The Eighth Patriarch, whose lay name was Ma（馬）,
was a native of Han Chou（漢州）. He practiced dhyana at Heng Yao（衡岳）.
Seventh Patriarch, Huai Jang（懷讓）, asked him, "What do you hope to make
sitting in dhyana?" The Master replied, "I hope to make a Buddha."
Jang took a brick and rubbed its surface. The Master said, "What are
you making by rubbing?" Jang replied, "I'm making a mirror."
The Master asked, "How is rubbing a brick able
to make a mirror?" He answered, "Rubbing a brick certainly doesn't
make a mirror; how does sitting in dhyana make a Buddha?"
The Master said, "What is right?" Jang said,
"If an ox-driven cart doesn't move, do you whip the ox or the cart?"
The Master had no answer. Jang instructed with a gatha: "The mind
ground holds all seeds; Receiving moisture, they completely sprout;
The samadhi flower is without appearance; What is destroyed; what is
The Master suddenly understood. He dwelt at
K'ai Yuan Temple（開元寺）. On the fourth day of the second month of the
fourth year, of the Reign Period Chen Yuan (貞元，785 AD.), he sat full
lotus and entered extinction.
In the first year of the Reign Period Yuan Ho
(元和，806 AD.). he posthumously received the Imperial Title "Dhyana
Master of Great Silence"; his pagoda is named "Great Adornment". A
verse in praise of him says;
Breaking through the ox and cart,
mirror's light begins to shine.
Illumining and dazzling the ten
Like thunder and lightning.
Mighty functions, great opportunities,
thousand transformations, ten thousand changes,
attaining sons and grandsons,
Daily, monthly, face to face.
-- written by Master Hsuan Hua
translated by Bhiksu Heng Chien