Composed by the Venerable Master Hua
Translated by Bhiksuni Heng-yin

      The Venerable One was born in Central India. He was called "Ribs" because he never lay down to sleep. He sat upright in the meditation posture. When his father took him to see the Ninth Patriarch, the Venerable Buddha-mitra, his father said, "This child was in the womb for sixty years, and so we called him 'Hard to Bear."'

In China, Lao-tzu was in his mother's womb for eighty years! Since he was so old when he was born, they called him, "The Old One," (Lao-tzu).

"An immortal once said," his father continued, "that this child was no ordinary person, and that in the future he would be a vessel for the Dharma. Now that he has met the Venerable One, let him leave the home-life."

The Patriarch then cut his hair and transmitted to him the complete precepts. During the Karmadana ritual, when he was being questioned three times on various matters, an auspicious light shone on his chair and twenty-one sarira manifested in response. From that time on, he was vigorous and forgot his fatigue. His ribs never touched the mat and so they called him the Venerable Ribs. Later, the Patriarch transmitted the Great Dharma to him, the Mind Seal Dharma-door. When the Venerable One had received the Dharma he traveled about teaching living beings. When he arrived in Pataliputra, he transmitted the Dharma to Punyayashas. He then manifested spiritual transformations, the eighteen transformations of an Arhat, and entered Nirvana. He immolated himself in the fire of samadhi. The four assemblies, the Bhiksus, Bhiksunis, Upasakas) Upasikas, gathered his sarira in baskets and built stupas for him everywhere. A verse in his praise runs:

His ribs never touched the mat,

For he was that sincere.

Smashing through the iron wall,

Auspicious light shone on his chair.

The earth shook with six kinds of quakes;

His eyebrows went sideways and his nose was straight

For a thousand myriad years forth,

He was a model for gods and people on earth.

Another verse runs:

His ribs never touched the mat, his practice was that firm.

His principles embodied in his deeds, he was a model for all, in turn.

Like the pine which Dears the cold, and which all admire,

And like the smile, which the light of the sun and moon inspire.

Beyond compare, his character, lofty and refined.

Great resolve, great vows, who else could be so fine?

All receive his teaching both now and in former days.

And all look up to his light--

     a cloud of auspicious haze.