PICTORIAL BIOGRAPHY OF THE VENERABLE MASTER HSU YUN
Continued from issue #93
BY THE VENERABLE MASTER HSUAN HUA
ENDURING THE COLD AND HUNGER, PROMPTING THE APPEARANCE OF WEN CHI #50
The straw booth offered no protection since it was open to the elements. The Master huddled up into a corner while the flying snowflakes filled the sky. His very life lingering between waves of cold and hunger, he managed to sustain proper mindfulness, but as the third day approached, he gradually became confused. The snow stopped on the afternoon of the sixth day of the month. He was severely ill to the point that he could not rise upon seeing a faint image of the sun. On the seventh, a beggar came along, and asked the Master a question, but he could not speak. The beggar then cooked some yellow rice gruel, which he fed to the Master.
The Gatha says:
Bedding on the ground with the sky as a roof
He used the snow as a blanket;
The Venerable Master rested by himself
But was not alone in the cold.
A beggar who came and knew his sound1
Cared for the Master’s health;
With snow all around he prepared a meal
Made of yellow rice.
1A reference from the story of a government official named Pei-ya who was able to wordlessly communicate with the woodcutter Ch’ung Tzu Ch’i by playing his ancient lute. In the case, Wen Chi knew the Master’s sound, that is, he wordlessly perceived the Master’s plight.