the Venerable Nagarjuna
The Venerable One was from India. When the Thirteenth Patriarch, in the course of his traveling and teaching, reached the part of India where Nagarjuna was cultivating, the Venerable Nagarjuna went out to greet him with these words: "The deep mountains are so quiet and solitary, the abode of dragons and pythons. How is it that you, who are so virtuous, have strayed so far to come here? What brings you here?" The Patriarch said, "I am not venerable. I have come to see you, Worthy One." Nagarjuna thought to himself, "The Thirteenth Patriarch is lying when he denies he is venerable." The Patriarch knew what he was thinking, and Nagarjuna regretted it, apologizing for being so stupid. The Patriarch immediately transmitted the great Mind-to-Mind Seal to him, and Nagarjuna and the five hundred who were cultivating the Way with him, all received the complete precepts.
After obtaining the Dharma, the Venerable Nagarjuna traveled and taught. When he reached southern India, he found the people there preoccupied with the quest for rewards of heavenly blessings and unaware of how to seek the Buddhadharma. The Patriarch told them, the meaning of the Buddha Nature, and how their own nature was endowed with limitless meritorious qualities and blessed rewards. When the multitudes heard that Dharma, they all stopped seeking blessings and turned away from the small toward the great. Right where he was sitting the Patriarch made his body look like the orb of the full moon. The Fifteenth Patriarch-to-be, Kanadeva was in the crowd and remarked, "The Venerable One is showing us the substance and characteristics of the Buddha Nature." Nagarjuna thereupon transmitted the Dharma to Kanadeva and entered the Moon's Orb Samadhi, extensively displaying spiritual transformations. Immediately afterwards, he entered extinction.ｐ>
His eulogy reads:
The Buddha' Nature in its meaning
Neither exists nor non-exists.
He made appear Samadhi's Orb,
A coral moon on high
An elder brother in the household,
He fell not to biases;
Eyebrows both raised and lowered,
From one mallet dual sounds.
He manifested the Moon's Orb Samadhi. He was a good kid in the Buddha's household. He did not fall into extremes. Neither raising nor lowering his eyebrows, getting two sounds from a single mallet—how in the world did he manage that?
Another gatha praising him says:
The Fourteenth Indian Patriarch
Transmitted the mind seal
Sought Jewels in the dragons' palace,
And seized the mighty Sutra.
With the Dharma realm its substance,
The Sutra has no bounds;
With empty space its function
How could it have a trace?
It includes the myriad matters,
Wonders' multitudes embraced;
Rolled up and stored in secret,
Senses, objects far away.
The burning house spells danger,
Do not linger in it.
The World-honored under Bodhi
Saw a shining star.
He transmitted the Buddha's Mind Seal, went into the Ocean and brought back the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Sutra of the Dharma Realm. Everything is included in the Avatamsaka Sutra, which is like a huge garbage can in space containing all things. The multitude of wonders are within it. Roll it up and store it in a secret place—apart from the mark of speech, the mark of thought, the mark of writings—and there are no six sense organs or six sense objects. The Desire Realm, the Form Realm and the Formless Realm—all three—are really dangerous. Once you lose a human body, it’s difficult to obtain another. Sakyamuni Buddha, sealed in meditation under the Bodhi tree are not getting up at midnight saw a shining star, awakened to the Way, sighed three times and said, "All living beings have the virtuous characteristics of a Thus Come One. It is only due to false thinking and attachments that they fail to realize it."
If you can't give up death,
You can't exchange it for life.
If you can't put down the false,
You can't pick up the true.
If you can't undergo suffering,
You can't enjoy blessings.
Knowing all the difficulties Sakyamuni Buddha went through. We, too, should be able to cultivate in the face of difficulties, and not be unwilling to renounce everything and undergo suffering!