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元嘉十四年十月為苦行齋七日。乃立誓言。若誠齋有感。捨身之後必見佛者。願於七日之內見佛光明。五日中宵寺東林樹靈光赫然。即以告眾。眾皆欣敬加悅服焉。寺主法弘後於光處起立禪室。初玉在長安。於薛尚書寺見紅白色光。燭曜左右十日小歇。後六重寺沙門。 四月八日於光處得金彌勒像。高一尺云

2.3 (Tsai no.16) Hui-yü

The nun Hui-yü (Jade of Wisdom) of Cowherd Convent

Hui-yü was from Ch'ang-an [in the old northern heartland of China]. She zealously cultivated and thoroughly perfected the study and practice of Buddhism. She traveled throughout the country preaching and converting people, and, adapting to whatever circumstances, she did not flinch from either cold or heat.

Hui-yü went south to the territory of Ching and Ch'u [in western central China] and then took up residence in Cowherd Convent in the town of Chiang-ling in the province of Ching [on the north bank of the Yangtze River some distance west of the capital]. She specialized in the chanting of the Flower of the Law,Shūrangama, and other scriptures, being able to get through them all in a period of only ten days. Monastics and householders of western Shan honored her, taking refuge in her as their teacher, and, indeed, she never wearied in her study of the scriptures and commentaries.

In the fourteenth year of the yüan-chia reign period (437) in the tenth month, Hui-yü first carried out a seven-day austerity fast and then made a vow, saying, "If truly the fast I have just completed has its effect so that after I abandon my body in death I will assuredly see the Buddha in his paradise, then may I see, as proof, the radiant light of the Buddha manifest within seven days." During the night of the fifth day after making the vow, a supernatural light glowed among the trees east of the convent. Hui-yü informed the community of nuns who happily congratulated her and were henceforth even more devoted to her. Afterward, the abbess Fa-hung had a meditation hall built on the spot where the light had appeared.

When Hui-yü was still in Ch'ang-an, she saw a red and white colored light at the family temple of Secretary Hsüeh. It brightly illumined the whole area for ten days before fading. Later, on the eighth day of the fourth month [the Buddha's birthday], a monk of Six Prohibitions Monastery found a one-foot-high gold image of the future Buddha, Maitreya, at the spot where the light had shone.

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