Seal of the Patriarchs
MASTER FA KUANG OF SHIH CHUNG MONASTERY (T’ANG
by Tripitaka Master Hua
by Disciple Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih
This Dhyana Master lived during the T’ang Dynasty at Chicken Foot
Mountain’s Shih Chung Monastery. His name was Dhyana Master Fa Kuang.
THE MASTER WAS FROM HO NAN, THE
VILLAGE OF JU YANG. HIS FAMILY NAME WAS
YANG. Both he and his father were officials, probably judges.
CRIMINALS HE SIGHED AND SAID, "BASICALLY PEOPLE HAVEN'T ANY CRIMES, BUT
IGNORANCE BEGUILES THEM. HELL BASICALLY DOESN'T EXIST; PREVIOUS KARMA EVOKES
sentencing criminals he would say that fundamentally people are devoid of
offenses. It is just because they lack understanding that they break the law,
and fall into the nets of the law. "Fundamentally there isn't any
hell," he said. "It's just the karmic retribution from former lives
which evokes it.
HE MADE A VOW AND WENT TO HSIAO LIN MONASTERY WHERE HE LEFT THE HOME LIFE. HE
RECEIVED THE COMPLETE PRECEPTS AT K'AI YUAN MONASTERY AND THOROUGHLY
INVESTIGATED THE VINAYA AND THE TEACHING VEHICLE.
not going to be an official, but what will I do?" he thought, and then
traveled to Hsiao Lin Monastery, located on Bear's Ear Mountain, the place where
Patriarch Bodhidharma cultivated the Way. After leaving the home life he made a
detailed study of the dharma of precepts and rules and the doctrines of the
Great and Small Vehicles.
HE TRAVELED EXTENSIVELY. AFTER INVESTIGATING THE ONE COME FROM THE WEST, THE
STRAIGHT POINTING, HE EXPLAINED "GOING UPWARD."
encountered the great meaning of the One Come from the West, Bodhidharma, and
the doctrine of how to get out of the cage, the Dharma-door of the straight
pointing by which one recognizes the mind and sees the nature. The Dharma of the
Ch'an sect is called "Mind Ground" Dharma; it is also called
"Going Upward" Dharma.
WALKED TO MAKE OBEISANCE TO KASYAPA ARRIVING AT CHICKEN FOOT, HE PLANTED HIS
STAFF, ESTABLISHING SHIH CHUNG MONASTERY WHICH EVENTUALLY BECAME A HAVEN FOR THE
by step he walked to Yun Nan to Chicken Foot Mountain, and when he got there he
bowed to Patriarch Ksayapa, who is, even now, still residing in Chicken Foot
Mountain in samadhi. He rested his staff there, which means once he got there he
didn't leave, but established a monastery, which became a Bodhimandala where the
Dharma was spoken.
WAS QUICKER THAN MOST TO UNDERSTAND
SINGLE PHRASE FROM A GATHA.
DHARMA TOOLS WERE TO NO AVAIL;
WAS AT EASE AND COMFORTABLE.
HIDING PLACE OF THE "DRINKER OF LIGHT"
LIKE SUN AND MOON.
STONE BELL RANG UNTIL THE SOUND
DARK AND MICROSCOPIC PLACES.
soon as he saw one sentence from a gatha in a Buddhist Sutra he understood. For
instance, in the Vajra Sutra
No mark of self,
Of living beings,
Or of a life."
"If one sees me in form,
If one seeks me in sound,
He practices a deviant way
And cannot see the Tathagata."
also a gatha.
wooden fish and the bells are all called Dharma tools, instruments, but that is
not what is referred to here. Here Dharma tools refers to whatever methods the
wise advisors of each monastery and temple he visited used to teach and
transform him. But in all cases those instruments of Dharma were of no use.
of Light" is the Patriarch Kasyapa who was hidden away sitting in samadhi
in the mountain, blazing like the combined light of the sun and moon.
Monastery he established at Chicken Foot Mountain is called Shih Chung,
"Stone Bell," Monastery. The bell resounded; the dark and microscopic
places refers to the hells. This is to say that the work of his monastery shook
the hells until their inhabitants woke up.
GETS HIS FULL RETRIBUTION.
AROUND IN THE OFFICIALDOM'S SEA
DANGEROUS AND DIFFICULT.
ASIDE FAME AND PROFIT
CONTEMPLATES WITH COMFORT.
FORTH MERIT AND VIRTUES HE KNEW
DIVINITY OF THE NATURE.
CHICKEN FOOT MOUNTAIN HE
STONE BELL MONASTERY.
CRANE PEAK HE PROCLAIMED
GOLD AND JADE PAGES.
THE TRIPLE JEWEL,
TEACHING AND TRANSFORMING FLOURISHED.
DHARMA KING PRAISED HIM
DONE, WORTHY ONE."
of ignorance one creates karma and because of karma one must undergo his
retribution to the full extent. We mutually fill each other up with karmic
retributions, just like filling bottles of water.
an official was like floating and sinking in the ocean; very dangerous, and
extremely difficult. So he cast aside name and profit and contemplated at ease.
He brought forth merit and virtue by cultivation, using effort to follow the
Way. He accumulated blessings and wisdom until he understood the divinity of the
Chicken Foot Mountain he set up Shih Chung Monastery. At Crane Peak flat he
lectured the Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra and there was a very efficacious
response. The gold and jade pages refer to the Vajra sutra.
caused the Triple Jewel to thrive day by day. His teaching flourished and the
Buddha praised him saying, "Well done. Worthy One, you are a worthy and
the preceding article, the text is typed in bold type; everything else is an
oral commentary on the text delivered by the Venerable Master. The original
Chinese for the text appears on the following page.
next month's Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs VAJRA BODHI SEA will introduce
a Master who will interest all those who have asked the question, "Can
women become enlightened?" Bhiksuni Wu Chin Tsang of the T'ang Dynasty
dwelled with the ease of Ch'iu Tse's mother, and left a flesh body in the world.
IN THIS ISSUE OF VAJRA BODHI SEA;
THE DAILY RECORD OF THE SAGES’ TRAVELS FOR WORLD PEACE
The final installment of THE
RECORD OF WATER AND MIRROR TURNING BACK HEAVEN
PURE LAND DHARMA TALKS
ACROSS THE SEA OF SUFFERING IN A
BOAT OF VOWS
An account of the GATHERING FOR
WORLD PEACE held earlier this summer in Seattle
A scholar meets the Master, a
transcript. See THE BODHI LECTERN
VEGETABLES FOR A LONG LIFE
And another song: THE WHEEL OF