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As with many legendary figures, it is difficult to sort fact from fiction when it comes to Huineng.
We have many sources of information on him but most were written long after his lifetime.
Recent scholarship has established that a mysterious figure named Bodhidharma was indeed in southern China in the fifth century proclaiming teachings based on the .
After his death his disciples carried on his teachings, but most of them never founded lasting lineages.
It was out of this context that Chan as a distinct school (“lineage”) and the legend of its most famous master arose.
Modern scholars now agree that many of the stories surrounding Huineng are “mythical” reconstructions and elaborations by later generations of Chan writers.
Eventually the transmission passed to a certain Bodhidharma (c.