Huineng was one of the most famous Buddhist monks in Chan Buddhism and is seen as the sixth, and last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism.
Huineng was born in 638 A.D. in present day Xingxing county in Guangdong Province, China.
Huineng's father passed away early in his life. With no money for proper education, Huineng remained illiterate all of his life.
Chan Buddhism was said to be established by a Buddhist by the name of Bodhidharma in the 5th or 6th century, Huineng was the sixth and the last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism, meaning he was the one of the six ancestral founders. Chan Buddhism gained prominence in the early 8th century, during Huineng's time.
The Platform Sutra was what Huineng was best known for. It was a mixture of early Chan teachings, which also cites and explains many Buddhist scriptures.
Huineng passed away in 713 A.D. at the age of 75. It is believed that it was though the act of Sokushinbutsu, the act of observing abstinence from worldly pleasures until death. It is seen as a spiritually transforming journey.
His mummified body is kept in the Nanhua Temple in Shaoguan.
It is unknown how exactly his body was mummified. However, some Mahayana Buddhist monks were buried sitting in a lotus position and put in a vessel with drying agents which was then surrounded by bricks to be exhumed later. It is inferred that Huineng may have also been mummified in this manner.
What is known is that his body was mummified sitting up, in a lotus posture.
Huineng died at the age of 75. It is believed that it was though Sokishinbutsu, the act of observing abstinence from worldly pleasures including eating and drinking.