DHARMA MASTER CH'ING YEN: FLESH BODY BODHISATTVA
by Shramanerika Heng Ch'ing
Dharma Master Ch'ing Yen had completed the stillness for six years, his
"whole body sharira" was recovered from a jar which was buried
on a mountain in Taipei. His skin is amber-colored and shiny; his body
sits upright with dignity. After Tz'u Hang Bodhisattva, Dharma Master
Ch'ing Yen has become the second flesh body Bodhisattva in Taiwan. From
1935 to 1970 Dharma Master Ch'ing Yen quietly, removed from the public eye
and without seeking renown, carried out the practices of a Bodhisattva and
lived an ascetic life. The merit and virtue of his compassion, wisdom,
vows, and practices is memorialized in his "whole body sharira"
which is the rarest fruition of a life totally consecrated to the
Dharma Master Ch'ing Yen was born in Huang Po, Hu Pei Province on December 18, 1924. He left home at the age of twelve under the Venerable Master Shen Hsiang at Ku T'an Monastery. In 1941 he took the complete precepts at Kuei Yuan Monastery in Han Yang.
1945 he served as the Guest Prefect at Ku Te Monastery. After the
Communist regime came into power in 1949 in China, he sought asylum in
Hong Kong and dwelled there in the Eastern P'u T'o Monastery. While he was
living in Hong Kong he was very active in relief projects to aid other
refugees from the Mainland sangha, and also at this time met the Venerable
Master Hua. In 1954 he embarked for Taiwan and took up residence at Shih
P'u Monastery in Taipei. Two years later he traveled to Chia Yi in the
south of Taiwan and there established Vulture Peak Eternal Light
Monastery. In 1961 he returned to the north and founded Sea Treasury
Monastery at Pi T'an, Taipei, and at the same time organized "The
Longevity Liberation of Life Association" in order to fulfill his
Great Vehicle Bodhisattva spirit of liberating and converting fishes and
WHY DOESN'T THE BODY OF DHARMA MASTER CH'ING YEN DECAY?
which held the body of Dharma Master Ch'ing Yen and was interred on Thumb
Mountain in Taipei six years ago was opened in the presence of the public
on January 21, 1976. The body was found intact. When people heard the
news, they thronged to pay their respects. The Chinese Buddhist
Association under the directives of Upasika Sun Kuo-an (whose biography
appears in this issue in The Bodhi Lectern) made arrangements to
accommodate crowds numbering in the thousands that assembled to view the
flesh body. The Association was able to anticipate the reaction of the
public, for seventeen years ago great numbers of people made the ascent of
Hsiu Feng Mountain to gaze in veneration at the flesh body of the Great
Master Tz'u Hang.
Strengthened power of precepts. There are two hundred and fifty precepts
for the Mahayana Bhikshu. Four of the most fundamental precepts prohibit
killing, stealing, sexual activity, and lying. Dharma Masters T'zu Hang
and Ch'ing Yen left the home life when they were young. They never had
close contact with women, and they therefore kept their virginity. The
undecayed flesh body results from holding the precept against sexual
activity and cutting off all desire.
4) Strengthened power of vows. "Vow power" in Buddhist usage is
what is ordinarily called "will." Will is one of the highest
faculties of the spirit; without strong will power and determination
little can be accomplished. One should, always be mindful of one's vows.
Where wholehearted dedication is directed, the whole world will step aside
to let one by. Both Dharma Masters T'zu Hang and Ch'ing Yen had made great
vows to attain vajra indestructible bodies in order to take living beings
in the Saha world across.
People who cultivate can become Buddhas. If you do not cultivate you can become a ghost, an animal, or go to the hells. It is said:
Good and bad are two different roads;
You can cultivate or you can commit of tenses.
That is why it is said that becoming a Buddha is done by oneself. No one else can do it for you. It is also said that everything is made from the mind alone.
If people wish to know
The Buddhas of the three periods of time
They should regard the nature of the Dharmarealm
Everything is made from mind alone.
If you understand proper Dharma you are in a state of true suchness and are not at all upside-down. If something should not be done and you do it, that is being upside-down. If you do not do what you are not supposed to do, that is being right side up and you can come to understand the real mark of true suchness.
You should know that the false comes from the nature of truth. Falseness is basically truth. That is, when the discriminations of the conscious mind cease, your basic wisdom will appear. Just that is seeing the Buddha. That is the pure Dharma eye.
-excerpt from Avatamsaka lecture by
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
September 23, 1975.