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The Platform Sutra and Its History of Evolution

The Platform Sutra and Its History of Evolution

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Published by ANKUR BARUA
This article describes the evolution of the Platform Sutra of the Chan and Zen Buddhism.
This article describes the evolution of the Platform Sutra of the Chan and Zen Buddhism.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: ANKUR BARUA on May 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/07/2012

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THE PLATFORM SŪTRA AND ITSHISTORY OF EVOLUTION
ANKUR BARUA
The Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong
Corresponding address:
Dr. ANKUR BARUABLOCK EE, No. 80, Flat No. 2A,SALT LAKE CITY, SECTOR -2,KOLKATA – 700 091WEST BENGAL, INDIA Tel: +91-33-23215586Mobile: +919434485543Email: ankurbarua26@yahoo.com
Significance of the Platform Sūtra
Page 1
 
THE PLATFORM SŪTRA AND ITSHISTORY OF EVOLUTION
Abstract
 The Platform Sūtra presents the life and work of Hui-neng, the controversialsixth Patriarch of Zen. It is based on his understanding of spiritual andpractical life.
H
owever, due to lack of historical evidence, some modernscholars seriously doubt the authenticity of the claim that Hui-neng was theauthor of this text.
Evidences suggest that the status of the text had changed overthe years. It had transformed from that of an esoteric document into a popularreligious treatise. The content of this Sūtra is centered on non-dualistic teachings of wisdom.
Key words: Sūtra,
Hui-neng, Patriarch, Non-duality
Significance of the Platform Sūtra
Page 2
 
THE PLATFORM SŪTRA AND ITSHISTORY OF EVOLUTION
Introduction
 The
 
Platform Sūtra, regarded as one of the influential texts in the Ch'an /Seon/Zen  schools, is centered on the discourse given to the sixthCh'anpatriarch Hui-nengat theShao zhoutemple. Due to lack of historical evidence, modern scholars seriouslydoubt the authenticity of the claim that Hui-neng was the author of this text.
1,2
Themost important topics of the discourse of the
 
Platform tra aresudden enlightenment, the direct perception of one's true nature and the unity in essenceof non-duality on
,
and
. This important and popular sūtra of theSouthern schoolof Chinese Buddhismwas later translated into English byPhilip   Yampolsky.
1,2,3
Background History of textual Transmission of Platform Sūtra
 The T'an ching or Platform Sūtra had gained immense popularity among the Ch'anBuddhists of East Asia for many centuries. Regarded as the teaching of the SixthPatriarch of the Southern School of Ch'an, it has achieved the highest statuspossible for a Buddhist text by being awarded the title of ching (sūtra). This places iton equal grounds with the original discourses of the Buddha.
1,2,3
For the past 500 years the T'an ching has been a version of the text included in theMing dynasty edition of the Buddhist canon (1440).
2,3
This version represents the
Significance of the Platform Sūtra
Page 3

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