Composed by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Chíih

THE THIRTEENTH PATRIARCH: THE VENERABLE KAPIMALA

      The Venerable One came from the Flower Country. At first he was of an outside way sect and had mastered all kinds of debate. No matter what philosophical argument he was confronted with, he could win it. He had great spiritual powers.

      When he first met the Twelfth Patriarch, he bowed and repented. The Patriarch asked him, "What is your name? How many are there in your retinue?" How many disciples do you have? The Patriarch wanted to know.

      The Honored One answered, "My name is Kapimala and I have a retinue of three thousand."

      The Patriarch said, "If you exerted your spiritual powers to their limit, what could you change into?"

      He answered, "I could transform into the great sea and that would be no small matter!"

The Patriarch said, "Can you transform into the Sea of Nature?"

      "What is the Sea of Nature?" he asked. How can I change into it if I donít even know what it is? he wondered.

      The Patriarch replied, "The mountains, the rivers, and the great earth are all established from it. Samadhi and the six penetrations are transformed from it as well."

      After hearing this, the Honored One and all of his disciples asked to leave home and be taken across. The Patriarch found five hundred Arhats to transmit the Complete Precepts. Moreover, he bequeathed the Great Dharma to him; he transmitted the Mind Seal Dharma to him.

      After receiving the Dharma he traveled west to India to teach and transmitted the Mind Seal Dharma to Dragon Tree (Nagarjuna). He transmitted the Mind Seal Dharma to Nagarjuna Bodhisattva. Then he manifested spiritual changes and transformed a fire, which burned his body. He displayed the fire of samadhi and cremated his body.

A verse in his praise says:

He uttered many omens

And rapped out commands.

When the mind seals the mind

Itís like mirror reflecting mirror.

With the subtleties of esoterics said and done,

A sudden leap over common and holy took him beyond.

The Proper eye is looked upon as

Putting a handle on a cup.


Another verse says:

An Externalist, refuged with Buddha,

He carried on the wisdom lamp.

With spiritual penetrations, transformations,

He manifested awesome magic.

Of deep wisdom, shame, remorse,

He sought, increasing vigor.

Greatly opening perfect understanding,

He himself fused and he penetrated.

In a hundred thousand samadhis

The nature-sea appeared.

In eighty-thousand Dharma doors was

The mountain of vows accomplished.

While sowing, weeding, reaping,

He diligently used effort,

Cultivating, cultivating,

Even more cultivating.