The general and the master: The subtext of the philosophy of emotion and its relationship to obtaining enlightenment in the Platform Sutra

Robert Allinson
Soka University
Examining the significance of the General’s enlightenment in the Platform Sutra, this article clarifies the fundamental role that emotions play in the development of one’s spiritual understanding. In order to do so, this article emphasizes that the way to enlightenment implicit in the story of the General and the Master involves first granting negative emotions a means for productive expression. By acting as a preparatory measure for calming the mind and surrendering control over it, human passions become a necessary, antecedent condition to wisdom—a conclusion that this article argues is a major, and sometimes underappreciated, lesson embedded in the teachings of the Sixth Patriarch.
Keywords Platform Sutra  Buddhist Philosophy  The General and the Master  Philosophy of Emotions  Hui Neng  The Sixth Patriarch  Buddhist Philosophy  Chan Buddhism
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