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"Can you let us know for how many generations the Dharma has been transmitted, from the appearance of the earliest Buddha up to now?" asked the disciples.
"The Buddhas who have appeared in this world are too many to be counted," replied the Patriarch. "But let us start from the last seven Buddhas. They are:--
Of the last Kalpa, the Alamkarakalpa: Buddha Vipassin, Buddha Sikhin, Buddha Vessabhu.
Of the present Kalpa (the Bhadrakalpa): Buddha Kakusundha, Buddha Konagamana, Buddha Kassapa, Buddha Gautama (Sakyamuni).
"From the Buddha Sakyamuni, the Law was transmitted to the:
1st Patriarch Arya Mahakasyapa (It was then in turn transmitted to)
2nd Patriarch Arya Ananda
3rd Patriarch Arya Sanavasa
4th Patriarch Arya Upagupta
5th Patriarch Arya Dhritaka
6th Patriarch Arya Michaka
7th Patriarch Arya Vasumitra
8th Patriarch Arya Buddhanandi
9th Patriarch Arya Buddhamitra
10th Patriarch Arya Parsva
11th Patriarch Arya Punyayasas
12th Patriarch Bodhisattva Asvaghosa
13th Patriarch Arya Kapimala
14th Patriarch Bodhisattva Nagarjuna
15th Patriarch Kanadeva
16th Patriarch Arya Rahulata
17th Patriarch Arya Sanghanandi
18th Patriarch Arya Sangayasas
19th Patriarch Arya Kumarata
20th Patriarch Arya Jayata
21st Patriarch Arya Vasubandhu
22nd Patriarch Arya Manura
23rd Patriarch Arya Haklenayasas
24th Patriarch Arya Sinha
25th Patriarch Arya Vasiastia
26th Patriarch Arya Punyamitra
27th Patriarch Arya Prajnatara
28th Patriarch Arya Bodhidharma (the first Patriarch in China)
29th Patriarch Grand Master Hui Ke
30th Patriarch Grand Master Seng Can
31st Patriarch Grand Master Dao Xin
32nd Patriarch Grand Master Hung Ren
And I am the 33rd Patriarch (i.e.,the 6th Patriarch in China). Thus, by pupillary, the Dharma was handed down from one Patriarch to another.
Hereafter, you men should in turn transmit it to posterity by passing it on from one generation to another, so that the tradition may be maintained.
Text Translation: Dunhuang Version Zongbao / Yuan-Ming Version: 1 2 3 4
Articles: 1 2 3
"In the functioning of the Essence of Mind and in conversation with others, outwardly we should free ourselves from attachment to objects, whence come contact with objects; and inwardly, with regard to the teaching of the 'Void,' we should free ourselves from the idea of Nihilism. To believe in the reality of objects or in Nihilism would result in deep-rooted fallacious views or intensified ignorance respectively.
"A bigoted believer in Nihilism blasphemes against the Sutras on the ground that literature (i.e., the Buddhist Scriptures) is unnecessary (for the study of Buddhism).
If that were so, then neither would it be right for us to speak, since speech forms the substance of literature. He would also argue that in the direct method (literally, the straight Path) literature is discarded. But does he appreciate that the two words 'is discarded' are also literature? Upon hearing others speak of Sutras, such a man would criticize the speakers as 'addicted to scriptural authority'. It is bad enough for him to confine this mistaken notion to himself, but in addition, he blasphemes against the Buddhist scriptures. You men should know that it is a serious offence to speak ill of the Sutras, for the consequence is grave indeed!
"He who believes in the reality of outward objects tries to seek the form (from without) by practicing a certain system of doctrine. He may furnish spacious lecture-halls for the discussion of Realism or Nihilism, but such a man will not for numerous Kalpas realize the Essence of Mind.
Chapter X. His Final Instructions
Today, the 27th March 2015, 8th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month, Upavasatha Day, the Chinese Mahayana Tradition commemorates the Sixth Patriarch of Chán, Dàjiàn Huìnéng