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慧木。本姓傅。北地人。十一出家。師事慧超受持小戒。居梁郡築戈村寺。始讀大品日誦兩卷。兼通雜經。木母老病口中無齒。木嚼脯飴母。為口不淨不受大戒白衣精勤懺悔自業。忽見戒壇與天皆黃金色。舉頭仰視。南見一人。著繏衣衣色悉黃。去木或近或遠。 語木曰。我已授汝戒。尋復不見。木不以語人。多諸感異皆類此也。木兄聞欲知。乃詐之曰。 汝為道積年竟無所益。便可養髮當為訪婿。木聞心愁。因述所見。即受具戒。臨受戒夕夢人口授戒本。及受戒竟再覽便誦。


2.9 (Tsai no.22) Shih Hui-mu

The nun Shih Hui-mu (Tree of Wisdom) (in the lineage of Shākyamuni) of Chu-ko Village Convent in Liang Commandery

Hui-mu's secular surname was Fu. Her family was originally from Pei-ti [in northwest China, north of the old capital of Ch'ang-an].

Hui-mu left the household life at age 11 and undertook the ten obligatory rules [of a novice] under the instruction of Hui-ch'ao, living in Chu-ko Village Convent of Liang Commandery [in the Huai River valley some distance west of the capital of the Sung dynasty].

When she first read the Larger Perfection of Wisdom, she was able to chant from memory two chapters a day [each chapter having more than ten thousand words]. She was also able to understand the meaning of a variety of other scriptures.

Hui-mu's mother was old and sick. Because her mother had no teeth, Hui-mu first chewed the meat she gave her mother to eat. As a result, however, Hui-mu's mouth was impure. Therefore she did not take on herself the obligation to observe all the monastic rules and become a full-fledged nun [as she would have liked to do] but instead continued her zealous devotions and confession of her faults while still garbed in the dress of a householder.

Unexpectedly one day she saw that the ceremonial platform for the ritual of accepting the monastic rules and the space around it were a golden color. Raising her head and looking toward the south, she saw a man wearing a trimmed robe that was also golden in color. Appearing sometimes near and sometimes far, he said to Hui-mu, "I have already bestowed the monastic obligations on you," and thereafter he disappeared. Hui-mu told no one about this, which was like many of the other unusual things that happened to her.

Because Hui-mu's elder brother heard rumor of some of these experiences and wanted to know more about them, he tricked her, saying, "You have followed the way of religion for a number of years, but in the end it has been of no benefit to you. Because that is the case, you might as well let your hair grow, and I shall find a husband for you." When Hui-mu heard these words her heart was sorely grieved, so she revealed to him what she had seen.

Shortly thereafter Hui-mu received full admission into the Assembly of Nuns. One night not long before the ceremony was to take place she dreamed that she saw a person who recited the book of the monastic rules. After her full admission to the assembly she read that same book only twice before being able to chant it from memory.

During the yüan-chia reign period (424-453) of the Sung dynasty she had images of the Buddhas of the ten directions made and presented them together with copies of the Dharmaguptaka Monastic Rules in Four Divisions and the Rituals for Entering Monastic Life to the four Buddhist assemblies [of monk, nun, male, and female householders].

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