The Mind Verses Competition

One of the founding myths of the Zen school in China is the mind verses competition between Shen-hsiu and Hui-neng, the sixth patriarch. In the story, the fifth patriarch Hung-jen asks his senior students to write a verse to demonstrate their understanding of Buddhism. Hui-neng, who is an illiterate labourer in the monastery, hears Shen-hsui’s verse and writes his own, which the fifth patriarch secretly approves and gives him the transmission