A verse in praise says:
Viewing wealth and social rank as floating clouds,
He stood out from the crowd.
Having left home at twenty, he dedicated himself to Buddhism.
Not defiled by a single speck of dust, he was like refined gold smelted by fire.
Outstanding among monastics, he was a sage in the Age of the Dharma’s Decline.
Viewing wealth and social rank as floating clouds. Even though he was born in a rich family, he valued wealth and high social status as drifting clouds.
He stood out from the crowd. He was the dragon among people, which means he was outstanding and remarkable among all the talents in Buddhism.
Having left home at twenty, he dedicated himself to Buddhism. He left the home life at a very young age, twenty years of age.
Not defiled by a single speck of dust. In this Saha world, he was an undefiled lofty person - a pure sage without any bad habits.
He was like refined gold smelted by fire. This Saha world is like a blazing fire. He was able to maintain the state of “neither increasing nor decreasing”. He did not “melt” after being smelted in the blazing fire. Instead, he became remarkable, pure and free from defilement.
Outstanding among monastics. Among all the left home people, this monk was exceptionally lofty and extraordinary.
He was a sage in the Age of the Dharma’s Decline. We can also say that he was an enlightened sage in the Age of the Dharma’s Decline.
Another verse says:
The prajna soup cured the myriad illnesses.
With earnest sincerity, he drew near the Dharma King,
He evoked responses in the Way and miracles occurred.
With kindness and virtue, he alleviated beings’ painful wounds.
The waves of the Dharma Sea at Jiangtian billowed and surged.
His lofty reputation even spread to Burmese Sangha.
His exemplary practice served as a model for others.
The towering golden stupa emitted the hallmark light.
The prajna soup cured the myriad illnesses. This prajna soup can be considered both the filthiest and the purest at the same time. It was dirty because it was made of his saliva, phlegm, or feet-washing water. Originally, it was neither defiled nor pure. The dirtiest is just the purest and the purest is also the dirtiest. When something is filthy to the ultimate point, it becomes pure. When it’s pure to the ultimate point, it turns into filth. If you can grasp this principle, you will understand that which “neither increases nor decreases, neither comes into being nor ceases, neither is defiled nor is pure.” If you are free of polluted thoughts and behavior in the midst of the defiled, that is true purity. If you can maintain a pure body and mind in every move and purify the three modes of karma, it’s considered true purity. On the other hand, if the three modes of karma are not pure, one is filthy even in the midst of purity. Thus, everything is made from the mind alone. This prajna soup can cure hundreds of ailments – any disease.
With earnest sincerity, he drew near the Dharma King. He left the home life to cultivate the Way because of one genuine sincere thought. Therefore, he was nurtured by the Buddhadharma and evoked a response in the Way.
He evoked responses in the Way and miracles occurred. It is said, “When there is a response, it penetrates. No wish is unfulfilled.” When a request is fulfilled, and there is a response in the Way, then things that were originally impossible or inconceivable can happen.
With kindness and virtue, he alleviated beings’ painful wounds. He used kindness and virtue to teach and transform people. He gave relief to living beings’ painful wounds by applying his phlegm or saliva. He alleviated living beings’ sufferings and saved them from the disasters they encountered.
The waves of the Dharma Sea at Jiangtian billowed and surged. The Dharma of Jiangtian Monastery is as deep and inconceivable as the ocean. It gushed forth like giant waves on the sea.
His lofty reputation even spread to Burmese Sangha. In Burma, there were both Chinese and Burmese monastics. Due to the Living Buddha’s influence, monastics from both China and Burma were well respected. Thus, Sangha members enjoyed a fine reputation and no one dared to criticize them. Due to the Living Buddha’s various deeds, monastics were held in high esteem.
His exemplary practice served as a model for others. He was a genuine cultivator of the Way.
The towering golden stupa emitted the hairmark light. It’s like the golden stupa in Burma standing tall and upright emitting the hairmark light [which comes from between the Buddha’s eyes]. It’s as if the brilliant rays of the Living Buddha of Gold Mountain illuminated all places in Buddhism.
How the Living Buddha Got His Name
The Living Buddha often told people that his Dharma name was Miao-Shan (wonderful goodness). Why then did they call him “Living Buddha”? There are different stories and each one is interesting. The most popular one goes like this: When he first lived at Gold Mountain, he stayed in the outer hall and took care of lighting incense at the Tripitaka Hall. He was taciturn and loved to sit in meditation, especially on a windowsill. People cautioned him not to sit there because it was dangerous. He replied, “I’m trying to subdue the sleep demon.”
One day, while meditating on the windowsill, he dozed off and tumbled down. Seeing him fall, people cried out, “Gosh! He must be dead!” But when they took a closer look, they saw that he was sitting on the ground with his legs still folded. When the Living Buddha saw people crowding around, he immediately got up, dusted off the seat of his pants, and ran upstairs smiling. People considered it a miracle!
The windowsill was several dozen feet high, and the ground was covered with stone slabs. The Living Buddha did not die or get hurt from the fall, but instead remained in lotus posture. People said that only a living Buddha had such spiritual power. And so that’s how he got his name.