of the lives of the High Masters
Dared To Make Translations!
the lectures of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
by Disciple Bhiksuni Heng Chˇ¦ih
High Sanghin Vighna
1 was from India. His grandfather and
father were both externalists who cultivated the worship of fire. Fire for them
was the supreme ultimate, and they kept a fire constantly burning in their home,
respecting, revering, and worshipping it, as one should the Buddha.
One day a
sramana, who cultivated dharmas of the Small
Vehicle and was an expert in the use of extremely efficacious mantras, passed by
Vighna's household at dusk and asked to spend the night. He received permission
from Vighna's father, but because the family cultivated an externalist way, they
were reluctant to welcome a sramana.
"What are we going to do with him?" they
worried, and finally told him, "You can stay here, but not in the house;
you'll have to sleep outside." They were taking precautions lest someone
try to destroy their religion.
Applying his spiritual penetrations, the sramana recited
a "fire extinguishing mantra" and their object of worship, the fire on
their altar, died. Everyone in the family passed from initial alarm to panic.
They rushed outside to bow before the sramana in repentance, and invited him
inside to spend the night. They knew they had done something wrong.
The sramana then recited a "fire producing
mantra" and the altar fire suddenly reappeared. The family of fire
worshippers thought, "This is strange. We've been serving fire a long time,
but we don't have his spiritual penetrations. It's miraculous!"
Upon seeing these awe-inspiring feats which far surpassed
those of his family, Vighna believed in the sramana and wished to leave the home
life to follow him and cultivate the Way. His parents, recognizing the power of
the sramana, gave their consent. After he left the home life, Vighna
concentrated on reading and reciting sutras. In one day he was able to read and
learn to recite from memory twenty or thirty thousand words.
In the third year of the reign period Huang Wu, in the
Eastern Wu dynasty, 2 Vighna went to the state of Wu 3 where he studied
ChineseˇXremarkably slowly! Neither he nor his companion Lu Yen 4 could master
the language, but nonetheless they proceeded to force some translations. How did
they do it? They used dictionaries
to look up every word. Since they translated in this way, their writing was
stilted and cumbersome. They translated many small Buddhist Sutras this way.
The only existent copies were written out in large
characters, and these sutras were lost when the original copies disintegrated.
Nevertheless, the merit of these two Dharma Masters is great. Having previously
been followers of an externalist way, they took refuge with the Triple Jewel and
translated sutras at a time when no Chinese translations of sutras yet existed.
It was much more difficult to translate then than it is today, when scientific
devices help speed the process. Although Vighna's ability with the Chinese
language was not very good, he dared to translate, and his courageous efforts
should be remembered by all of us.
April 17 Birthday of the Great Master Ch'ang Jen
18 Birthday of Cundi Bodhisattva
of the Venerable Master Hua
19 The Great Master Ch'ang Chih left the home life.
Birthday of Manjusri Bodhisattva.
10 Birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha.
30 Birthday of Medicine Master Bodhisattva.
Birthday of Ch'ieh Lan Bodhisattva.
Birthday of Wei T'ou Bodhisattva.
14 The Great Master Ch'ang Jen's Enlightenment.
16 The Great Master Ch'ang Chih's Birthday.
18 Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva 's Enlightenment.
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