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First Zen Patriarch Ma-Ha Ca-Diếp

The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch

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Fourteenth Zen Patriarch BODHISATTVA LONG THỌ

Zen, traced to the ancient teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, took root in China via India around 1,500 years ago through the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma. Spread there by the priest Linji Yixuan (Rinzai Gigen, died 867), it was transmitted to Japan in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) and patronized by the elites — imperial family, nobility and warrior class.

I’m not a Buddhist so much as a spiritual mystic who happens to follow the path described by the Buddha, as passed through the Zen patriarchs down through the ages.

Fifthteen Zen Patriarch Ca-Na-Đề-Bà

Do you want to know the interesting stories of the spiritual practice of the Twenty-Sixth Zen Patriarch Punyamitra and the Twenty-Seventh Patriarch Prajñātāra? They are fellow practitioners up there, and both could teach Prajna Paramita and sutras, but why was one of them born in royal palace while the other lived on mendicancy? Do you want to know why the Twenty-Seventh Patriarch remembered the past life affinity with the Twenty-Sixth Patriarch? Please listen to the wonderful lecture by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Without enlightened Master and spiritual practice, even bodhisattvas had to only stay in the circle of life and death. That's why since the ancient times, the appearance of Bodhisattvas look the same as most of us. But in fact they are different, different yet same, because they are the same if they do not practice spiritually. Therefore they should practice, and should meet enlightened Master and get the key so as to become saints. They need to practice for a very long time to inherit the lineage. Saints are still like this, so we ordinary people should try even harder.

Sixthteen Zen Patriarch La-Hầu-Đa-La

Today, ink monochrome painting is the art form most closely associated with Zen Buddhism. In general, the first Japanese artists to work in this medium were Zen monks who painted in a quick and evocative manner to express their religious views and personal convictions. Their preferred subjects were Zen patriarchs, teachers, and enlightened individuals. In time, however, artists moved on to secular themes such as bamboo, flowering plums, orchids, and birds, which in China were endowed with scholarly symbolism. The range of subject matter eventually broadened to include literary figures and landscapes, and the painting styles often became more important than personal expression.

Today, ink monochrome painting is the art form most closely associated with Zen Buddhism. In general, the first Japanese artists to work in this medium were Zen monks who painted in a quick and evocative manner to express their religious views and personal convictions. Their preferred subjects were Zen patriarchs, teachers, and enlightened individuals. In time, however, artists moved on to secular themes such as bamboo, flowering plums, orchids, and birds, which in China were endowed with scholarly symbolism. The range of subject matter eventually broadened to include literary figures and landscapes, and the painting styles often became more important than personal expression.