Huike (487–593; 神光慧可 Shenguang Huike; 大祖慧可 Dazu Huike; 慧可大师 Huike dashi; pinyin: Dàzǔ Huìkě; Wade–Giles: Ta-tsu Hui-k'o; Japanese pronunciation: Taiso Eka) was a student of Bodhidharma's and the Second Chinese Patriarch of Chan. While Bodhidharma's following was relatively small, Huike seems to have had a large number of students of both meditation and sutra study.
Record of Huike's Teaching - from the Record of the Masters and Disciples of the Lankavataran (J.C. Cleary trans.)
Traditionally, Huike hailed from Wulao City in northern Henan. He entered monastic life at Dragon Gate Monastery on Fragrant Mountain in Luoyang. There he studied under a Zen Master named Baojing. When he learned about Master Bodhidharma, he went to meet him on Mt. Song, and stayed as his disciple for six years. After leaving the Luoyang region with his teacher and heading southeast toward the lower Yangtse, Huike settled on his own on Priest of the Sky (Sikong) Mountain. Huike eventually traveled north and west to the new capital of the Eastern Wei Dynasty called Ye (in modern Hebei Province). There he taught publicly and gained a circle of devoted followers. Legend holds that he also intermingled with lay society, including visits to wine-houses and brothels. He was sometimes seen living as a household servant.
Huike's legacy in the Zen canon can be taken as an allegory for the persecution that Buddhist sects received, or for the sectarian conflict between schools. In one account, Huike gave a Dharma talk outside of a temple while another lecture was going on inside, and a large crowd was drawn to hear him. He soon found himself resented and criticized by other religious teachers, and near the end of his life was condemned and persecuted by the local government. Later masters called it the “payment of a karmic debt” and Master Huike was said to bear his adversity with profound equanimity. In some accounts, Huike was either executed or became the victim of vigilante justice at the hands of sectarians.
According to Daoxuan's biography of Fachong (and contrary to the traditional account of Huike dying after his school and teaching were persecuted), Huike had a great number of disciples. At the time of his teaching, Huike's school was known as the Lankavatara School, and their influence was said to only have grown up until the time of Daoxuan.
Fachong learned the Lankavatara Sutra from a monk in the line of Huike. Afterwards, one more monk who was believed to have received direct transmission from Huike instructed Fachong in the Lankavatara teaching on the basis of the “One-vehicle School [or Principle] of South India” (Nan Tianzhu yicheng zong 南天竺一乘宗). After becoming an independent monk, Fachong also concentrated on the Lankavatara Sutra. He is said to have lectured nearly two hundred times on this abstruse text… Daoxuan composed a separate biography for Fachong mainly as a response to the increasing influence of a group of monks associated with the Lankavatara Sutra… (Jinhua Chen)
From Daoxuan's biography of Fachong:
Now, let [me] narrate the lineage in order to show that the study passed on through the transmission had a clear and unmistakable basis. After Meditation Master [Bodhi]dharma were the two monks Huike 慧可 and Huiyu 惠育 (d.u.). Master Yu, who received the Way and practiced it in mind, did not lecture on it in mouth. After Meditation Master [Hui]ke were Meditation Master Can 粲禪師, Meditation Master Hui 惠禪師 (d.u., otherwise unknown), Meditation Master Sheng 盛禪師 (d.u., otherwise unknown), Meditation Master Na 那禪師, Meditation Master Duan 端禪師 (d.u.), Master Changzang 長藏師 (d.u., otherwise unknown), Dharma Master Zhen 真法師 (d.u., otherwise unknown), and Dharma Master Yu 玉法師 (d.u., otherwise unknown). (All the above-mentioned masters preached the mysterious principles, without producing any written records.) 今叙師承以 爲承嗣。所學歷然有據。達摩禪師後，有惠可，惠育二人。育師受道心 行,口未曾說。可禪師後，粲禪師，惠禪師，盛禪師，那老師，端禪師，長藏師，真法師, 玉法師(以上并口說玄理，不出文記)。
After Master [Hui]ke were Master Shan 善師 (who produced a recension in four fascicles), Meditation Master Feng 豐禪師 (d.u., otherwise unknown) (who produced a commentary in five fascicles), Meditation Master Ming 明禪師 (d.u., otherwise unknown) (who produced a commentary in five fascicles),⑤ and Master Huming 胡師 (d.u., otherwise unknown) (who produced a commentary in five fascicles)。可師後，善師⑥(出抄四卷)，豐禪師(出疏五卷)，明禪師(出疏五 卷)，胡明師(出疏五卷)。
The biography continues to cite several disciples of Huike's immediate successors (those who succeeded him "from afar"), of which there were more than ten. Except for the two masters who were recorded as having distanced themselves from Huike, all were supposed to have been Huike’s successors who "succeeded in successively transmitting their lamps to the later generations". They were meditation masters (chanshi 禪師), exegetes (fashi 法師), vinaya masters (lüshi 律師), or merely (lao)shi (老)師 (“[prestigious] masters”), who could have been any of the former three.
Huike's biography records that he emphasized the importance of the Lankavatara to his students and urged them to continue the teaching. It also contained the uncanny prediction that the Lankavatara teachings would be 'obscured' in four generations. If we consider that Huike is 2nd out of six traditional Zen Patriarchs of China, and that with Huineng came a decreased importance of the Lanka and increased importance of the Diamond Sutra, this prophetic claim was somewhat borne out by the historical record. However, there is always the possibility of later interpolations of subsequent generations, leading to tampering with the older texts, which Dr. Hu Shih has raised:
In addition to the list of Lankavatara specialists in Fachong’s Xu gaoseng zhuan biography, three passages in Huike’s Xu gaoseng zhuan biography (16.551c-552c) are also concerned with the Lankavatara tradition in the name of Bodhidharma and Huike. The first passage discusses the alleged transmission of the four-fascicle translation of that Buddhist scripture from Bodhidharma to Huike (552b20-22); the second, on Huike’s prediction that the Lankavatara teachings were to be obscured four generations after him (552b29-c1); and the third, on the consistency and intensity which Huike asked two of his students to apply to the practice and spread of the Lankavatara teaching (552b21-22). Hu Shi, who noted that these three passages appear rather out of context, has raised the following hypothesis. They were written as some marginal notes in Huike’s Xu gaoseng zhuan biography probably at the same time the Fachong biography was written; and then a certain disciple of Daoxuan, in editing his teacher’s work, casually inserted these marginal notes into the text of Huike’s biography. See Hu Shi, “Lengqiezong kao,” 185-187; English translations of these three passages found in McRae, Northern School, 27-28; see also Broughton, The Bodhidharma Anthology, 74. (Jinhua Chan)
From the Wumenguan (Case 41: Bodhidharma's 'Pacifying the Mind'):
Bodhidharma sat facing the wall.
The Second Ancestor [Dazu Huike] stood in the snow.
He cut off his arm and said, "My mind has no peace as yet! I beg you, Master, please put it to rest!"
Bodhidharma said, "Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you."
The Second Ancestor said, "I have searched for my mind, and I cannot take hold of it."
Bodhidharma said, "Now your mind is pacified."
(translated by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi)
According to the Denkoroku, when Huike and Bodhidharma were climbing up Few Houses Peak, Bodhidharma asked, “Where are we going?”
Huike replied, “Please go right ahead - that’s it.”
Bodhidharma said, “If you go right ahead, you cannot move a step.”
Upon hearing these words, Huike was enlightened.