SAGES OF INDIA AND CHINA;
Translated by Bhiksu Heng Ching
The Bodhisattva Worldly Relative was from northern India. His family name was Kausika and his personal name Vasubandhu “Worldly Relative”. He was remarkably intelligent from birth. When he left home he first cultivated the small vehicle, fully mastered all of its shastras, and composed over five hundred volumes of discourses in which he criticized the Great Vehicle with great certainty of his correctness.
His older brother, the Bodhisattva Asanga, "Non-Attachment", an adept of the Great Vehicle, was extremely concerned about his younger brother. Consequently he used an expedient device and pretended to be fatally ill. He called his brother to him so they could be together for the last time, and arranged for Vasubandhu to read the Avatamsaka Sutra to him once before he died.
Vasubandhu awoke and understood the error of his former ways. He was so appalled that he wished to cut his tongue out in order to atone for his former offenses. Asanga stopped him by saying, "You used your tongue to slander the Great Vehicle, Why not just change and use your tongue to praise it? Why bother cutting it out? Consequently Vasubandhu composed five hundred volumes of Mahayana Shastras and was known to his contemporaries as the Thousand-Volume Shastra Master. Those of the 'Inner Courtyard', the Conciousness Only School, take their lineage from him.
His eulogy says;
It is difficult to practice two teachings at once,
brought forth the secret meanings of the Compassionate Sage
awesome Shastras like piled up clouds,
the untransmitted doctrine,
the Conciousness Only,
in both the Nature and Appearance Schools.
eternal dharma lamp,
He lights a million generations.
As this issue goes to press the Vajra Bodhi Sea Publications Society has the honor to announce that Professor Hsieh Ping Ying has agreed to join the Publication Society Staff as Corresponding Advisor. (See article on page 27/28 of this issue.)