The Master was born in Chongren of Fuzhou to the Fei family. He entered a rural school at the age of nine. When he grew older he went to study under Master Lin Shan. Realizing that there was a teaching that was separately handed down, he left Master Lin Shan and went to E Feng, where he built a hut. In the Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, he read about a monk who asked Master Xing Shan, “What is the Way?” Master Xing Shan said, “The wonderful mountain.” The Master was puzzled. He inquired into it, forgetting to sleep and to eat. One day, upon lifting a stone, he experienced a great enlightenment. He spoke a verse: “If you wish to study the supreme Bodhi Way, quickly level the wonderful mountain.” He walked back to see Master Lin Shan and reported what he had experienced. Master Lin Shan questioned him, and he responded without hesitation. Master Lin Shan then shaved his head and secretly transmitted the mind seal to him. Later he carried his bag and went to visit the temple of Shao. Then he went to Wutai (Five-Peaked) Mountain. After returning to the South, he settled at Dong Yan in Fujian. Following that, he served as abbot at Shou Chang, Bao Fang, and E Feng monasteries. On the sixteenth of the first lunar month in the year of Wu Wu of the Wanli reign, he asked for a brush and wrote in large characters: “Today the instructions are clearly given.” Then he threw the brush down and passed away in a seated position. Since his cranial bone remained intact after cremation, his stupa was erected in the abbot’s quarters.
This Dhyana Master's name is Wu Ming Hui Jing. Wu Ming (ignorance) means delusion; Hui Jing means the Sutra of wisdom, that is, literary Prajna. He was the sixty-eighth generational patriarch of the Cao Dong sect. The Master was born in Chongren of Fuzhou to the Fei family. This Dhyana Master was born in Chongren County of Fuzhou in Jiangxi Province. His lay surname was Fei. He entered a rural school at the age of nine. Probably there were no other schools for him to go to at that time. When he grew older he went to study under Master Lin Shan. After he finished his studies and was older, he drew near Dhyana Master Lin Shan and studied under him.
Realizing that there was a teaching that was separately handed down, he left Master Lin Shan and went to E Feng, where he built a hut. Master Lin Shan understood the Dharma-door of the Chan School’s separate transmission outside the teaching, which does not rely on writing. The transmission is separate in that it is specially passed on to one individual at a time; it is not a group transmission. When a single person receives the transmission, which occurs without writing, that is a separate transmission. The Dhyana Master was aware that this kind of Dharma existed in Buddhism. Therefore, he took his leave from Master Lin Shan and went to build a hut in E Feng.
In the Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, he read about a monk who asked Dhyana Master Xing Shan, “What is the Way?” Master Xing Shan said, “The wonderful mountain.” The Master was puzzled. He gave rise to feelings of doubt; he couldn’t fathom the meaning of that sentence. Since he didn’t understand, he began to investigate it. He inquired into it, forgetting to sleep and to eat. He applied himself to examining this question, trying to resolve it in thought after thought. However, his efforts were fruitless. When he could not resolve his doubt, he tried harder, forgetting even about eating and sleeping. He was applying himself to the utmost point, unlike people nowadays, who work for two and a half days and think, “I haven’t achieved anything! I haven’t seen any results!” Then they give up and fail to attain enlightenment. This Dhyana Master cultivated with this kind of zeal and vigor for twenty-four years, to the point that he even forgot to eat.
One day, upon lifting a stone, he experienced a great enlightenment. The stone probably refused to budge, but he was still able to move it, and when he did so, he became enlightened. He spoke a verse: “If you wish to study the supreme Bodhi Way, quickly level the wonderful mountain.” If you want to look into the unsurpassed enlightenment, hurry up and level the mountain so that it will be easy to walk on. When it is easy to walk on, that means there are no longer any attachments or afflictions. He walked back to see Master Lin Shan and reported what he had experienced. He told Master Lin Shan what he had seen. Master Lin Shan questioned him in order to test him, and he responded without hesitation. No matter what Master Lin Shan asked him, he replied smoothly and easily. He didn’t even have to ponder for a moment, and the questions didn’t throw him off at all. As soon as a question was asked, he would answer it. He didn’t procrastinate and say, “Let me think about it for a minute.” Master Lin Shan then shaved his head and secretly transmitted the mind seal to him. Although he had been investigating and meditating in such a way, he had not yet shaved off his hair. At this point he finally shaved his hair and left the home-life. Master Lin Shan transmitted the Mind Seal Dharma-door to him, that is, handed the robe and bowl [symbols of the Dharma] to him. Later he carried his bag on a pole over his shoulder and went to visit the temple of Shao. After receiving the transmission of Dharma, he went to Shaolin Monastery and became a student there. Then he went to Wutai (Five-Peaked) Mountain to pay homage to Manjushri Bodhisattva.
→To be continued