The Record of Water and Mirror
Turning Back Heaven

THE GREAT MASTER CH'ANG JEN (FILIAL SON WANG)

BY TRIPITAKA MASTER HSUAN HUA
Translation and Commentary by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Ching

 

THE WU FAMILY, MORE THAN EIGHTY PEOPLE IN ALL, LIVED IN HOU CHIU CHIA TZE VILLAGE. THEY HELD A MEETING AND DECIDED TO REQUEST THE MASTER TO GO INTO SECLUSION AMONG THEM. THEY MADE OFFERINGS WITH SINCERE HEARTS AND BOWED RESPECTFULLY TO HIM.


    Going into seclusion is a common practice among some cultivators. They cut themselves off from other people for prolonged periods of time in order to cultivate undisturbed. The Wu family, a noted family of horse breeders, made a set of rooms available in their family compound to the master. An extended Chinese family compound is actually like a small village.


    THE TWENTY-FIFTH DRY OF THE SIXTH MONTH WAS THE BIRTHDAY OF THE HORSE KING GOD. IT WAS A WU FAMILY CUSTOM TO KILL A SACRIFICIAL PIG TO OBTAIN BENEFIT FROM THE SPIRIT. WHEN THEY WERE ABOUT TO GRAB THE PIG, IT LEPT OVER A HIGH WALL AND ENTERED THE ROOM IN WHICH THE MASTER WAS SECLUDED.


    In general pigs do not jump walls; this extraordinary animal, however, leapt over a three-foot earthwork wall and ran straight to the Master's room.


    IT KNELT BEFORE HIM, EYES RUNNING TEARS AND CRYING WITHOUT PAUSE. WHEN THE WU FAMILY SAW THIS STRANGE EVENT, THEY COULD NOT OVERCOME THEIR ASTONISHMENT, AND EXCLAIMED THAT THIS HAD NEVER BEEN BEFORE.

    THE MASTER SAID TO THE PIG, "YOUR KARMA IS SUCH THAT YOU SHOULD PAY YOUR DEBTS.  WHEN YOU ARE RELEASED FROM YOUR PRESENT KARMIC RETRIBUTION BODY I SHALL CROSS YOU OVER TO REBIRTH AMONG PEOPLE.  DO NOT BE CONFUSED ABOUT YOUR EARLIER CONDITIONS AND INTENTLY CULTIVATE PURE CONDUCT.  WHEN YOUR MERIT IS COMPLETE AND THE FRUIT FULL, YOU SHALL CERTIFY TO BODHI AND BE FREE FROM THE SUFFERING OF THE TURNING WHEEL ETERNALLY. YOU SHALL OBTAIN THE BLISS OF NIRVANA. THE PIG HAPPILY RECEIVED THE TEACHING AND WENT TO THE SLAUGHTERING SPOT HIMSELF.


  Eyewitness accounts assure us that the pig stopped weeping and went happily to the slaughtering floor. There it lay on its back and bared its neck to the knife without the least bit of struggle.


          AFTERWARDS, THE MASTER ASSEMBLED THE ELDERS OF THE WU FAMILY AND SAID, "THE PIG WHICH WAS KILLED TODAY KNELT RESPECTFULLY BEFORE ME AND SOUGHT TO BE SAVED. EVERYONE IN THIS GOOD HOUSEHOLD CERTAINLY SAW IT."

    "WE DID," THEY REPLIED.

    THE MASTER SAID, "IF, BEGINNING TODAY, THIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD IS ABLE TO EAT VEGETARIAN FOOD AND CEASE KILLING FOREVER, I SHALL LIVE AMONG YOU AS BEFORE. IF IT IS NOT THIS WAY, I SHALL GO ELSEWHERE AND WILL NOT AGAIN RECEIVE OFFERINGS FROM YOU GOOD PEOPLE."

    THE ELDER BROTHERS OF THE WU FAMILY IMMEDIATELY CALLED FOR A FAMILY GATHERING TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE. THEY ALL AGREED AS ONE MAN, AND THE ENTIRE FAMILY ATE ONLY VEGETARIAN FOOD AND NO LONGER KILLED. ALL THEIR EMPLOYEES AND FIELD WORKERS DID SO AS WELL. (THE AUTHOR PERSONALLY INVESTIGATED THIS AFFAIR IN DETAIL AT THE WU FAMILY AND KNOWS THAT IT IS TRUE.)

      INFLUENCED BY THIS, FOUR NEARBY VILLAGES ALSO ATE VEGETARIAN FOOD AND SOON THE CUSTOM BECAME WIDESPREAD. THOSE WHO TOOK REFUGE WITH THE TRIPLE JEWEL NUMBERED SEVERAL TENS OF THOUSANDS.


    By virtue of the pig's example in giving up his life to repay his debts, many people came to understand the principle of karma.  As a result, thousands were transformed.  There is something Bodhisattva-like in the conduct of this pig who gives up his life like an actor in a play in order to teach large numbers of people.

  

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE EMINENT BHIKSU THICH MINH CHAU
  
Dinh Van Nam was born in Nghe-An Vietnam in October, 1920. Wisdom and faith are remarkable virtues, especially in a land afflicted with inner dissension and armed conflict. But to realize that the sole cause of war is hatred in men's hearts, and to act on this realization to obtain the Buddha fruit and put an end to war, is even more remarkable.
Dharma Master 
Thich Minh Chau

  
  
    When Dinh Van Nam left home he received the name Dharma Master Thich Minh Chau. He has devoted his life to spreading Buddhism in the most difficult circumstances.  He is well prepared, however, and holds, among his many degrees, an M.A. in Pali, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bihar University.  He has studied and lectured in Vietnam, Ceylon, and India.

Dharma Master Thich Minh Chau is widely published in his efforts to make the Buddhadharma universally understood. Some of his works, which might be of interest to Vajra Bodhi Sea readers, are listed below. He has taken a special degree in English, and has translated into this language, as well as into Vietnamese.Among his many posts, he has served as Professor of Buddhology at the Saigon Faculty of Letters and at Van Hanh University, General Commissioner of Buddhist Education of the Vietnam Unified Buddhist Church, the Editor of Tu Tuong Magazine, and as a member of the World Fellowship Buddhist Committee for UNESCO.  He presently serves as president of Van Hanh University.

Published Works

The Chinese Madhyama Agama and the Pali Majjhima Nikaya, a Comparative Study in English, Ph.D. Thesis in 1961.

The Pali Milinda Panha and the Chinese Nagasena-bhiksu Sutra, a Comparative Study, in English, published in 1964.

Hsuan Tsang, the pilgrim and scholar, in English, published in 1963 and republished in 1966.

Fa Hsien, the unassuming pilgrim and his contribution to the history of Buddhism.

   

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Bodhisattvas, gods, and men have completed a year's work in two months, building this great Mahayana Bodhimandala.  In the self-nature of each worker there is a feeling of joy.

All are welcome to share in this act of merit and virtue:

Those who can give money, give money.
Those who can give materials, give materials.
Those who can give muscle, give muscle.
This month the work went:

Six ceilings completed! Kuo K'uei, Eric Mitchell, Kuo Meng

Kitchen floor laid! Heng Ch'ien, Heng Shou, Kuo Yu, Kuo Pao

Walls painted! Heng Ching, Heng Ch'ih, Kuo Chin, Kuo Hu, Kuo T'ang

Windows completed! Bill Baur

Rooms on third floor! Kuo K'uei, Kuo Ti

Wiring! Kuo Ti Kuo Fa

Buddha Hall Completed! United Effort

Second Floor linoleum laid! Eric Mitchell, David Bernstein

70 Meditation Benches made! Kuo Meng, Eric Mitchell

50 Bowing Stools made! Kuo Meng

CHANTING OF THE GREAT COMPASSION MANTRA AND LECTURES, EVERY NIGHT AT 7:00. ALL ARE WELCOME.

      In each issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea will appear the names of those people who have contributed to the support of the Buddhadharma during the preceding month.