Platform Sutra

Our very nature is Buddha, and apart from this nature there is no other Buddha.
The wisdom of enlightenment is inherent in every one of us.
If we do not take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves, there is no other place for us to retreat.

The Platform Sutra is a Chan Buddhist scripture composed in China during the 8th to 13th century. The text centers on teachings and stories ascribed to the sixth Chan patriarch Huineng.

QuotesEdit

Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Patriarch on the High Seat of the Treasure of the Law, As translated by A. F. Price and Wong Mou-Lam.
  • "Don`t despise a beginner," said I, "if you are a seeker of supreme enlightenment. You should know that the lowest class may have the sharpest wit, while the highest may be in want of intelligence. If you slight others, you commit a very great sin."
    • Huineng addressing a fellow disciple, Chapter 1
  • For him who does not know his own mind there is no use learning Buddhism. On the other hand, if he knows his own mind and sees intuitively his own nature, he is a Hero, a 'Teacher of gods and men', 'Buddha'.
    • The Fifth Patriarch, Chapter 1
  • As to the Dharma, this is transmitted from heart to heart, and the recipient must realize it by his own efforts.
    • The Fifth Patriarch, Chapter 1
  • The wisdom of enlightenment is inherent in every one of us. It is because of the delusion under which our mind works that we fail to realize it ourselves, and that we have to seek the advice and the guidance of enlightened ones before we can know our own Essence of Mind.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • You should know that so far as Buddha-nature is concerned, there is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that one realizes it, while the other is ignorant of it.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • Our very nature is Buddha, and apart from this nature there is no other Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • What the ignorant merely talk about, wise men put into actual practice with their mind.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • A foolish passing thought makes one an ordinary man, while an enlightened second thought makes one a Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • To illumine our gloomy tabernacle, which is stained by defilement,
    We should constantly set up the Light of Wisdom.
    Erroneous views keep us in defilement
    While right views remove us from it,
    But when we are in a position to discard both of them
    We are then absolutely pure.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • Within our impure mind the pure one is to be found.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • He who does not know his own Essence of Mind, and is under the delusion that Buddhahood can be attained by outward religious rites is called the slow-witted.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • A gleam of enlightenment is enough to make any living being the equal of a Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • To know our mind is to obtain liberation.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • The mind should be framed in such a way that it will be independent of external or internal objects, at liberty to come or go, free from attachment and thoroughly enlightened without the least beclouding.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • All sutras and scriptures of the Mahayana and Hinayana Schools, as well as the twelve sections of the canonical writings, were provided to suit the different needs and temperaments of various people. It is upon the principle that Prajna is latent in every man that the doctrines expounded in these books are established.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • The wise preach to the ignorant when the latter ask them to do so. Through this the ignorant may attain sudden enlightenment, and their mind thereby becomes illuminated. Then they are no longer different from the wise men.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and if we knew our mind and realized what our nature is, all of us would attain Buddhahood.
    • Bodhisattva Sila Sutra, as cited by the Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • The wisdom of the past, the present and the future Buddhas as well as the teachings of the twelve sections of the Canon are immanent in our mind; but in case we fail to enlighten ourselves, we have to seek the guidance of the pious and learned ones. On the other hand, those who enlighten themselves need no extraneous help. It is wrong to insist upon the idea that without the advice of the pious and learned we cannot obtain liberation.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • To obtain liberation is to attain Samadhi of Prajna, which is "thoughtlessness." What is "thoughtlessness"? "Thoughtlessness" is to see and to know all Dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to "come" or to "go", we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of "thoughtlessness". But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • If we find fault with others
    We ourselves are also in the wrong.
    When other people are in the wrong, we should ignore it,
    For it is wrong for us to find fault.
    By getting rid of the habit of fault-finding
    We cut off a source of defilement.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • The Kingdom of Buddha is in this world,
    Within which enlightenment is to be sought.
    To seek enlightenment by separating from this world
    Is as absurd as to search for a rabbit's horn.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • Kalpa after kalpa a man may be under delusion,
    But once enlightened it takes him only a moment to attain Buddhahood.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 2
  • When the people of the East commit a sin, they recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the West; but in the case of sinners who are natives of the West, where should they pray to be born? Ordinary men and ignorant people understand neither the Essence of Mind nor the Pure Land within themselves, so they wish to be born in the East or the West. But to the enlightened everywhere is the same. As the Buddha said, "No matter where they happen to be, they are always happy and comfortable."
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 3
  • We should work for Buddhahood within the Essence of Mind, and we should not look for it apart from ourselves. He who is kept in ignorance of his Essence of Mind is an ordinary being. He who is enlightened in his Essence of Mind is a Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 3
  • By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom.
    By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 3
  • Argument is unnecessary for an enlightened disciple. ... Argument implies a desire to win, strengthens egotism, and ties us to the belief in the idea of a self.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 4
  • All things - good or bad, beautiful or ugly - should be treated as void. Even in time of disputes and quarrels we should treat our intimates and our enemies alike and never think of retaliation. In the exercise of our thinking faculty, let the past be dead. If we allow our thoughts, past, present, and future, to link up in a series, we put ourselves under restraint. On the other hand, if we never let our mind attach to anything, we shall gain emancipation.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 4
  • Our mind should stand aloof from circumstances, and on no account should we allow them to influence the function of our mind. But it is a great mistake to suppress our mind from all thinking.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 4
  • If we are attached to outer objects, our inner mind will be perturbed. When we are free from attachment to all outer objects, the mind will be in peace. Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and the reason why we are perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances we are in.

    He who is able to keep his mind unperturbed, irrespective of circumstances, has attained Samadhi.

    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 5
  • When our mind clings to neither good nor evil we should take care not to let it dwell upon vacuity, or remain in a state of inertia. Rather should we enlarge our study and broaden our knowledge, so that we can know our own mind, understand thoroughly the principles of Buddhism, be congenial to others in our dealings with them, get rid of the idea of "self" and that of "being", and realize that up to the time when we attain Bodhi the "true nature" (or Essence of Mind) is always immutable.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 6
  • May we ... be always free from the taints of ignorance and delusion. We repent of all our sins and evil deeds committed under delusion or in ignorance. May they be expiated at once and may they never arise again.
    • Prayer of repentance, as led by the Sixth Patriarch and repeated by the assembly, Chapter 6
  • On account of ignorance and delusion, common people do not realize that in repentance they have not only to feel sorry for their past sins but also to refrain from sinning in the future. Since they take no heed of their future conduct they commit new sins before the past are expiated. How can we call this "repentance"?
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 6
  • The sutra distinctly says that we should take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves; it does not suggest that we should take refuge in other Buddhas. Moreover, if we do not take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves, there is no other place for us to retreat.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 6
  • To attain enlightenment by our own efforts and to practice by ourself the goodness inherent in our Essence of Mind is a genuine case of "Taking Refuge".
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 6
  • Why not get rid of the sin within our own mind, for this is true repentance.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 6
  • Buddha-knowledge is the Buddha-knowledge of your own mind and not that of any other Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • Being infatuated by sense-objects, and thereby shutting themselves from their own light, all sentient beings, tormented by outer circumstances and inner vexations, act voluntarily as slaves to their own desires. Seeing this, our Lord Buddha had to rise from his Samadhi in order to exhort them with earnest preaching of various kinds to suppress their desires and to refrain from seeking happiness from without, so that they might become the equals of Buddha.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • To see, to hear, and to recite the sutra is the small vehicle. To know the Dharma and to understand its meaning is the middle vehicle. To put the Dharma into actual practice is the great vehicle. To understand thoroughly all Dharmas, to have absorbed them completely, to be free from all attachments, to be above phenomena, and to be in possession of nothing, is the Supreme Vehicle.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • It is for a sole object, a sole aim, verily a lofty object and a lofty aim that the Buddha appears in this world. Now that sole object, that sole aim, that lofty object, that lofty aim referred to is the "sight" of Buddha-Knowledge.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • To realize that nothing can be seen but to retain the concept of "invisibility" is like the surface of the sun obscured by passing clouds. To realize that nothing is knowable but to retain the concept of "unknowability" may be likened to a clear sky disfigured by a lightning flash. To let these arbitrary concepts rise spontaneously in your mind indicates that you have misidentified the Essence of Mind [cittasya dharmata], and that you have not yet found the skilful means to realize it. If you realize for one moment that these arbitrary concepts are wrong, your own spiritual light will shine forth permanently.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • It was to ordinary men, not to other Buddhas, that Buddha Gautama preached this Sutra.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • The Sutra tells you plainly that there is only the Buddha Vehicle, and that there are no other vehicles, such as the second or the third. It is for the sake of this sole vehicle that Buddha had to preach to us with innumerable skilful devices, using various reasons and arguments, parables and illustrations, etc. ... You should appreciate that you are the sole owner of these valuables and they are entirely subject to your disposal. When you are free from the arbitrary conception that they are the father's, or the son's, or that they are at so and so's disposal, you may be said to have learned the right way to recite the Sutra.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 7
  • To start by seeking for Trikaya and the four Prajnas is to take an entirely wrong course (for being inherent in us they are to be realized and not to be sought). To try to "grasp" or "confine" them is to go against their intrinsic nature.
    • Chih Tung, Chapter 7
  • If I tell you that I have a system of Law [Dharma] to transmit to others, I am cheating you. What I do to my disciples is to liberate them from their own bondage with such devices as the case may need.
    • The Sixth Patriarch, replying to a disciple asking him to explain his system, Chapter 8
  • When your mind is enlightened, you will know the Essence of Mind, and then you may tread the Path the right way. Now you are under delusion, and do not know your Essence of Mind. Yet you dare to ask whether I know my Essence of Mind or not. If I do, I realize it myself, but the fact that I know it cannot help you from being under delusion. Similarly, if you know your Essence of Mind, your knowing would be of no use to me. Instead of asking others, why not see it for yourself and know it for yourself?
    • The Sixth Patriarch, teaching thirteen year old disciple Shen Hui, Chapter 8
  • Knowing Buddha means nothing else than knowing sentient beings, for the latter ignore that they are potential Buddhas, whereas a Buddha sees no difference between himself and other beings. When sentient beings realize the Essence of Mind, they are Buddhas. If a Buddha is under delusion in his Essence of Mind, he is then an ordinary being. When your mind is crooked or depraved, you are ordinary beings with Buddha-nature latent in you. On the other hand, when you direct your mind to purity and straightforwardness even for one moment, you are a Buddha. Within our mind there is a Buddha, and that Buddha within is the real Buddha. If Buddha is not to be sought within our mind, where shall we find the real Buddha? Doubt not that Buddha is within your mind, apart from which nothing can exist. Since all things or phenomena are the production of our mind, the Sutra says, "When mental activity begins, things come into being; when mental activity ceases, they too cease to exist."
    • Final instructions of the Sixth Patriarch, Chapter 10

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: