THE BODHI SEAL OF THE PATRIARCHS
Commentary by Tripitaka Master Hua
THE VENERABLE ONE, who is the teacher of Great Master Bodhidharma, WAS FROM EASTERN INDIA. Once, before he had left the home life, he encountered the king of his country and BECAUSE THE KING AND THE PATRIARCH BASIASITA WERE TOGETHER IN A CARRIAGE AND PASSED THE VENERABLE ONE, HE BOWED BEFORE THEM. The Venerable Prajnatara made a half bow as the carriage was passing. THE PATRIARCH ASKED, "DO YOU REMEMBER PAST EVENTS?"
HE ANSWERED, "I REMEMBER IN A DISTANT KALPA PAST I DWELT IN THE SAME PLACE AS YOU, MASTER, AND YOU PROCLAIMED THE Maha-prajna. I RECITED THE Profound Sutra. TODAY'S EVENT TALLIES WITH PAST CAUSES."
THE PATRIARCH Basiasita SAID TO THE KING, "THIS CHILD IS NONE OTHER THAN GREAT STRENGTH BODHISATTVA. He's a transformation body of one of the Three Sages of the, Western Land of Ultimate Bliss."
LATER IN SOUTHERN INDIA THE KING INVITED THE VENERABLE ONE TO A VEGETARIAN MEAL ONE DAY. THE KING ASKED, "EVERYONE PRESENT IS RECITING THE SUTRAS BUT THE MASTER, WHY DON'T YOU RECITE TOO?"
THE VENERABLE ONE REPLIED, "THIS ONE OF POOR ORIGINS DOES NOT FOLLOW THE MULTITUDE OF CONDITIONS WHEN INHALING, AND DOES NOT DWELL IN THE SKANDHAS AND REALMS WHEN EXHALING. He does not dwell in the Five skandhas, the Six Entrances, the Twelve Places, and the Eighteen Realms. I AM FOREVER RECITING SUCH A SUTRA AND IT HAS HUNDRE1S OF THOUSANDS OF VOLUMES, NOT JUST ONE OF TWO. It's not a visible, material sutra that I recite; it is the True Sutra without words.
AFTERWARDS HE GAVE THE DHARMA TO VENERABLE BODHIDHARMA, the Twenty Eighth Indian Patriarch. HE RETURNED TO HIS SEAT AND BOTH HANDS EMITTED LIGHT. He sat in full lotus and both hands emitted light. TRANSFORMED A FIRE AND BURNED HIS OWN BODY. The light turned into a fire and he cremated himself. How convenient! Cremate yourself and don't put anyone to any trouble. That is indescribably wonderful!
THE PRAISE SAYS. The Venerable Master Hsu Yun wrote a few lines of verse.
IN, DISTANT TIMES THEY DWELT TOGETHER
NOW WHEN THEY MEET THEY STEAL FROM EACH OTHER.
IT'S GREAT STRENGTH WHO'S COME.
WE'RE JUST WAGGING OUR TONGUES.
WITH AN AMULET BEHIND THE ELBOW
THEIR LIGHT SHONE RIGHT THROUGH.
HE RECITES A SUTRA SUCH AS THIS
AS SPRING SUN MELTS THE SNOW.