The Bodhi Seal of the
The Thirteenth Tien T'ai Patriarch
by Venerable Master
The Venerable Ch'ing Sung of Kuo Ch'ing Monastery
was a native of T'ien T'ai Province.
He vigorously practiced Stopping
and Contemplating under Dharma Master Hsiu.
He cultivated the samadhi of shamatha and
vipashyana with the Twelfth T'ien T'ai
Patriarch, Venerable Master Yuan Hsiu. From morning
to night he was not lax, unlike us. He carried
on as Abbot of Kuo Ch'ing, being selected
afterwards to succeed Venerable Master Hsiu as
Abbot of Kuo Ch'ing Monastery. In both speech
and practice, he reached the highest point. He was able both to lecture and to
practice, to embody what he taught and be a model
for everyone. He had balanced excellence in
talking and acting. Some people can talk
but can't practice, while others can practice
but can't talk; but he was able to do both
Every day we dwell secure, so how can we not be vigorous in the Way and repay the country's kindness? When we are so secure and at peace like this, how could we not cultivate the Way and repay the country's kindness to us? We have to do that, so all of you should cultivate." Each day he would take the seat. He would sit upon the Dharma seat every day and lecture, and his lofty discourse would not end. Once he took the Dharma seat, he would forget to come down from it, and would talk as if he were never going to stop. The assembly would not dare give signs of weariness. He was, however, very fierce, and no one would dare fall asleep during 1ectures, unlike a disciple of mine here who wants to sleep from morning to night. A verse in praise says:
The turn of T'ang was overthrown.
"Diligently cultivate to benefit
The T'ang Dynasty had run full-circuit and come to an end. At that time, there were many who aspired to the throne of the empire or to be great kings, but T'ien T'ai Province was nonetheless quite peaceful due to the power of King Ch'ien. So the Venerable One exhorted the Assembly to work hard at their cultivation to recompense the country for its civilizing effect. His lectures were like clouds on high, and in that very dark period, he lectured Sutras and spoke the Dharma, maintaining the torch in the middle of the night.
Another verse in praise says:
The T'ien T'ai Dharma craftsman had
The Venerable One was a master craftsman of the T'ien T'ai Dharma-doors, and his lofty hands and eyes which penetrated the heavens. He became the Thirteenth Patriarch of T'ien T'ai and wielded the jewelled demon-quelling pestle and the demon-subduing jeweled sword. He encouraged everyone to cultivate and repay the kindness of the country, and to concentrate their minds in vigorous cultivation of the Way in order to thank the gods, dragons, and good Dharma protecting spirits. He would always take the Dharma seat and give the great lion's roar. He would lecture until very late at night, but no one dared fall asleep. The world was in turmoil at the time, yet he was able to propagate the Proper Dharma and the Sagely Teachings. He made a great contribution to Buddhism, and his kindness to all of us was very great. Therefore, all of us who also live in a very troubled world should also work hard and cultivate well.