Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs



Composed by the Venerable Master Hua

Translated by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Ching

wpeB.gif (49949 bytes)       The Master's name was Using Hsiu, and he was from Fa Hsiang Monastery in Hang Chou.  He was born into a family named Ch'en at Ch'uan Nan. and at birth his ears were so long that they hung to his shoulders.  As a result he could probably hear for several hundreds of miles, and perhaps even for many world systems.  He never, however, listened to gossip or idle talk, and anyone who approached him with such matters was sure to be ignored.

      Shortly before his birth his mother dreamt that she swallowed the sun.  She awoke startled from her dream, and gave birth to the master.  By the age of seven he still had not spoken.  When asked about this he replied, "I've not met anyone who would know me, why bother? If I spoke I'd smash the chimneys!"

      He later left the home life at Wa Kuan Monastery under master Hsueh Feng, and obtained his mind seal. Hsueh Feng was an enlightened Master who had certified to the results of the path and could transmit the mind seal first transmitted by Sakyamuni Buddha to Patriarch Mahakasyapa, from Mahakasyapa to the Venerable Ananda, and so forth.  It is a certification which says, "This is how I am, you too are like this.  We are both thus," If you ask about the appearance of this mind seal, you will find that it has none.  If you inquire about its sound, you will find it to have none.  Ask its color, form, size or shape, and you will find that it also has none of these.  If you understand, you've opened an enlightenment} if you don't, you haven't.

      Wild beasts submitted to the Master Long Ears, dragons coiled in his presence, and tigers quietly crouched.  The miraculous events of his life are too numerous to mention.

      Once a monk came to try the Master and said, "Just what is Long Ears?"  The Master did not reply, and only held up his pendant earlobes.

      The monk asked, "Was Nan Feng hard to reach?" (Nan Feng, Southern Peak, is another ftame for Long Ear's Master, Hstieh Feng.)  The import of this Question is, "It must be difficult at your Master's place.  I hear  that it's unendurable there.  Who could possibly go on t'rom morning to night with no break for eighteen or more hours a day?  In the Dharma ending age how can anyone undertake such a practice?"

      Long Ears replied, "It's not hard; the problem is just that people won't bother to go there."  Those who don't really care about coming to true understanding fear difficulty.  Those who genuinely wish to understand, on the other hand, feel no difficulty at all. The only thing to do is to actually undertake the work and not spend so much time and effort on your stinking skin bag of a body, pampering it and tending to I. While you think it to be a great thing, it looks on you as utterly valueless.

      The monk asked the Master, "What about the future."

      The Master replied, "The Southern Peak will stand." In other words, although people don't understand this method of practice, the method exists nonetheless.

      Once the King of Yueh asked Master Shou of Yung Ming, "Are there any real monks left?"

      Master Shou replied, "Master Long Ears is a transformation body of Dipankara Buddha."

      The King of Yueh then went to see Master Long Ears, bowed to him and said, "I know that you are Dipankara Buddha."

      The Master replied, "Amitabha Buddha certainly lets his tongue work overtime. Why must he talk so much!" Not long after the interview, the Master reached total stillness.

      The Master Shou of Yung Ming mentioned above recited the name of Amitabha Buddha one hundred thousand times a day in addition to following along with all the daily activities of the monastery. He not only recited Amitabha Buddha's name, he was actually a transformation body of Amitabha. When the King of Wu Yfleh asked this question, the situation differed a great deal from the current one. Now, in the West, it is not possible to ask if there are any real monks left. for up until now there have not been any at all, not even false ones. And now, as the false and counterfeit ones appear, the genuine Sangha also is manifesting.

      The story I've told should lead everyone to realize an important principle: if you meet a genuine sage, a Buddha, a Bodhisattva, or an Arhat, don't let on you know. To tell a transformation body of Amitabha Buddha, for example, that you know who he is, may very well cause him to leave, for if word were to get around, he would be pestered by visitors and pilgrims constantly.

      After his death the Master received the posthumous title Tsun Hui from the Emperor. His eulogy reads,

A stone grotto with pines at the door, 
His heart was sweet, his practice bitter,

A refuge for all the birds, 
A rain of heavenly flowers, 
The untransmitted is the  wonderful, 
A brilliant-eyed old monk. Just look.


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Note; The English transcript contains additions from the Venerable Master's oral commentary, --ed.