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超明本姓范。錢塘人。父先少為國子生。世奉大法。明幼聰穎雅有志尚。讀五經善文義。 方正有禮內外敬之。年二十一夫亡寡居。鄉鄰求嫂誓而弗許。因遂出家住崇隱寺。神理明徹道識清悟。



3.13 (Tsai no.49) Ch'ao-ming

The nun Ch'ao-ming (Superior Clarity) (ca. 438-498) of Brightness of Ch'i Convent in Ch'ien-t'ang

Ch'ao-ming's secular surname was Fan. Her family was from Ch'ien-t'ang [southeast of the capital], and her father, Fan Hsien, as a young man had been a student at the imperial academy. The family had been Buddhist for a long time.

When a young girl, Ch'ao-ming had been very intelligent and had exalted ambitions. She studied the five Confucian classics and was well versed in literature. Her polite and proper deportment drew the respect of everyone both within and without her family.

When she was twenty-one, her husband died, leaving her a widow. A neighbor sought to marry her, but she vowed not to allow it. Therefore she left the secular life and took up residence in Venerating Seclusion Convent. Of brilliant intellect, she well apprehended the body of [Buddhist] knowledge, and, when she heard that Master of the Law T'an-cheng of North Chang Monastery in Wu County [northeast of Ch'ien-t'ang], was vigorously ascetic in his practice, she received from him the full obligation to observe the monastic rules. Afterward she went to Mud Mountain [a short distance southeast of Ch'ien-t'ang] to receive instruction from the well-known master of the law Hui-chi (412-496). When he lectured on the various scriptures she comprehended the meaning, and whatever she heard once she always remembered. Everyone in the surrounding region, whether religious or lay, held her in great esteem.

Ch'ao-ming subsequently returned to Ch'ien-t'ang to Brightness of Ch'i Convent where she died in the fifth year of the chien-wu reign period (498) at the age of sixty-some years.

There was also at that time the nun Fa-tsang, who was [like Ch'ao-ming] well known for her learning and practice.

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