Editor's Note: The Venerable Master had planned to explain this text on August 9, 1985, but he did not do so. According to the notes of someone present at the lecture, the text was lectured by a disciple of the Ven. Master and was not tape-recorded. Vajra Bodhi Sea therefore requested Jennifer Lin to write a commentary. This text should appear between Dhyana Master Duofu Jingqi (February 1999, Issue 345) and Dhyana Master Nan'an Dayi (March, Issue 346), both of the seventy-first generation of Patriarchs.
The Master was born in Luling, a son of the Liu family. He renounced his home at a young age, shaving his head and donning the dyed robes. He studied first under Master Yin of Boshan, and later under Master Xue of Bianshan, who instructed him to investigate the topic of the three negatives. Shortly thereafter the Master returned to his hometown and went into seclusion. When a flying bird dropped a pear held in its beak, the Master had an awakening. Later, in the
Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, he read a public record in which a monk asked Venerable Jiufeng, "Who am I?" Venerable Jiufeng replied, "Whom are you asking?" The Master suddenly experienced a complete liberation and was able to fathom the words and teachings of the Buddhas and Patriarchs without doubts. He went to visit Venerable Baoshou Fang, who esteemed him highly and transmitted the Great Dharma to him. That was in the winter of the year
xingsi of the Zhongzhen reign period (of Ming Dynasty). Adoring the marvelous scenery of Zhejiang, he settled at White Cliffs. In just a few years' time, he gathered a large following. He wrote
A Compendium of Dharma Lineages, which won him widespread renown. Monks from the four quarters quickly flocked to him as the hundred streams flow into the great ocean. Showing signs of a slight illness, he entered complete stillness. His remains were housed in a stupa to the right of the monastery.
The Master, Dhyana Master Weizhong Jingfu, belonged to the Seventy- first Generation. He
was born in Luling, of the present-day Jiangxi Province,
a son of the Liu family. Luling, known for its beautiful scenery, has produced numerous eminent figures, such as Ouyang Xiu, the great literati of the Song Dynasty. Wen Tianxiang, who fought against the invading Yuan at the end of the Song Dynasty, writing the Song of Righteousness and calmly giving up his life for a righteous cause, was also from Luling. There are two sayings, "The subtle spirit of Nature con- verges to nurture geniuses"; "Outstanding people come from auspicious places."' The efficacious energy of the universe converges in places of good mountains and good waters, and the people who grow up there tend to be more intelligent and excellent. Thus Dhyana Master Jingfu was very intelligent from birth. From a very young age, he knew he wanted to leave the home life in order to seek liberation from birth and death.
He renounced his home at a young age, casting off the bonds and fetters on worldly affections. He would not let himself be locked up in the cangue of a home. Thus he left the home life,
shaving his head and donning the dyed robes of one who has renounced the home. Monks do not wear brightly colored garb, but rather robes that have been dyed.
After leaving the home life, he studied first under Dhyana
Master Dao Yin of Boshan, and later he went to study
under Dhyana Master Ming Xue of Bianshan, who instructed him to investigate the topic of the three negatives. The purpose was to free him from attachments to self and others, form, and dharmas.
Shortly thereafter the Master returned to his hometown,
Luling, and went into seclusion.
One day during his seclusion, an idiotic bird holding a pear in its beak happened to fly overhead.
When a flying bird dropped a pear held in its beak, the Master had an awakening. The foolish bird had been look- ing everywhere for food. At last the bird found a pear, but could not bear to eat it right away, so it carried the pear in its beak with great effort. Its mouth probably grew sore from carrying the pear, and it somehow dropped the pear. As for the Dhyana Master, he was probably bored stiff from having been in seclusion so long. What's more, there was nothing good to eat. All of a sudden, a pear dropped down from the sky! In his de- light, he had a flash of insight and a small awakening; since it was not a great awakening, he had to continue to investigate.
Later, in the book,
Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, which discusses the true accounts of the Patriarchs,
he, Dhyana Master Jingfu read a public record in which a monk asked Venerable Jiufeng, "Who am I, myself, this student?"
Venerable Jiufeng replied with a question,
"Whom are you asking?" "Your very own self is right here. What are you thinking so much for? If you don't even know your original face, whom can you ask? Who can tell you?" That is a case of looking for something to do when nothing is to be done; adding a head on top of a head.
Upon reading that passage, the Master Jingfu was
suddenly enlightened. He experienced a complete liberation of body and mind, as if emerging into light from a pitch-black barrel,
and he was able to fathom completely
the words and teachings of the Buddhas and Patriarchs without doubts. Having had a great enlightenment, Dhyana Master Jingfu knew he had to be certified by an eminent Sanghan for it to count,
so he went to visit Venerable Baoshou Ming
Fang, who esteemed him highly, regarding him as a great vessel of Buddhism and a "dragon and elephant" in the Dharma. Venerable Ming Fang gave his approval
and transmitted the Great Dharma to him. That was in the winter of the year
xingsi [1641 AD] of Emperor
Zhongzhen's reign period of the Ming Dynasty.
To be continued