NINTH PATRIARCH, VENERABLE BUDDHAMITRA
by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
The Venerable One was from the country of T’i Ch’ieh He was over fifty years old before he spoke or walked. Perhaps he was fifty and perhaps he was fifteen, at any rate, he didn’t talk and he just sat there. One day he saw the Eighth Patriarch who said, "You are truly my disciple. The Venerable One then got up, bowed, and said. Finally, when he saw the Eighth Patriarch he got up from his long sit and spoke for the first time. "Father and Mother are not my relatives; who are my true relatives? All Buddhas are not the Way; who is the true Way?" Who is a Good and Wise Advisor?
"Kinship with Father and Mother
can't compare with speaking from your heart.
Uniting with all Buddha's minds
comes through practice of the Way."
You speak from your mind and that relationship is closer than Father and Mother. You speak from your heart; parents can’t compare to the heart. You cultivate and unite with the Way. The Buddha is people’s minds; people’s minds are the Buddha.
After the Venerable One, the Ninth Patriarch Buddha-mitra, heard that verse he took seven steps.
The Patriarch said, "In the past this disciple met Buddhas and made vows; but because his parents found it hard to let go of him, he didn't speak and didn't walk. In the past he met Buddhas and vowed to leave home but he was afraid his Father and Mother wouldn’t let him, so he wouldn’t talk and wouldn’t walk. The Elder followed him to leave home and the Patriarch shaved his head and transmitted the complete precepts to him. The Eighth Patriarch heard him speak and let him leave home. He gave him the precepts and transmitted the Wonderful Dharma of the Mind Seal. He willed him the Great Dharma. After the Venerable One obtained the Dharma he went to Central India where he practiced and taught. He in turn transmitted the Dharma to "Difficult to Conquer" the Tenth Patriarch. Then he immediately entered the Extinction Samadhi and manifested Nirvana.
A Praise says:
Before words came from his mouth his fame had speak everywhere.
Before he walked out the door he'd traveled all through space.
Not looking upon himself as special he was kith with Buddhas and Patriarchs.
When he took seven steps he was the talk of the town.
Another verse says:
Without a word or even a step
He arrived based on his vows
Ties with parents are hard to break,
So close are the feelings of kin.
Filial in body, filial in mind,
He was basically a filial being.
Revering his teacher, revering forefathers,
He respected the Buddha’s place.
Fully precepted, and extraordinary,
He had the Selective Dharma Eye.
A timely meeting with a good advisor
He recognized the brilliant eloquence.
One word and he was fully aware:
Here is a true disciple.
Emanating joy from head to toe
He cried aloud, "How very rare!"