Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs
T’ang Dynasty Master Ta Hui I Hsing of Yogacara School
by the Venerable High Master Hua
The Master was a native of Chu Lu1 and his layname was Chang. He left home when young, received the transmission of the secret teaching from Vajramati, and compiled a commentary on the Vairocana Sutra.2 He ascended the platform to be initiated and received the five-division Yogacara dharma.3
In the first year of the K'ai Yuan reign (A. D. 713) he had a highly successful audience with the Emperor, who questioned him about the future of the country. The Master answered, "The Imperial Chariot will travel 10,000 miles and the nation will ultimately be fortunate.
He further handed the Emperor a small gold box saying, "Open it after 10,000 miles." The Emperor gave him the name "Master of the Gods" on this occasion.
Later, the Emperor was forced to flee to Chengtu,4 and when he arrived at the "Ten Thousand Mile Bridge," he opened the box and saw a small measure of "Proper Return"5 medicine. The Emperor understood that he should return to give the throne to the Fortunate King.6 Emperor Chao Tsung ascended the throne and became known as the "Fortunate King."
The Master compiled the Ta Yen calendar in fifty rolls. Earlier, in the Han dynasty, Lo Hsia Hung had made a calendar and predicted, "After eight hundred years less one day, a sage will revise the calendar." The Ta Yen Calendar verified his prediction. The Master also composed the Shui Hun T'ien Manual.7
In the fifteenth year of the K'ai Yuan reign (A.D. 728) he took leave and returned to Sung Mountain where he dressed, sat down, and left the world. He was given the posthumous title Ta Hui, "Great Wisdom." A verse in his praise says,
The Master obtained the seal
Of five-division teaching dharmas.
The yin-yang prophecy verified,
The common folk called him a sage.
At Mount Sung his mind meshed8
What need of further study?
Like gems his wisdom and actions were,
Gems perfect, brilliant, and bright.
The Venerable Master Hua'S verse in praise of him says,
He received the Dharma from Master Vajramati,
Went before the secret altar to quietly hold and cultivate;
For half the summer retreat-Single Conduct9 sat in samadhi;
Ten thousand miles, a prophecy, the return was fortunate.
He dressed himself, sat down and died—so truly was he free!
In a flick of the wrist or a finger-snap he arrived at the lotus pool.
He converted living beings with skill and expediency,
into the Buddha’s work the weariness of the world.