The knowledge and vision of the Buddha is just your own mind; there is no other Buddha. Such is the teaching of Master Huineng (638 713), the most important and most revered figure in the Chan (Zen) School of East Asian Buddhism. Huineng left no written record, but his students compiled accounts of his public lectures and one-on-one exchanges, together with the dramatic story of his life. The resulting volume was Liu zu fa bao tan jing , The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra, sixth, because Master Huineng is counted as the sixth generation of patriarchal succession from the first Chan patriarch Bodhidharma. Master Huineng's Platform Sutra is so highly regarded in Buddhist Asia that it is called a Sutra, a term otherwise reserved for texts spoken by the Buddha himself. In presenting this entirely new English translation of The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra, the editors, Professors Heng Sure and Martin Verhoeven of Dharma Realm Buddhist University, have aimed above all to bring across into English Master Huineng's plain-spoken, forthright style. As Professor Verhoeven writes, "Readers inclined to see Buddhist writings as abstruse metaphysical treatises will find The Platform Sutra refreshingly artless and spare. Those expecting a sutra to delve into the supernatural and otherworldly will be surprised at how down-to-earth and here-and-now this text is. The Platform Sutra is humanistic to its core." As Huineng says in a verse, 'The Buddha Dharma is right here in the world,/There is no awakening apart from this world.' The essence of the Sixth Patriarch's philosophy is that all beings have the buddha-nature; all can become Buddha. Full awakening is not a future state or a distant place, but exists right within your own mind,' directly and immediately available. The text presents a powerful and resounding vision of unbounded human potential waiting to be fully realized if only we could see it.
About the author
Martin J. Verhoeven, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializes in the Euro-American encounter with Asian religions. He is adjunct professor of Comparative Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), and a professor of Buddhist Classics at Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU). He also teaches a weekly translation and meditation series at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. Rev. Heng Sure, M.A. in oriental languages from University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union, is Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. He teaches at the Institute for World Religions and is an adjunct professor at Bond University, Australia. He is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and in the ongoing conversation between spirituality and technology. Rev. Heng Sure was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1976. For the sake of world peace, accompanied by Martin Verhoeven (then Heng Chau), he undertook a two and a half year, six hundred mile pilgrimage up the up the coast of California from Los Angeles to Ukiah in Medocino County, taking three steps and one bow during the entire journey. Their journey is recorded in Highway Dharma Letters: Two Buddhist Pilgrims Write Letters to Their Teacher (forthcoming October 2014) and the nine volume series Journals & Letters on a Bowing Pilgrimage (2007).
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