The Platform Sutra records the teachings of Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch, who is revered as one of the two great figures in the founding of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. This translation is the definitive English version of the eighth-century Ch'an classic.
Phillip B. Yampolsky has based his translation on the Tun-huang manuscript, the earliest extant version of the work. A critical edition of the Chinese text is given at the end of the volume.
Dr. Yampolsky also furnishes a lengthy and detailed historical introduction which contains much information hitherto unavailable even to scholars, and provides the context essential to an understanding of Hui-neng's work. He gives an account of the history and legends of Ch'an Buddhism, with particular attention to the traditions associated with Hui-neng, quoting or summarizing the most important narratives. He then discusses the various texts of the Platform Sutra, and analyzes its contents.
(This) translation of one of the most famous of all Chinese Ch'an texts is certainly the best rendition so far. Without sacrificing scholarly accuracy, Yampolsky has produced a lucid and idiomatic translation which even the layman can enjoy.
Literature East and West
Remarkable... Dr. Yampolsky's study is characterized by a clarity of presentation and a thoroughness of exploration of Chinese and Japanese sources.
Journal of Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies
- T.H. Barrett
As an initiation into the international field of foundational scholarly research on the Platform Sutra Yampolsky's detailed and illuminating introductory remarks to his carefully nnotated translation remain indispensable...
From the Publisher
Praise for the previous edition:
"[Yampolsky] has consulted a considerable amount of Chinese and Japanese material and has given us the most comprehensive and most scholarly account of the subject in English."-- Journal of the American Oriental Society
"[This] translation of one of the most famous of all Chinese Ch'an texts is certainly the best rendition so far. Without sacrificing scholarly accuracy, Yampolsky has produced a lucid and idiomatic translation which even the layman can enjoy."-- Books Abroad
"Remarkable.... Yampolsky's study is characterized by a clarity of presentation and a thoroughness of exploration of Chinese and Japanese sources."-- Philosophy East and West
"A good glossary and a valuable bibliography. The addition of the Chinese text of the Sutra (Tun-Huang version) will be particularly welcome to those who read Chinese."-- Journal of Asian Studies
Philip B. Yampolsky (1920-1996) was professor of East Asian languages and cultures and director of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University. An eminent translator and scholar of Zen Buddhist texts, he edited Letters of Nichiren and Selected Writings of Nichiren and translated The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings.
Morten Schlütter is an associate professor at the University of Iowa. He is the author of How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute Over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China and coeditor, with Stephen F. Teiser, of Readings of the Platform Sutra.
Foreword to the Reprint Edition by Morten SchlütterForeword by Wm. Theodore de BaryPrefaceAbbreviationsIntroduction: Ch'an in the Eighth Century
II. The Birth of a Patriarch: Biography of Hui-nengIII. The Making of a Book: The Platform SutraIV. Content AnalysisThe Platform Sutra of the Sixth PatriarchGlossaryBibliographyIndexThe Tun-huang TextTables1. The Twenty-eight Indian Patriarchs2. The Last Indian Patriarchs