The Master was of the Li family of Daliang. From his youth, he abhorred the stench of meat, but he delighted in hearing the sound of bells and ceremonial chants.
When the Master was twelve years old, several rays of white light suddenly appeared above where he lived. The Master wrote a verse on the wall:
White rays! From this moment quickly change!
Do not come here to make a show of freakish or lucky omens.
Concentration will conquer deviant practices,
as one returns to proper vision.
Then one will certainly transcend the common
and enter the sagely realm.
After he finished writing the verse, the white rays vanished.
When the Master was fifteen, he dreamt of an Indian monk, who told him, “The time has come for you to leave the home-life.” Thereupon, the Master had his head shaved by Dhyana Master Bailu Gui. Later he went to study with Master Xuefeng (Snow Peak). Master Feng grabbed him by the arm and said, “What is this?”
At that instant, the Master had an awakening and also forgot the mind he had used to reach his understanding. All he could do was wave his hands. Master Xuefeng looked into his profound understanding, comforted him, and certified his enlightenment.
When the King of Min (Fujian Province) established Yongquan (Bubbling Springs) Monastery, he invited the Master to preside as abbot, and bestowed upon him the Dharma title of Xingsheng (Flourishing Sage). The Master’s Dharma prospered extensively.
Drum Mountain is in Fujian Province and was a famous Way-place. When the Venerable Elder Master Yun went to Drum Mountain, he renovated the monastery there. At that time, there were over sixty monks of senior standing who paid money to be in those positions. Basically, a monk of senior standing should be selected by those in the Way-place and invited to be in that position. The senior position is second only to that of the Abbot. At that time the monks of senior standing were allowed to cook special food in their own living quarters.
When Elder Master Yun went there to renovate Yongquan (Bubbling Springs) Monastery, he was determined to rectify the situation so that it would be in accord with the rules, but it was not easy to do. That is because basically no one had authority over what a senior-standing monk did. The senior-standing monks had not earned their positions through hard work and virtue in the Way. They paid money to gain their positions.
When the Venerable Master Yun changed the rules and said that all the senior-standing monks had to go to the dining hall and participate in the formal meals, the sixty or so senior-standing monks were not happy. Some of them had been bandits or criminals, and since they had bought their positions, one could know that they had not gotten into their positions through the proper procedures. They were basically not proper people, and they did not want to follow the rules.
Thereupon, some of them decided to assassinate the Venerable Master Yun. Having been criminals before they left the home life, killing people was not a big deal for them. One of them took a knife and went to the Abbot Yun’s quarters. When he arrived, Venerable Master Yun was not holding a knife or a gun or any weapon at all. He was just sitting there unarmed. The senior-standing monk took his knife and advanced to where the Elder Abbot Yun was sitting, intending to stab him, but the knife would not descend; it stopped in mid-air. After that, Master Yun talked with him. And that was the end of the matter. That's how violent things were! Establishing a Way-place is not easy. Even with the kind of virtue that the Elder Master Yun had, he still encountered this very unpleasant experience.
Dhyana Master Xingsheng was a Dharma Host at Drum Mountain, and the first National Master in that area. The Master was of the Li family of Daliang. From his youth he abhorred the stench of meat. He found the smell of beef, mutton, and fish to be foul and putrid. But he delighted in hearing the sound of bells and ceremonial chants.
To be continued