Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs


 --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.

Empress 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.'
      Later the Empress requested the Master to assist Bhiksu Siksananda in translating the Avatamsaka Sutra. When the translation was completed, the Empress invited him to explain the newly translated Sutra. Upon reaching the passage of text where the Sea of the Flower Store World trembled and shook, the ground actually trembled and a great roaring sound was heard.
      The succeeding Emperor, Jui Tsung, also held the Master in great esteem, and requested the Master to transmit the Bodhisattva precepts to him.

In 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
      The Master told his disciples that he would soon be leaving but they didn't understand the import of his words. He then died at Ta Chien Fu Monastery. The Emperor posthumously awarded him the ministerial rank of 'Voice of the Emperor.' He was the third patriarch of the Avatamsaka School.

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.

1another name for the capital at Ch'ang An.
2another name for Master Tu Hsun. 


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