A verse in praise says:
Poisoned by the Shurangama,
He died in a crock at Kaixian Monastery.
His sharp teeth and fierce claws
Gave people everywhere a headache.
He insulted the Sages and bullied Worthy Ones,
Fished up dragons and shot down phoenixes.
The portrait captured the true essence of the Master;
With a laugh he shattered this worldly dream.
Poisoned by the Shurangama: he gained a small enlightenment while reading the
Shurangama Sutra. It was impossible to ask him to stop then. He went ahead and cultivated vigorously. It is like people on drugs: no matter how you try to stop them, they still want to take drugs. This is the metaphor in the phrase “poisoned by Shurangama”.
He died in a crock at Kaixian Monastery. He inherited the Dharma linage from Dhyana Master Xuandao at Kaixian Monastery and held firmly to this proper Dharma. It was as if he stayed in a crock and never came out. This crock had a small mouth and big belly. It was easy to put stuff in but hard to get it out.
His sharp teeth and fierce claws: he was very good at debate. No matter what theory or principle you held, he could overthrow it. His teeth were sharp as those of a ferocious animal and could tear anything up. Famous scholars such as Su Dongpo often lost to him in debate. Thus he
gave people everywhere a headache. Many people would get headaches as soon as Dhyana Master Fo Yin’s name was mentioned.
He insulted the Sages and bullied Worthy Ones. He was such a good debater that he humiliated and left speechless many worldly saints.
He fished up dragons and shot down phoenixes. Those people were the “dragons and phoenixes” among humankind, yet they were still beaten by him like dogs in water.
The portrait captured the true essence of the Master. Dhyana Master Fo Yin’s expression when he entered the stillness revealed his original true appearance.
With a laugh he shattered this worldly dream. His smile of understanding was like the smile upon waking up from this worldly dream.
Another verse in praise says:
Dhyana Master Fo Yin (Buddha Seal) was sealed by the Buddha’s mind.
The layman Dongpo hobbled in the Eastern Grove.
At birth he was replete with hair and beard: features of a great man;
As he grew up, he mastered the histories and classics.
Completely penetrating the Shurangama, he obtained a durable samadhi.
The Dharma Flower’s text clearly set forth the actual and provisional teachings.
With a smile he passed on, not abiding anywhere.
He roamed freely in the four directions, above and below.
Dhyana Master Fo Yin was sealed by the Buddha’s mind. The name of this Dhyana Master is Buddha Seal. The Buddha “sealed” his certification, verifying his enlightenment. What is the difference between an enlightened and an unenlightened person? There is no great difference. An enlightened person still has to eat, wear clothes, and sleep. The only difference is that:
He eats all day, but hasn’t eaten a single grain of rice.
He wears clothes all day, but hasn’t worn a single thread.
He sleeps all day, but is as if awake.
That’s how he differs from other people. What most people like he will not do. He knows that everything is empty and false; everything is the confused attachments of living beings. Therefore he is not confused, not attached, and not pursuing what is illusory. There is nothing lacking inside, and nothing extraneous. He has enough. There is neither too much nor too little. He does not have any deficiency or excess.
The layman Dongpo (Eastern Slope)
hobbled in the Eastern Grove. The Dhyana Master was a good friend of the Layman Su Dongpo, the famous scholar. Su Dongpo lived in Jiangnan, the south side of the river, while the Dhyana Master lived in Jiangbei, the north side of the river. If he had any problems, Su Dongpo would always consult Dhyana Master Fo Yin. It was as if he were staying on an eastern slope, and being a neighbor of the Dhyana Master. In his former life, Su Dongpo was a monk who was blind in one eye. Therefore when he walked he probably limped a little bit. He might not have walked with great ease. At any rate he called himself Layman Eastern Slope. You probably have never heard such an explanation as this.
At birth he was replete with hair and beard. Some infants are born with hair, but rarely with a beard. However, this Dhyana Master was born with both hair and a beard. It was proof that he was an old ascetic—he could not bear to shave off his hair and beard, and brought them along with him in this rebirth. There is another way to explain this: since he wanted to be a man, not a woman, in this life he was born with a beard. Therefore, you women should not believe in Dhyana Master Fo Yin. He did not favor equal rights. He was not into women’s liberation. The hair and beard were the
features of a great man. He wanted to be a man, not a woman. Otherwise, why would he have such an attachment? Think it over. This was a huge attachment. Even if Dhyana Master Fo Yin were right here, I would still tell him this to his face. He did not believe in equal rights between men and women. He would most certainly have opposed women’s liberation.
As he grew up he mastered the histories and classics. He commited them to memory upon reading them over only once. In ancient China, there were treatises composed by the Three Kings and the Five Rulers. Many scholars have never read these works. But the Dhyana Master had completely mastered them. He was well-versed in them. The Song scholar Su Laoquan (Su Dongpo’s father) wrote this verse on learning:
The books I have studied are so many, they could be piled up like a hill.
Not needing to plant my fields, the harvest comes naturally on its own.
He said that if one read a pile of books, as high as a hill—but not a big mountain—then, without having to cultivate the land, he would still enjoy a harvest. This proves that Su Laoquan must have been a lazy man.
In the daytime, I don’t worry that people will come for a loan.
At night, why fear thieves who might come to steal?
“I don’t have to worry about people coming to borrow these books from me, since they are stored away in my belly. At night, thieves won’t be able to make off with those books either.”
Wherever I can grab a bottle of wine, I will get drunk there.
Wherever I meet people, they invite me to stay as their guest.
If there’s wine being served by a host family, I will go there and drink with them. When people meet with scholars, they like to ask for their help, and so they invite me to stay as their guest.
Droughts and locusts cannot harm me.
I’ll remain a cheerful hero all the way into old age you will see!
Even if there are droughts, or plagues of locusts, it won’t bother or harm me. I will remain a happy-go-lucky hero even though my hair turns white. This Dhyana Master mastered the treatises of the Three Kings and Five Rulers, as well as the works of numerous schools of thinkers in the late Zhou Dynasty.
Completely penetrating the Shurangama, he obtained a durable
samadhi. He was enlightened to the Shurangama Sutra, and experienced the Great Shurangama
Samadhi, the solid, durable samadhi.
The Dharma Flower’s text clearly set forth the actual and provisional teachings. He also understood how the Buddha “bestowed the provisional for the sake of the actual in the
Dharma Flower Sutra, and opened up the provisional to reveal the actual.” He grasped the principles behind both the actual and provisional teachings.
With a smile he passed on, not abiding anywhere. He was right in the midst of conversing with a guest, when, with a smile, he entered the stillness. He did not abide anywhere, because he didn’t have the slightest bit of attachment whatsoever.
He roamed freely in the four directions, north, south, east, and west,
above and below—the six directions. He was free to go anywhere he pleased, without restraint or impediments. Nobody bothered him, and he did not bother anybody.