Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Huineng 惠能

(Huìnéng, Enō)

638 – 713 CE

The Sutra of Hui Neng

Traditionally seen as the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chán Buddhism, Huineng symbolizes the essence of Zen and the non-thought lineage. From a poor family, Huineng’s father died when he was young and he never learned to read and write. While working as a laborer, he heard the Diamond Sutra and immediately set off to study with the Fifth Patriarch. Since illiterate, he could only work at the monastery doing chores like chopping wood and pounding rice. Because of his deep understanding and realization though, he because the dharma heir. Like the famous story about not mistaking a pointing finger for the moon, he deeply understood the sense, not only the words.

Taoist Zen



Sutra of Huineng

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Quotes by Huineng (13 quotes)

“Buddha-nature is nonduality.”

Chapters: 22. Heaven's Door

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“For ordinary man is Buddha… A foolish passing thought makes one an ordinary man, while an enlightened second though makes one a Buddha.”

Chapters: 23. Nothing and Not

Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“Freedom of thought means having no thought in the midst of thought.”

Chapters: 3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

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“I realized that all things in the universe are the essence of mind itself.”

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

Themes: Mind

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“Look within! The secret is inside you.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Sacred World

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“Our very nature is buddha, and apart from this nature there is no other buddha.”

Chapters: 35. The Power of Goodness

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“The mind is very great in capacity… When we use it, we can know something of everything, and when we use it to its full capacity we shall know all. All in one and one in all.”

Chapters: 32. Uncontrived Awareness

Themes: Oneness

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“There’s never been a single thing;
Then where’s defiling dust to cling?
If you can reach the heart of this.
Why talk of transcendental bliss?”

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

Themes: Emptiness

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“Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger.”

Chapters: 64. Ordinary Mind

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“There is nothing true anywhere, the True is nowhere to be found… When the True is left to itself, there is nothing false in it for it is Mind itself.”

from Sutra of Huineng

Chapters: 40. Returning

Themes: Truth

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“There is really nothing to argue about in this teaching. Doctrines given up to controversy and argumentation lead of themselves to birth and death.”

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“Outwardly in the world of good and evil, yet without thoughts stirring the heart—this is meditation.
Inwardly seeing one's own true nature and not being distracted from it—this is meditation.”

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“Confused by thoughts, we experience duality in life. Unencumbered by ideas, the enlightened see the one Reality.”

Themes: Non-Thought

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Quotes about Huineng (1 quotes)

“a state of being where the mind knows the source of all light... the saints, the arhats, the bodhisattvas, the jivanmuktas who knew something or everything about this state of being... we wanted you to know who and what Jesus and Gautama and Lao Tzu and Shankaracharya and Huineng and Sri Ramakrishna, etc., were before you knew too much or anything about Homer or Shakespeare or even Blake or Whitman, let alone George Washington and his cherry tree... or how to parse a sentence”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from Franny and Zooey

Themes: Enlightenment

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