May 22nd, Mahayana 2999

—Translated by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Ching

The following gatha and prose piece were written by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua "as an Exhortation on the Occasion of Seeing Dhyana Cultivator Heng Pai Off to New York to Aid in the Translation of the LotusBlossom Sutra.

Affinities made in former lives
            have now come forth and ripened,

As you cross together on a common boat
      which rescues the dull and muddled.

Although sky-beating waves may rise,
            your boat will be secure;

Although earth-shaking winds may blow
            you will not be upset.

The burden's heavy, the way is long,
      lead forth, proclaim the teachings;

Patience, precepts, vigor, dhyana,
            you regulate yourself.

On the day the Dharma Blossom text
            is fully translated,

The great assembly of the Dragon Flower
      will then bring forth its praise.

With an innately good nature and not yet deep into impure circumstances, you met your good friends early in life and crossed the ford of confusion. Looking lightly upon wealth, hold principle to be of utmost importance, and quickly leave the dust. Maintain the precept and hold no money, and smash the heart of greed and hatred, Help translate the Lotus Blossom, and in your revisions search only for the truth. Gird yourself in the armor of vigor and be a heroic leader among your companions. Ascend the irreversible ground and attend upon the World Honored One. Be careful, be cautious. Don't neglect my words."

      Dharma Master Heng Pai is currently dwelling at Mahayana Temple in South Cairo, New York, and assisting Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien in the translation of the Lotus Sutra.

Once Dhyana Master To Lun met an old cultivator of meditation who had lost his ability to sit. The principle that emerges from their short conversation can help all of us, young or old, strong or feeble, in our cultivation of the Way.

Master: “Old Ch’an Sitter, Superior Seated One, how come you
         can’t sit?”

Old Ch’an Sitter: “I’m too old. My teeth hurt and I haven’t the
         strength of
my youth.”

Master:  “Your teeth hurt, you say. How is it teeth can hurt? Is it the
teeth, which hurt or is it you who hurt? Tell me. If it is the teeth, which hurt, teeth can’t talk—they can’t say they hurt. If it is you who hurt, why do you say it is the teeth, which hurt? Think it over.”

The Old Ch’an Sitter was speechless. He didn’t know if his teeth hurt or if he himself hurt!