A verse in praise says:
Dan Xia wielded his whisk,
And the Master gave up his practice of the "clay pill" technique.
He went beyond the beginning of the cosmos
And managed to feel his own nose.
At the third watch of the night, there was no need to borrow a light,
But he lost his money and incurred blame.
From the solitary summit of Taibai Mountain,
His Dharma spread over the great earth.
Dan Xia wielded his whisk and hit him lightly, this Dhyana Master became enlighted.
And the Master gave up his practice of the “clay pill” technique. This is the Taoist technique of sending out a little man from the top of one’s head. Before, the Master was attached to his “conscious spirit” and tried to gain immortality. This is still the state of a “corpse-guarding ghost.” However, after Master Dan Xia struck him with the whisk, he gave up his former pursuits, realizing that the technique was still caught up within the realm of the conscious spirit.
He went beyond the beginning of the cosmos. What era was that? There’s no way to date this period. This is the stage of the kalpa of emptiness before anything came to be.
And managed to feel his own nose: he was able to recognize his “original face.” He knew whether his nostrils pointed up or down. If you ask me, “Do my nostrils point up or down?” I won’t be able to tell you. You have to find out for yourself.
At the third watch of the night, at midnight,
there was no need to borrow a light. It’s not necessary to borrow a light from a lamp or from the mind. One’s nature is inherently bright.
But he lost his money and incurred blame. He lost his opportunity—this is like losing money. Here “incurring blame” does not mean creating an offense. It means missing one’s opportunity. The potentials did not mesh.
From the solitary summit of Taibai Mountain. Just as this peak stands alone, unrivalled, so, too, after Dhyana Master Hong Zhi became enlightened, he stood out unrivalled and surpassed his peers.
His Dharma spreads over the great earth. His lofty and high-minded integrity spread throughout the great earth. Many people were influenced by his example to make the resolve for Bodhi.
Another verse says:
In his youth he renounced the mundane life and entered Jingming Monastery
Resolutely he cut off the bonds of love and looked lightly upon family ties.
A frog at the bottom of the well finds it hard to swallow the moon,
But the garuda bird soars freely in space.
Trying to figure out an answer is contrary to the foremost meaning.
Discrimination leads to contradictions, and the path becomes diversified a thousandfold.
The Dharma host of Tiantong transcends those of the present and past,
Under Dan Xia’s whisk, he enlightened to the True Sutra.
In his youth he renounced the mundane life and entered
Jingming Monastery. When he was still very young, he renounced the householder’s life. He was ordained at age fourteen. Of course he left home earlier than that time, probably at the age of twelve or thereabouts.
Resolutely he cut off the bonds of love and looked lightly upon family ties. He looked lightly upon the affection shared among the six kinds of close relatives.
A frog at the bottom of the well finds it hard to swallow the moon. Such a frog would certainly not be able to swallow the moon.
But the garuda bird soars freely in space. Nobody can tell the
garuda bird what to do. It flies and roams freely in space. If you understand, you can be as free as the
garuda bird. The garuda bird eats dragons when it is hungry and drinks water when it’s thirsty. It can fly up into the sky to frolic as it pleases. Look how free and unconfined it is!
Trying to figure out an answer is contrary to the foremost meaning. When asked a question, if you cannot come up with a direct answer, but have to deliberate over a reply, then you have missed the foremost meaning. You have fallen into the secondary or third periphery meanings.
Discrimination leads to contradiction, and the path becomes diversified a thousandfold. Once you start to make discriminations with your conscious mind, then the more you discriminate, the further you will stray from the truth.
The Dharma host of the Tiantong transcends those of the present and past. Because of his great wisdom, most people could not compare with him.
Under Dan Xia’s whisk, having undergone that kind of beating,
he emerged, enlightened to the True Sutra. He understood the meaning of the True Sutra.