Pictorial Biography of the Venerable Master


Continued from issue #57

Composed by the Venerable Master Hua
Illustrated by a Student of Prajna
Translated by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Yo

In the ninth month of the T'ung Chih period, the cyclical year Keng Wu, the Master was thirty-one years old. He traveled to Lung Ch'uan (Dragon Spring) Temple on Hua Ting peak of T'ien T'ai mountain, where he bowed in reverence to the Venerable Dharma Master Yung Ching. After a long while, Master Ching said, "You have such a strange appearance; are you a member of the Sangha, a Taoist, or a layman?"

The Master answered, "A Sangha member."

He further asked, "Have you received the precepts?"

The Master answered, "I have received the complete precepts."

"Who taught you to practice in this manner?" asked the Venerable Ching.

"I am emulating the method used by the ancient cultivators," said the Master.

The Venerable Ching replied, "You know how to sustain your body, but you do not know how to guard your mind."

The Gatha says:

Hua Ting peak's Dragon Spring Temple
      Is found on T'ien T'ai mountain,
      Where the Master bowed in reverence
      To the honored veteran Ching.

We should be grateful for these days of the past,
            In our practice of Mahayana,
            For his accomplishment was immanent,
            A greatly enlightened sage.