The Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs

The Thirty-third Patriarch

Dhyana Master Hui An from Sung Yo

translated by Bhikshunis Heng Ch'ih and Heng Wen

      The Master was from Ching Chiang County in Ching Chou Province. His family name was Wei. In the Sui Dynasty, the K'ai Huang period, people who left the home life without imperial permission were defrocked. To avoid this problem, the Master entered deep into the mountains to cultivate. In the year Ta Yeh, the emperor drafted laborers to construct the T'ung Chi Canal. Famine ensued and these people were starving to death. The Master would go beg and then give his offerings to them, thereby saving many lives.

      Later he went to Heng Yu Mountain to practice asceticism. In the Tang dynasty, the Chen Kuan period, he went to pay his respects on the Fifth Patriarch, Great Master Huang Mei. Thereupon he received the essence of the Mind. From then on his renown grew far and wide.

      Arriving at Sung Shao he said, "This is where I will stay." He practiced Ch'an. In the second year of the Shen Lung period, the emperor bestowed upon him a Great Robe, venerated him as his teacher, made offerings to him, and requested that he abide in the palace. The Master did so for three years. Then he returned to Sung Yo. That same year on the eighth day of the third month, he closed his door, sat in repose, and left. He lived to be 128 years old. According with his last request, his disciples placed his body in the forest. A fire started spontaneously and cremated the remains. There were 80 sharira found.

A verse in his praise says:

Practicing in the mountains, he sat in a hut,
Later receiving the seal of Huang Mei.
Immediately after, he went to Nan Yo,
With the myriad Vehicles in tow.
Entering the ice, he knew it was water.
After his passing people were astonished
When the fire heeded his command.

Another verse in his praise says:

He hid from the world as a hermit, entering the deep woods.
He left home to cultivate the Way and search for the Truth.
Begging for food he rescued others, saving many lives.
Clothed in a ragged robe he roused his own vigor.
The emperor bowed, asking to be taught, and served him as Master.
Huang Mei bequeathed Dharma" the important Mind transmission.
Relaxed and at ease, he quietly left, his passing was very natural.
A spontaneous fire burned the body revealing essential sharira.


THE DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA, VOLUME 8, Chapters 8 & 9. The well-known parable of the man with a priceless pearl sewn in his clothing is found in Chapter 8. In Chapter 9 Ananda and Rahula receive predictions of Buddhahood, as do two thousand people with inferior roots in the Assembly. Text in calligraphy. NOW AVAILABLE.


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