Within the Chinese language, the Pali name ‘Jnanabhaisajya’ is rendered ‘智樂三藏’ (Zhi Le San Cang) and translates as ‘Wisdom Joy Three Teachings’ or ‘Meditation Happiness Tripitaka’, etc. Within Sanskrit, the Pali term ‘Jnana’ would be ‘Dhyana’ - which is ‘Ch’an’ (禪) in Chinese transliteration. The fact that the Chinese scholars used ‘智樂’ (Zhi Le) instead of ‘禪’ to express the first part of the name of ’Jnanabhaisajya’ (i.e. ‘Jnana’) - suggests a time prior to the arrival of Bodhidharma in China (c. 520 CE) and the founding of the Chinese Ch’an School. Furthermore, Jnanabhaisajya founded the ‘Bao Lin Temple’ (寶林寺 - Bao Lin Si) in 502 CE – which means his prediction of ‘170 years’ would take us to the year ‘672 CE’. This is the year Jnanabhaisajya prophesised that a ‘True Bodhisattva’ would teach the Dharma – referring to Hui Heng (638-713 CE). Hui Neng inherited the Ch’an Dharma when he was 24-years-old in 662 CE. He was ordained at 39-years-old in 677 CE. He dropped his body when he was 76-years-old in 713 CE. However, if Jnanabhaisaiya is correct and Hui Neng delivered the Altar Sutra ‘170’ years after the founding of Bao Lin-Nan Hua Temple in 502 CE – then when this Great Sutra was spoken by Hui Neng in the year 672 CE – five years before he ordained as a monk and at a time when he was still a layman! Master Xu Yun used always say that Hui Neng was a layperson when he delivered the Altar Sutra – a point of fact I have (independently and academically) proven to be correct in the above assessment of the evidence! ACW (21.10.2020)
‘As to the Pao Lin monastery, its construction was decided upon long ago by the Indian Tripitaka Master Jnanabhaisajya who came from India and who, during his journey from Nan Hai (now Canton city), passed through Ts’ao Ch’i where he drank its water which he found pure and fragrant. He was surprised and told his followers: ‘This water is exactly the same as that in West India, there must be at its source someplace of scenic beauty on which to build a monastery.’ Then he followed the stream and saw mountains and rivulets encircling one another with wonderfully beautiful peaks. He exclaimed: ‘It is exactly like the “Precious Wood” on the mountains in West India.’ Then he said to the villagers at Ts’ao Hou: ’You can build a monastery here; some 170 years later, the unsurpassed Dharma treasure will be expounded here and those who will be enlightened will be as many as the trees of these thickets. It should be called “Pao Lin monastery”.’
Charles Luk: Ch’an and Zen Teaching – Third Series – Rider, (1962), Preface: By Ch’an Master Fa Hai, disciple of the Sixth Patriarch – Photograph between Pages 14-15 – Extract Page 17 – this is a Hardback ‘First Edition’ - in later reprints the photograph of Jnanabhaisajya is ‘omitted’.