Rokusodankyo (Platform Sutra) (六祖壇経)

The rokusodankyo (Platform Sutra) is one of the Buddhist scriptures and is a collection of preaching by Eno, the rokuso (sixth leader) of the Chinese Zen sect. It is one of the fundamental scriptures of the Zen sect. The oldest copy is called "南宗頓教最上大乘摩訶般若波羅蜜經六祖惠能大師於韶州大梵寺施法壇經". The rokusodankyo is also called "Rokusodaishi Hobodangyo" (the platform sutra of the sixth patriarch) or simply "Dankyo" (platform sutra).

The main contents are of the preaching at Daibon-ji Temple performed in response to a request of the provincial governor Ikyo at the beginning of the period of Tang Dynasty in China. Hokai, an apprentice to Eno, wrote them down.

In 967, in the Sung Period in China, Ekin organized the text and divided it into two volumes, of which both have been read widely. The whole book was divided into 11 chapters.

Volume One
Setsu denkozangehotsuganmon
Setsu Ittaisanshinbutsusomon
Volume Two
Setsu makahannyaharamimon
Mondokudoku oyobi seihosojomon
It is likely that it was divided into two volumes more from considerations relating to the amount of material than any stylistic reason.

Engiseppomon' relates the background of the preaching. Gohodenimon' is a brief biography of Eno as an introduction to his preaching. Chapters from this point to 'Mondokudoku oyobi seihosojomon' are devoted to preaching. When Eno finished preaching, he returned from Daibon-ji Temple to Horin-ji Temple on Mt. Sokei. The chapters following 'Shoshunanmonmon' contain records of conversations between Eno and his apprentices. This book concludes with the death of Eno.

The primary theme of the "Dankyo" is "Kenshojobutsu"
The episode of Eno becoming rokuso is interesting. Responding to the question posed to Goso Konin (fifth leader Konin)'s apprentices, the leading apprentice Shenxiu wrote a poem on a new white wall including the phrase "Bakushisenjinai" (do not let it be in the dust). When Eno, who was a footman and was not literate at that time, heard the phrase, he asked someone to write his poem next to the apprentice's. The poem contains the phrase "何処有塵埃" (where is the dust?).
government led people to deprive the Buddhist force, which had significantly affected them until that time,
It is generally thought that the person does not bother about dust any more. But Eno thought that a person in this situation would still have a consciousness of dust in their mind. Nanpozen (Southern Zen) which preaches tongozen (zen of sudden enlightenment) is based on the doctrine of the "Rokusodankyo". To realize this is the Kenshojobutsu. One idea suggests that various dirtiness exists only as a symptom of delusion, and that without that delusion the world of Buddha can be found. This idea is clearly laid out in "Dankyo", although with a proviso of being compared with other Chinese Zen books.

Nanpozen (the southern part of China that practices Zen Buddhism), in which tongozen (zen of sudden enlightenment) is preached, has as its foundation the doctrine of the "Rokusodankyo". However, it is believed that Kataku Jinne, an apprentice to Eno, compiled the records of Eno's preaching "Rokusodankyo" based on the religious doctrine. It impacted the growth of the Zen sect later on to a considerable degree.

Propagation and influence
Some people have reservations about the creation of the "Dankyo"
Dogen said that it was an apocryphal book.

At the same time that the "Dankyo" was made, Hui-chung, an apprentice to Eno, had already expressed resentment, saying that the "Dankyo" was corrupted. The modifier may have been Kataku Jinne. Jinne tried to follow the teachings of Eno even after his death. He propagated the Nanpozen over the Hoppozen (Northern Zen) lead by Shenxiu.

As "Dankyo" was passed down by generations of priest masters as evidence of shiho (to inherit the Dharma from a priest master), it was not public. However, it spread publicly after the ninth century.

Existing copies can be divided into two main branches, books excavated in Dun Huang and books compiled by Ekin. The Dun Huang version is older but there is an opinion that the Ekin version is superior in regard to content. There is still difference of opinion as to which is truer to the original form. There is also the view that the former is compiled by the member of the Kataku school and the latter by the Koshu school.

It is written as "六祖大師法寶壇經" in Chinese. The English name is Platform Sutra. It was translated into English by Philip Yampolsky.

[Original Japanese]