The On The Mind Of Impurities Essays

1074 Words Apr 15th, 2016 null Page
Also in the teachings of Shenxiu, the process of cleansing the mind of impurities is a major part of “sudden enlightenment” as the way to achieve a realization of the Pure Mind. In the Platform Sutra, the argument against Shenxiu by Shenhui (and the other followers of the Southern School) often accused Shenxiu of promoting “gradual enlightenment” through a misinterpretation of certain texts. For instance, Shenxiu is seen as being in a “competition” with Huineng as the “heir” to Hongren, which defines the simple poetics of his intention to fulfill the role as an authentic successor to the former master:
"Then the head monk Shenxiu, at midnight, holding a candle, wrote a verse on the central section of the south corridor, without anyone else knowing about it. The verse read: The body is the Bodhi tree,/The mind is like a clear mirror./At all times we must strive to polish it, And must not let the dust collect (Yampolsky 130).
In this controversial passage, Shenxiu is not actually stating that the process of enlightenment is gradual in the contemplation of the mind, but it is the “constant” state of polishing the mirror that will eventually illuminate the Pure Mind or, potentially, a state of Nirvana in cleansing the mind of impurities. Although it has been assumed (by Shenhui) that Shenxiu is arguing in favor of gradual enlightenment, the focus on Hongren’s continual process of cultivating the mind is how this text should be perceived. Therefore, the process of cultivating…

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