Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs


A verse in his praise says:

He came holding a mirror

And broke through very well.

"It's not wind or the bell"

Said he, clearing that error.

And the Buddha's potential,

Not to know what that is,

Yet to wear the Sangati,

Is to sully that cloth.

The Venerable One was from Magadha. When the Seventeenth Patriarch reached that country, he saw a pure youth holding a mirror who approached the Patriarch.

The Patriarch asked, "How old are you?"

"A hundred years."

"The Patriarch said, "You're still a youngster, why do you say you're a hundred years old?"

The youth replied, "I do not understand principle so I may as well be a hundred."

"Your potential is excellent." noted the Patriarch.

The youth continued, "The Buddha said, 'If a person lives to be a hundred but has not understood the Buddha's potential, he may as well have lived but a single day and died.'"

Then the wind blew and the temple bell sounded. The Patriarch asked, "Does the bell ring or does the wind ring?"

The Venerable One answered, "Neither the wind nor the bell rings; my mind rings.

The Patriarch said, "And what is the mind?"

"Complete stillness," he answered.

The Patriarch praised him, "Good indeed, good indeed," and transmitted to him the Great Dharma.

Afterward the Venerable One met Kumarata and ascended into space where he displayed the eighteen transformations, entered the Firelight Samadhi, and cremated his own body.