Note: Dhyana Master Zhen Xie Qing Liao (1089-1151) was a famous patriarch of the Caodong School in the Song Dynasty. He and his disciple, Dhyana Master Hong Zhi, vigorously advocated silent illumination Chan, incorporating the principles in the Flower Adornment Sutra and Pure Land practice. Later the combination of Chan and Pure Land made a deep impact in the Song Dynasty. His teachings were transmitted to Japan, where the Caodong School was established and remains influential today.
The Master was a son of the Yong family of Zuomian Prefecture. He was taken to a monastery when he was still a newborn baby. People were astounded to see such a joyful expression break out on the infant’s face when he set eyes on the Buddha images.
Some years later, he passed an exam on the Sutras and was ordained as a monk. He knocked on Dhyana Master Dan Xia (Red Cloud)’s door. Master Dan Xia questioned him, “What was your true self before the cosmos began?”
While the Master was trying to figure out an answer, Master Dan Xia told him, “You are behaving recklessly. Get out!”
One day, while he was on top of Bowl Summit, he suddenly had an awakening. Then he went back to Master Dan Xia and stood attentively by his side. Master Xia slapped him and said, “This shows that you’ve got something!”
The Master delightedly bowed. Some time later, he entered the hall to speak Dharma and remarked, “When my teacher slapped me, all of my tricks and devices came to an end. I couldn’t even find a way to open my mouth.”
The Master passed away at Chongxian, Gaoning, on the islet on the west side of the monastery. His posthumous title was Dhyana Master Wu Kong (Enlightened to Emptiness).
Today we are discussing a Patriarch of the forty-seventh generation. Without realizing it, we have explained so many generations! This Patriarch’s name is Master Zhen Xie, “Truly Putting to Rest”: just by his name alone he should become enlightened. Why? Because he has attained true repose. What has he put to rest? His idle thinking. Whoever still entertains idle thoughts is not truly resting; whoever has put down his idle thoughts is truly resting. Although you might look as if you are resting, your mind is still doing a lot of work, and so you haven’t truly rested. Hence, “when the mad mind comes to a stop, just that stopping is Bodhi.” What is Bodhi? It is when you are able to put it all down, when you can sever all false notions and achieve everything that’s true. If you don’t sever the false, you won’t be able to attain the true. This Dhyana Master is also called Qing Liao, which means to be pure and clear to the point where there is nothing left. When you arrive at the point where not even a single dust mote remains, you have completely cleared things up, with no more worries. However, it’s not easy not to worry and to truly be at rest and totally clear.
Upon hearing this Master’s name, we should contemplate its meaning. We should introspect: have we truly put matters to rest, have we completely cleared things up? Or are we still running around in a muddled frenzy, bickering and fighting and getting caught up in afflictions? We should investigate these very pertinent questions. Don’t go pursuing the questions in science, philosophy, geology, astronomy and other studies but fail to understand the problems of your own mind. Why is it that you harbor so much greed and anger and delusion? Why aren’t you able to drive them out? Why aren’t you able to attain precepts, samadhi, and wisdom? That’s the key question.
Right now psychology is a very popular subject in universities, but their kind of psychology is an insult. If all they teach you is how to cheat and manipulate others, isn’t that pathetic? What is true psychology—the study of the mind? It’s the method for clearing your mind of greed, anger and delusion. That’s truly putting to rest and completely clearing things up until nothing remains.
The Master was a son of the Yong family of Zuomian Prefecture, in Guangxi Province. It’s rumored that the people of Guangxi Province are pretty fierce. They have no qualms about murdering or beating people up. However, some famous personalities have also emerged from that area.
He was taken to a monastery when he was still a newborn baby. When the Master was still in his diapers, his parents took him to a monastery.
People were astounded to see such a joyful expression break out on the infant’s face when he set eyes on the Buddha images. They were pretty amazed.
Children remember whether you are good to them or not. It’s like the daughter of Guo Gwei, who lives at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. When she was four months old, her mother brought her to show me. Actually, when she was one month old, her mother had shown her to me and I did not say anything. When she was four months old, I stared at her when she was brought to me. Oh! Immediately, she turned away her face! Later, whenever she saw me, she would look away. That’s how bad it was!
Recently, her parents took her to a National Park that had an inactive volcano; a previous eruption had created a cave and they stayed inside. The girl felt quite uncomfortable staying there. That was because there were fire dogs, fire snakes, and fire oxen there, and they bit her. She knew these creatures were fierce and wanted to leave, so she cried, but her parents thought nothing of it and didn’t want to leave. About a month ago, the fire snakes and fire dogs came to bite her again, and they bit her so badly that she couldn’t walk. After being bitten, at night she couldn’t sleep and would cry. In daytime, she was okay. At nighttime, the fire dogs, fire snakes, and fire oxen would bite her and the girl would complain that her legs hurt. For two weeks they took her to see doctors, but the doctors could find nothing. X-rays showed nothing wrong inside or outside of her bones. Then they came to me. I asked, “Where did you pick up these fire dogs and fire snakes? Now they are coming to bite your daughter’s legs!” They couldn’t think of where it might have happened. Later, I asked them in detail and found out that they had taken a trip the previous August and run into trouble. Later, residents at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas recited a mantra for her and she got well! The dog sometimes came back for her and a few days ago she had a high fever over 110 degree. Her parents were frightened and phoned everywhere looking for me. This time when I came back to CTTB, the child and her young friends did “three steps one bow” bowing back and forth.
To be continued