The Heritage of Tao (3) … continued
By the time Hui-neng became the Sixth Patriarch, the minds of the
Buddhist monks had changed. Some were jealous of not being
chosen to be the next Patriarch and intended to take insignia away
from Hui-neng. Hui-neng had to leave the temple and hide among
a group of hunters for fifteen years. He stopped the tradition of
passing the insignia as instructed by the Fifth Patriarch Hong-ren.
He transmitted the essence of Tao to two secular devotees of Tao,
Patriarchs Bai Yu-Chan and Ma Duan-yang, who together held the
Seventh Patriarchate of Tao. Without the Patriarchate of Tao,
Buddhism separated into two mainstreams of the North and the
South in China. Unknown to all, the Heritage of Tao was carried
on by secular devotees of Tao.
Although these secular devotees of Tao continued the mission of
spreading Tao, they were all commoners and were not noticed by
the public. Hence, there wasn’t any record on their lives and works.
After the Seventh Patriarchs, there were the Eighth Patriarch Luo
Wei-Qun, the Ninth Patriarch Huang De-Hui, the Tenth Patriarch
Wu Zi-Xiang, the 11th Patriarch He Liao-Ku, the 12th Patriarch
Yuan Tui-An, the 13th Patriarchs Xu Huan-Wu and Yang Huan-Xu,
the 14th Patriarch Yao He-Tien, the 15th Patriarch Wang Jue-I, and
the 16th Patriarch Liu Hua-Pu.
By the time Patriarch Liu Hua-Pu received Tien-Ming,1 it was near
the end of the Wu Phase and the Red Yang Period.31 When Patriarch
Lu Zhong-I32 received Tien-Ming, it was the beginning of the transition
from the Red Yang Period to the White Yang Period. The essence of
Tao, which had been secretly passed among the Patriarchs with great
difficulties, was made available to everyone. It is time in this Cycle
of Heaven and Earth that mankind must return to God’s kingdom.
The Eighteenth Patriarchs Zhang Tien-Ran and Sun Hui-Min33 were
given the mission by God to transmit Tien-Tao to all souls in this
world, and those in Qi-tien9,12 and in Hell. For mankind, this is
“the Final Judgment”. All religions must return to Tao. That is
why the true essence of Tao is kept with secular devotees of Tao.
That is God’s will and is not the work of any human being. These
eighteen generations of Patriarchate are called the Last Eighteen
Patriarchs of Tao in the East.
This is a short introduction of how the generations of Saints,
by carrying on the previous generations and inspiring the later
generations so that the Heritage is continued, passed on the
Heritage of Tao. As we can see, these Saints came to this world
as kings, scholars and commoners to fulfill their missions. In the
Green Yang Period (before Zhou Dynasty), rulers could lead people
by God’s will, so the Saints descended as kings and emperors to carry
on the Heritage of Tao. In the Red Yang Period (beginning from Zhou
Dynasty), rulers could not lead people anymore, so Saints descended
as scholars to carry on the Heritage of Tao. As the influences of
religions weakened, the Saints descended as secular devotees of
Tao to maintain the Heritage of Tao. Now that the Last Catastrophe
of the White Yang Period is drawing near, ethics and morality has
deteriorated to extremity. As a result, many catastrophes have
occurred and in order to save all souls, Tao is made available to all.
After one receives Tien-Tao, he has the chance to become a Buddha
after the Final Catastrophe of the White Yang Period.