The Master was born in Jinling to the Zhu family. He studied with Dhyana Master Bianshan and had an awakening. Shortly thereafter he went into seclusion. Upon hearing the sound of a fruit falling from a tree and hitting a tile, he was greatly enlightened. He composed a verse: "I came in contact with it many times before, but now I've met it for real." He left seclusion and went to express his gratitude to Dhyana Master Bianshan in Baizhang's place.
The Master said, "I've come a thousand miles to beg the Master to receive me." Bianshan gave him a beating. The Master said, "I thank the Venerable Monk for receiving me."
Bianshan said, "Who's going to pay back the money for the straw sandals?"
The Master said, "How could I dare to mention this matter in the Venerable Monk's honorable presence?"Bianshan said, "Now that you've been beaten, say something!"
The Master said, "The first month of spring is cold. I respectfully hope that the Venerable Monk takes good care of himself." Then he left.
Not long afterwards, Bianshan entrusted his robe and whisk to him. In the year of binxu of the Sunzhi reign period, he inherited the abbotship from Bianshan. In his old age he lived at Jinxian ("Golden Immortal") Monastery in Gusu. The Master's virtue and practice were extraordinary. He encouraged the assembly by setting personal example . In the spring of the year of wuxu, he departed in a sitting position. A full-body stupa was erected at Bianshan (Bian Mountain), north of the bridge on Za River. He lived for fifty-nine years, and twenty-some disciples inherited his Dharma.
This Dhyana Master Fanguang came from the same family as Hong-wu Zhu [the first emperor of the Ming dynasty, 'hong' sounds like "red"]; his name was Lyu-wu Zhu [lyu = "green"]. He was also known as Dhyana Master Jingcan ("Pure Gems"). The Master was born in Jinling to the Zhu family. Since Hongwu Zhu had his capital in Nanjing, all those by the surname Zhu went to Jinling [Nanjing], settled there, and produced many offspring. And so this Master was a son of the Zhu family. He studied with Dhyana Master Bianshan and had an awakening. He had a bit of enlightenment. Shortly thereafter he went into seclusion. While in seclusion, he didn't have much to do, so he looked for something to do. What did he do? He secretly listened to what people were doing outside. Every day he paid attention to external sounds. When he reached the utmost point of stillness, his mind moved. Since he couldn't keep himself focused inward, he sought outside. What did he listen to as he sought outside? Just as he was intently and stealthily trying to see how far he could listen, [upon hearing the sound of a fruit falling from a tree and hitting a tile,] he was greatly enlightened. He was shocked into enlightenment. He was so terrified that he turned back. He understood, and never listened on the sly again. He'd listened enough. He didn't dare to listen anymore.
He composed a verse. It's not mentioned how many lines the verse was, but one line said: "I came in contact with it many times before, but now I've met it for real." In the past he ran into it, but didn't recognize it. Now he truly saw it for what it was. What did he recognize? The thing he ran into. You can't find it, nor can you see or hear it. You reason that he heard it on the sly, so you want to listen on the sly, too, but while he could hear it, you can't. He truly and actually knew that it was there. This line of verse proved that he was enlightened. It certified that he had recognized his original face. He opened the door of his seclusion cell and left seclusion. A seclusion cell is usually sealed and locked, so that no one can leave or enter. But now, as he had broken through the door, he could go out or in as he pleased. And then he went to express his gratitude to Dhyana Master Bianshan in Baizhang's Way-place.
The Dhyana Master Jingcan said, "I've come a thousand miles to beg the Master to receive me." He was bragging about his own merit, saying, "I've come from such a long way, you must transmit the Dharma to me. If you don't, my trip will have been in vain." He was asking for pity. He said, "I implore the Master to accept my request. Please give me guidance on the points I don't understand." When Dhyana Master Bianshan heard him talking like that, he gave him a beating, slapping him on the face and saying, "You deserve a beating, you..." The Master said, "I thank the Venerable Monk for receiving me." The Master thought Dhyana Master Bianshan was kidding, so he said, "I thank the Venerable Monk for teaching me; now I understand."
Dhyana Master Bianshan couldn't tell whether he was being serious or not, so he said, "Who's going to pay back the money for the straw sandals? You've worn out so many pairs of straw sandals. Who are you going to ask to pay for them?"
The Master said, "How could I dare to mention this matter in the Venerable Monk's honorable presence?" His meaning was, "In any case, I wouldn't dare to ask you to pay my debt for me. I couldn't ask to borrow money from you to pay for my sandals. In your honorable presence, I wouldn't dare to bring this up." He was saying that he wouldn't be so rash and rude, like a country bumpkin, someone who didn't follow the rules. "I wouldn't be dare to be so unruly in your presence, Venerable Monk," he said.
Bianshan said, "Now that you've been beaten, say something! Ultimately, how much is it worth? Speak up! What's your understanding? Do you really understand? You haven't said enough. Tell me about the Dharma door within your mind." But the Master acted as if he hadn't heard the question. The Master said, "The first month of spring is cold." Dhyana Master Bianshan had asked him to talk about what he had awakened to in his mind, but he couldn't answer, because anything he said would be "adding a head on top of his head." So he said, "The first month of spring is cold." In Chinese, there are special names for the first, second, and third months of each season. For example, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the eighth month, which is the second month of fall. The seventh month is the first month of fall, the eighth month is the second month of fall, and the ninth month is the third month of fall. The three months of winter are the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months. So he said, "The first month of spring is quite cold. I very earnestly and respectfully hope that the Venerable Monk takes good care of himself." Then he left. Take a look at Master Jingcan! He was given a beating for uttering a polite sentence. After that he asked the Venerable Monk to take care of himself, and then he departed.
To be continued