Thursday, November 04, 2010

A bit more on the experiences of the 20th Century Chan Masters

Information related to this particular post seems to be like Brigadoon - it seems to appear in some places in some searches but then disappear.  But Wikipedia has the information I wanted to note about Hsu Yun:

After returning to China, During the Master's fifty-third year, he joined with the Venerable Masters P'u Chao (Universal Illumination), Yueh Hsia (Moon Aura) and Yin Lien (Lotus Seal) to cultivate together. They climbed Chiu Hua Shan Mountain and repaired the huts on Ts'ui Feng Summit, where Dharma Master P'u Chao expounded the Mahavaipulyabuddha Avatamsaka (Flower Adornment) Sutra [11].
When the Master was fifty-six, the Abbot Yueh Lang (Clear Moon) of Gao Min Monastery Gaomin Temple, 高旻寺)in Yangzhou was going to convene a continuous twelve-week session of dhyana meditation. Preparing to leave, the group asked the Master to go first. After reaching Ti Kang at T'ung (Great Penetration), he had to cross the water, but had no money. The ferry left without him. As he walked along the river's edge, the Master suddenly lost his footing and fell into the rushing water, where he bobbed helplessly for a day and night [12]. and was caught in a fisherman's net. He was carried to a nearby temple, where he was revived and treated for his injuries. Feeling ill, he nevertheless returned to Yangzhou. When asked by Gao Ming whether he would participate in the upcoming weeks of meditation, he politely declined, without revealing his illness. The temple had rules that those who were invited had to attend or else face punishment. In the end, Gao Ming had Hsu Yun beaten with a wooden ruler. He willingly accepted this punishment, although it worsened his condition.
For the next several days, Hsu Yun sat in continuous meditation. In his autobiography, he wrote: "[in] the purity of my singleness of mind, I forgot all about my body. Twenty days later my illness vanished completely. From that moment, with all my thoughts entirely wiped out, my practice took effect throughout the day and night. My steps were as swift as if I was flying in the air. One evening, after meditation, I opened my eyes and suddenly saw I was in brightness similar to broad daylight in which I could see everything inside and outside the monastery..." But he knew that this occurrence was only a mental state, and that it was not at all rare. He did not become attached to this achievement, but continued his single-minded investigation of the topic, "who is mindful of the Buddha?" over and over again, he delved into this topic without interruption [13].
During the twelfth lunar month, on the third evening of the eighth week of the session, after six hours of sitting meditation, the attendant made his rounds, filling up the tea cups. The Master's hand was burned by spilling boiling water, and his cup fell to the floor. At the sound of the crash, the root of his doubt was instantly severed. He was joyous beyond words at having fulfilled his lifelong ambition. It was as if he had just awakened from a dream, and he observed how the conditions of the past unravel. If he had not fallen into the river and become gravely ill, if he had not met good advisors who plied him with both adversity and felicity, how would this present experience have been possible?
The Master's verse explanation says:
When a cup fell down and struck the floor,
The sound of the crash was distinctly heard;
Emptiness was pulverized
And the mad mind stopped on the spot.
Another verse by the Venerable Master Hsu Yun says:
The hand let go-the cup was shattered.
Family broken up, people have died-there's no way to talk about such things.
Spring arrives, flowers are fragrant, and everywhere is infused with splendor.
The mountains, rivers, and great earth itself are just Tathagatas.[14].

All of the above evidently comes from here

Oddly enough, links related to this - as well as an inquiry about this - keep appearing and disappearing.  Perhaps what's written here is embellished.  Perhaps not.  But what is clear is that despite perceived hardship, like other masters and seekers who find, Hsu Yun persevered. Oddly enough though, it appears that his successors' sites are a bit less Chan flavored, at least as far as the public is concerned. That is why, as many before me have said, Great Determination, along with Great Faith and Great Doubt is necessary.

I might have more to say on this later.

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