The mind ground Dharma door is something one must apply
effort on at the mind ground; it's not something one can get from outside.
The Master was born in Guang Ning of Wei District to the Wong family. Because he read Patriarch Wan Sung's sentence, "I came back to find my father gone," he sat facing the wall for a long time and then had a sudden enlightenment. Then he went to study with Patriarch Wu Fang and asked the Patriarch this question: "You said a sentence once: 'The essence of cultivation doesn't come from outside. It should well forth from your own bosom.'" Before he finished asking, Patriarch Fang slapped him on the face. The Master was shocked and attained an awakening. He spoke this verse:
The slap on my face
Like lightning, like a spark.
The place where my body and life had been
disappeared without a trace.
The lotus flowers bloomed in the dead of winter.
In the beginning of the Jeng De reign period, he responded to the Emperor's edict and went to Shao Lin Monastery to be Abbot. People gathered like clouds to study with him. A day never passed when he did not speak the Dharma. In the year of Jia Shen of the Jia Jing reign period, when the Master was over seventy years old, he made a hut and retired to the Thirty-Sixth Peak to pass his last days.
A verse in praise says:
Out of the blue a thunderbolt pealed:
A slap on the cheek!
The lanterns laughed.
A bare-trunked tree sprouted anew.
The clouds cleared and the sun blazed down.
Within the fire, lotuses abounded.
Where the mind's light penetrates forth,
The seas dry up and the mountains collapse.
Another verse says:
Out of the blue, a thunderbolt severed the root of doubts.
A slap on the cheek ended birth and death.
The lanterns laughed--an unprecedented event!
For a barren tree to sprout again is as rare as a sun among
In a blazing fire, lotuses bloomed--no expedient way to
The boat passed through deep waters carrying Wen Zai.
Where the mind's light penetrates, hindrances are left behind.
The seas dry up, the mountains topple, all the way to Guang
This Dhyana Master is the 65th Patriarch of the Tsao Dong School. His name is Yue Zhou Wen Zai. The Master was born in Guang Ning of Wei District to the Wong Family. He came from Guang Ning County of the Wei District and his lay surname was Wang. He shaved his head and left the home-life when he was young. One time when he was cultivating in seclusion , because he read Patriarch Wan Sung's sentence; "I came back to find my father gone"--when he saw Zing Ziu's (Patriarch Wan Sung's other name) line: "I came back..." something struck his mind. And so he sat facing the wall for a long time. He sat there facing the wall for a long time in samadhi contemplating this line.
This line "I came back to find my father gone" is Elder Wan Sung referring to himself. He went out to cultivate the Way and when he returned, his father was gone. This line can also be explained that he went out to study the Way against his father's wishes, and now that he's come back, he encounters his father whom he had gone against. Another way to explain it is that in the beginning, his father did not allow him to cultivate the Way, but he left anyway, and so he went against his worldly father. There are many ways to interprete this line. And so Master Wen Zai sat there facing the wall, studying this line and then had a sudden enlightenment. He suddenly understood and became enlightened: the light of his mind penetrated. Then he went to study with Patriarch Wu Fang and asked the Patriarch this question. You said a sentence once: "The essence of cultivation doesn't come from outside." The mind ground Dharma door is something you must apply effort to on the mind ground; it's not something you can get from outside. It should well forth from your own bosom. "Welling forth" means that basically there isn't anything, and suddenly it bursts out and you become enlightened. It has to come forth from your own nature: the place of the mind ground.
→To be continued