About the Sutra (from Wikipedia):
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch is a Chan Buddhist scripture that was composed in China during the 8th to 13th century. The “platform” refers to the podium on which a Buddhist teacher speaks. Its key themes are the direct perception of one’s true nature, and the unity in essence of śīla (conduct), dhyāna (meditation) and prajñā (wisdom).
The text centers on teachings and stories ascribed to the sixth Chan patriarch Huineng. It contains the well-known story of the contest for the succession of Hongren (enlightenment by the non-abiding), and discourses and dialogues attributed to Huineng.
The text attributes its recollection to Fa-hai, but was probably written within the so-called Oxhead School, which existed along with the East Mountain School and Shenhui’s Southern School. The text attempts to reconcile the so-called Northern School with its alleged gradual enlightenment teachings, and the so-called Southern School with its alleged sudden enlightenment teachings. In effect, the text incorporates the “rhetorical purity” which originated with Shenhui’s attack on Shenxiu, while effectively “writing him out of the story”.
About Wei Lang (Huineng) (from Wikipedia):
Huineng (Chinese: 惠能; pinyin: Huìnéng, 638–713) was a Buddhist monk who is one of the most important figures in Chan Buddhism according to standard hagiographies. Huineng has been traditionally viewed as the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism.
His posthumous name is Dajian.
Huineng was born into the Lu family in 638 A.D. in Xinzhou (present-day Xinxing County) in Guangdong province. His father died when he was young and his family was poor. As a consequence, Huineng had no opportunity to learn to read or write and is said to have remained illiterate his entire life.