Absence of Thought, by Shen-Hui

The eleven-headed form of the bodhisattva Kannon. © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtTo see the absence of thought is to have the six sense organs without stain. To see the absence of thought is to possess a knowledge inclined towards the Buddha. To see the absence of thought is to see things as they really are. To see the absence of thought is the Middle Way in its ultimate sense. To see the absence of thought is to see merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges fully present in the moment. To see the absence of thought is to master all the dharmas. To see the absence of thought is to embrace all the dharmas.

For other teachings by Shen-Hui click here.


But for Shen-Hui Zen, as we know it today, would probably be quite different. He was one of the main students of the famous sixth patriarch Hui-neng. However, what is not very well known is that after Hui-neng’s death, the Zen patriarchship first pasted to the leader of the ‘gradual’ school of Zen Shen-hsiu. Shen-Hui went to the Chinese court and made the case for Hui-neng and the teaching of sudden awakening, and after many years had Hui-neng recognised as the sixth patriarch.

First published in the June 1989 Buddhism Now



Categories: Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Chan / Seon / Zen, Encyclopedia, History

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. To see the absence of thought is to master all the dharmas. To see the absence of thought is to embrace all the dharmas.

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