Daman Hongren came to visit Daoxin when he was only six years old and asked to be admitted to the sangha. Daixin asked the boy what his family name [hsing] was, and Hongren replied with a clever pun: “I have a nature [hsing] but it is not an ordinary one.” Although the characters for “name” and “nature” are different, they are pronounced the same.
“What is it then?” Daoxin inquired, still asking for the precocious child’s name.
“It is Buddha-nature [fo-hsing].”
“So you have no name [hsing]?”
“No, master,” the boy continued the pun, “because it [referring to his nature] is empty.”
Daoxin accepted Hongren as a disciple, despite his age, and the boy dedicated himself to the practice with fervor. He would become the Fifth Patriarch of Chinese Zen and the teacher of the equally precocious Huineng.
[Daman Hongren – Zen Masters of China: 55-57, 61-65, 72]