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2.22 (Tsai no.35) Fa-ching

The nun Fa-ching (Pure Law) (409-473) of Universal Wisdom Convent

Fa-ching originally came from north of the Yangtze River. When she was twenty, her family met with civil disorder, and she accompanied her father and fled to Mo-ling [which was in the vicinity of the capital of the Sung dynasty].

The family practiced the religion of Shākyamuni Buddha. Fa-ching left the household life while still very young and dwelled in Eternal Blessings Convent. Her observance of the monastic rules was unsullied; she understood the principles of things; she immersed her thought in subtleties and deeply probed profundities. Her reputation was comparable to Pao-hsien's (no. 34).

Emperor Ming of Sung (439-465-472) considered her above the ordinary, and, in the first year of the t'ai-shih reign period (465), he decreed by imperial order that she live in Universal Wisdom Convent. Within the royal palace she was warmly received and respected as both teacher and friend. In the second year (466) she was made, by imperial decree, the director of conventual affairs in the capital. In her work she was most impartial and just; her influence spread out in waves, and those converted by her virtue were like a torrent. Of all the women of the surrounding territory of Ching and Ch'u, both nuns and other women who could claim any association through family connections, there was none who did not send letters from afar, seeking her acquaintance.

The formative power of her moral excellence was always like this, and those who consulted her as a model for the observance of the monastic rules numbered seven hundred persons.

Fa-ching died in the first year of the yüan-hui reign period (473) at age 65.

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