Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs
MING DYNASTY DHYANA MASTER CHEN K'O TZU PAI
Venerable Master Hua
translated by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
|revised by Bhiksuni Heng Ch'ih
edited by Bhiksu Heng Kuan
MASTER WAS THE SON OF THE SHEN FAMILY IN T'AN CHUEH WU CHIANG.
TO SEVER AND CAST OUT AFFLICTION
If you want to SEVER AND CAST OFF AFFLICTION you are merely adding ILLNESS to illness. If you think TO INCLINE TOWARDS TRUE SUCHNESS, to move to the side of true suchness, by having that thought you are holding deviant knowledge and deviant views—NOT ORTHODOX thoughts.
AND EXPERIENCED A GREAT DOUBT.
When he heard the two sentences of the verse, he had a feeling of GREAT DOUBT. "How could it be that cutting off affliction merely redoubles one's illness? Or that going toward suchness is deviant? What does this mean?" He gave rise to a doubt. In the Ch'an School it is said:
great doubt, a great awakening;
But one must give rise to the feeling of doubt. Day and night he thought about it. "What does it mean? What is the principle behind it? What does it mean 'to sever and cast out affliction merely redoubles one's illness'?" Day and night he investigated the problem; coming and going he tried to figure it out.
ONE DAY, AFTER A MEAL HE SUDDENLY AWOKE AND SAID, WHEN I SAT BENEATH THE SEAT OF LIN CHI TE SHAN, ONE SLAP BROUGHT MY AWAKENING. WHAT USE IT IS? HOW IS IT? WHAT IS IT LIKE?
One day after lunch he became enlightened, he understood the principle and said, "WHEN I SAT BENEATH THE SEAT OF LIN CHI TE SHAN..." Great Master Lin Chi was hit three times and then got enlightened. They hit him three times and he ran away and got enlightened. "ONE SLAP BROUGHT MY AWAKENING." Lin Chi hit me once and I understood," he said. WHAT USE IS IT? HOW IS IT? WHAT'S IT LIKE?" What's the use? How's it? Ultimately, what is it like? This is investigating Ch'an...
DURING THE REIGN PERIOD WAN LI IN THE AUTUMN OF THE YEAR KUEI MAO, JEALOUS RIVALS ACCUSED THE MASTER OF TREASON.
Because they were jealous of Dhyana Master Tzu Pai, they said that he was slandering the Emperor, that he was going to start a revolution and in general was agitating in the Sangha. They wanted to drag him into court.
HE WAS ARRESTED, AND INTERROGATED, BUT EVINCED NO SIGN OF FEAR.
Although ARRESTED, he was not the least bit afraid, and did not fear execution. He wasn't like you, who would have been scared out of your wits.
EVEN AT THE POINT OF BEING EXECUTED HE MERELY SAID, AS TO MY APPEARANCE IN THE WORLD FOR THE LIFE OF WISDOM, MY GREAT REGRET IS THAT I DID NOT FINISH WORK ON THE RECORD OF THE TRANSMISSION OF THE LAMP.
He wrote the Record of the Transmission of the Lamp, but didn't finish it. His birth in the world was to work for the life of the Buddha's wisdom and not completing the book was to him a source of great regret.
HE SAID NOTHING ELSE AND WAS SENTENCED BY LAW TO DEATH. THE MASTER SAID, SO IT IS WITH WORLDLY LAW. WHAT'S THE USE OF STAYING LONGER?
They were determined to kill him, but Dhyana Master Tzu Pai only said, "That's just the way it goes with mundane laws. What could possibly be the use of staying alive any longer?"
HE THEN ASKED TO BATHE AND SPOKE VERSES. SITTING UPRIGHT, HE LEFT THE WORLD.
"Simply allow me to bathe and recite my verses," he said. Then, sitting in full lotus, he completed the stillness.
HEARING THE NEWS, IMPERIAL CENSOR TS'AO HSUEH CH'ENG WENT TO INVESTIGATE.
When the Imperial official Ts'ao Hsueh Ch'eng heard that Great Master Tzu Pai had died sitting upright in full lotus in his jail cell, he went to take a look at him.
THE MASTER ONCE AGAIN OPENED HIS EYES, LAUGHED, AND LEFT AGAIN.
A dead man opened his eyes! He'd been dead for a long time. It probably took at the very least a week for the Imperial Censor to get there. When he arrived, the Master, dead for a week, opened his eyes again and laughed and died again. Would you say this was strange or not?
HIS STUPA IS AT CHING MOUNTAIN. HE WROTE THE COLLECTED WORKS OF TZU PAI. WHICH CIRCULATED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
They built him a reliquary, a pagoda, at Ching Mountain. He wrote a book called The collected works of Tzu Pai, which was printed and circulated, in the world.
A VERSE IN PRAISE RUNS:
WITH HIS BONES LIKE IRON,
AND HIS BREATH LIKE A RAINBOW,
HE SHOULDERED THE GREAT DHARMA
AND HIS STRENGTH REFORMED CORRUPT CUSTOMS.
PROTECTING THE DHARMA AS ONE WOULD ONE'S FATHER
OR ONE'S PRINCE, WHAT DID HE CARE FOR HIS OWN PERSON?
ALTHOUGH HE GOT IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW,
HE LEFT THE SECT'S REPUTATION UNDISGRACED.
The Master's bones were as solid as iron and his breath was like the rainbow. He shouldered the Proper Dharma-Eye Treasury and his strength saved the Dharma from evil customs, which prevailed at the time. He guarded the Buddhadharma like one would the Prince, that is, the Emperor, or one's father. He paid no attention whatsoever to himself. Although he ran into trouble with the law and was found guilty, this difficult situation did not discredit the Buddhadharma.
ANOTHER VERSE IN PRAISE RUNS:
THE AFFINITIES OF THE SON OF SHEN
WERE ENTIRELY STRANGE;
AN ANCIENT WORTHY, A GREAT SAGE,
HE RETURNED ON A BOAT OF VOWS.
RELEASED FROM THE ORGANS AND THEIR OBJECTS,
HE SMASHED EMPTY SPACE TO BITS;
HEAVEN AND EARTH WERE OVERTURNED
AND THE PATH OF WORDS CUT OFF.
JEALOUSY AND OBSTRUCTION MADE
HIM A PRISONER,
AND LEFT HIM HANGING UPSIDE DOWN
WEARING HANDCUFFS AND A CANGUE.
BIRTH AND DEATH WERE JUST LIKE THAT
MAKING IT PLAIN THAT HE WAS TRUE,
HE OPENED HIS EYES AND LAUGHED.
Shen family's son had very special affinities and so he left home to
become a High Master. He was certainly an ancient worthy, a great
Bodhisattva, a great sage, who rode his vows back into the world. RELEASED
FROM THE ORGANS AND THEIR OBJECTS means that he had already become
enlightened. This happened one day after a meal. He awoke and empty space
disintegrated, vanished. The path of words and speech were cut off.
was nothing left to say. Heaven and earth seemed to have turned upside down.
Because he promoted the Proper dharma, those who promoted improper dharma were jealous and obstructive.
confined to jail. The Chinese term for prisoner looks like this: It is composed of a person: put inside four
walls: He was shut up in jail, and forced to wear handcuffs, chains on his
feet, and a collar around his neck. They left him hanging there as if
hanging upside down.
NAMES OF THOSE WHO HAVE GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED THE TRIPLE JEWEL (OCTOBER 74)
Upasaka Kuo T'ung Laughton
Upasika Kuo Lin Rodger
Upasaka Kuo Yu and Upasika Kuo Wan Linebarger
Upasaka Lian-zen Liu
Upasika Kuo Hsiang and Upasika Kuo Miao Fong
Upasaka H.S. Lee
Upasaka Kuo Kuei Nicholson
Upasaka Kuo Chen Clowery
Upasika Kuo Chi
Kuo Tung and Kuo Ch'eng Wallis
|Because of the time involved in negotiating new printing contracts and preparing several Sutras for publication, Vajra Bodhi Sea has fallen several issues behind. The editorial staff is now endeavoring to catch up, and will be publishing issues at more frequent intervals over the next few months. The Editor and staff sincerely apologize to Vajra Bodhi Sea subscribers for the delays.|
Chinese text for Bodhi
Seal of the Patriarchs