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3.2 (Tsai no.38) T'an-ch'e

The nun T'an-ch'e (Discerning the Dharma) (422-484) of Southern Eternal Peace Convent

T'an-ch'e's origins are unknown. When still a child she became a disciple of the nun P'u-yao and lived together with her in Southern Eternal Peace Convent. P'u-yao, whose practice of religion was pure and learning excellent, was well known to her contemporaries.

T'an-ch'e maintained her principles without pride and practiced her vocation without neglect. She determined to grasp fully the profound meaning of the Buddhist teaching, and, before she became a full-fledged nun, she had become learned in the scriptures and their commentaries. After accepting the complete obligation of the monastic life she became thoroughly versed in the precepts of the monastic texts.

T'an-ch'e had the talent to handle important affairs, and she was particularly capable in exposition. She distinguished fine points and resolved impasses, probing deeply into the abstruse and hidden. All the other nuns, irrespective of rank, requested to be her subordinates. Taking advantage of the opportunity, a multitude of students flocked to her. From women of noble rank on down there was no one who did not revere her.

In the second year of the yung-ming reign period (484) of the Ch'i dynasty T'an-ch'e died at the age of sixty-three.

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