Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs
Dharma Master K'uei Chi of T'ang China, 
the Three Cart Patriarch of Tz'u En Monastery

-Composed by the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hua
-Translated by Disciple
Bhiksu Heng Shoou

The Master was born into the household of Yu Ch'ih, in Tai Chun. Ching Te, the Noble Ngo Kuo, Chamberlain and General to the Emperor, was his uncle. His father's name was Ching Tsung.

After leaving home under Tripitaka Master Hsuan Chuang, Dharma Master K'uei Chi helped him translate sutras. Hsuan Chuang transmitted the Yogacara and Dasabhumika Sastras and the essential doctrine of the Consciousness-Only School, to him. K'uei Chi composed over one hundred commentaries and exegetical texts, and because of that, his contemporaries knew him as the Hundred Sastra Master.

By nature, Dharma Master K'uei Chi was extremely forgiving, compassionate, and generous. Wherever he went he was accompanied by a traveling wardrobe, a mobile canteen, and a bookmobile. Thus, he was known as the Three-Cart Patriarch. (See following story. Why K'uei Chi was Called the Three Cart Patriarch, page 3).

      At that time, Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan was living at Chung Nan Mountain. His cultivation had moved the gods to make daily offerings of food to him. One day Dharma Master K'uei Chi went to visit the Vinaya Master to sample the food of the gods. Although he waited all day, the god did not appear. The Master left in a huff the next morning.

When the god appeared on schedule the next day, he said to Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan, "Yesterday there was a Great Vehicle Bodhisattva here, surrounded by a host of Dharma protectors, and I was unable to draw near. Therefore I couldn't make my daily offering of food." (See following story on page 9)

The Dharma Appearance School began with Master Hsuan Chuang and was first propagated by Ping Ch'eng and Chieh Hsien. Dharma Master K'uei Chi's propagation of the school was quite extensive. He was the third Patriarch of Tz'u En Monastery.

The eulogy in praise of Dharma Master K'uei Chi says:

Extremely profound is Consciousness Only,

Its principles fine, subtle, sublime.

Hsuan Chuang attained to its wonderful points;

Who but the Master could fathom its core?

Revealing truly its profound doctrines,

The Master wrote commentaries, exegetical texts;

As, when in darkness, a lamp appears,

It is he on whom the whole world may rely.

Another gatha in praise of the Master says:

Confused—three carts. Awakened——again three,

The Dharma wheel turns not a word in excess.

From past bitter practice and dhyana samadhi,

Now aiding translation, he sings the Great Way.

Discourses a hundred reveal the deep secrets;

His texts in the thousands transform suffering worlds.

What a pity no taste of the foods of the gods,

So in deep sleep, he snored up a storm!

Why K'uei Chi was called the Three Cart Patriarch

Why is K'uei Chi called the Three-Cart Patriarch? It has to do with the unusual circumstances surrounding his departure from the home life.  Basically, he hadn't wished to leave home, but the Emperor T'ang T'ai Tzung ordered him to do so. He complied, but only after the Emperor had agreed to provide him with a cart of wine, a cart of flesh, and a cart of beautiful women. How did all this come about?

When Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang of the land of T'ang was on his way to India, he came upon an old cultivator sitting by the side of the road. His body was covered with two inches of dust. Birds had built a nest in his hair and were busy raising a family, but because the old man had been sitting in Samadhi for so long, he was unaware of this development on his head. Master Hsuan Chuang saw that although he looked dead, his eighth consciousness had still not been cut off, and although his outer breath had stopped, his inner breath still moved. Outwardly this man was like stone, or a piece of wood, but inwardly Hsuan Chuang saw that there was still a trace of attachment.

Having examined the situation, Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang rang a small bell to awaken the old cultivator from Samadhi, and asked him, "Old Cultivator, what are you doing here?"

The old cultivator replied, "I'm waiting here for the Red Yang Buddha to enter the world. I intend to help him propagate the Buddhadharma."

Who is the Red Yang Buddha? Sakyamuni. Before Sakyamuni Buddha had accomplished the Way, this old cultivator sat down and entered Samadhi in order to wait for him to appear in the world, so that he could assist him in propagating the Buddhadharma. Who would have thought that after Sakyamuni Buddha had come, gone, and entered Nirvana, the old cultivator would still be sitting there in Samadhi!

Flabbergasted at his fiasco, Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang said, "You're sitting here waiting for Red Yang Buddha to appear in the world so you can help him to spread the Dharma? He has already come, gone, and entered extinction. You've missed him." 

The old cultivator replied, "Whoops. I entered Samadhi, but I guess I stayed far too long," and prepared to go back into Samadhi again.

Master Hsuan Chuang exclaimed, "Old Cultivator, wait a minute, hold your horses, don't enter Samadhi."

The old cultivator replied, "Why not?"

Hsuan Chuang said, "Why should you?"

The old cultivator answered, "I'll just wait for the White Yang Buddha to appear in the world."

Red Yang Buddha is Sakyamuni, and people of his age have red blood. The Buddha immediately previous to Sakyamuni was Green Yang Buddha, and the people of his time had green blood. In the future, when the White Yang Buddha, Maitreya," appears in the world, people will have white blood. If you wish to know if this is true, wait until Maitreya appears in the world.

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang said, "If you wait for Maitreya you'll have to wait for too long. Don't enter Samadhi. Go to China with me to help spread the Buddhadharma."

"How should I go?" asked the old cultivator.

Hsuan Chuang replied, "What do you mean 'How should I go?' Just go. That's all there is to it."

"But I don't know the road. Where is China? Where do I go?"

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang then explained, "When you get to China, find a great house with a roof of glazed yellow tile and get reborn there. Your present body is too decrepit, it's useless. You have to get another. Move on to a better house and you will be able to help me propagate the Buddhadharma. I'm on my way to India in search of Sutras. Go to China and be reborn."

The old cultivator thought all of that over and said, "OK, Red Yang Buddha's Dharma is still in the world, so I will go and help spread it."

Although the old cultivator had practiced for a long time, it appears that he had not realized any great wisdom. He couldn't even tell the difference between blue and yellow glazed tiles. When he went off to China to get reborn, perhaps he had samadhied himself into confusion, or perhaps he had not totally returned from Samadhi and was walking down the road with one eye open and one eye closed. Whatever the cause, he went off to the wrong house, and was reborn as the son of Yu Ch'ih Ching Tzung, the brother of the Noble Yu Ch'ih. Since the Noble Yu Ch'ih was the National Minister of Defense, his house had a blue glazed tile roof. The old cultivator was reborn in the wrong place.

When Hsuan Chuang returned from his journey seeking Sutras in India, he went to see the Emperor to pay his respects. The first thing he said to the Emperor was: "Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations on your new Prince."

The bewildered Emperor replied, "What are you talking about? Which prince? When did I receive a prince?"

Hsuan Chuang, realizing that something had gone wrong, said, "Oh, didn't you have a Prince about a year after I left for India?"

T'ang T'ai Tzung replied, "Nary a one. I haven't had a son in the entire time you've been gone."

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang thought, "Hmmm, that is strange. How can that be?" He opened his five eyes and peered about, "Where has he run off to?" he thought. He looked and looked and, "What ho! He's taken the wrong road, and gone off to the household of the Noble Yu Ch'ih."

Hsuan Chuang went to the Noble Yu Ch'ih's home to find the old cultivator, who was now a young boy of fifteen or sixteen. The boy was really big, really fat, and his favorite pastimes were drinking, running around with women, and eating meat. Every time he ate he consumed vast quantities of flesh. He hadn't eaten any for so many thousands of years that now that he had the chance he really piled it in. He hadn't had a drop of wine for so long that now that the chance had come; he swam in the stuff. Worse yet, he hadn't gotten near a woman for so many thousands of years that now that he had the chance, day in and day out he delighted in their company.

Seeing all of this, Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang said, "Old fellow cultivator, I told you to come here to help propagate the Buddhadharma, and now you've forgotten."

"Propagate what Buddhadharma?" the boy said. "Drinking wine is my Buddhadharma. Dining on flesh is my Buddhadharma. Playing around with women, that is my Buddhadharma. Just what other Buddhadharma is there?"

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang saw that he was extremely confused and thought, "This is really a mess."

Why was the old cultivator so confused? I'll tell you. There is a saying, "Bodhisattvas become confused by birth, Arhats become confused in the womb." When Bodhisattvas are born into the world, they are confused by the process of birth. When Arhats are reborn in the world, they are confused by the filth of the womb. Although the old cultivator had been in Samadhi for a long time, his bad habits had still not been cut off. As a result, when he became a person again these habits blazed up even fiercer than they had been previously. He was really unruly, and certainly didn't want to cultivate.

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang told him to leave home and become a bhiksu and help propagate the Buddhadharma, but of course the boy said, "Leave home? Not a chance. I intend to wait right here and succeed to my uncle's position as Minister of Defense. What would be the point of becoming a monk?"

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang saw that he was not about to leave home, and that this would never do. Therefore, he informed the Emperor T'ang T'ai Tzung, "The Noble Yu Ch'ih's nephew is the one I told to come and become your son, but he took the wrong road and went off to the Noble Yu Ch'ih's household. He must leave home and assist me in spreading the Buddhadharma."

The Emperor heard this and said, "Oh...what shall we do?"

Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang said, "I told him to leave home but he won't comply. But if the Emperor were to order him to leave home, and if he were to refuse, the Emperor could execute him."

So the Emperor said, "OK, tell him to come and see me. "

At the interview the Emperor said, "You have been summoned here because Dharma Master Hsuan Chaung told you to leave home and you refused. In the past you were a cultivator. Don't forget your original face! Basically you are one who has left home. You shouldn't continue to be confused in the position of a layman."

The boy replied, "He came to me and rapped back and forth about how I was a cultivator in the past and so on and so forth. It's just because he sees that I'm so strong and virile that he wanted me to come and help him in his work. That's why he told me to leave home. Now you, the Emperor, have joined in this prattle."

The Emperor replied, "Say what you like, I don't intend to pay the slightest heed to it. You will leave home. If you don't, I shall be forced to separate your head from your shoulders."

"Ohh...wait a minute. Let me think that over." said the boy, "tomorrow I'll give you an answer."

"Fine," said the Emperor. "Let me know tomorrow what you have decided. If you won't leave home, I shall remove your head. "

So the boy returned to his home and thought, "What will I do? Ah, ah!  I'll set up some conditions." So the next day he went to his hearing with the Emperor and said, "You've told me to leave home, and I can do it. But I just can't give up drinking wine. Monks are not allowed to drink wine, but I am unable to give it up. This is my first condition: I must have a wagon of wine following me wherever I go.

"What is more, I can't give up eating flesh. So, wherever I go there has to be a wagon of choice ham, beef, cold cuts and the like, following me close behind. That way, whenever I want a choice tidbit of meat I can eat some.

"Moreover, I can't give up women. They are my favorite pastime. So, after I leave home, I must always have a wagonful of beautiful women following me wherever I go. If it can all be arranged in that manner, then I will leave home. If that cannot be arranged, then even under the threat of death, I will refuse to leave home."

The Emperor said, "I'll have to consider this, and will inform you of my decision." He informed Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang of the developments, saying, "How can we possibly do that? Those conditions are totally at odds with Buddhism, they are all not allowed by the Dharma."

Hsuan Chuang said, "No matter what conditions he sets up, agree. It's of absolutely no importance. Just get him to leave the home life."

Since that was the case the Emperor said to the lad, "Agreed, tomorrow you will leave home. I shall arrange for three wagons to follow you and you can go to Tz'u En Monastery."

There was nothing the lad could do, so he went off to leave home. As he was approaching the monastery the members of the monastery began to beat the great bell, and roll the great drum to welcome him. As soon as he heard the ring of the great bell, he became enlightened on the spot.

"Oh...I had been sitting there cultivating the Way...I'm an old cultivator." He immediately turned and said to the wagon drivers. "Turn around! Go back! I don't want these three wagons." This is what is meant in the eulogy where it said, "Confused—three carts. Awake—again three." He understood and so he didn't want the three carts.

If he didn't want them why is he still called the Three-Cart Patriarch?  After he had left home he still really liked to wear fine clothes, and to eat fine delicacies. He was also extremely fond of reading books and sutras. After leaving home he always had a traveling wardrobe, a mobile canteen, and as bookmobile, and so was still called the Three Cart Patriarch. However, the second set of wagons was not in the least bit similar to the first. This is what is meant by "Confused—three carts. Awake—-again three."

After he left home he assisted Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang in translating sutras. This is what is meant by K'uei Chi. K'uei means to pry into. He pried into the foundation, Chi. And so he is called Dharma Master K'uei Chi, the Three Cart Patriarch.

HAD ENOUGH OF IT ALL? WANT TO RETURN TO THE SOURCE? Learn the true methods and theories of cultivation at Gold Mountain. Three sessions available his year. See back cover.

K'uei Chi seeks the food of the Gods

One day Dharma Master K'uei Chi thought to himself, "Before I left home I ate a lot of flesh. In fact, there wasn't a single kind of edible flesh, which I did not eat. Ham, beef, goose, Cornish game hen—there was nothing I didn't eat. I'm from a rich and powerful family, and so our table was always spread with the finest. Since I have left home, I've eaten all sorts of pure vegetarian food, and sometimes it's been OK, but sometimes it hasn't. I wonder what the food of the gods tastes like. The gods make offerings of food to Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan, I think I'll go to Chung Na-n Mountain to visit him, and try out the food of the gods."

Just between you and me, quite frankly, Dharma Master Kuei Chi was really a glutton. How do I know? Just take a look. As soon as he heard that the gods made offerings to someone, he had to drop in for a meal. He was really into eating. Here I am saying that Dharma Master K'uei Chi was a glutton and he's probably thinking, "Oh...all you ever do is criticize people." Well, Dharma Master, who told you to be such a glutton? 

So Dharma Master K'uei Chi dropped in at Tao Hsuan's and then waited around for lunch. When lunchtime passed and there was still no sight of the food of the gods, he said to Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan, "Liar."

The Vinaya Master replied, "What lie?"

"The gods don't make offerings of food to you at've just set up a phony reputation. You claim that the gods make offerings of food to you. Why is it that now that I've come here for lunch the heavenly repast has failed to materialize? You liar."

Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan didn't say a thing. Not like us..."Liar? What do you mean, 'liar'? You creep! The gods do come to make offerings of food to me. You say I'm a liar, I'M NOT LYING!" Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan was not moved in the least. His silent response simply said, "You said that I've lied. OK."

It was over 25 miles from Chung Nan Mountain to Ch'ang An, the capital, where Tz'u En Monastery was located. Since Dharma Master K'uei Chi had waited far into the afternoon for the heavenly repast to appear, he was unable to return to the capital that day. He had waited around so long that dusk had fallen, day had turned to night, and the god had still not come. Dharma Master K'uei Chi was really unhappy. He hadn't eaten anything all day.  Disgusted, he gave up and lay down to sleep. On the one hand he slept and on the other, he snored up a storm. He really snored like thunder.

Vinaya Master Hsuan exclaimed, "Ha! He hasn't cultivated the slightest bit. He hasn't the slightest bit of ability. He just throws himself down and snores up a storm. What use is this peasant?" He really began to look down on Dharma Master K'uei Chi.

Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan was sitting there trying to meditate when a couple of lice began jumping and crawling around on him. He picked one off and moved him to another place, but the louse was a total barbarian and continued to dance around.

"I moved you from here to there but you're still intent on bothering me. OK, off! Abandon ship," and he took the louse off and put him on the floor. While he was at it he plucked off another one and put him on the floor, too.

The next morning when Dharma Master K'uei Chi stopped snoring and woke up, Vinaya Master Hsuan said, "You! You don't cultivate in the least. All you do is take it easy. By day you do nothing but think about eating, and at night you lay down and snore up a storm. You snored so loud that I couldn't get any sleep. You...You're really too much." 

Dharma Master K'uei Chi said, "Me??? You said I don't cultivate!!! How about you? Those lice were bugging you so you threw them on the floor. You killed one and crippled the other. You're a Vinaya Master? Just what rules have you mastered? Take a look there on the ground. There's one dead louse, and one trying to hobble around, but he's unable to move at all. The dead louse went to see King Yama last night to accuse you of murder, but I went there and spoke up in your defense. You say I don't cultivate? Just what kind of Vinaya Master are you?" After saying this, he jumped up and left in a great huff. He was really angry.

Later in the morning, when lunchtime rolled around, the god turned up with his daily meal offering. Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan said, "Hey, what happened to lunch yesterday? A guest came to lunch yesterday. Why didn't you bring any food?"

The god said, "I came, but I was unable to get within 13 miles. The whole area was bathed in brilliant light and my eyes were so dazzled that I was unable to find the way. I asked the local earth spirit what was up, and he told me that there was a great vehicle Bodhi saliva here. The area was filled with his Dharma Protectors, the dragons, and other members of the eight-fold division of ghosts and spirits. There was simply no way for me to get even as close as 13 miles of this place."

After this, Vinaya Master Tao Hsuan respected Dharma Master K'uei Chi. But K'uei Chi never did get to taste the heavenly ambrosia.



Coming Features

In forthcoming issues Vajra Bodhi Sea will begin an exciting bilingual series presenting the informal talks of the Master Hua to a hard working group of cultivators during the December 1972 winter cultivation sessions. The first two of the three weeks were given over entirely to recitation of the Buddha's name, and the third to twenty hours a day of dhyana meditation. The Master's instructional talks are lively and informative, filled with poetry and engaging answers to the participants' questions which cut right through to reveal the core of the practice. This series will present material which is not only totally new to the Western culture, but what is more, is new to the Orient as well. For this reason the talks will be presented in both English and Chinese. This is a series you won't want to miss!

The Sino-American Buddhist Association invites all elders, of at least sixty years of age, to come to Gold Mountain Monastery and join the members of the Association in a pure vegetarian meal. These meals are served daily at eleven o'clock in the morning; the only requirement is that those wishing to attend arrive or call in before nine in the morning to let us know you are coming.

What easier way is there to plant good roots, derive wealth and honor, lengthen your life, and help your children prosper than by eating pure vegetarian food?