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3.11 (Tsai no.47) Ching-kuei

The nun Ching-kuei (Pure Symbol) (d. 494) of Voice of the Teaching Convent

Ching-kuei's secular surname was Chou. Her family was originally from Chin-ling [to the southeast of the capital, Chien-k'ang], but they had lived in the Chien-k'ang district for three generations by the time she was born.

As a child Ching-kuei was very intelligent and often needed to hear something only once to understand it. By natural inclination she did not associate with worldly people and very early on wished to leave the household life. Her parents, sympathizing with her, did not oppose her resolve, and she took up residence in Voice of the Teaching Convent as a disciple of the nun Fa-ching.

She was pure in conduct, broadly versed in both the scriptures and the monastic rules, and well accomplished in all the meditative secrets of the three types of Buddhist paths. In short, Ching-kuei's spiritual capacity was so vast that no one could fathom it; on the other hand she neglected her body and forgot the taste of food to the point that she was always emaciated. Her vigor and memory were models for the world, and her teaching and guidance greatly benefited everyone of that time who turned to her.

Ching-kuei lived together with the nun T'an-chien in Voice of the Teaching Convent, and she [too] eventually moved to White Mountain, where she dwelt beneath the trees, her meritorious influence spreading far.

In the first year of the chien-wu reign period (494), on the night of the eighth day of the second month [traditionally thought to be the day of the Buddha's complete and final entry into nirvana], Ching-kuei burned her body at the same time as the nun T'an-chien (no. 46). Religious and laity, all grieving and weeping, collected her relics and buried them in a tomb.

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