00267 The Story of the 33rd Zen Patriarch—Huineng
00267 The Story of the 33rd Zen Patriarch—Huineng
No. 00267
Category / Between Master and Disciples-story
Event date / 1987.08.11&13&14
Place / (Formosa/Taiwan) Hsintien
Language / Chinese
Time (mins) / 1h25m14s
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  • Summary
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When Huineng came to follow Master Hongren, he was ordered to the kitchen to cut woods and husk rice for 700 monks. He was skinny, but he tied heavy rock to his waist to increase his weight and strength. During this period, the Master taught him nothing, but he always concentrated on his work and never complained. Touched by Huineng's selfless spirit for seeking the truth, the Master secretly passed the legacy to him, reminding him not to spread the Dharma publicly at that moment.

Supreme Master Ching Hai said, though Master Huineng had got the legacy, he was still so humble, concentrated and ascetic in spiritual practice. We study the scriptures in order to know how the ancient people practice spiritually, and to learn from their examples, but reading scriptures alone doesn't make a Buddha. Without Enlightened Masters passing the Dharma and enlightening us, we wouldn't gain enlightenment even if we keep reading the scriptures for one hundred years. Do you know why Master Huineng only left a single Altar Sutra after spreading the Dharma for 40 years? Please listen to the Supreme Master's explanation of the reason behind it.

  1. Why did Master Hongren decide to pass the legacy to Huineng, and why did he tell him not to spread the Dharma publicly right away?
  2. During the retreat with some hunters, why would Master Huineng rather go without food instead of eating one single bite of meat?
  3. How did Master Huineng enlighten the fellow brothers who came to snatch the legacy? Can fierce people also be enlightened and attain the Tao?
  4. Why could Master Huineng understand the real meaning of the scriptures even though he couldn't read even a word? Does more book knowledge obstruct spiritual practice?
  5. Before Master Huineng spread the Dharma publicly, he still should undergo the ritual of tonsure and receive Upasampada. Why?
  6. What is the essence of mahayana? Why shouldn't we be attached to the level of peace and emptiness?
  7. Why did the Buddhist sutra say "The spiritual realm rises and dies with the mind"? How did Master Huineng calm down the two monks' debate about motions of the wind or the flag?
  8. Are Lao Tzu, Confucius and Chuang-tzu all Masters teaching Quan Yin Method? Why has only a small part of teachings from many ancient Masters been passed down to later generations?
  9. Is there true Dharma to be found in the scriptures? Why didn't the Altar Sutra record the type of method taught by Master Huineng?