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4.2 (Tsai no.53) Seng-nine

The nun Seng-nien (Remembrance of the Sangha) (415-504) of Meditation Grove Convent

Seng-nien's secular surname was Yang, and her family was from Nan-ch'ang in T'ai-shan Commandery [in northeast China]. Her father, Yang Mi, was an assistant to the provincial governor. Seng-nien was the aunt of Master of the Law T'an-jui of Chaturdesha Monastery.

From early on Seng-nien's noble character was remarkable; her understanding was clear. She was established in virtue while still very young. At age 10 she left the secular life to become a disciple of the nun Fa-hui and live with her in Empress Dowager Convent. Living a strict and ascetic life, Seng-nien's practice of meditation was very profound. She read widely and comprehended much; her literary compositions were admired both for their form and for their meaning. As she grew older, she was even more intensely devoted to her vegetarianism and religious practices. For example, she would chant the Flower of the Law Scripture seven times through in a day and a night.

The Sung dynasty emperors Wen (407-424-453) and Hsiao-wu (430-454-464) often provided for her material needs.

During the yung-ming reign period (483-493) of the Ch'i dynasty she moved to Meditation Grove Convent, where her standard for the practice of meditation flourished and where those who sought instruction from her were many. The minister of education, the prince of Ching-ling [Wen-hsüan (460-494), second son of Emperor Wu of Ch'i], provided for her the four requisites of clothing, food, bedding, and medicine.

In the third year of the t'ien-chien reign period (504) of the Liang dynasty she died at the age of ninety and was buried in Chung-hsing Village in Mo-ling County [very close to the southwest outskirts of the capital].

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