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Suddenly Huineng

Is suddenly an explosion of a backlog unseen or an intimate insight into everything? Developmental processing is cumulative incrementalism. Building-blocks if you will. It is logical to think thus. Well then, is the opposite true, in that immediate awareness of the same thing (as juddicated by ones who awareness) is possible? This was the siminale debate of the Northern and Southern Schools of Chan.

The sixth Chinese Chan patriarch started this whole conversation, Huineng (638-713CE). His hagiography in many ways is the opposite of Siddhartha Gotama in that he was poor, illiterate, never married and said to have awakened by hearing one phrase from the Diamond Sutra.

His Holiness Hui Neng, who became the great Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an (Japanese Zen) was a poor illiterate peasant boy from Hsin Chou of Kwangtung. One day, after he had delivered firewood to a shop, he overheard a man reciting the following line from the "Diamond Sutra" - "Depending upon no-thing, you must find your own mind." Instantly, Hui Neng became Enlightened. The full verse said: "All Bodhisattvas (Compassionate Ones) should develop a pure mind which clings to no-thing whatsoever; and so he should establish it."

Boom, imagine the possibilities.

Huineng is the pivotal ancestor between Shakyamuni Buddha and Dogen from our view of Soto Zen Buddhism. First Chan represents a cross-cultural awareness of the Indian teacher's great meaning. The meaning is that Buddharama is found or uncovered. The former suggesting a search and the latter just picking it up. This is awareness championed by Huineng throughout his 35 years of teaching. During the Dharma Talk will touch on:

  • Chan

  • Hongren

  • Shenxiu

  • Platform Sutra

  • What happened after Huineng

I look forward to seeing you on Zoom June 1, 2021. Note, when we go to face-to-face Tuesday night service, it too will be on Zoom fo those who cannot be in the zendo.

Besure to claim your June Dokusan appointment time.

108 Bows,


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Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha Monthly Calendar JUNE 2024

Zoom: Password FSZS Dokusan with Sangaku-sensei by appointment •Remember Each Morning Zazen (30 min. then talk) on


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