Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs
THE THIRD PATRIARCH OF THE AVATAMSAKA SCHOOL THE VENERABLE HSIEN SHOU, FA TSANG
--Composed by the Venerable Master Hua
--Translated by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Shoou
The Master, whose family name was K’ang, was a native of Sogdia. He went to Ch’ang An where he served the High Master Yen. After receiving the speaking transmission of the robe and bowl, he often represented the High Master in the Dharma from the High Seat.
Wu Tsai T'ien once requested the Master Shou to deliver a lecture describing the
doctrine of the Avatamsaka. While he was still explaining the Sutra's
title, a white light burst from his mouth and instantly formed a canopy hanging
in empty space. The Empress was delighted, and thereupon bestowed upon him the
name Hsien Shou 'Worthy Leader.'
all the Master explained the Avatamsaka Sutra over thirty times. He also
composed commentaries to The Lankavatara Sutra, The Secret Adornment Sutra,
The Brahma's Net Sutra, The Great Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in the
Mahayana, and The Heart Sutra.
His eulogy says:
What was the reason for the Master's coming?
He burned a finger to establish vows,
Swimming about in the Sea of Vairocana,
Exhausting the limits of the Dharma-realm.
From his mouth came forth a brilliant light,
The earth at the Spiritual Capital1 trembled and shook.
Ah! Awesome indeed was our exalted Master
Who hands down a model for 10,000 worlds.
Another verse in his praise says,
The magnificent teaching of the Avatamsaka pervades a million worlds,
It cosmically teaches multitudes of beings to renounce their niggardly greed.
Its multi-dimensional wonderful principle its inexhaustible meanings,
The mysterious doctrines understood clearly by later sages.
When the Master lectured light flashed forth, a canopy hung from above.
Like Ti Hsin’s2 practice, which stopped the flow—the seething waters ran dry.
The National Master’s virtue in the Way illumines the present and past,
We gaze from afar and wish to be like him, eternally extending his line.
Featured in Coming Issues
THE LOTUS SUTRA: The Stories about the Buddha’s great Disciples
THE EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA SUTRA: An explanation of karma
THE AMITABHA SUTRA The Six Concords in Buddhism by Bhiksu Huyen Vi, Ph.D. Nalanda Pali Institute
Records of the Lives of the High Masters
Patriarchs of the Vinaya School in Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs