One day the Patriarch sent for his disciples, Fat Hoi, Chi Shing, Fat Tat, Shin Wui, Chi Sheung, Chi Tong, Chi Chai, Chi Tao, Fat Chun, Fat U, etc., and addressed them as follows:-
“You men are different from the common lot. After my entering into Parinirvana, each of you will be the Dhyana Master of a certain district. I am, therefore, going to give you some hints on preaching, so that when doing so, you may keep up the tradition of our School.
First mention the three Categories of Dharmas, and then the thirty-six ‘pairs of opposites’ in the activities (of the Essence of Mind). Then teach how to avoid the two extremes of ‘coming in’ or ‘going out’. In all preaching, stray not from the Essence of Mind.
Whenever a man puts a question to you, answer him in antonyms, so that a ‘pair of opposites’ will be formed. (For example), ‘coming’ and ‘going’ are the reciprocal cause of each other; when the interdependence of the two is entirely done away with there would be, in the absolute sense, neither ‘coming’ nor ‘going’. Continue reading “Chapter X – His Final Instructions”
(Instructions are given according to the disciples’ temperament and to the circumstances of the case).
Upon the Patriarch’s return to the village of Tso Hau in Shiu Chow from Wong Mui, where the Dharma had been transmitted to him, he was still an unknown figure, and it was a Confucian scholar named Liu Chi Luk who gave him a warm welcome and entertainment. Chi Luk happened to have an aunt named Wu Chung Chong who was a Bhikkhuni (a female member of the Order), and used to recite the Maha-Parinirvana Sutra. After hearing the recitation for only a short while the Patriarch grasped its profound meaning and began to explain it to her. Whereupon, she picked up the book and asked him the meaning of certain words.
“I am illiterate,” he replied, “but if you wish to know the purport of this work, please ask.” “How can you grasp the meaning of the text,” she rejoined, “when you do not even know the words?” To this, he replied, “The profundity of the teachings of the various Buddhas has nothing to do with the written language.”
This answer surprised her very much, and realizing that he was no ordinary Bhikkhu, she made it widely known to the pious elders of the village. “This is a holy man,” she said, “we should ask him to stay, and get his permission to supply him food and lodging.” Continue reading “Chapter VII – Temperament and Circumstances”
Once there was a big gathering of scholars and commoners from Kwong Chow, Shiu Chow, and other places to wait upon the Patriarch to preach to them. Seeing this, the Patriarch mounted the pulpit and delivered the following address:
we should start from our
Essence of Mind.
At all times let us
purify our own mind
from one Ksana (thought moment)
tread the Path by our own efforts,
realise our own Dharmakaya,
realise the Buddha in our own mind,
and deliver ourselves by a
personal observance of Silas;
then your visit will not have been in vain. Since all of you have come from afar, the fact of our meeting here shows that there is a good affinity between us. Now let us sit down in the Indian fashion, and I will give you the
Continue reading “Chapter VI – On Repentance”
One day Prefect Wai entertained the Patriarch and asked him to preach to a big gathering. At the end of the feast, Prefect Wai asked him to mount the pulpit (to which the Patriarch consented). After bowing twice reverently, in company with other officials, scholars, and commoners, Prefect Wai said, “I have heard what Your Holiness preached. It is really so deep that it is beyond our mind and speech, and I have certain doubts which I hope you will clear up for me.” “If you have any doubts,” replied the Patriarch, “please ask, and I will explain.”
“What you preach are
the fundamental principles
taught by Bodhidharma,
are they not?” “Yes,” replied the Patriarch. “I was told,” said Prefect Wai, “that at Bodhidharma’s first interview with Emperor Wu of Liang he was asked what merits the Emperor would get for the work of his life in building temples, allowing new monks to be ordained (royal consent was necessary at that time), Continue reading “Chapter III – Questions and Answers (Bodhidharma, Amitabha, Pure Land)”