when Right Views eliminate from our mind these poisonous elements,
Mara will be transformed into a real Buddha.
The Dharmakaya, the Sambhogakaya and the Nirmanakaya —
These three Bodies emanate from one (i.e., the Essence of Mind).
He who is able to realize this fact intuitively
Has sown the seed, and will reap the fruit of Enlightenment.
It is from the Nirmanakaya that our ‘Pure Nature’ emanates;
Within the former the latter is to be found.
Guided by ‘Pure Nature,’ the Nirmanakaya treads the Right Path,
And will some day attain to the Sambhogakaya, perfect and infinite.
‘Pure Nature’ is an outgrowth of our sensual instincts;
By getting rid of sensuality, we attain the Pure Dharmakaya.
When our temperament is such that we are no longer the slaves of the five sense-objects,
And when we have realized the Essence of Mind even for one moment only, then Truth is known to us.
Should we be so fortunate as to be the followers of the Sudden School in this life,
In a sudden we shall see the Bhagavat of our Essence of Mind.
He who seeks the Buddha (from without) by practicing certain doctrines
Knows not where the real Buddha is to be found.
He who is able to realize the Truth within his own mind
Has sown the seed of Buddhahood
He who has not realized the Essence of Mind and seeks the Buddha from without
Is a fool motivated by wrong desires
I have hereby left to posterity the teaching of the Sudden School
For the salvation of all sentient beings who care to practice it.
Hear me, ye future disciples!
Your time will have been badly wasted if you neglect to put this teaching into practice.
Having recited the stanza, he added, “Take good care of yourselves. After my passing away, do not follow the worldly tradition, and cry or lament. Neither should messages of condolence be accepted, nor mourning be worn. These things are contrary to the Orthodox Teaching, and he who does them is not my disciple.
What you should do is to know your own mind and realize your own Buddha-nature, which neither rests nor moves, neither becomes nor ceases to be, neither comes nor goes, neither affirms nor denies, neither stays nor departs. Lest your mind should be under delusion and thus fail to catch my meaning, I repeat this to you to enable you to realize your Essence of Mind. After my death, if you carry out my instructions and practice them accordingly, my being away from you will make no difference. On the other hand, if you go against my teaching, no benefit would be obtained, even if I continued to stay here.”
Then he uttered another stanza:
Imperturbable and serene, the ideal man practices no virtue.
Self-possessed and dispassionate, he commits no sin.
Calm and silent, he gives up seeing and hearing.
Even and upright, his mind abides nowhere.
Having uttered the stanza, he sat reverently until the third watch of the night. Then he said abruptly to his disciples, “I am going now,” and in a sudden passed away. A peculiar fragrance pervaded his room, and a lunar rainbow appeared which seemed to join up earth and sky. The trees in the wood turned white, and birds and beasts cried mournfully.
In the 11th Moon of that year the question of the Patriarch’s resting place gave rise to a dispute among the government officials of Guang Zhou, Shao Zhou and Xin Zhou, each party being anxious to have the remains of the Patriarch removed to its own district. The Patriarch’s disciples, together with other Bhikkhus and laymen, took part in the controversy. Being unable to come to any settlement among themselves, they burnt incense and prayed to the Patriarch to indicate by the direction of the drift of the smoke the place which he himself would choose. As the smoke turned directly to Cao Xi, the shrine (in which the body was kept) together with the inherited robe and bowl was accordingly taken back there on the 13th day of the 11th Moon.
Next year, on the 25th day of the 7th Moon, the body was taken out of the shrine, and Fang Bian, a disciple of the Patriarch, plastered it with incense-clay. Recollecting the Patriarch’s prediction that someone would take away his head, the disciples, as a matter of precaution, strengthened his neck by wrapping it with iron sheets and lacquered cloth before the body was placed in the stupa. Suddenly, a flash of white light rushed out from the stupa, went straight towards the sky, and did not disperse until three days after.
The incident was duly reported to the Throne by the officials of Shao Zhou District. By imperial order, tablets were erected to record the life of the Patriarch.
The Patriarch inherited the robe when he was 24, had his hair shaved (i.e., was ordained) at 39, and died at the age of 76. For thirty-seven years he preached for the benefit of all sentient beings. Forty-three of his disciples inherited the Dharma, and by his express consent became his successors, while those who attained enlightenment and thereby got out of the rut of the ordinary man were too numerous to be counted.
The robe transmitted by Bodhidharma as the insignia of Patriarchship, the Mo Na robe and the crystal bowl presented by Emperor Zhong Zong, the Patriarch’s statue made by Fang Bian, and other sacred articles, were put in charge of the keeper of the stupa. They were to be kept permanently in Bao Lin Monastery to guard the welfare of the temple. The Sutra spoken by the Patriarch was published and circulated to make known the principles and objects of the Dharma School. All these steps were taken for the prosperity of the ‘Three Gems’ (i.e., Buddha, Law, and Order) as well as for the general welfare of all sentient beings.
附錄: 守塔沙門令韜 Appendix by Ling Tao, the Stupa Keeper
At midnight of the 3rd day of the 8th Moon of the Year of Ren Xu, in the 10th year of the Kai Yuan Era, noises similar to those made by the dragging of an iron chain were heard within the stupa in which the Patriarch’s remains were enshrined. Awakened by the alarm, the Bhikkhus saw a man in mourning run out from the pagoda. Subsequently, they found that injuries had been inflicted on the Patriarch’s neck. Reports were duly made to Prefect Liu Wu Tian and Magistrate Yang Kan. Upon receiving the complaint they made a vigilant search for the culprit, who five days after was arrested in Shi Jiao Village and sent to Shao Zhou for trial.
He stated that his name was Zhang Jing Man, a native of Liang of Ru Zhou, and that in Kai Yuan Monastery of Hong Zhou he had received two thousand cash from a Xin Lo (a state in Korea) Bhikkhu named Jin Da Bei, who ordered him to steal the Patriarch’s head to be sent back to Korea for veneration.
柳守聞狀，未即 加刑。乃躬至曹溪，問師上足令韜曰：「如何處斷？」韜曰：「若以國法論，理須誅夷。但以佛教慈悲，冤親平等；況彼求欲供養，罪可恕矣。」柳守加歎曰：「始 知佛門廣大。」遂赦之。
Having taken this statement Prefect Liu reserved judgement and went personnaly to Cao Xi to consult the Patriarch’s senior disciple, Ling Tao, as to the adequate sentence to be passed. Ling Tao said, “According to the law of the state, the death sentence should be passed. But as mercy is the keynote of Buddhism, which teaches that kindred and enemies should be treated alike, coupled with the fact that religious veneration is the motive of the crime, the offender may be pardoned.” Much impressed, Prefect Liu exclaimed, “Now I begin to realize how liberal and broad-minded the Buddhists are!” The prisoner was accordingly set free.
Emperor Su Zong, who wished to do veneration to the Patriarch’s robe and bowl, sent an ambassador to Cao Xi to escort them with due respect to the royal palace. They were kept there until the 1st year of Yong Tai, when emperor Dai Zong had a dream in the night of the 5th day of the 5th Moon that the Patriarch asked him to return the relics. On the 7th day of the same moon, the following edict addressed to Yang Jian was issued:
“Whereas His Majesty dreamt that Dhyana Master Hui Neng asked for the restitution of the inherited robe and bowl, Marshal Zhen Guo (‘Pillar of State’, a title of honor) Liu Chong Jing is hereby detailed to convey them with due reverence to Cao Xi. These relics are regarded by His Majesty as state valuables, and you are directed to store them properly in Bao Lin Monastery and give express orders to the Bhikkhus, who had received personal instructions from the Patriarch, to exercise special care for their protection, so that no loss or breakage may be suffered.”
Thereafter, the relics were stolen several times, but on each occasion they were recovered before the thief could run away far.
Emperor Xian Zong conferred on the Patriarch the Posthumous title ‘Da Jian’ (the great mirror, ot the great seer) and wrote the epigraph ‘Yuan He Ling Zhao’ (Harmonious spirit shines forth divinely) for the stupa.
Other biographical materials are to be found in the tablets recording the life of the Patriarch written by Chancellor Wang Wei, Prefect Liu Zong Yuan, Prefect Liu Yu Xi, and others, all of the Tang Dynasty.