The Platform Sutra comprises a wide range of important Chan/Zen Buddhist teachings. Purported to contain the autobiography and sermons of Huineng (638–713), the legendary Sixth Patriarch of Chan, the sutra has been popular among monastics and the educated elite for centuries. The first study of its kind in English, this volume offers essays that introduce the history and ideas of the sutra to a general audience and interpret its practices. Leading specialists on Buddhism discuss the text's historical background and its vaunted legacy in Chinese culture.
Incorporating recent scholarship and theory, chapters include an overview of Chinese Buddhism, the crucial role of the Platform Sutra in the Chan tradition, and the dynamics of Huineng's biography. They probe the sutra's key philosophical arguments, its paradoxical teachings about transmission, and its position on ordination and other institutions. The book includes a character glossary and extensive bibliography, with helpful references for students, general readers, and specialists throughout. The editors and contributors are among the most respected scholars in the study of Buddhism, and they assess the place of the Platform Sutra in the broader context of Chinese thought, opening the text to all readers interested in Asian culture, literature, spirituality, and religion.
About the Author
Morten Schlütter is an associate professor at the University of Iowa and the author of How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute Over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China.
Stephen F. Teiser is D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies at Princeton University. His recent books include Readings of the Lotus Sutra (coedited with Jacqueline I. Stone) and Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Platform Sutra, Buddhism, and Chinese Religion
2. The Figure of Huineng
3. The History and Practice of Early Chan
4. The Sudden Teaching
5. Transmitting Notions of Transmission
6. Ordination and Precepts in the Platform Sutra
7. The Platform Sutra and Chinese Thought
What People are Saying About This
The Platform Sutra is a (if not the) seminal scripture of Chan/Zen/Seon Buddhism. Its influence in East Asia is enormous and its impact extends far beyond China, Japan, and Korea. Readings of the Platform Sutra is a judicious and generous presentation of the best scholarship on this unique and vital text. It is certain to prove a reliable guide for anyone with a serious interest in the history, meaning, and practice of early Zen.