THE BODHI SEAL OF THE PATRIARCHS
the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
The Venerable One was a native of the country Mathura. His family name was Vishodaka. He was in his mother's womb for six years. Omens appeared and then he was born. Afterwards he left home and studied the Way of the Immortals. He dwelt in the Himalayas. Because when Ananda was about to enter extinction the mountains, rivers and the great earth moved and quaked in six ways, the Venerable One with five hundred immortals bowed at Ananda's feet, knelt, and made the following request:
"From the Elder I should certify to the Buddhadharma. Please consent to liberate me." Ananda then changed the Ganges River into golden ground and to speak great Dharma said:
"In the past the Thus Come One transmitted the Proper Dharma Eye to Great Kasyapa, who transmitted it to me. I now transmit it to you." The Venerable One immediately obtained the Dharma. Two fiery dragons descended from heaven to found a pure hall he turned the great Dharma Wheel. Afterwards he transmitted the Dharma to Upagupta, and hid away in the country of Kashmir on Ivory-White Mountain. He manifested the eighteen transformations of an Arhat, and used the Fire Light Samadhi to burn up his body.
The verse in his praise says:
After omens he was born,
Turned the wondrous Dharma Wheel.
Immortal throng five hundred strong
Showed the Patriarch special reverence.
Without pretext of a single word
His face broke into a smile.
Subduing dragons, taming elephants
The Way made known to men and women.
Commentary:The Third Patriarch, Arya Shanakavasa, was born wearing clothes and as he grew his clothes grew along with him. After he left home under Arya Ananda, his clothes changed into a great Samghati robe. Just before he died he said, "This robe will not decay until Sakyamuni Buddha's Dharma is completely extinguished."