WU LUNG is the name of a monastery. The GREAT MASTER is named SHAO K'ANG. HIS LAY NAME WAS CHOU HSIEN TU. AT AGE SEVEN HE HAD NOT YET SPOKEN. It wasn't that he was able to speak at first, and later did not speak. Rather, from the time he was born until he was seven years old he had never said a word. Most people thought he was a mute. WHEN HE ENTERED A MONASTERY AND SAW A BUDDHA HIS MOTHER ASKED, "DO YOU RECOGNIZE HIM?" AND SUDDENLY HE SPOKE AND SAID, "SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA." He had not gone to the monastery by himself, for he was only seven years old and his family watched over him. His mother accompanied him to the monastery, and when she saw the Buddha image, she thought, "I'll see if he can talk or not: the Buddha will certainly help my child speak." So she asked her son, "Do you recognize him? Who is this?" The boy immediately answered, "Shakyamuni Buddha." Perhaps someone had told him, perhaps not; in any case he immediately knew. He said, "Shakyamuni Buddha," and those were the first words he had ever spoken in his seven years. ACCORDINGLY, SHE LET HIM GO TO LEAVE THE HOME LIFE. His mother saw that he recognized Shakyamuni Buddha and knew that he obviously had conditions with the Buddha, so she sent him to a monastery to leave the home life. She said, "The Buddha is certainly his Master," and sent him off to become a monk, giving him to the Buddha. She realized that he had lived at home for seven years and had never said a word, yet the instant he saw the Buddha image he spoke right up. That convinced her that she should send him to leave home.
IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE REIGN PERIOD "CHEN YUAN" HE WENT TO LOYANG TO PAI MA MONASTERY. Loyang is in Henan. Pai Ma is "White Horse" Monastery. When Buddhism started arriving in China, it first came to the city of Loyang. This began in the Han Dynasty. The Venerable Kashyapa Matanga journeyed to Loyang with a great many sutras. It was there that he had a tremendous battle with all the Taoist masters--six or seven hundred of them. The Taoists were well established in China and had mantras and all sorts of magical devices. They assumed that he didn't have any, and was just a strange person from India who had come to propagate some other religion. They told him, "We Chinese can only believe in Taoism, not in other religions." He stood up for Buddhism so strongly, however, that finally they decided there should be a contest. All the Taoist texts were to be placed in one pile, and all the newly arrived Buddhist sutras were to be placed in another. After that someone would set fire to both piles, and whichever texts didn't burn would be the ones which were correct. Although many of the Taoist masters were endowed with considerable spiritual penetrations and powers, they were rendered useless against the Buddhists, and the pile of Taoist texts burned to ashes right before their eyes—their mantras were to no avail. They tried to use the five kinds of esoteric dharmas to keep them from burning, but all their attempts failed. Kashyapa Matanga then ascended into space and manifested the eighteen kinds of penetrations of the complete spirit: issuing water from the top of his body and fire from the lower part; issuing fire from the top of his body and water from the lower part, and so forth. The Taoist masters were so astounded that several died of fright on the spot. "We've lost," they lamented. "What's the use of living?" Then they keeled over dead. They couldn't accept defeat, and so they died. They were all so smug and arrogant, so self-satisfied, that when they met someone who could defeat them, they couldn't take it. So don't be so conceited. Don't think, "I am so great. I am the "Patriarch of the West."
WHEN HE SAW A RAY OF LIGHT COMING FROM THE WORDS OF DHARMA MASTER SHAN TAO'S ESSAY ON THE WESTERN LAND, HE PRAYED, SAYING, / When he arrived in Loyang he read a book about the Pure Land by Dharma Master Shan Tao which teaches mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha. He saw the book emit light, and so he opened it to see what it said. When Dharma Master Shao K'ang saw that it was a book about the Pure Land, he prayed to Dharma Master Shan Tao, saying, "IF I HAVE AFFINITIES WITH THE PURE LAND, MAY I ONCE AGAIN SEE THAT LIGHT. "AFTER HE SAID THIS THERE WAS ANOTHER FLASH OF LIGHT. The light that came from the book the second time was like a flash of lightning that precedes thunder. After seeing that light, HE, Master Shao K'ang, THEN SAID, "OVER THE AGES A STONE CAN BE GROUND TO DUST, BUT MY VOW WILL NEVER CHANGE." Although rocks are solid and durable, they can be ground out of existence in the course of eons, but throughout such a length of time my vow will never change, my vow to cultivate the Dharma-door of the Pure Land.
HE WENT TO KUANG MING MONASTERY AND GAZED AND PAID HOMAGE IN THE HALL OF THE IMAGE OF MASTER SHAN TAO. In the hall of pictures at Kuang Ming Monastery, there being no photographs in those days, there was a painted picture of Dharma Master Shan Tao, and when the Master saw it he bowed to the image. HE SAW THE IMAGE ASCEND INTO EMPTY SPACE AND SAY, "YOU SHOULD RELY ON MY TEACHING AND VASTLY TRANSFORM LIVING BEINGS. ONE DAY, YOUR WORK ACCOMPLISHED, YOU WILL CERTAINLY BE BORN IN THE LAND OF ULTIMATE BLISS." When Master Shao K'ang bowed to the image of Dharma Master Shan Tao, he saw the image ascend into emptiness, as if in an elevator going up. Then the image said, "You should use my teaching as a basis and take living beings across on a large scale. In the future your work will be completed and you will certainly attain birth in the Pure Land."
THE MASTER WENT TO HSIN TING AND GREATLY PROPAGATED
AND TAUGHT THE DHARMA. Hsin Ting is located in Chiang Hsi, and there he vastly
propagated the teachings of the Buddha. PEOPLE CALLED HIM AMITABHA BUDDHA,
BECAUSE WHEN THE MASTER RECITED
ONCE, ONE BUDDHA CAME OUT OF HIS MOUTH. WHEN HE RECITED TEN TIMES, TEN BUDDHAS
CAME OUT. You can go on and say that when he recited a hundred times a hundred
Buddhas came out. People often think that reciting the Buddha's name is a very
ordinary Dharma door; actually, it is a profound one. If one has facile,
superficial ability, then there is a superficial response. If one
has deep ability, then the response is deep. Every time the Master recited the
Buddha's name a transformation Buddha came from his mouth. When he recited continuously the Buddhas came out of his
mouth JUST LIKE A STRING OF PEARLS. HE DIED IN THAT PROVINCE.
WITH PURE VOWS FROM PAST LIVES
HE HELD DILIGENTLY TO MINDFULNESS OF THE BUDDHA.
HIS PRAJNA TRANSFORMED MULTITUDES.
THE ROAD TO BODHI WAS EVEN,
TAKING LIVING BEINGS ACROSS.
HE WAS REPEATEDLY INSTRUCTED BY SHAN TAO:
"LIGHT IS THE BUDDHA;
THE BUDDHA IS LIGHT."
In past lives he had made vows, and he was
especially diligent in his recitation of the Buddha's name. With prajna wisdom
he converted living beings. His road to Bodhi was level, not bumpy and rutted
like an ordinary road. He crossed over limitless numbers of people in accord
with Shan Tao's repeated instructions: "The light is the Buddha; the Buddha
WITH EACH PHRASE OF AMITABHA
WHEN HE WAS NOT RECITING AMITABHA
THE LIGHT WAS STORED AWAY.
SHAN TAO GAVE HIM INSTRUCTIONS
TO CULTIVATE PURE LAND.
THE KING OF LIFE LED HIM
TO ENTER THE LOTUS DOMAIN.
AGES MAY GRIND DOWN A ROCK
HIS VOWS WILL NEVER CHANGE.
SHUNYATA MAY END AT LAST
HIS BENEFICENT MIND ENDURES.
THE DHARMA OF THE ANCIENT SAGES
AND FORMER VIRTUOUS ONES
ON MEETING WITH A WORTHY ONE,
ONE SHOULD IMITATE HIM.