Han-Shan and Shr-De (Bodhisattvas) (fl. 627-649)

Bodhisattva Han Shan

"No one knows what sort of man Han-shan was. There are old people who knew him: they say he was a poor man, a crazy character. He lived alone seventy li west of the T'ang-hsing district of T'ien-t'ai at a place called Cold Mountain. He often went down to the Kuo-ch'ing Temple. At the temple lived Shih-te, who ran the dining hall. He sometimes saved leftovers for Han-shan, hiding them in a bamboo tube. Han-shan would come and carry it away; walking the long veranda, calling and shouting happily, talking and laughing to himself. Once the monks followed him, caught him, and made fun of him. He stopped, clapped his hands, and laughed greatly--Ha Ha!--for a spell, then left.

"He looked like a tramp. His body and face were old and beat. Yet in every word he breathed was a meaning in line with the subtle principles of things, if you only thought of it deeply. Everything he did had a feeling of the Tao in it, profound and arcane secrets. His hat was made of birch bark, his clothes were ragged and worn out, and his shoes were wood. Thus men who have made it hide their tracks: unifying categories and interpenetrating things. On that long veranda calling and singing, in his words of reply--Ha Ha!--the three worlds revolve. Sometimes at the villages and farms he laughed and sang with cowherds. Sometimes intractable, sometimes agreeable, his nature was happy of itself. But how could a person without wisdom recognize him?

"I once received a position as a petty official at Tan-ch'iu. The day I was to depart I had a bad headache. I called a doctor, but he couldn't cure me and it turned worse. Then I met a Buddhist Master named Feng-kan, who said he came from the Kuo-ch'ing Temple of T'ien-t'ai especially to visit me. I asked him to rescue me from my illness. He smiled and said, 'The four realms are within my body; sickness comes from illusion. If you want to do away with it, you need pure water.' Someone brought water to the Master, who spat it on me. In a moment the disease was rooted out. He then said, 'There are miasmas in T'ai prefecture, when you get there take care of yourself.' I asked him, 'Are there any wise men in you area I could look on as Master?' He replied, 'When you see him you don't recognize him, when you recognize him you don't see him. If you want to see him, you can't rely on appearances. Then you can see him. Han-shan is a Manjusri hiding at Kuo-ch'ing. Shih-te is a Samantabhadra. They look like poor fellows and act like madmen. Sometimes they go and sometimes they come. They work in the kitchen of the Kuo-ch'ing dining hall, tending the fire.' When he was done talking he left.

"I proceeded on my journey to my job at T'ai-chou, not forgetting this affair. I arrived three days later, immediately went to a temple, and questioned an old monk. It seemed the Master had been truthful, so I gave orders to see if T'ang-hsing really contained a Han-shan and Shih-te. The District Magistrate reported to me: 'In this district, seventy li west, is a mountain. People used to see a poor man heading from the cliffs to stay awhile at Kuo-ch'ing. At the temple dining hall is a similar man named Shih-te.' I made a bow and went to Kuo-ch'ing. I asked some people around the temple, 'There used to be a Master named Feng-kan here. Where is his place? And where can Han-shan and Shih-te be seen?' A monk named Tao-ch'iao spoke up: 'Feng-kan the Master lived in

Bodhisattva Shr-De

back of the library. Nowadays nobody lives there; a tiger often comes and roars. Han-shan and Shih-te are in the kitchen.' The monk led me to Feng-kan's yard. Then he opened the gate: all we saw was tiger tracks. I asked the monks Tao-ch'iao and Pao-te, 'When Feng-kan was here, what was his job?' The monks said, 'He pounded and hulled rice. At night he sang songs to amuse himself.' Then we went to the kitchen before the stoves. Two men were facing the fire, laughing loudly. I made a bow. The two shouted HO! at me. They struck their hands together--Ha Ha!--great laughter. They shouted. Then they said, 'Feng-kan--loose-tongued, loose-tongued. You don't recognize Amitabha, why be courteous to us?' The monks gathered round, surprise going through them. 'Why has a big official bowed to a pair of clowns?' The two men grabbed hands and ran out of the temple. I cried, 'Catch them'--but they quickly ran away. Han-shan returned to Cold Mountain. I asked the monks, 'Would those two men be willing to settle down at this temple?' I ordered them to find a house, and to ask Han-shan and Shih-te to return and live at the temple.

"I returned to my district and had two sets of clean clothes made, got some incense and such and sent it to the temple--but the two men didn't return. So I had it carried up to Cold Mountain. The packer saw Han-shan, who called out in a loud voice, 'Thief! Thief!' and retreated into a mountain cave. He shouted, 'I tell you man, strive hard!'--entered the cave and was gone. The cave closed of itself and they weren't able to follow. Shih-te's tracks disappeared completely.

"I ordered Tao-ch'iao and the other monks to find out how they had lived, to hunt up the poems written on bamboo, wood, stones, and cliffs--and also to collect those written on the walls of people's houses. There were more than three hundred. On the wall of the Earth-shrine Shih-te had written some gatha. It was all brought together and made into a book.

"I hold to the principle of the Buddha-mind. It is fortunate to meet with men of Tao, so I have made this eulogy."

Lu Ch'iu-Yin, Governor of T'ai Prefecture (Snyder, tr.)

The place where I spend my days
Is farther away than I can tell.
Without a word the wild vines stir,
No fog, yet the bamboos are always dark.
Who do the valleys sob for?
Why do the mists huddle together?
At noon, sitting in my hut
I realize for the first time that the sun has risen.
Han Shan

Have I a body or have I none?
Am I who I am or am I not?
Pondering these questions,
I sit leaning against the cliff as the years go by,
Till the green grass grows between my feet
And the red dust settles on my head,
And the men of the world, thinking me dead,
Come with offerings of wine and fruit to lay by my corpse.
Han Shan (Watson, tr. p. 114)

1) Ch. han shan , shr de , 4) Alternate translations of their names: Cold Mountain and Pick Up.

BTTS References: UW 139-141; VBS #27 p. 1, #17, p. 37, #28, p. 1, #60 ("Poetry of Shih-Te" by James M. Hargett), #200, p. 11.

Heart Sutra

The full title is Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra.

Considered the most popular Sutra in the world today, the Heart Sutra explains the meaning of prajna paramita, the perfection of wisdom that enables one to perceive clearly the emptiness of self and of all phenomena. The Heart Sutra is the heart of the perfection of wisdom; it is also the heart of the entire family of prajna-paramita sutras.

1) Ch. bwo rwo bwo lwo mi dwo syin jing , 2) Skt. prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra.

See also: sutra, emptiness.

BTTS References: HS.


See shravaka.


The heavens are the dwelling places of the gods. See gods.


With each cry, in hell there is a small dark room.

(FAS-VP 24)

The hells' anxiety and suffering

Is devoid of doors, yet one bores right in.

Giving rise to delusion, deeds are done.

The retribution is borne in due accord.

(TD 52)

"The term 'hell' is a translation of two Chinese characters which literally mean 'ground prison'. Just as there are prisons made by governments to punish offenders in the human realm, so too are there prisons in the shadowy places within the ground. Those prisons, or hell, differ from those among human beings in that they are not prepared by a governmental authority to await the arrival of criminals. The hells have no concrete form, only names. When a being is due to fall into one, however, it is manifested as a result of that being's powerful karma." (SPV 141)

Within the three seas are hundreds of thousands of great hells, each one different. There are eighteen that are specifically known as great hells. In succession there are five hundred with unlimited cruel sufferings, and further there are over one hundred thousand with limitless sufferings. (SPV 84-85)

"The word 'sea' represents a large quantity and does not necessarily denote an actual body of water. Here it symbolizes the powerful karma of living beings, as vast as a boundless sea. The three seas represent the deeds done by the bodies, mouths, and minds of living beings.

"There are hundreds of thousands of then thousands of hells, each one with its own attributes, each hell corresponding to an evil deed done by a living being. Hells are not prepared before living beings fall into them; rather they are manifestations of the various particular karmas of beings. Whatever evil deed a being has done elicits a corresponding hell.

"For example, in the roasting hell there is a large hollow brass pillar full of fire. Those guilty of sexual misconduct fall into this hell and see the roasting pillar as a person. Men, for example, see it as a beautiful woman who they rush to embrace, only to find themselves burned so badly that they cannot pull their seared flesh away from the pillar. A woman sees the pillar as her most beloved partner in life and rushes to him only to be seared to death.

"As soon as death occurs in the roasting hell, a wind called the 'Clever Breeze', a wonderful dharma, blows and revives the dead, who then forget the painful consequences of their behavior, recalling only its pleasurable aspects. Driven by this memory, they rush to the pillar again, only to find the cycle repeated. The roasting hell is only one of the many hells, and each one is unique. Eighteen are called great, and within each of these eighteen there are eighteen subsections." (SPV 85-86)


1) Ch. di yu , 2) Skt. naraka, 3) Pali naraka, 4) Alternate Translations: purgatory, a place of torment for the deceased.

See also: Six Paths of Rebirth.

BTTS References: SPV 84-6, 141-3; TD 52-54; FAS-VP 24; SS VII 128-155.


See Mahayana and Hinayana Compared.

hungry ghosts

See also: ghosts, Six Paths of Rebirth.

Huayan School

A school of Mahayana Buddhism founded in China, based on the teachings of the Flower Adornment Sutra (see entry). Hwa-Yan means 'Flower Adornment' and is the standard Chinese translation of the Sanskrit avatamsaka. The school is also often referred to as the Syan-Shou School after its influential third patriarch (see below).

The Venerable Master Du-Shwun (557-640) is traditionally regarded as the first patriarch of the school. The second patriarch was the Venerable Jr-Yan (602-668), the third, Fa-dzang (643-712), the fourth Ching-lyang Cheng-Gwan (738-838?)(see entry), and the fifth, Dzung-Mi (780-841), who was also a Chan Master in the lineage of Chan Master Shen-Hwei.

In addition to its propagation of the fundamental teachings of the Flower Adornment Sutra, the school is best known for : 1) its system of analysis of the Buddha's teachings (pan-jyau-see Ranking the Teachings) which was developed by the school's third patriarch, the Venerable Fa-Dzang, and 2) its system for lecturing on Buddhist sutras, called the Ten Doors of the Syan-Shou School.


1) Ch. hwa-yan dzung [Jap. Kegon].

See also: Flower Adornment Sutra, Ching-Lyang (National Master).

BTTS References: FAS-P.

Huineng (Chan Master/Patriarch) (638-713)

The Great Master was named Hwei-Neng. His father was of the Lu family and had the personal name Sying-Tau. His mother was of the Li family. The Master was born on the eighth day of the second month of the year Wu-Syu. in the twelfth year of the Jen-Gwang reign of the Tang Dynasty (AD 638).

At that time, a beam of light ascended into space and a strange fragrance filled the room. At dawn, two strange Bhikshus came to visit. They addressed the Master's father saying, 'Last night a son was born to you and we have come to name him. It can be Hwei above and below, Neng.'

The father said, 'Why shall he be called Hwei-Neng?'

The monk said, '"Hwei" means he will bestow the Dharma upon living beings. "Neng" means he will be able to do the Buddha's work.' Having said this, they left. No one knows where they went.

The Master did not drink milk. At night, spirits appeared and poured sweet dew over him.

He grew up, and at the age of twenty-three, he heard the Sutra and awoke to the Way. He went to Hwang-Mei to seek the seal of approval. The Fifth Patriarch measured his capacity and transmitted the robe and Dharma so that he inherited the Patriarchate. The time was the first year of the reign period Lung-Shwo, cyclical year Syin-You (AD 661).

He returned south and hid for sixteen years.

On the eighth day of the first month of the first year of the reign period Yi-Feng (AD 676), the cyclical year Bing-Dzu, he met with Dharma Master Yin-Dzung. Together they discussed the profound and mysterious, and Yin-Dzung became awakened to and united with the Master's doctrine.

On the fifteenth day of that month, at a meeting of all the four assemblies, the Master's head was shaved. On the eighth day of the second month, all those of well-known virtue gathered together to administer [to him] the complete precepts. . . .

In the spring of the following year, the Master took leave of the assembly and returned to Bau-Lin. Yin-Dzung, together with more than a thousand black-robed monks with white-robed layfolk, accompanied him directly to Tsau-Syi. (PS 24-28)

What is preserved of the Sixth Patriarch's teachings at Bau-Lin in Tsau-Syi, the present northern Gwangdung Province, is contained in the Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra (see entry).

On the third day of the eighth month of the year Gwei-chou, the second year of the Syin-Tyan reign (AD 713), after a meal in Gwo-En Temple, the Master said, 'Each of you take your seat, for I am going to say goodbye. . . . [After giving final instructions to his disciples], the Master sat upright until the third watch, when suddenly he said to his disciples, 'I am going!; In an instant he changed, and a rare fragrance filled the room. A white rainbow linked with the earth, and the trees in the wood turned white. The birds and beasts cried out in sorrow. . . .

The Master's springs and autumns were seventy-six. The robe was transmitted to him when he was twenty-four and when he was thirty-nine his hair was cut. For thirty-seven years he spoke Dharma to benefit living beings. Forty-three men inherited his Dharma, and an uncountable number awoke to the Way and overstepped the common lot. . . . (PS 305-314)


1) Ch. hwei-neng .

See also: Chan School, Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra.

BTTS References: PS; VBS #174, p. 1.