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Commentary on The Lives of the Patriarchs


67th Generational Patriarch Dhyana Master Changzhong of Yunkong

虛雲老和尚集     Composed by the Elder Master Yün
宣化上人講於一九八五年六月七日     Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsüan Hua on June 7, 1985

這時候他修行是沒有自己了,他真心服口服在那兒,打也好, 罵也好,甚至於殺了他,他都甘心情願。
At that time, he cultivated with no self. He truly submitted in mind and speech. He was willing to stay there and put up
with scoldings and beatings. Even if they wanted to kill him, he would have been perfectly willing.








Reminder from last issue:
Dhyana Master Yunkong was very crude, for at first sight, he asked, "Where's the stone wall that Bodhidharma faced?"

In my opinion, he didn't necessarily recognize Xiaoshan. Xiaoshan was just coming out from the mountain gate. So when he saw a monk coming out he acted rashly and asked in a very impolite manner, "Hey! Where is the stone wall that Bodhidharma faced?" That must have been how it happened. However, the writer refined it a little bit and did not mention his deportment. If he had known it was Xiaoshan, he wouldn't have asked in such a manner. That's my opinion. Why? He went there in order to draw near Xiaoshan. How could he be so impolite, and just ask where the stone wall was without even making a bow first? If you wanted to draw near a Good and Wise Advisor, you'd definitely be courteous when you got there. He was very reckless and rude, not saying anything upon seeing Xiaoshan except, "Hey! Where's the stone wall that Bodhidharma faced?" Do you all think it really happened like that?

Upon hearing his rash and reckless question, Master Xiaoshan thought, "Gee! What nonsense!" So Xiaoshan pointed and said, "Over there in that dark and gloomy place." He gestured with one hand, probably deliberately not telling him, but just pointing carelessly in several directions and saying, "Over there in the dark." Ultimately, where was this dark and gloomy place? Even if he took a look, probably he still wouldn't know. Since he still didn't know, he said, "Why do you point to the east and talk about the west?" Why do you talk so nonsensically? You're pointing to the east and saying it's in the west. What are you doing that for? He was trying to be smart-mouthed, deliberately challenging Xiaoshan again. So, Xiaoshan said, "Fake Chan meditators are as many as sesame and millet seeds." Nowadays, those who pass themselves off as enlightened Chan meditators who have already attained understanding are as many as sesame and as millet seeds.

The Master said. Of course he wasn't very happy when Xiaoshan said that. So he said, "Hey, you!" This "you" meant Xiaoshan. If he really recognized Xiaoshan, he wouldn't have acted this way and said, "Hey, you!" "Are you imitating a demon and trying to confuse people in this place?" Are you trying to act like a demon and delude people? Aren't you just imitating and learning the demons' way of confusing people? Shan then hit him. He was basically slandering Xiaoshan, saying, "You're a demon king, and you're here deluding people, pointing them in the wrong direction." At that time, Xiaoshan looked at him and thought, "Boy! You're really being arrogant. I spoke the Dharma for you and you didn't even get it. So I'm going to beat you up."

The Master did labor for three years. After the beating, he behaved himself. He knew this time he'd run into opposition. He knew he'd met the real expert and he no longer did what he pleased and said things carelessly. Therefore, he did labor for three years. Because he had been beaten, he behaved himself, did as he was told, and applied effort in cultivation for the three years. At that time, he cultivated with no self. He truly submitted in mind and speech. He was willing to stay there and put up with scoldings and beatings. Even if they wanted to kill him, he would have been perfectly willing. He did labor there. That means he was very diligent, not at all lazy. He wasn't like novices nowadays, who don't even want to bow to the Buddha. As novices, when people beat you, you should accept it. When they scold you, you should take it. No matter what, you shouldn't talk back or try to justify yourself. That's considered quibbling.

After receiving his instructions, he returned to Yu. After staying there for three years, he had accomplished some skill. Dhyana Master Xiaoshan certified his accomplishment and transmitted the Dharma to him. Transmitting the Dharma means to pass the robe and bowl. "Receiving his instructions" means he received the transmission of the Mind Seal of the Buddha. He went to live in seclusion at Mount Conggu. He secluded himself in Mount Conggu. Every day, all he did was sit in meditation. Every day, he sat in meditation. He sat in full lotus, solitary and alert, never falling asleep. So he built a hut. After sitting there for a long time, he roughly tied some stalks of grass together and built himself a small grass hut.

→To be continued


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