This anthology of secondary readings of The Platform Sutra is designed to introduce the undergraduate to one of the most popular and influential Chan (Zen) Buddhist texts. The sutra purportedly contains the teachings of Huineng (638-713), the sixth patriarch of China and the father of the Chan movement. Though recent research suggests that the work has little connection to Huineng, it does date to the eighth century and has had enduring popularity among monastics and the educated elite.
Essays in the book include an overview of Chan Buddhism in China, the importance of The Platform Sutra to the tradition, the figure of Huineng, key concepts in Chan, philosophical ideas in the Platform text, transmission of the tradition, religious ordination and precepts, and the role of The Platform Sutra in the broader context of non-Buddhist Chinese thought. The editors and contributors, including Peter Gregory and Wendi Adamek, are among the most well-respected scholars of Buddhism today. A character glossary and bibliography complete the volume.