<Previous Section>
<Next Section>


業首。本姓張。彭城人也。風儀峻整戒行清白。深解大乘善搆妙理。彌好禪誦造次無怠。 宋高祖武皇帝雅相敬異。文帝少時從受三歸。住永安寺供施相續。




2.17 (Tsai no.30) Yeh-shou

The nun Yeh-shou (First in Achievement) (373-462) of Eastern Green Garden Convent

Yeh-shou's secular surname was Chang. She was from [the northeastern city of] P'eng-ch'eng [long a home to Buddhists].

Yeh-shou was dignified in demeanor and unsullied in observing the monastic precepts. With her profound understanding of the Buddhist teaching known as the Great Vehicle she was good at drawing out the subtle principles. Especially fond of meditation and the chanting of scriptures, she practiced both continuously without remiss.

[The first emperor of the Sung dynasty] Emperor Wu (363-420422) greatly admired her extraordinary qualities. [The third emperor] Wen (407-424-453), had, when a youth, received from her the ceremony of Taking the Three Refuges.

Yeh-shou lived in Eternal Peace Convent where gifts from the faithful were donated unendingly. In the second year of the yüan-chia reign period (425), Madame Fan, mother of Wang Ching-shen, presented to Yeh-shou the grounds of the old ancestral hall of Wang T'an-chih (330-375), where there was then built a convent called Green Garden.

Yeh-shou's community of disciples was a model for the proper observance of religious life. Imperial Concubine P'an exclaimed about her, "The nun Yeh-shou's propagation of the Buddhist teaching is indeed worthy of great respect." In the fifteenth year of the yüan-chia reign period (438), she enlarged the convent for Yeh-shou: to the west she built a Buddha Hall; to the north she cleared the ground and built a residence hall and also donated all the necessities.

The convent flourished, and the community of two hundred nuns carried out their religious life and activities unceasingly. Through the years those who relied on Yeh-shou grew more and more numerous until she asked to retire, pleading old age, but the community would not hear of it. In the sixth year of the ta-ming reign period (462), she died at the age of ninety.

During that same time there were also the nuns Ching-ai, Pao-ying, and Fa-lin who were all well known in the district of the capital because of their purity of life and character. Ching-ai long cultivated meditation and chanting and carried out the duties of her office with utmost fidelity. She died in the fifth year of the t'ai-shih reign period (469). Pao-ying was responsible for the building of a five-story pagoda. She was diligent in the examining of principles and zealous in keeping to a vegetarian diet. She died in the sixth year of the t'ai-shih reign period (470). Fa-lin was widely read in both the doctrinal and monastic scriptures and in her old age did not slacken her efforts. She died in the first year of the yüan-hui reign period (473).

Furthermore, there was Yeh-shou's disciple, T'an-yin, who was accomplished in both meditation and the monastic discipline. Contemptuous of glory, she kept aloof from the struggle for power or wealth. She died in the sixth year [sic] of the yüan-hui reign period (478?).

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