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Barbara O’Brien writes about Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism

The influence of the Chinese master Huineng (638-713), the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an (Zen), resonates through Ch’an and Zen Buddhism to this day. Some consider Huineng, not Bodhidharma, to be the true father of Zen. His tenure, at the beginning of the T’ang Dynasty, marks the beginning of what is still called the “golden age” of Zen.

Huineng stands at the juncture where Zen shed its vestigial Indian trappings and found its unique spirit — direct and unflinching. Through Huineng flow the several diverse currents of early Zen. From him flow all schools of Zen that exist today. …

Huineng – Huineng Was the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism