Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs


A verse in his praise reads:

Not using a mind,
the great function manifests;
He totally penetrated the Buddha's
and completely renounced the
fish and traps.
The sword taken up,
he stuck out his neck refusing
to argue his case.
To him were white both red flowers
and snow-- the autumn sea and sky
identical in color.

The Venerable One was from Central India. He asked the Twenty-third Patriarch, "What mind should I use to seek the Way?"

The Patriarch said, "When seeking the Way, do not use any mind."

The Venerable One asked, "If I do not use the mind, who does the Buddha's work?"

The Patriarch answered, "If there is using, there is not merit and virtue, but if there is no doing, that is the Buddha's work."

Accordingly he was entrusted with the Great Dharma. Then he traveled to Kubha and passed the Dharma to Basiasita. The king there brought his sword to where the Venerable One was and asked, "Has the Master seen that the skandhas are empty?"

He answered, "I have seen that the skandhas are empty."

The king again asked, "Has he escaped birth and death?"

He replied, "I have escaped birth and death."

The king said, "Since you have escaped birth and death, can you give me your head?"

He replied, "My body does not exist. Why should I covet my head?" Then the king drew his sword and cut off the Venerable One's head. A white milky substance spirited several feet in the air, and the king's right arm suddenly fell to the ground.