Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thought without support - Platform Sutra of Sixth Patriarch

**** Text and commentary from Platform Sutra translated by Buddhist Text Translation Society *****

Once a customer bought firewood and ordered it
delivered to his shop. When the delivery had been made,
and Hui Neng had received the money, he went outside
the gate, where he noticed a customer reciting a Sutra.
Upon once hearing the words of this Sutra: “One should
produce that thought which is nowhere supported.” Hui
Neng’s mind immediately opened to enlightenment.

Because the Sixth Patriarch’s family was poor, he received
little formal schooling and could not read. At that time in China
one needed money to go to school. But in spite of his illiteracy,
the Sixth Patriarch’s disposition was extremely sharp; and as
soon as he heard the line of the Sutra which says that one should
have a true mind which is nowhere attached,
he immediately
became enlightened. He understood what he had never
understood before.

Many will hear the sentence; “One should produce that
thought which is nowhere supported.” Are there any who will
open to enlightenment?

Someone exclaims, “Why, I have!”

I ask you, what is the enlightenment you have opened? What
is the enlightenment unopened? Ask yourself.


  1. Myochi,

    My initial response to the statement "One should produce that thought which is nowhere supported" is HUH? Seriously. I don't quite get it. Maybe it is not meant to be "gotten with the mind and that is part of my issue--not sure. But the word "should" gets me, and then my next line of thought is that if a thought is "nowhere supported", ie not in alignment with the all-that-is-or-ever-was, then how is it the path to enlightenment. But as I write this there is a glimmer of something akin to clarity--maybe "not supported" is the same thing as absolute neutrality, which is state of nonreaction, which is present with enlightenment????

    Anyway, reading the last few lines of your post, your questions, had me moving into some sweet spots internally. I thank you for this.

    And thanks a bunch for the kind birthday wishes!

    With Metta,


  2. Hi MyoChi, I noticed something here, a lovely definition for enlightenment, it is in this quote "..he immediately became enlightened. He understood what he had never understood before." It really is personal and it really is a bit at a time.

    Also, "a true mind" , I love that, one that is free to connect with who we are without the body.

    Thank you. Anne

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