Legend of Dajian Huineng

This is a film from China about the life of the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, Dajian Huineng whose Platform Sūtra is one of the central texts of the Zen tradition.

The film is basically in two sections. The first part follows the story as related by Huineng in the sūtra, and tells of his birth, upbringing, and coming into contact with Dharma.

Soon afterwards he travelled to meet with the 5th Patriarch, Daman Hongren, who according to tradition then chose Dajian Huineng over his expected successor, Heze Shenhui, as the next lineage holder.

The second half of the film seems to be based on an elaboration of just one paragraph in the sūtra where Huineng says that he lived amongst hunters for 15 years, but setting the trapped animals free, and serving vegetarian food.

I do not know what the source is for the long story in the film, or if they have added it themselves, but this part of the film seems a little confused (or confusing) in its editing, and has poor sound quality occasionally.

We do get some of the teachings of the patriarch included in the film, but it is mainly in the course of telling his life story, and not too didactic.


Wang Zheng
Zhangli Daier
Ren Yi
Zhou Yuhua