乘願而來 從儒入佛 朱履藍衫 遍參吳越
腦門忽開 握住明月 宇宙光輝 人天歡悅
A verse in praise says:
On vows he came riding,
A Confucian entering Buddhism.
With red shoes and blue robes,
He studied with all teachers of Wu and Yue.
In a flash the brain's door opened–
The bright moon was held fast.
The universe blazed with light.
People and gods rejoiced.
On vows he came riding, on the power of the vows he made in the past,
A Confucian entering Buddhism. From Confucianism, he walked into Buddhism.
With red shoes and blue robes, he wore the typical garb of a scholar. Later, after leaving home and becoming a monk,
he studied with all the good and wise
teachers of Wu and Yue.
In a flash the brain's door opened–The "brain's door" is the literal translation for forehead. Here, it refers to the Buddha eye. This line means that his Buddha eye opened, not that his forehead split in half.
The bright moon was held fast. With the Buddha eye opened, everything was bright and dazzling, as if illuminated by the bright moon.
The universe blazed with light at that time.
People and gods rejoiced. All were happy to see him attain the Way.
Another verse says:
Upon vows he returned, an extraordinary man.
Seeing death, knowing life, he felt utterly bewildered.
he entered Buddhism to seek the Great Way.
Near and far, he inquired from worthies of old.
Bright moon atop the willow: his original self was seen.
Flowers fallen upon the earth: to truth he awakened
Shining like sun and moon, he is esteemed by all.
For unhindered liberation, the source is deep.
Upon vows he returned, an extraordinary man. He was a Bodhisattva who had vowed to come to the Saha World to teach and transform sentient beings. He was a very special individual, completely different from ordinary people.
Seeing death, knowing life, he felt utterly bewildered. He knew what it was to be alive and he'd seen death, but he didn't understand the manner in which a living person died. Since he was unenlightened in this regard, he pursued the issue of life and death.
From Confucianism, he entered Buddhism to seek the Great Way of liberation from birth and death.
Near and far, he inquired from worthies of old. From nearby places to faraway regions, he sought instruction from various teachers. This line also means that, from within his mind to the external world, and from the outside to the inside, he investigated the question of birth and death. "Near and far" corresponds to the line in the previous verse, "he studied with all teachers of Wu and Yue." "Worthies of old" refers to the teachers of his time, who are "worthies of old" from the perspective of the present time. It refers not to ancient historical figures of his time, but to living teachers.
Bright moon atop the willow:
his original self was seen. Seeing the
luminous moon at the top of the willow tree, he experienced a sudden enlightenment and recognized his original face.
Flowers fallen upon the earth: to truth he awakened. He still didn't understand the case of how the girl came out of samadhi. Then he saw flowers blooming in Loyang, which implies that he also saw them wither and fall to the ground. At the sight of the flowers, he understood the entire truth.
Shining like sun and moon, he is esteemed by all. He is like the sun shining in the sky. Just as people raise their heads to look at the sun, they all look up to him.
For unhindered liberation, the source is deep. He was free to come and go. He could just sit there and depart. Ordinary people cannot do that. He was able to do it because he had a past history of cultivation; his origins ran deep.
Let me add a few words. I feel that people are getting impatient with our class. They cannot take any more and complain that the class is too long. Good and wise advisors! Since limitless eons ago, we have balked at long hours of study, and thus have failed to end birth and death. Do you understand? We have been bobbing up and down in birth and death's ocean of suffering for an unreckonably long time. How come we don't feel that it's been too long? What's so unbearable about spending a few hours studying the Buddhadharma? If we can't even bear that, how can we end samsara and transcend the six paths of rebirth? Therefore, everyone should realize that we are seeking to end birth and death, to leave suffering and attain happiness. This is no joke. With five minutes of zeal will not suffice to resolve birth and death, nor to leave suffering and attain happiness. It's not that simple.
If you can't renounce life, you can't change death.
If you can't give up the false, you can't achieve truth.
If you don't set aside this valuable time to study the Buddhadharma, how can you investigate the Sutras deeply and have ocean-like wisdom? Every day you work like a dog, making money and doing various things. Your daily life is crazy and hectic, rife with competition and arguments, yet you don't find it too long or intolerable. On the other hand, you don't have the patience to study the Buddhadharma for even a few hours. And you worry, "Am I going to die?"