Friday, July 31, 2009
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - John R. McRae
The Platform Sutra records the teachings of Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch, who is revered as one of the two great figures in the founding of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. This translation is the definitive English version of the eighth-century Ch'an classic. Phillip B. Yampolsky has based his translation on the Tun-huang manuscript, the earliest extant version of the work. A critical edition of the Chinese text is given at the end of the volume. Dr. Yampolsky also furnishes a lengthy and detailed historical introduction which contains much information hitherto unavailable even to scholars, and provides the context essential to an understanding of Hui-neng's work. He gives an account of the history and legends of Ch'an Buddhism, with particular attention to the traditions associated with Hui-neng, quoting or summarizing the most important narratives. He then discusses the various texts of the Platform Sutra, and analyzes its contents.