A Sagely Monk Manifests Three Times
The Construction of Chau Yin Monastery in Northwest China
When the Buddha was about to proclaim the great Dharma, when the Dharma is about to flourish, or when a jeweled relic pagoda is about to be unearthed, etc, there may be auspicious omens such as the emitting of light or the shaking of the earth. So, do the three manifestations of the Sagely monk mean that the Buddha's universal light will shine upon the high plains of Lung Syi?
In the autumn of 1991, a layman from Gansu told me about the miracle of the Sagely monk appearing three times. Because the area was poor, it could not afford to establish a Way-place. Thus he asked me to request assistance from the four-fold assembly of disciples both within China and overseas. A Way-place of Manifest and Secret Teaching was thus established in the Great Northwest to serve as a base for propagating the Dharma. Only the Buddhas can know of the merit, virtue and benefit in this. I, Sung Ying, felt this event was rather unusual, and sought to verify it, for the matters of Buddhism must be absolutely true, without the least bit of falseness. So I asked a teacher in the Fourth High School of Jing Ywan Mining Bureau in Gansu, a sincere Buddhist disciple I've known for many years, Mr. Yang Dzung-yi of Lin jau, to take responsibility for verifying the matter. After more than a year of extensive investigation, collecting opinions, testimonies and evidence, we can now confirm these sublime conditions, and make the following factual report:
Dharma Master Ru De, whose lay surname is Yang, is fifty-seven years old this year (1992). He is from Ji Shr Shan County in Gansu. At age thirteen, he left the home-life at Mani Monastery in Lan jou of Wu Chwyan (Five Springs) Mountain. In 1958, during the anti-superstition movement which wrecked monasteries and expelled the Sangha, he returned to lay life and married. Later he let his wife remarry, and went alone to Ching Hai Province, where he cultivated Dhyana meditation and ascetism in Buddhist Wayplaces in Gannan State, Ma Chyu County, and other places.
In September 1970, while working as a livestock tender in his hometown production team, he came across a Lama on the road who had raw sores on his head, hands and feet, and was wearing an old, ragged red kashaya sash. His fingers and toes were almost completely rotted away, and he stank of pus and blood. Sitting at the road side, he was surrounded by onlookers. Touched with pity, Master Ru De borrowed a handcart and pulled him home to make offerings, unaware of the foul stench.
The Lama predicted that after 1980, farmers would regain their land and monks would return to the monasteries. The next year, the Lama told him to worship at Ta Er Monastery and La Pu Leng Monastery. Since the Lama wanted to go back, he again borrowed a cart to send him off. At the gate of Lin Sya City, as the sore-ridden monk got off the cart, he pointed and solemnly said, "This used to be a Lamaist Monastery. You should resolve to build a great monastery here!" He gave him a yellow-brown stone bead, saying, "When words appear on this bead, come see me at Ta Er Monastery!" Then he disappeared. (First Manifestation)
Master Ru De often looked at the bead, and as he returned from a pilgrimage to Wu Tai Mountain in 1985, sure enough the three words Nan Shan Fwo (South Mountain Buddha) appear on the bead. There also appeared the refracted image of the three Western Sages, which was the same seen from the front and side. In September of 1988, after visiting the Living Buddha Gung Tang Chan at Ma Chyu River, the Master went to Ta Er Monastery in Ching Hai Province. Searching all the halls, it was not until he reached the highest and most ancient hall on the second day that he found the Lama with sores on his head, who greeted him with a radiant smile. He accompanied him to visit Su You Hwa and other places, acting as a guide. Strangely enough, the people in Ta Er Monastery neither knew nor saw him. Leaving the monastery, they came to a large boulder beneath towering trees, where the Lama said he lived. Pointing to a huge elm, he said, "I planted this tree several hundred years ago." He also told him to build Chau Yin Monastery as soon as he got back. After speaking an eight-line verse with five characters per line, he again disappeared. (Second Manifestation)
As soon as he returned, Master Ru De went as instructed to Lin Sya, to a plateau at Meng Jya Dwun of Bei Ywan, and found a large cave in the mountain gully. This was alluded to in the eight-line verse: "Below is an Earth Treasury Palace." The Master meditated in the cave for eighty days. In January of 1989, he worshipped at Potola Mountain with four Tibetan Buddhists. On January 15, near the Hall of Perfect Penetration, he again saw the sore-afflicted monk, this time with rosy face aglow and wearing the gray robes of a Chinese monk. He led them to bow in the Hall of Perfect Penetration, reminding him again to build the monastery. After taking them to drink sweet dew water at the sweet dew well, he again disappeared. (Third Manifestation)
After returning this time, he and the local Four-fold Assembly established Chau Yin Monastery. It was built on level land, and caves were also excavated in the mountain. Many people worked without pay. Their lives were extremely hard; aside from doing the morning and evening ceremonies, the Sangha members spent all day excavating caves and erecting buildings. They had meals of the lowest-grade grains and almost nothing else. Alongside the mountain gully, a cave with twenty-nine niches has already been excavated, and is ready to be used for cultivation sessions and so forth. On the level ground, living quarters, kitchens, and so forth have been constructed for the use of the Sangha, and images of the three Western sages and others have been carved. The work of constructing the monastery is already beginning to take shape, and the entire blueprint of this magnificent monastery has already been laid out. However, this project must wait for a great financial contribution before it can be fully realized.
What is even more miraculous is that when Master Ru De was in samadhi, he saw a white horse drinking water in front of the Earth Treasury Palace. Afterwards he excavated at that place, and when he had dug to a depth of over five Chinese feet, a clear spring gushed forth, enough to meet the demand for water of the great monastery to be established. In fact, it was impossible to have spring water in such a rocky, cave-filled area of white clay. From May 1990 to April 1991, during excavation and construction, they unearthed many artifacts, stone axes, stone chisels, and clay utensils. The County Museum estimates that these artifacts date back 4,200 years to Chi Jya Culture Period. Related information and illustrations have accumulated to an inch in thickness, and the incredible events are too many to recount here.
Master Ru De cultivated Chan meditation and ascetic practices in the mountain caves of Wai Syang (External Fragrance) Monastery in Ma Chyu county for a total of twenty-one years. The numerous responses have been documented by Lama Ah-ke, Abbot of Wai Syang Monastery, in both Chinese and Tibetan. The first encounter with the Sagely monk on the road in Ji Shr has been recorded by four local eye-witnesses. The third meeting with the Sagely monk at Potola can be verified by his traveling companions. His ascetic practices, vigor, and extreme sincerity towards the Dharma while in Ji Shr and Lin Sya touched the local Dharma-protecting laypeople so much that they organized a Gan Su-Lin Sya Committee for the Rebuilding of Chau Yin Monastery. (Shr Jwye-yi, Wang Syau-syan, Ma Lan-fang, An Li-gwo, Yang Dzung-yi, Meng Hwan, and others.) The local government granted them a large piece of both mountainous and flat land. Dharma Master Ru De has already gone to Da Ta Ywan (Great Pagoda Courtyard) Monastery on Wu Tai (Five Peaks) Mountain to retake the complete Bhikshu precepts in April 1992, also staying for the summer retreat, thus becoming replete in both the Vinaya and Deportment.
At Chau Yin Monastery, the work of vigorous cultivation in accord with the Dharma has already begun, and with the financial support coming in from all places, this Way-place will certainly flourish once again!