<Previous Section>
<Next Section>





2.4 (Tsai no.17) Tao-ch'iung

The nun Tao-ch'iung (Rare Jade of the Way) of Establishing Blessings Convent

Tao-ch'iung's secular surname was Chiang. Her family was from Tan-yang [near the capital of the Sung dynasty]. When she was a little more than ten years old, she was already well educated in the classics and history, and after her full admission to the monastic assembly she became learned in the Buddhist writings as well and also diligently cultivated a life of asceticism. In the t'ai-yüan reign period (376-396) of the Eastern Chin dynasty, the empress admired her exalted conduct, and, whenever she wished to gain merit by giving gifts or by listening to religious exhortations, she most often depended on the convent where Tao-ch'iung lived for such opportunities. Ladies of noble family vied with one another to associate with Tao-ch'iung.

In the eighth year of the yüan-chia reign period (431) [of Sung] she had many Buddhist images made and placed them everywhere: in P'eng-ch'eng Monastery, two gold Buddha images with a curtained dais and all accessories; in Pottery Office Monastery, a processional image of Maitreya, the future Buddha, with a jeweled umbrella and pendants; in Southern Establishing Joy Monastery, two gold images with various articles, banners, and canopies. In Establishing Blessings Convent, she had an image of the reclining Buddha made, as well as a hall to house it. She also had a processional image of the bodhisattva, P'u-hsien [or Samantabhadra], made. Of all these items, there was none that was not extremely beautiful.

Again, in the fifteenth year of the yüan-chia reign period (438), Tao-ch'iung commissioned a gold Amitāyus [or Infinite Life] Buddha, and in the fourth month and tenth day of that same year a golden light shone forth from the mark between the eyebrows of the image and filled the entire convent. The news of this event spread among religious and worldly alike, and all came to pay honor, and, gazing at the unearthly brilliance, there was none who was not filled with great happiness.

Further, using the materials bequeathed to her by the Yüan empress consort, she extended the convent to the south to build another meditation hall.

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