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母已許嫁於暉之姑子。出門有曰。不展餘計。育尼密迎還寺。暉深立誓願。若我道心不遂。遂致逼迫者。當以火自焚耳。刺史甄法崇聞之。遣使迎暉。集諸綱佐及有望之民。請諸僧尼窮相難盡。法崇問曰。汝審能出家不。答曰。微願久發特乞救濟。法崇曰善。遣使語姑。姑即奉教。從法育尼出家。年始十三矣。從昱學修觀行。裁得稟受。即於座末便得入定。見東方有二光明。其一如日而白。其一如月而青。即於定中立念云。白者必是菩薩道。青者聲聞法。若審然者當令青者銷而白光熾。即應此念。青光遂滅。白光熾滿。及至起定為昱尼說。 昱尼善觀道聞而歡喜讚善。時同坐四十餘人莫不見歎其希有也。後婿心疑以為姧詐。相率抄取將歸其家。曇暉時年十六矣。以婢使營衛不受侵逼。婿無如之何。復以訴州。 刺史賞異。問畺良耶舍曰。此人根利慎勿違之。若婿家須相分解費用不足者。貧道有一蒼頭即為隨喜。於是解釋。後於禪中自解佛性。常住大乘等義並非師受。時諸名師極力問難無能屈者。於是聲馳遠近莫不歸服。
4.3 (Tsai no.54) T'an-hui
The num T'an-hui (Radiance of the Dharma) (422-504) of Enduring Joy Convent in Ch'eng-tu
T'an-hui's secular surname was Ch'ing-yang and her given name Pai-yü. She was from Ch'eng-tu [a city in the far-western region of Shu].
When she was a child T'an-hui delighted in the thought of practicing the [Buddhist] religion, but her parents would not permit it. Nevertheless, in the ninth year of the yüan-chia reign period (432), when the foreign master of meditation Kālayashas entered the region of Shu to propagate the practice of meditation and contemplation, T'an-hui, eleven years old at the time, asked her mother to invite the master of meditation to visit them, for she wished to consult him about methods of meditation. Her mother agreed to do so. The moment Kālayashas saw T'an-hui he marveled at her natural propensity and ordered her to cultivate the practice of meditation and also requested the nun Fa-yü to keep her under supervision. T'an-hui's mother, however, had already arranged her betrothal to the son of T'an-hui's paternal aunt. Because the day for the marriage had been set and was not to be changed, the nun Fa-yü took her in secret to the convent.
T'an-hui made a solemn vow, saying, "If I cannot carry out my intentions to lead the religious life but instead am compelled to marry, then I shall burn myself to death."
When the governor [of I Province], Chen Fa-ch'ung, heard about this he sent an envoy to summon T'an-hui. He gathered together greater and lesser officials, as well as other prominent individuals, and then requested all the monks and nuns to investigate the difficult problem thoroughly.
Chen Fa-ch'ung asked, "Are you truly able to lead the life of a Buddhist nun or not?"
T'an-hui replied, "It has been my humble wish for a long time, and I especially beg your help in my distress."
Chen Fa-ch'ung said, "I approve," and he sent an envoy to consult with her aunt, who then obeyed his instructions and released T'an-hui from her betrothal.
T'an-hui had just turned thirteen when she entered the religious life as a disciple of the nun Fa-yü, under whom she learned the practice of contemplation. When she had first received instruction, one time near the end of a meditation period she entered into a state of samādhi, or deep mental concentration, in which she saw two rays of light in the east, one bright like the sun and the other darker like the moon. While still in that state of concentration she had the thought, "The bright light must symbolize the way of the bodhisattva and the darker one the way of the hearer. If this is truly so, then the darker ray should fade away and the white one should blaze forth even brighter." Then in response to her thought the darker ray vanished and the bright ray shone in full splendor. When she arose from her concentration, she told the nun Fa-yü what had happened. Fa-yü, skilled in the way of contemplation, was very happy when she heard about this and praised her accomplishment. At that time the nuns who had been sitting together with her, more than forty in number, all marveled at this rarity.
Later, when T'an-hui was sixteen years old, her fiancé, suspecting that he had been deceived, took some other fellows with him to seize her and take her back with him, but T'an-hui, because her maidservant helped to protect her, did not suffer violation, and there was nothing the fiancé could do. The case was again reported at the provincial level.
The governor, appreciating the unusual nature of the case, conferred with the monk Kālayashas who said, "This woman is very intelligent, so be careful not to oppose her. If there is insufficient money for her fiancé's family to break the engagement, I have an old servant who can go from place to place, collecting money for that purpose."
Later in meditation she herself came to understand the immutability of the Buddha nature and other doctrines of the Mahāyāna, or Great Vehicle, of Buddhism, none of which she had learned from her teacher. At that time famous Buddhist masters exerted themselves to the utmost in posing difficult questions for her to answer, but none of them could stump her. Thus her reputation spread far and wide, and everyone looked up to her.
In the nineteenth year of the yüan-chia reign period (442) of the Sung dynasty, when the prince of Lin-ch'uan (403-444) went to his administrative post in the province of Nan Yen, he invited T'an-hui to come to the town where he had his headquarters [a short distance to the northeast of the capital]. She was then twenty-one years old. When the general of the cavalry governing the region of Shan invited her to accompany him to the district of southern Ch'u, twelve hundred persons, male and female, religious and lay, welcomed her as their spiritual sovereign. Nevertheless, as the months and years slipped by, she thought of her mother more and more and finally insisted that she be allowed to return to her native place.
Because of her virtuous conduct, T'an-hui's disciples increased daily in number. Northwest of the town bridge she built a pagoda and a temple in which the halls, rooms, side rooms, and porches were completed most quickly. She also built three convents wonderfully fast, and everyone marveled in admiration, saying that she had the power of the divine.
T'an-hui died in the third year of the t'ien-chien reign period (504) at the age of eighty-three.
Earlier when Chang Chün was with his father in I Province, he once went unexpectedly with more than thirty other persons to visit T'an-hui without giving advance notice. Nevertheless, they had no sooner sat down when they were served with fruit, dumplings, and other seasonal delicacies. The provincial governor, Liu Chün (ca. 439-499), also went to visit T'an-hui, and the same thing happened.
The prince of Hsüan-wu (d. 500) of the Liang dynasty once sent supplies to T'an-hui for her to prepare a feast for one hundred monks and originally said he would not go. When the time came, however, he himself went. When he arrived, in addition to three hundred monks, there were also various government officials bringing the number close to four hundred persons. Just as the religious ceremony was about to begin, he sent a maidservant to ask for the assistants to help serve the food, but, when T'an-hui sent them in, everyone saw that there were only two disciples and two serving maids setting out and offering the food entirely without additional help. The prince again admired her immeasurable capacity.
Someone once asked T'an-hui, "Because your disciples seem to have only an average amount of material goods, and yet what you have built has been said to be like a divine transformation, how is this possible?"
She replied, "Often I have nothing saved up, and, if I must pay any expenses, I use a few coins and that is all. Immediately I have more available, but I do not know how this happens."
The one who had talked to her about this therefore thought that she had a miraculous inexhaustible treasury.
At that time there was also the nun Hua-kuang, whose secular surname was Hsien-yü. She deeply comprehended abstruse elements of profound meditation and subtle contemplation. She was thoroughly versed in all the Buddhist scriptures as well as in the teachings of the non-Buddhist philosophers of the Hundred Schools. Especially skilled in literary composition, she wrote an encomium for T'an-hui that was both appropriate in content and elegant in form.
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|