Baizhang Huaihai
Caoshan Benji
Dahui Zonggao
Daman Hongren
Danxia Tianran
Dayi Daoxin
Dazhao Puji
Dazhu Huihai
Dazu Huike
Deshan Xuanjian
Dongshan Liangjie
Guifeng Zongmi
Guishan Lingyou
Guizong Zhichang
Heze Shenhui
Hongzhi Zhengjue
Huangbo Xiyun
Huanglong Huinan
Jinshan tanying
Linji Yixuan
Longtan Chongxin
Luohan Guichen
Mazu Daoyi
Nanquan Puyuan
Nanta Guangyong
Nanyang Huizhong
Nanyue Huairang
Niutou Farong
Qingliang Wenyi
Qingyuan Xingsi
Shishuang Chuyuan
Shitou Xiqian
Tianhuang Daowu
Xiangyan Zhixian
Xitang Zhizang
Xuansha Shibei
Xuedou Chongxian
Xuefeng Yicun
Yangqi Fanghui
Yangshan Huiji
Yantou Quanhuo
Yaoshan Weiyan
Yongjia Xuanjue
Yongming Yanshou
Yunmen Wenyan
Yunyan Tansheng
Yuquan Shenxiu
Zhaozhou Congshen
Tianhuang Daowu
Shitou Xiqian
Longtan Chongxin
Tao-wu of the T’ien-huang Temple (748-807) was born of a Chang family in Wu-chou, Chekiang. When he was fourteen, he felt a vocation to be a monk. As his parents would not hear of it, Tao-wu reduced his diet until he became dreadfully thin and weak. Finally his parents relented and gave their permission. He was professed in his mid-twenties in Hangchow, and was noted for his extreme asceticism. Then he went to Yu-hang to visit Ching-shan Tao-ch’in (d. 792), who was an outstanding Ch’an master in the lineage of the Fourth Patriarch Tao-hsin and Niut’ou Fa-jung. It was Ching-shan who first initiated Tao-wu into Ch’an. After serving Ching-shan for five years, he went to visit Ma-tsu, who confirmed him in his insights. After he had spent two summers with Ma-tsu, he went to visit Shih-t’ou, asking, “After one is freed of Dhyana and Prajna, what Dharma can one show to others?” Shih-t’ou said, “In my place there being no slaves, what is there to be freed from?” “How is this to be verified?” Tao-wu further inquired. Shih-t’ou asked back, “Can you grasp at the empty and void?” “Well,” said Tao-wu, “this (ungraspability) does not begin today.” Then Shih-t’ou asked, “When, I wonder, did you come from that place?” “I am not a man of that place!” was Tao-wu’s answer. Shih-t’ou said, “I knew long ago where you came from.” Tao-wu replied, “How can you, master, bring this false charge against me without concrete evidence?” “Your body itself is the present evidence!” said Shih-t’ou. “Be that as it may,” said Tao-wu, “my question still is how to teach the posterity.” Shih-t’ou fired back, “Tell me who is the posterity?” At this Tao-wu was suddenly enlightened and began to understand thoroughly what his two previous masters had communicated to him.
Tao-wu’s way of teaching can be gathered from how he dealt with his disciple Lung-t’an (died first part of the 9th century). Lung-t’an came from a poor family, who made their living by selling pastry. Tao-wu knew him as a boy, and recognized in him great spiritual potentialities. He housed his family in a hut belonging to his monastery. To show his gratitude, Lung-t’an made a daily offering of ten cakes to the master. The master accepted the cakes, but every day he consumed only nine and returned the remaining one to Lung-t’an, saying, “This is my gift to you in order to prosper your descendants.” One day, Lung-t’an became curious, saying to himself, “It is I who bring him the cakes; how is it then that he returns one of them as a present to me? Can there be some secret meaning in this?” So the young boy made bold to put the question before the master. The master said, “What wrong is there to restore to you what originally belonged to you?” Lung-t’an apprehended the hidden meaning, and decided to be a novice, attending upon the master with great diligence. After some time, Lung-t’an said to the master, “Since I came, I have not received any essential instructions on the mind from you, master.” The master replied, “Ever since you came, I have not ceased for a moment to give you essential instructions about the mind.” More mystified than ever, the disciple asked, “On what points have you instructed me?” The master replied, “Whenever you bring me the tea, I take it from your hands. Whenever you serve the meal, I accept it and eat it. Whenever you salute me, I lower my head in response. On what points have I failed to show you the essence of the mind?” Lung-t’an lowered his head and remained silent for a long time. The master said, “For true perception, you must see right on the spot. As soon as you begin to ponder and reflect, you miss it.” At these words, Lung-t’an’s mind was opened and he understood. Then he asked how to preserve this insight. The master said, “Give rein to your Nature in its transcendental roamings. Act according to the exigencies of circumstances in perfect freedom and without any attachment. Just follow the dictates of your ordinary mind and heart. Aside from that, there is no ‘holy’ insight.”
Upon meeting Shitou, Daowu asked, “By what method do you reveal liberating wisdom to people?”
Shitou said, “There are no slaves here. From what do you seek liberation?”
Daowu said, “How can it be understood?”
Shitou said, “So you’re still trying to grasp emptiness?”
Daowu said, “From today I won’t do so again.”
Shitou then said, “I’d like to know when you came forth from ‘that place.’”
Daowu said, “I haven’t come from ‘that place.’”
Shitou said, “I already know where you’ve come from.”
Daowu said, “Master, how can you slander people in this way?”
Shitou said, “Your body is revealed here now.”
Daowu then said, “Although it is thus, how will your teaching be demonstrated to those who come later?”
Shitou said, “Please tell me, who are those who come later?”
Upon hearing these words Daowu instantly experienced great enlightenment, dissolving the mind he had attained from the words of his previous two teachers.
Later, Tianhuang lived on Mt. Ziling at Dangyang City in Xingzhou. The practitioners who came to study under him were pressed shoulder to shoulder, his reputation even reaching to the capital city where he was known among men and women.
At that time, the head of Chongye Temple had told the local garrison commander about Tianhuang. The commander invited Tianhuang into the city for a visit. At the edge of town was Tianhuang Temple. It was quite famous, but because of a bad fire it had been destroyed. The chief monk there, named Lingjian, planned to rebuild it. He said, “If honored master Daowu were to become abbot it would certainly benefit us.”
So late at night, Lingjian went to see Daowu, and beseeching him to take the position of abbot, he brought him to the site of the temple by sedan chair.
During this time a duke of the Jiangling region, Pu Shepei, would sometimes come to inquire about Dharma, kowtowing and paying elaborate respects to Daowu. The master would not go out to receive him or accompany him when he departed. Whether noble or mean, guests would all sit with their hands folded in front of them in respect. Duke Pu Shepei returned often to pay respects to Daowu in this manner. Due to this, Daowu’s reputation spread and the Dharma of Shitou flourished.
Tianhuang Daowu met Longtan. Longtan asked, “What is the affair that has been passed down through generations?” Daowu said, “None other than knowing from where you come.” Longtan said, “How many are there who can gain this wisdom eye?” Daowu said, “Short grasses easily become tall reeds.”
A monk asked, “How does one speak of the great mystery?”
Daowu said, “Don’t say ‘I have realized the Buddhadharma!’”
The monk asked, “How do you deal with students who are stuck?”
Daowu said, “Why don’t you ask me?”
The monk said, “I just asked you.” Daowu said, “Go! This isn’t the place where you’ll find relief.”
In the fourth month of the [year 807] Tianhuang became ill. He instructed his disciples to announce that he would soon pass away. At the end of summer, the general public was inquiring about his illness.
Suddenly, the master called for the head cook, who came and sat down before him.
Tianhuang said, “Do you understand?”
The cook said, “I don’t understand.”
Tianhuang picked up a cushion and threw it down on the ground. He then passed away.
The master was sixty years of age and had been a priest for thirty-five years. On the fifth day of the eighth month of that year, the master’s stupa was constructed east of the city.
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