Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs
DHYANA MASTER YING WEN OF THE MING DYNASTY
by Tripitaka Master Hua
THE VENERABLE MASTER YING WEN WAS THE SON OF EMPEROR CHU OF THE MING DYNASTY, AND WAS HIMSELF AN EMPEROR NAMED CHIEN WEN, (1399-1402).
Emperor Chu Hung-wu, Chu Yuan-chang, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1398), was a monk who became an emperor. His son, the Venerable Master Ying Wen, was an emperor who became a monk.
CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT BY PEKING FORCES, THE GOLDEN STREAM GATE WAS SMASHED, in
Nanking there was a gate called the Golden Stream Gate and it was broken
THE INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED THREE ORDINATION CERTIFICATES FOR YING WEN, YING HSIEN, AND YING NENG. The last instructions consisted of three ordination certificates. The names on the certificates read Ying Wen, Ying Hsien, and Ying Neng, the names of three monks.
AND THERE WERE ALSO SAMGHATIS. When the instructions were opened and the monk's certificates of ordination and three packages containing robes were removed, the son of the Emperor Chu and his ministers understood that they should become monks.
SOON THE PALACE WAS IN FLAMES. The Golden Stream Gate was smashed and the palace was burned. When the fire broke out they saw that there was no hope, and that they had no alternative but to become monks. If they didn't, they would lose their heads. If they were captured by the King of Peking they would certainly be assassinated, because if they were not, the forces of Peking would fear that things would not work out well. So they shaved their heads and became monks.
THE EMPEROR CHANGED INTO THE ROBES OF THE SANGHA. So, the emperor became a monk. Chu Heng-wu, his father, was originally a monk who became an emperor. His son was an emperor who became a monk, the Venerable Dhyana Master Ying Wen. They changed positions.
Before Emperor Chu Hung-wu died, he probably met with Liu Pai-wen, a diviner, who called himself Liu Chi. Liu Chi is still alive in China. Liu Chi knew about all matters in advance, and it is likely that Emperor Chu asked him, "What does the future hold for me?"
Liu Chi replied, "In the future disorder will prevail in the country. You should prepare three precept certificates and three packages of robes worn by members of the Sangha." That is how it came to pass that Emperor Chien Wen changed into the robes of the Sangha.
HE GAVE HIMSELF THE NAME 'YING WEN,' AND WENT OUT THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND PASSAGE. THOSE WHO WENT WITH HIM WERE CENSOR YEH HSI-HSIEN AND YANG YING-NENG, TEACHER OF THE KING OF WU, WHO ALSO CHANGED INTO THE ROBES OF THE SANGHA. THESE TWO TOOK THE NAMFS YING HSIEN AND YING NENG. THEY PASSED THROUGH WU, CHU CH'IN, AND SHU, ON THEIR WAY TO CH EN. Wu is Hupeh, Chu is Hunan, Ch'in is Kwangsi, Shu is Szechwan, and Ch'en is Yunnan.
IN YUNNAN THEY DWELT IN SECLUSION ON SHIH TZU MOUNTAIN FOR YEARS, probably several decades.
TO THIS DAY HIS PORTRAIT REMAINS THERE, the portrait of the Emperor as the monk, Ying Wen.
AT THE END OF HIS LIFE WHEN HE WAS OVER 80 HE RETURNED EAST. When he was about 80 years old he went back to Nanking, SAT IN THE PALACE, AND DEPARTED. By that time the incident was past, and the King of Peking paid no attention. The Master Wen completed the stillness while in the palace. HE WAS BURIED AT HSI MOUNTAIN. Hsi Mountain is in Nanking.
A VERSE IN HIS PRAISE SAYS:
KING OF MEN, KING OF DHARMA.
EACH EXPERIENCES HIS OWN FATE.
HE BECAME AS BRIGHT AS A THOUSAND SUNS,
WHEN THERE IS A STIMULUS THERE IS A RESPONSE.
ULTIMATELY WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
THE ROAD TRANSCENDS THE COMMON AND THE HOLY.
LEAVES PALL AND RETURN TO THE ROOT,
WITHOUT LOSS OR GAIN.
The king of men is the emperor. The king of Dharma means he left the home life. The Buddha is like a thousand suns. To be a king of men and a king of Dharma is to shine like a thousand suns.
ANOTHER VERSE IN HIS PRAISE SAYS:
THE GREAT PROVISIONAL MANIFESTATION OF A REGAL LORD,
RETURNING TO THE ORIGIN HE SHOOK OFF THE RED DUST,
VIGOROUS ASCETIC PRACTICES AND REFINEMENT BROKE THROUGH
GRADUAL CHANGE AND SILENT TRANSFORMATION LED TO THE EXTINCTION OF
AT EIGHTY YEARS HE SAT AND LEFT IN THE IMPERIAL PALACE.
TO MOUNT THE NINTH AND LOFTY TIER OF THE CITY OF ULTIMATE BLISS.
HE WAS A MODEL OF PROPRIETY FOR TEN THOUSAND GENERATIONS
HE'S NOT RESTRAINED ANYWHERE THROUGHOUT THE DHARMA REALM,
As a great provisional device this bhiksu appeared in the body of an emperor, to try it out and see what it was like. Ultimately he returned to the origin and extricated himself from the red dust of this mundane world. Afterward at Shih Tzu Mountain he was a vigorous cultivator who refined himself and smashed through ignorance. Slowly, without realizing it, he obtained the penetration of the extinction of outflows.
By the time he was eighty he had spiritual penetrations and Way-virtue. He returned to the Imperial Palace, sat, and completed the stillness. He certainly was reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, from the lotus of the ninth grade.
To be an emperor and then a monk is an amusing way to do it. He will be imitated by people for thousands of years to come. Because of him a lot of emperors will see through it all and leave the home life. Throughout empty space in the Dharma-realm if he wants to go across or up and down, it is totally up to him. He's free.
As to Liu Chi, when Emperor Ch'ien Lung of the Ch'ing dynasty went to Chiangnan, Liu Chi called on the Emperor. But he did it in an unusual way. He made a fire in the top of a tree and began to cook some food. The great ministers accompanying Ch'ien Lung found it a strange sight. What Liu Chi wanted was to get Emperor Ch'ien Lung to say that he was a sagely immortal. The attendants and ministers told the Emperor Ch'ien Lung, "Did you see that man? He's really strange. He's built a fire in the top of a tree to cook his food."
Ch'ien Lung turned his head, took a look and said, "Oh, that's just old Liu Chi. He's been out of his head since the Ming dynasty," and left.
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