Thanks. One more question. In the OP you state
Huseng wrote:I would rather see a kind of meritocracy where people are judged capable by virtue of their good qualities, practice and learning.
I wonder if you would care to comment on this passage, in relation to the story of the accession of Hui Neng as the Sixth Zen Patriarch. According to the legend, when the Fifth Patriarch called for disciples to illustrate their understanding of the Way, Shenxiu responded:
身是菩提樹， The body is a Bodhi tree,
心如明鏡臺。 The mind a standing mirror bright.
時時勤拂拭， At all times polish it diligently,
勿使惹塵埃。 And let no dust alight.
(I don't write Chinese, this was copied verbatim from Wikipedia as I believe you can read it.)
The rejoiner from Hui Neng was:
菩提本無樹， Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
明鏡亦非臺。 The bright mirror is also not a stand.
本來無一物， Fundamentally there is not a single thing —
何處惹塵埃。 Where could any dust be attracted?
As is well-known, it was Hui Neng's answer which was selected, albeit in the midst of great turmoil and conflict.
Now I would say that your model of 'good qualities, practice and learning' would be much better approximated by the first of these poems.
Would you agree?
He that knows it, knows it not.