Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Platform Sutra (Red Pine)

Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly, Red Pine; Jeff Albrizze  MAHAYANA/HINDUISM
Tian Tan Buddha, statue of Buddha Amoghasiddhi, completed in 1993, located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong (Robert Montgomery/flickr)
Kwan Yin, Avalokitateshvara (wiki)
The Platform Sutra occupies a central place in Zen (Ch'an) Buddhist instruction for students and spiritual seekers worldwide. It is often linked with The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra to form a trio of texts that have been revered and studied for centuries. 

However, unlike the other sutras, which [are said to] transcribe the teachings of the Buddha himself, The Platform Sutra presents the autobiography of Hui-neng, the controversial 6th Patriarch of Zen, and his understanding of the fundamentals of a spiritual and practical life

The [Great Perfection of Wisdom] Sutra of the Direct Teaching of the Southern School of the Supreme Mahayana ["Great Vehicle" School].

The Platform Sutra
Delivered at Tafan Temple in Shaochou by the Sixth Patriarch, Master Hui-neng, in one volume, [as] compiled and recorded by Fa-hai, recipient of the Formless Precepts and advocate of the Dharma.

1. Master Hui-neng took his seat in the lecture hall of Tafan Temple to expound the teaching of [Great Perfection of Wisdom] and to transmit the Formless Precepts. Seated below him on that occasion were more than ten thousand monks, nuns, and laypeople, along with Magistrate Wei Ch’u of Shaochou and more than thirty officials and thirty scholars. Together they asked the Master to explain the teaching of [the Great Perfection of Wisdom].

The magistrate then instructed the Master’s disciple Fa-hai to make a record to pass down to future generations so that students of the Way who carry on its guiding principle and who transmit it to others might have this testament as their authority.

2. ...“Good friends, purify your minds by reciting the teaching of [the Great Perfection of Wisdom].” Then the Master stopped speaking, while he purified his own mind.
After a long time, he spoke again, “Good friends, please listen. My kind-hearted father was originally from Fanyang. But he was dismissed from office and banished to Lingnan and lived in Hsinchou as a commoner. My father died when I was quite young. And my widowed and destitute mother moved to Nanhai, where I experienced hardship and poverty and sold firewood in the marketplace. Then one day a shopkeeper ordered a load of firewood brought to his store. After he took the delivery and paid me, I walked toward the door and met a customer reciting the Diamond Sutra out loud. As soon as I heard the words, my mind felt clear and awake, and I asked the man, ‘Where did you get this scripture you’re reciting?’ 

“He said, ‘On Huangmei County’s East Fengmao Mountain in Chichou Prefecture, when I was paying my respects to the Fifth Patriarch, Master Hung-jen. His congregation included more than a thousand disciples. And while I was there, I heard him tell the monks and laypeople that just by memorizing the Diamond Sutra they would see their natures and immediately become buddhas.’ As soon as I heard this, I felt drawn by something from a past life. I said goodbye to my mother and left for Huangmei’s Fengmao Mountain to pay my respects to the Fifth Patriarch, Master Hung-jen. More

Abbreviated version
Red Pine (excerpt)
Good friends, while I confer on you the Formless Precepts, you must all experience this for yourselves. Recite this together with me, and it will enable you to see the three-bodied buddha within you:

"I take refuge in the pure dharma-body buddha in my own material body. I take refuge in the myriad-fold transformation-body buddha in my own material body. I take refuge in the future and perfect realization-body buddha in my own material body."

This material body is an inn and not a fit refuge [place of security]. But the three bodies I just mentioned are your ever-present dharma nature. Everyone has them. But because people are deluded, they don't see them. They look for the three-bodied tathagata outside themselves and don't see the three-bodied buddha in their own material body.

Good friends, listen to this good friend of yours, and I will tell you how to see within your material body the three-bodied buddha that arises from this nature of yours.

What do we mean by the pure dharma-body buddha? Good friends, eveyrone's nature is fundamentally pure, and the ten thousand dharmas are present in this nature. If we think about doing something bad, we commit bad deeds. And if we think about doing something good, we perform good deeds. Thus, we know all dharmas are present in our nature.

But our nature itself remains pure. The sun and moon are always shining. It is only due to cloud cover that there is light above but darkness below, and we can't see the sun or moon or stars. Then suddenly the wind of wisdom comes along and blows the clouds and drives the fog away, and a panorama of ten thousand images appear[s] all at once.

Our nature is pure like the clear sky above, and our wisdom is like the sun and moon. Our wisdom is always shining, but if externally we become attached to objects, the clouds of delusion cover up our nature, and we can't see it. Then, because we meet a good friend who explains the true teaching, our delusions are blown away, and everything inside and outside becomes perfectly clear, and the ten tousnad dharmas in this nature of ours all appear. TO BE CONTINUED

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