Talk:Huineng

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Inclusion of an anecdote[edit]

Extra material

i think the ending of the last paragraph should include the story that once he was given the robe and the begging bowl(the symbols for becoming the next Zen pratiarch) he was asked to leave straight away by the 5 patriarch, as other contenders were going to kill him(out of jeaulousy). And while on scaping he was pursued by one of the monks who was renown for his bad temper, he managed to catch up to Hui Neng. Hui Neng, decided to leave the robe and begging bowl to his pursuer, but it turn out this monk was pursuing Hui Neng because he wanted to learn from Hui Neng, rather then harming him.

And if im not wrong he actually spent almost 10 years living with hunters to disguise his true background as the 6th Zen patriarch.


Im sorry that the above information i dont have source from were it was acquired from officially. This was told on a chinese based literature.


The proper Pinyin transcription for this name is Huineng, and not Hui Neng. This should not have been turned into a redirect. It is this kind of activity on the part of people who do not know what they are doing that discourages me from further participation in this project. -- Charles Muller

Hui Neng[edit]

Huineng may be technically correct, but Hui Neng and Hui-Neng are very common even in respected publications. It’s Zen. Let’s not cling to words.

Whatever it should be, let's be consistent in the article. I see "Huineng" and also HuiNeng through the course of the Article. There are also several spellings coexisting for some of the other names. Thanks. Dr. Z 18:23, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

wrong translation[edit]

The line:"Bodhi is no tree, nor standing mirror bright. Since all is originally empty, where does the dust alight?" is according to my opinion incorrect. The subject of the first sentence is "Bodhi" and it is also the subject of the second sentence.

It should be: "There is no Bodhi-tree, Nor stand of a mirror bright. Since all is void, Where can the dust alight?" [1] (wereldburger758)

change of content[edit]

By simply adding the words:" Nor is the mind a standing mirror bright, I made the poem correct. (wereldburger758)

References[edit]

There are no references for the story of Huineng receiving transmission. This should be referenced so that the story can be checked. The gatha translation should also be referenced. Who translated this? Thinman10

Poems[edit]

The translations are kind of wacky. Does anyone mind if I replace them with the Red Pine translations? Yunfeng (talk) 17:18, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Great idea, Red Pine's are much better. Bertport (talk) 18:14, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Text removed[edit]

The statement quoted below is unreferenced, and I cannot find a reference for it. It only appears in the introduction and is not even elaborated in the article proper. I have copied it below:

While these are the legendary accounts handed down by the tradition, it is believed by some[who?] that the actual history of the situation may have been quite different, to the extent that some[who?] believe that the primary work attributed to Huineng, the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (六祖壇經), which ended up becoming one of the most influential texts in the East Asian meditative tradition, has no true association with him.

If someone can find a reference for this, and can write it up properly, the by all means put it back in. --Gak (talk) 01:53, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I seem to remember that Bernard Faure, a leading expert on the history of Zen Buddhism, deconstructed the story of Huineng's authorship as a legend with little or no factual basis. If this is so, the entire article represents a faith perspective rather than a historical one, but an expert on Zen Buddhism would be needed to check this, and if needed fix the contents of the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.226.87.165 (talk) 17:12, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The Huineng of the hagiography is not a historical figure - he was invented by Shen-hui (684-758). You can read as much [[2], in the publisher's summary of Inventing Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch Hagiography and Biography in Early Ch'an by John Jorgensen. The article as it stands now presents hagiography as historical fact, which is a problem. Here is the summary of the book, which reflects the contemporary scholarly consensus:

It was through the propaganda of Shen-hui (684-758) that Hui-neng (d. 710) became the also today still towering figure of sixth patriarch of Ch’an/Zen Buddhism, and accepted as the ancestor or founder of all subsequent Ch’an lineages. The first part of the book analyses the creation of the image of Hui-neng and the worship of a lacquered mummy said to be that of Hui-neng. Using the life of Confucius as a template for its structure, Shen-hui invented a hagiography for the then highly obscure Hui-neng. At the same time, Shen-hui forged a lineage of patriarchs of Ch’an back to the Buddha using ideas from Indian Buddhism and Chinese ancestor worship. The second half of the book examines the production of the hagiographies of Hui-neng , how they evolved, and the importance of ideas about authorship and the role of place. It demonstrates the influence of Confucian thought, politics and the periphery in the growth of early Ch’an hagiography and the changing image of Hui-neng.Sylvain1972 (talk) 20:32, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

This has been a controversy for some time, and this sort of issue is best discussed until contributors come to some agreement, or a solution that is respectful to both sides is taken. Using the Jesus page for a reference might be good in this regard, as the subjects are both a figure who is held in very different regard between religious followers and scholars. A more balanced page might have something like (1) In the Platform Sutra, (2) Role in the Zen school, and (3) Modern scholarship. With subjects like this, some tact is needed to reach a fair outcome that respects traditions while presenting some views of academics as well. By the way, it seems from the quote that the author is implying that Huineng was a real person, but simply that Shenhui inflated his importance. There should also be some care taken with academic sources to qualify them on controversial matters or those which have not been widely accepted. The general trend in scholarship is often to be a bit brash and iconoclastic in order to generate attention within the field.
I was reading part of this book, and the author gives some misinformation that the Shurangama Sutra is a "Chan apocrypha", which is baffling for multiple reasons. He has apparently never read it, because there is no Chan content in it, nor is it anything that would be created by someone from the Chan school, northern or southern. Arguments against the text's authenticity were more or less debunked by Ron Epstein a few decades ago. Tengu800 (talk) 00:00, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

A red link in the see also section is based on the following....[edit]

--222.64.21.119 (talk) 01:38, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

--222.64.21.119 (talk) 01:47, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

--222.64.21.119 (talk) 02:01, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

--222.64.21.119 (talk) 01:41, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

A proper translation is beneficial for song writers to generate music accordingly —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.64.21.119 (talk) 01:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Huineng Gatha Translation[edit]

The body is a Bodhi tree,
the mind a standing mirror bright.
At all times polish it diligently,
and let no dust alight.

The gatha of Shenxiu speaks about the body being the Bodhi Tree and the mind being like a bright mirror. Most people would agree about the translation in the second line of the Huineng gatha, which states that the "bright mirror also has no platform." This is drawing a similarity between the second line and the first line. In the first line (菩提本無樹), the word 本 is used, which has several meanings. The most common of which is the roots of a plant. With these two points in mind, we should expect that Huineng would be speaking about the Bodhi Tree and the bright mirror of Shenxiu's gatha, and using the lines in similar ways to address both. Since he states that the bright mirror has no basis (platform), then what about the Bodhi Tree? Naturally, since the lines are used in similar ways, he is saying that it also has no basis (roots). In the third and fourth lines, he uses the first two lines to question Shenxiu's instruction. Shenxiu's gatha is correct, but it is not the best. Huineng's gatha is also correct, but it is still not the highest. Hongren is correct that neither has yet seen his true nature, which is why Huineng still needs to be instructed about the meaning of the Diamond Sutra.

菩提本無樹,
明鏡亦非台;
本來無一物,
何處惹塵埃?

Translating the words simply:

bo-dhi root-less tree
bright mirror also/likewise no platform
fundamentally not one thing
what place cause/provoke dust

In other words:

The Bodhi Tree has no roots,
The bright mirror also has no platform;
Fundamentally there is not one thing,
From where can any dust arise?

If we say "Bodhi isn't a tree", or "The roots of Bodhi are not a tree", where did that come from? It isn't consistent with Huineng's own stated similarity (亦非台) between the first and second lines, the usage of the word 本, or with the respective subjects of Shenxiu's gatha (body: Bodhi Tree, mind: bright mirror). In some ways, I'm guessing that people are not familiar with the various uses of the word 無, which can apply to words before it, as "-less". Hence, "rootless", rather than "no tree".

Photograph[edit]

Who is depicted in this photograph? It is sourced to a Vietnamese wiki page that has been taken down. I doubt this is the actual subject of this article (who was never photographed), although it is an image that crops up on several web sites. Does anybody know the provenance of this image? Perhaps it should be removed and, if a public domain image can be found, replaced with a suitable artistic portrait of the subject. Desertpapa (talk) 17:50, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

It's the mummy of Huineng [3] Joshua Jonathan (talk) 21:17, 2 November 2012 (UTC)