Elder Upasaka Yutang Bai was the third elder brother of the Venerable Master Hua in his lay household. He was a native of Shuangcheng County, Manchuria. He moved to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1992. Everyone revered him as "Third Lord." He passed away at the age of ninety-four on April 8 this year. His remains were cremated on May 15. Thirteen tooth relics and over ten black sharira seeds were found. There were also sharira clusters of variegated white and green colors.
All his life, Elder Bai was upright and incorruptible. He never took advantage of anyone. The Venerable Master praised him, saying that when Elder Bai was young, he once saw a bicyclist drop a large bolt of white cloth as he rode past Elder Bai. Elder Bai sat down beside the cloth and waited. Eventually, the cloth was retrieved by the owner, who was so delighted that he bowed in gratitude. During a famine in 1961, many people resorted to stealing due to unbearable hunger. At that time, Elder Bai was injured and vomited blood. He could not work and received no provisions. Yet, he admonished his family members saying, "Even if you starve, you should not steal food to eat." Fortunately, many wild vegetables grew that year, and they sufficed to assuage their hunger. The crisis finally ended after three years.
Elder Bai did not want women to touch him, so when he was hospitalized for a leg injury earlier this year, he pushed away the female nurses. When his children helped the nurses, he said, "You help others to bully me!" When Dharma Masters visited him at the hospital, he told them, "Money is not a good thing; once you have money, trouble comes."
Elder Bai never received any schooling, yet he knew how to read. How did he learn to read? While the Venerable Master was at home, he had a study room, and no one was allowed to disturb him. Elder Bai would always slip in to listen to the Venerable Master recite from books. The Venerable Master acted as if he did not know. In this way, Elder Bai learned to read in his twenties. The Venerable Master said that Elder Bai had been an abbot in his past life. As a result of one worldly thought— the wish to have children, in this life he married and had children. His former disciples became his children. The day before he passed away, Elder Bai asked Jinxue, his second son, to jot down this couplet:
The white jade pillar stands upright between heaven and earth.
The Buddhist disciple South Horse Lotus is as precious as pearls.
This can also be construed as the sketch of the life of Third Lord.
Note: Nan Malian, literally South Horse Lotus, is the name of Elder Bai's wife.