Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs


--Composed by Tripitaka Master Hua

--Translated by
Disciple Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih

      Due to its resemblance to the drum used in Buddhist ceremonies, the mountain was named Ku, "Drum." Ku Mountain became a place where Buddhist monasteries were built. Recently the Venerable Elder Master Hsu Yun served as abbot of a Ku Mountain temple for a time.

The Master's name was also Yuan Ch'ing. He was from the village of Hsing An in the province of Nan (the present-day Chiang Hsi). He had handsome features, but rejected the common dust. Before Vinaya Master Ch'eng Fang left the home-life, many women were attracted to him.  Although he was sought after he did not like women, and roundly scolded any woman who ventured to express affection for him. Therefore “rejecting the common dust” means he left the home life.

Be studied the Avatamsaka. Be shouldered his pack and went to Yueh (the present-day Huang Chou.)

At that time the Vinaya Master Hui Yun was explaining the precepts at Ling Yin Monastery. In a dream someone said to the Master Hui, "Tomorrow a person will come who is a transformation body of Manjusri Bodhisattva. When he arrives to take the precepts, be a little lenient." The text says Vinaya Master Hui Yun had a dream one night, but actually it was an experience, which occurred while he was sitting in meditation. The person in the dream said Manjusri Bodhisattva was coming. It was Vinaya Master Ch'eng Fang, Hsing Ch'ing who was about to arrive to receive the precepts.

When the time arrived to mount the precept platform, the Master was too sick to be exposed to the wind. Sramanera Ch'eng Fang became severely ill after he arrived at Yueh. He couldn't even get up, how much the less endure being exposed to the wind.

Hui escorted the assembly to him. Vinaya Master Hui Yun took the three masters and seven certifiers to his bedside and transmitted the precepts to him.

After receiving the precepts he lived at Wu T'ai Mountain and investigated the Vinaya Store, and the emperor established a precept platform there. The Master Ch'eng Fang inherited the Venerable Hui's mat. Afterward he was instructed to reside at Ku Mountain. How long he lived and the number of years he held the precepts are not known. The Emperor founded a precept platform and the Master Ch'eng Fang Using Ch'ing inherited the Venerable Hui's Dharma seat. He was transmitted the Abbotship by Vinaya Master Hui, who then Instructed the Master to dwell at Ku Mountain.

A verse in his praise says:

A great scholar sought the precepts

His spirit was too verbose.

Whether received or not,

What is fulfilled, what is deficient?

Conveying' compassion by the wheel of wisdom

He, like the moon, followed the flow.

His light dazzles the area of Ming Chin

To the east, west, south, and north.

The Master came to receive the precepts but prior to his arrival he let the cat out of the bag. After all, what's the difference if one takes the precepts or not? Basically it's all the same. Although he appeared, he was like the moon, whose reflection, although clearly seen on the water, is no different from the flow in its substance.

Another verse in hie praise says.'

Influencing living beings, he converted

Even those with no affinities.

Sramanera Wonderfully Lucky

Appeared to Hui in a dream.

Regarding the opportunities he dispensed .the teaching,

Just as it should be,

He explained the Dharma for the people

Both actual and provisional.

Hour severely he upheld

The lofty Pratimoksa,

Diligently guarding his body and mouth as well as the monkey-

The fragrance of Wu T'ai's blossoming precepts was perceived

The Buddhas extended their praises to him and smiled to him in

Why did Manjusri Bodhisattva want to transform a body and come to receive the precepts? His intention was to be an influence on others. People would say. "Look at that, Manjusri Bodhisattva has come to receive the precepts. We should immediately receive them, too." And those who had no intention of taking precepts-those with no prior conditions with the Buddhadharma—would be moved to do so.

Manjusri Bodhisattva, also called "Wonderfully Lucky," without anything to do went looking for something to do and became a Sramanera who appeared in a dream to tell Vinaya Master Hui Yun that Manjusri Bodhisattva was coming to receive the precepts.

He figured out a way to teach and transform those with whom he had no affinities. He explained Dharma to everyone he met. But at the same time he was arduous in preserving his body from offense, his mouth from violation, and his mind from transgression. The monkey-mind refers to the idle thoughts, which suddenly ascend to heaven or suddenly plunge to the hells with the thoughts. "I wonder with whom the Great Jade Emperor is holding audience? I think I'll go eavesdrop," or "What's Earth Store Bodhisattva doing in hell?"   From morning to night thoughts keep the mind so busy it bounds and jumps and skittles from here to there and back again. If you wish to guard it then you must look after it, which means you must follow the precepts and rules. Vinaya Master Ch'eng Fang gained wide reputation for his study, practice, and transmission of the Vinaya School. Even the Buddhas were moved to smile in approval.
The Chinese text for this issue's Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs will be found on the following page.