Excerpts from


(Pai Chang’s Rules for Pure Living) By Francis R.S. Lee


1. The Originality of the Pai Chang Ch’ing Kuei

Ch’ih Hsiu Pai Chang Kuei(), the official edition of the Chinese monastic system, in the Buddhist Tripitaka is a fourteenth century’s revised edition. (Buddhist Tripitaka, Volume 48). The original edition of the Pai Chang Ch’ing Kuei unfortunately is no longer in existence in the Buddhist collection. The revised edition, according to its preface, was edited by Venerable Te Hui() during the reign of the Toghan Temur, the last ruler of the Yuan Dynasty. (cf. Kokuysku Issai-kyo, Volume 52). Actually in the Yuan Dynasty since Kublai Khan, the founder of the Mongol Dynasty, the ruling house was primarily interested in Lamaism. (cf. Yuan shih). However, at the same time, the flourishing period of Ch’an Buddhism of the preceding Sung was continued, especially the new establishment of a Ch’an monastery founded by Tup Temur at Chin’ling in 1329. This newly founded Ch’an monastery officially became the headquarters of all other Ch’an monasteries by the emperor’s order, and they were required to practice the original monastic system. (Kukuyaku Issai kyo, Vol. 52, pp. 196-198). The completion of the revised edition: Ch’ih hsiu Pai Chang Ch’ing Kuei is Dharma Master Huai hai (720-814) a Ch’an Master of the Pai chang mountain. (Biography in Kao seng mountain. (Biography in Kao seng chuan and Chuan teng lu(). Ch’an Master Huai hai was an outstanding disciple of the Ch’an teacher Taoi. In the very beginning he followed his Ch’an teacher Tao-I at Shih-men in order to continue Master Taoi’s Ch’an teaching, but later on he stayed away from his teacher and founded a Ch’an monastery in the desolate Pai Chang Ch’ing Kuei was the regulations of the Ch’an monastery at Pai Chang mountain.

      To be continued


—By Bhiksu Heng K'ung

Usually people have selfish motives for self improvement; they become aware of a fault and this awareness leads to a desire to get rid of something or cover up some flaw they do not wish others to see. If we really wish to improve ourselves, we must examine with impartiality the source of our inspiration. Do we want to be number one or be a better instrument for those around us? Do we want to help others or just ourselves? If our motivation is wholesome simple awareness of a fault or problem, this is what is meant in the Great Compassion Repentance by "the response and Way is intertwined and difficult to conceive of."

Our awareness itself becomes the cure, the solution to the problem, because it is not self centered. It is rooted, instead, in a sincere desire to benefit our society and to aid those about us. The reason it is said to be "difficult to conceive of" is that very few people are able to bring forth a genuine interest in helping others with no view of self benefit.

Instead of trying to calculate ways to get rid of our shortcomings or to cover them over so others will not notice them, we should learn to view our shortcomings with the equanimity of a still mind and allow the solution to reveal itself and run its natural course. We should carry out the means of correcting a fault or error without a self centered effort or interference. Let us be like a free-flowing boat that follows the curves and straights. May we refrain from being bound in the 'shackles of calculation. In this way, self improvement can become not something that we do but rather a simple righting of wrongs that flows forth from our Nature.


Letter from Heng Sure and Heng Ch'au

Shih Fu, I had my mind blown three times today by the Avatamsaka Sutra and by "Vajra Bodhi Sea." Each time I picked one of them up for a quote to add to my writing, I turned to lines that read my mind and mirrored my thoughts exactly; It was just as if the words on the page were speaking to me, using my own thoughts. If felt totally uncanny. We disciples are used to the inconceivable way that a Good Advisor can know our thoughts even before we think them, but when books start to talk to us it's something else again;


Everything is made from our minds alone.

Everything exists within the Dharma realm.

The Dharma realm is contained within the Flower Garland Sutra.

The sutra came from the mouth of the Buddha.

The Buddha lives in the hearts of all beings.

All beings live within the Ten Dharma realms.

The Ten Dharma realms are fathomed in a single thought.

Everything is made from our minds alone.

(Repeat until the mind falls silent)

From compassion and kindness and the power of vows

Appear and enter the practices of the ground;

Gradually there is perfection of the mind.

Wisdom's practices are not reflection's realm.

-Avatamsaka Sutra

      We have learned that nothing we have thought, or written, or said has counted on this trip. The visions, the insights, the dreams, and the revelations all bear on the actual practice of the Dharma in the same way a match reflects on the sun. It's the doing, the effort, the faith in following Instructions, and the giving that tell the story, wordlessly. What a discovery. It's all empty; it's all real and true. It's all a gift from the Buddha's great kind heart.

Na Mwo Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa.

This disciple offers up his life and body. I return and rely in reverence to the Triple Jewel of all time and space. May all beings remember their original home within the Proper Dharma. May all beings return to their roots and go back to the source of our or­iginal purity.

Disciple Kuo Chen

(Heng Sure) bows in respect.

Muir Beach Early Spring, 1979

Dear Shihfu,

Back on Devil's Slide I made a vow to never again seek private relationships or anything that excludes or rejects others. That night I had a dream about the Master dying and I saw a powerful dragon. When Shihfu visited us back in Pacifica he asked, "Any dreams?" I related the dream and the Master said, "Oh, so you want me to die, huh?"

"No, Shihfu, That's not it at all!" I protested.

"I'll die for you," said Shihfu. "I have to die by myself," I replied.

"Then I'll live for you." "I have to do that on my own, too."

"Well, then, what use am I as a teacher?" Then the Master recited a verse:

"Eat your own food to get full

Resolve your own birth and death."

Later I thought to myself, "Is it really the case that I wanted Shihfu to die?" I didn't really feel settled about it at all. But I let it go, or so I thought. (The "dying" has to do with my "mind for women" dying. This is the dying the Master was referring to in saying he hoped I would die soon, that is, "hurry up and kill off your view of self; your mind of selfish desire.")

When the Master visited the next time we were on Mt. Tamalpais. A lot had changed inside. I saw my faults and bad habits like never before. I felt after two years of bowing I was only just beginning to face up to my deepest faults and big view of self. I was humbled and ashamed. Moreover, it was due to the Master's timely instructions and help that I was able to see this not my own insight. Specifically Shihfu advised me to close my mouth. And in closing my mouth my eyes opened a little. Right after the Pacifica visit as the Master was preparing to leave and I was all set to "stand on my own," two hostile men came up. I felt confident I could turn their attitude. I started rapping and sparring with them. Shihfu leaned out the car window and yelled. "No need to talk. Don't talk so much." I had felt my energy draining but didn't know why. The two "men" turned white as? Sheets at the Master's words and turned and ran down the road. Shihfu smiled and said, "See, I chased the demons away from you. Ha, ha. See you later." It was a lesson I'll never forget.

      Now on Mt. Tamalpais I saw the foolishness of my assertion "I can stand on my own." (To really stand on my own I heed to truly be able to recognize myself and have no self to stand on.) During that visit the Master looked me right in the eyes and said with a smile, "So now you can stand on your own, huh?" The next day while bowing I understood the dying dream. I did in fact wish Shihfu would "die." Unconsciously my ego wanted to live and so I dream­ed of Shihfu dying. When I first saw the Diamond Sutra I ran away and avoided it. Why? Because I knew it was about the truth of no self. When I first met Shihfu I couldn't and wouldn't bow. I was too proud. The "emperor" doesn't bow to anyone. Now after two years of bowing and seeing the emptiness of my big self I still resist "dying" and instead dream of my teacher dying. "If your teacher dies no one will be around to subdue you. No one will call your trip and stay on your case," was the unconscious-false thought behind it. Basically I didn't want to face this. I didn't want to admit that I could have such a shameful thought about my teacher. I wanted to hide my faults and cover over the bad parts. But I've been that way, sneaky and not straight, and it brings suffering to everyone. I know I have big faults, but I am not going to add being a phony to them ever again. Too late to apologize to the Master. He had already left. By not being right out front I miss opportunities. I'm always behind myself which is why I need a "Good and Wise Advisor" who is always ahead of me.

This week Shihfu stopped again.

Shihfu: "Anything to say?"

Heng Ch'au: "There's been lots of changes. Shihfu, since your last visit I know now my dream of the Master dying was my ego not wanting to die."

Shihfu: "Sure, then no one would be able to control you."

Heng Ch'au: "I'm ashamed, Shihfu, I'll change."

We then sat down to talk. The Master sat on the car bumper. It had just been raining prior to Shihfu's ar­rival. Now it was sunny, but the ground was mud. My hat was lying on the ground next to the Master's feet. Shihfu casually put his foot out, stepped on my hat, and began grinding it into the mud and wiping the dirt of his shoes all over it. I wanted to say, "Hey, Shihfu, don't! That's my hat!"

But then the thought came into my mind. "That should be my head the Master is stepping on. I deserve it." I figured the Master thought it was just an old hat on the side of the road. Then the Master picked up my hat, carefully brushed off the mud and dirt, folded it neatly and handed it to me. "Hey;" I thought, "The Master knew all along that was my hat. What's up?"

      After Shihfu left I understood the wordless teaching with the hat. When I first came to Gold Mountain I felt I was pretty good. I felt at home except for the bowing, especially the practice of bowing to the Abbot. Then one night the Master said in the Sutra commentary, "It's just like someone always wanting to be number one. They're always looking for a high hat to wear... wanting everyone to give them a high hat so people will say, 'He's really great. He's number one.' Isn't that how it is?" The words went right to my heart. That was exactly my attitude and the Master saw it, read my very thoughts. I bowed to the Master that night. But my high hat didn't fall off with one bow.

By rubbing my hat in the mud, I felt the Master was saying, "So now you recognize a little. All is forgiven if you can change for the good. Here, put your hat on, but remember it's not a crown. If you forget and try to run out and be emperor again, I'll knock it off again...or maybe I'll step on your head the next time, understand?"

Offenses arise from the mind, yet the mind is used to repent.

When the mind is forgotten, of tenses are no more.

When both mind and offenses are eradicated, both are empty.

This is called true repentance and reform.

A dirty hat and a lesson in the level equality of all things. No one is number one. The nature is flat like the ground. Be humble. Keep your mind contrite and compassionate. Put it all down and Buddhahood takes care of itself. The verse says:

Push over Mt. Sumeru

The mind ground is flat.

Jealousy, arrogance

Ultimately are invisible.

Cultivation; How could there be

Anything more esoteric or wonderful.

Put down the three minds and four marks and Buddhahood accomplishes itself;

Shihfu, I am deeply ashamed of my arrogance and for the trouble I've caused. I'll change. I don't ever want to "go back to the palace" and be emperor again. My home is the eternally dwelling Buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha of the ten directions. I'm going to turn my back on the dust and unite with enlightenment. I'11 try my best, bowing in repentance and reform.

Peace in the Way,

Disciple Kuo T'ing (Heng Ch'au) bows in respect.

"...standing on my own."

There was a time I thought I could, prance off by myself to the mountains and get enlightened. "Who needs a teacher?" I thought. But somewhere inside I knew I needed a wise advisor. The ego tricks and all the states of mind that arise with cultivation are hard to recognize on your own. The biggest demon is one's own self and it's the hardest to break through. It's like a knife trying to cut its own handle. But having a good knowing advisor doesn't guarantee success. You've got to follow instructions.

This month the Master paid us a visit. Before leaving he cautioned us on accepting offerings. "Just be really careful." We weren't careful and got food poisoning. At the peak of our illness the Master returned. "Anything special happen?" he asked.

"Yes, Shihfu, we've been sick for three days. Bad food." I said.

"Oh? See!" replied the Master with a knowing smile and a look of "I warned you didn't I?"

During the roadside visit we talked about food, sex, and cultivation. I said, "Shihfu, two years ago in Los Angeles you told us that cultivators who ate good food can lose their essence from too much juice. I didn't believe it then, but now I know it's really true."

Shihfu: "You're only kids. Of course you didn't believe," an­swered the Master.

"Well never again will I not believe and I will always follow instructions." I thought to myself.

The Master said, "Holding that extra essence and being patient when it wants to run out just that is cultivation. Otherwise...(here the Master pantomimed like a nervous puffed up balloon that sees something attractive and instantly deflates.) You get turned by what you see and suddenly you deflate. Then there's no more problems, no more pressure. If you can not deflate, that's cultivation. It's right here."

The very next day the pressure inside was fierce and pulsing. We took a break to meditate. I grabbed the wash basin to clean up. When I turned around from the car door there was a pretty woman standing right in front of me, smiling and staring. "Hi, what are you doing?" she asked softly. I caught her eyes and lost it. Just like the full balloon...suddenly there is no more problem, no pressure.

He vows that all living beings constantly meet good wise advisors, concentrate on, carry out, and not oppose their instructions.


I couldn't believe it; How could I be so slow and stupid? Even when I get such a remarkable teaching the day before I can't "concentrate and carry out" the teaching. The Master's timely Instructions and true words go in one ear and out the other and each time I take a fall. Why? Because I don't want to do what is hard to do.

"I can stand on my own" wasn't an assertion of true strength. It came from the fake mind. It wasn't from self-control, but rather from a self that didn't want to be con­trolled. My Independence was premature and unnatural act of ego rebellion not true liberation. I was just attaching to a state and being turned by a false thought. The ego resists dying in ways that are hard to believe and see through. Right here is the importance of a Good and Wise Advisor; no matter what age you are in years, your wisdom age is a child's. It's said one can't trust one's thoughts until the fourth stage of Arhatship...how much the less as a first stage novice! As soon as you think you've got something, you've caught a demon. Hard to ascend, easy to fall.

Disciple Kuo T'ing bows in respect.


City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Dear Sirs,

I have met your monks, Bhiksu Heng Sure and Heng Ch'au on a lonely stretch of Highway 1 above Jenner, near Marshall. After taking a few pictures, I left, on my way toward Portland on my motorcycle.

I was not a mile down the road when I was overcome by an urge to turn back. So I returned and was moved to give them all the food I was carrying. Most of it was powdered. The date was July 4. The sun was setting and we were alone, high above the Pacific Ocean and the wispy fog. I felt like there were many people behind me approving of this action and giving me their blessing. I am writing to share this with you and to let you know how impressed I was.

The rest of my journey was up­lifting and free from difficulties, which normally come to cyclists.

You and your two brothers touch­ed me. I wish you well.

Paul Tevlin

Most Reverend Master Hua,

Greetings and gratitude to you from a Catholic Christian who is glad to learn from Buddhism. My husband and I moved to this area last July. Thus far, family illness has delayed participation in your programs. However even a few face to face encounters teach me slowly, along with the monthly Vajra Bodhi Sea, some of your books—also the children's magazine.

Your friendship for the late Cardinal Yu Pin is a lamp. When the members of the great religious families of this sad old world stop attacking each other and make friends, each will become more faithful to his own way.