「說法三十年」：說法若有三十年，這是沒有可疑的，這是因為什麼？「中興洞宗」：他把這個曹洞宗中興起來了。「椎拂無虛日」：椎，就是鍵椎。什麼叫鍵椎？鍵椎就是打鐘、打鼓、打木魚，打法器這都叫鍵椎。拂呢，就是方丈和尚拿那個拂塵，一陞了座，就那麼左掃一掃，右掃一掃，東掃一掃，西掃一掃，上掃一掃，下掃一掃，就那麼亂掃一通，把虛空裡頭那個浮塵、那個微塵給掃多一點，教它乾淨點，就是這個，沒有什麼。這鍵椎無虛日，因為大約他也是個不甘寂寞的人，總要無事找事幹啦，所以就天天把大家弄得 busy, busy , busy, busy, all busy!（ 忙！忙！忙！忙！大家都忙了！）就是這個事情。
Zhou repeatedly tested him using the principle of the Dong sect. Hearing him reply in that way, Dhyana Master Ci Zhou thought that he seemed to understand and yet not understand. Since he might not have completely understood, Master Ci Zhou used the principle of the five positions of the Cao Dong sect to test him. He tested him by talking to him this way and that, testing him back and forth several times. As for what questions he used to test him, it doesn’t say clearly here. However, since I don’t want to take the test, it’s better if I don’t know the questions, right? I know that none of you want to take the test either, since it’s so remote from our time and we have no way to take part in it anyway.
The Master replied with a verse. Dhyana Master Yuan Cheng gave his answer in the form of a verse, and Zhou certified him. Dhyana Master Ci Zhou certified him with a nod of the head and said, “In days to come, you will cut off the tongues of the people in the world wherever you go.” “You” refers to Dhyana Master Yuan Cheng. “In days to come” means in the future. He said, “In the future, you will really be something! You will chop off the tongues of the world’s people someday!” Would you say this is reasonable or not? Can he really cut off people’s tongues? If he cuts off everyone’s tongue, won’t he be breaking the law? You shouldn’t take the statements made in the Chan school literally and get the meaning wrong. To cut off people’s tongues means to leave people speechless. “You will have unobstructed eloquence. Your outstanding eloquence will be such that even if you travelled the length and breadth of the universe and went around the world, no one would be able to defeat you in debate!” By speaking in this way, he was bestowing great praise upon him. He felt that the Master was able to stand firm on his own and had samadhi power. The Master had the power of precepts, the power of samadhi, and the power of wisdom; his precepts, samadhi, and wisdom were all perfected. He told the Master, “Wherever you go, it will be this way.”
The Master served as the abbot for eight great monasteries in all. From the beginning to the end, this Dhyana Master held the abbotship at eight large monasteries. Earlier, someone explained that these were the great monasteries of the time in eight different places. This isn’t necessarily the case. In general, he was the abbot at eight large monasteries.
At the two Bodhimandalas, Xian Sheng and Jing Shan Hu, the assembly numbered over eight thousand. Xian Sheng (Manifest Sage) Monastery and Jing Shan Hu (Mountain Lake Path) Monastery, these two Bodhimandalas, were special, for there were over eight thousand left-home people in residence. It wasn’t that there were eight thousand people living there every single day. Occasionally there might have been eight thousand people living there. If there were eight thousand residents every day, the emperor would surely have sent troops to suppress them, saying, “This is Shaolin Monastery; I can’t allow it to exist!” [Note: Shaolin Monastery was destroyed by an emperor in the Yuan dynasty.] I believe that there was such a high population only once in a while; there was no reason for eight thousand monks to be living there on a daily basis.
He expounded the Dharma for thirty years. There is nothing questionable about the fact that he spoke the Dharma for thirty years. Why not? Because he caused the Dong sect to flourish. He helped the Dong sect to rise and prosper. There was not a day in which the instruments were not played and the whisk was not used. The playing of instruments refers to hitting the bell and drum, striking the wooden fish, and playing the other Dharma instruments. The whisk refers to the dust-whisk held by the abbot. When the abbot ascends the high seat, he will wave the whisk to the left, wave it to the right, sweep it to the east, sweep it to the west, sweep above, and sweep below—recklessly sweeping the air to get rid of some of the dust and make it cleaner. That’s all there is to it, nothing more. Not a day went by without the instruments being played. Probably he was someone who didn’t like to be idle and was always looking for things to do when there was nothing to be done, and so he arranged it so that every day people were busy, busy, busy, all very busy! That’s how it was.
In the Bing Yin year of the Tian Chi reign period, he manifested the stillness. This was in the Bing Yin year of the Tian Chi reign of the Ming dynasty. Tian Chi was the name of the reign period. In the sixty-year cycle that starts with the year Jia Zi, the year of Bing Yin had been reached. It is not known in what month he manifested the stillness. A stupa was built for his whole body at Xian Sheng Nanshan. A pagoda housing his body is located at Nanshan (Southern Mountain) near Xian Sheng Monastery.
To be continued