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僧基。本姓明。濟南人也。綰髮志道秉願出家。母氏不聽。密以許嫁。祕其聘禮。 迎接日近女乃覺知。即便絕糧水漿不下。親屬共請意不可移。至於七日母呼女婿。婿敬信。 見婦殆盡。謂婦母曰。人各有志不可奪也。母即從之。

因遂出家。時年二十一。內外親戚皆來慶慰。競施珍華爭設名供。州牧給伎郡守親臨。 道俗咨嗟歎未曾有。基淨持戒範精進習經。數與曇備尼名輩略齊。


1.8 (Tsai no.8) Seng-chi

The nun Seng-chi (Foundation of the Sangha) (ca. 330-397) of Increasing Joy Convent

Seng-chi's secular surname was Ming, and her family was originally from Chi-nan [in northeast China].

When Seng-chi was still very young, she had already fixed her mind on the way of Buddhism, holding fast to her wish to leave the household life and become a nun. Her mother, however, would not hear of it and secretly betrothed her, hiding the engagement gifts. Thus the daughter knew nothing about it until the wedding day drew close [but as soon as she found out] she immediately refused to eat or drink a thing. Even though all her relatives tried to get her to change her mind, she would not be moved.

After Seng-chi had fasted seven days her mother summoned the bridegroom, a man of devout faith, who, when he saw that his bride was in danger of death, said to his prospective mother-in-law, "Each person has his own will that cannot be forced." The mother then acceded [to her daughter's wishes], and consequently Seng-chi left the household life. At that time she was twenty-one years old. Relatives from both sides of the family came to express their best wishes, and they vied with one another to give fine banquets and other precious gifts in honor of her becoming a nun. The provincial magistrate presented gifts, and the commandery administrator attended in person. Monastics and householders alike marveled [that this degree of honor given her] was most unusual.

Seng-chi kept the monastic rules in great purity, and she diligently studied the scriptures. When compared to the nun T'an-pei (no. 6), her reputation was nearly equal. Her mental faculties were most concentrated, and she was good at deliberation and decision making.

The Emperor K'ang (322-343-344) often paid respects to her, and, in the second year of the chien-yüan reign period (344), the Empress Ch'u (324-384), consort of K'ang, built for her a convent named Increasing Joy in T'ung-kung Lane in Chien-k'ang, the capital of Chin. Seng-chi took up residence there, and more than a hundred disciples came to her.

Because in her management of all affairs she was clear and intelligent, both monastics and householders respected her more and more. She was at least sixty-eight years old when she died in the first year of the lung-an reign period (397).

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia