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令宗。本姓滿。高乎金鄉人也。幼有清信鄉黨稱之。家遇喪亂為虜所驅。歸誠懇至稱佛法僧。誦普門品。拔除其眉。託云惡疾。求訴得放。隨路南歸。行出冀州。復為賊所逐。登上林樹專誠至念。捕者前望終不仰視。尋索不得俄爾而散。宗下復去。不敢乞食。初不覺饑。 晚達孟津無船可濟。慞惶憂懼更稱三寶。忽見一白鹿不知所從來。下涉河流。沙塵隨起。無有波瀾。宗隨鹿而濟。曾不沾濡。平行如陸。因得達家。



1.11 (Tsai no.11) Ling-tsung

The nun Ling-tsung (Esteemed Lineage) of West Convent of Ssu Province

Ling-tsung's secular surname was Man. Her [family's] original home was Chin-hsiang in Kao-p'ing Commandery [in northeast China].

While she was yet a child, Ling-tsung had a pure faith [in Buddhism], and the villagers in the area praised her for it. Her family met with disaster, being driven away from their homeland by invading nomadic tribes. Ling-tsung, with utmost sincerity and complete faith, called on the spiritual power of the Three Treasures for help. She also received the Universal Gate chapter [of the Flower of the Law in order to ask for help from the bodhisattva Kuan-yin]. She plucked out her eyebrows and pretended to her captors that she had a loathsome disease. Pleading thus, she attained her release.

Retracing the road they had traveled, she went back toward the south, but, going through the province of Chi [still far north] of her home, she was pursued once more, this time by bandits. She climbed to the top of a dead tree and concentrated all her faculties [in accordance with the Buddhist Way]. Those seeking to capture her looked all around but never looked up. Having searched and searched without finding her, they suddenly left. Ling-tsung climbed down and went on her way again.

She dared not beg for food and at first did not even feel hungry. One evening she came to Meng Ford [on the Yellow River], but there was no boat to ferry her across. In great trepidation she again called on the Three Treasures. Suddenly Ling-tsung saw a white deer that came from out of nowhere and crossed over the river. Sand and soil rose up behind the animal, and there were no waves at all. Following the deer, she crossed the river without getting wet, walking as easily as on dry land. Thus she was able to return home.

Ling-tsung then entered religious life. With sincere heart and profound scholarship her study and practice were the essence of earnestness; she was widely read in the scriptures, and her deep comprehension entered the realm of the divine. When Emperor Hsiao-wu of Chin (362-373-396) heard of her reputation, he sent a letter from [his capital in the south all the way to her northern home] to communicate his respect for her.

Later on, during a time when the people suffered a plague and the destitute were numerous, Ling-tsung unstintingly helped, begging everywhere for alms. She fled neither obstacles nor distances to do what she could to help the needy; those who relied on her were many. Because she herself also endured hunger and privation, her own appearance became haggard and careworn.

When she was seventy-five years old, she unexpectedly summoned her disciples one morning to tell them about a dream she had had the previous night. She said, "I saw a large mountain, the one called Sumeru, whose unusually beautiful peaks reached as high as the sky. Decorations and embellishments of precious ornaments glowed like the shining sun. The drum of the Buddha's law reverberated; fragrant incense filled the air. When spoken words commanded me to go forward, I was startled awake, but immediately I felt physically quite different from usual. Although I had no pain, it was as though I was in a swoon." Tao-chin, a companion [in the Way of the Buddha], said to her, "This is surely the Western Paradise of Amita Buddha." This conversation had not come to an end when suddenly Ling-tsung's spirit shifted from this world to the next.

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