The Master was a native of Qiantang, Hangzhou. A son of the Chen family, he was descended from a line of scholars. He renounced the home-life under the Venerable Shiyu. Upon listening to the Shurangama Sutra to the line that says, "If one's seeing is the tree," he cast off his body and mind, and he understood that the mountains, rivers, and the great earth could not be split asunder by knives or scissors.
Master Yu asked him, "Have you ended your retreat?" The Master said, "I have never done a retreat." Venerable Yu retired.
He then went to study with the Elder Sanyi at Xian-sheng Monastery, who said to him, "There is an old saying, 'After the moon has set, come and see me.' Tell me how there could be a meeting after the moon has set." The Master took out a box of incense and said, "I thank the Teacher for certifying me." Master Yi said, "No matter what you say, you have only spoken eighty percent." The Master said, "Branches on the same tree all undergo the same early morning chill." Master Yi accepted it.
The Master dwelt in seclusion for over twenty years on Feng Mountain. His virtue was lofty and ancient, and his place was cold and lonely. He did not descend in order to cause the Dharma to prosper. On the sixteenth day of the ninth month of the year jiayin (1674) in the Kangxi reign period, he manifested the stillness. His stupa is on the left shoulder of Feng Mountain, in a spot facing the sun.
This is Dhyana Master Duofu Jingqi of the seventy-first generation. The Master was a native of Qiantang District, Hangzhou. He was a son of the Chen family. His lay surname was Chen. He was descended from a line of scholars.
Generation after generation, his ancestors were scholars. He renounced the home-life under the venerable Shiyu. He entered the monastic life under Master Shiyu. Upon listening to the Shurangama Sutra to the line that says, "If one's seeing is the tree" To say that the seeing is a tree is wrong. The ability to see a tree is not the tree itself; the tree is only that which is seen. You cannot say that the seeing itself is the tree. At that point, he cast off his body and mind. Inside there was no body or mind, and outside there was no world. Body and mind both disappeared, and there was only emptiness. He became one with empty space. And right then, he understood that the mountains, rivers, and the great earth could not be split asunder by knives or scissors. The mountains, rivers, and the entire earth were like empty space, so they could not be cut by knives or scissors.
Master Yu, the Venerable Shiyu, asked him, "Have you ended your retreat?" This refers to the three-month summer rains retreat that monks traditionally observe from the fifteenth of the fourth lunar month to the fifteenth of the seventh month. During that time, boundaries are set up, and they dwell in one place and do not go out walking on the roads and begging for food. This is a custom of Indian Buddhism. From the fifteenth of the fourth month to the fifteenth of the seventh month, all the monks dwell together in one place to concentrate on their practice, and do not go out on almsrounds. Each year that they participate in a summer retreat, they gain one year in preceptage. The reason for this custom is that in India during those three months, the weather is extremely hot and there are bugs and insects all over the ground. The monks fear that they will kill these little creatures if they walk about, so they stay in one place and their food is brought to them.
Venerable Shiyu asked if he had ended his summer retreat yet. The Master said, "I have never done a retreat. I have never been in a summer retreat before." Venerable Yu retired. This is not saying that Venerable Shiyu was unhappy with his answer, but he went to rest and also told the Master to go rest.
He then went to study with the Elder Sanyi at Xian-sheng Monastery. He became a student of Elder Master Sanyi, who said to him, "There is an old saying, 'After the moon has set, come and see me.'" In ancient times the Dharma transmission was an exclusive transmission to one person. It's said, "The Way is not transmitted when there are six ears." If there are six ears, the Way is not talked about. There can only be four ears, which means a one-to-one transmission.
To be continued