The Life of the Sixth Patriarch and our Assumptions about Practice Barry Magid May 20th 2017

In the life of the sixth patriarch we have an idealized or perhaps entirely fictional account of a Zen teacher. Whether or not it is fictional, what is true is that we are presented with the qualities that were idealized. This is the kind of story that people wanted to tell and believe in in terms of what they thought a Zen master in China in those days would have been like. Such images often contain metaphors for whatever state we imagine awakening is. They're important to study not because we're going to acquire these traits, but because they embody our assumptions about what does at teacher look like, what will enlightenment be like, what we expect of ourselves.

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