The Chan master Farong 法融, who succeeded to the lineage of the fourth master, Daoxin 四祖道信, is the founder of the Niutou sect 牛頭宗.In recent years however, it has become clear that the Chan master called “Farong” did not really exist, which we know thanks to some historical studies on the texts of the Xu gaoseng zhuan 続高僧伝 and so on. Therefore, it follows that his biography, dialogue, and books are fictions. The creation of “the founder of the Niutou sect, Farong 牛頭山初祖法融 and the attribution of these fictions to him was one of the needs to establish its religious philosophy after Dongshan famen 東山法門 was formed.
The Xinming 心銘 (the Song of the mind) is written in rhyme and speaks of the state of enlightment, xinxing 心性.It is characteristic of the Xinming to negate the way to cultivate the mind by the mind, and to emphasize the ultimate state of Chan, xinxing. It also resembles the Xinxinming 信心銘 which is attributed to the third master Sengcan 三祖僧璨 by virtue of its literary style and philosophy. They both negate the conflict of duality and they are essentials of the Chan of Xinxing which was typical of eighth century Buddhism.
This paper examines when the text was established and what is the philosophy, comparing the Yongjiaji 永嘉集 written by Yongjia Xuanjue 永嘉玄覚 who attempted to integrate contemplation and Chan in the eighth century, and the Xinxinming.