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時有法慧法師。精進邁群。為高昌一國尼依止師。馮後忽謂法惠言。阿闍梨未好。馮是闍梨善知識。闍梨可往龜茲國金花帳下直月聞當得勝法。法惠聞而從之。往至彼寺見直月。 直月歡喜以蒲萄酒一升與之令飲。法惠驚愕。我來覓勝法。翻然飲我。非法之物不肯飲。直月推背急令出去。法惠退思。我既遠來未達此意。恐不宜違。即頓飲之。醉吐迷悶無所復識。直月便自他行。法惠酒醒自知犯戒追大慚愧。自搥其身悔責所行欲自害命。因此思惟得第三果。直月還問曰。已得耶。答曰。然。因還高昌。未至二百里。初無音信。馮呼尼眾遠出迎候。先知之跡皆類此也。高昌諸尼莫不師奉。


4.4 (Tsai no.55) Nun Feng

Nun Feng (409-504) of Capital Office Convent in the illegitimate kingdom of Kao-ch'ang

Nun Feng was a native of Kao-ch'ang [in the far northwest]. Because the people there respected her very much, they called her by her original surname of Feng. When she was thirty years old she became a nun in Capital Office Convent in Kao-ch'ang. She ate vegetables for her one meal a day, and her observance of the monastic rules was very strict. As an offering to the Buddha she burned six fingers down to the palms of her hands. She was able to chant through the entire Great Final Nirvāna Scripture in only three days.

At that time there was a master of the law Fa-hui (d. ca. 500), whose vigor in the practice of religion surpassed all others. He was the chaplain for all the nuns in the kingdom of Kao-ch'ang.

Later, for she was the chaplain's spiritual friend of good discernment and influence, Nun Feng suddenly said to Fa-hui, "You, āchārya, are not yet perfect. You may go to the kingdom of Kucha in central Asia to Gold Flower Monastery, where you should listen to the monk Chih-yüeh, and then you will surely attain the superlative teaching."

Fa-hui heeded her advice and went to that monastery to see Chih-yüeh, who delighted by his arrival, gave him a pint of grape wine and bid him to drink.

Fa-hui, startled, said, "I have come to seek the superlative teaching, but instead you have offered me that which is unlawful and that which I am therefore not willing to drink."

Chih-yüeh pushed him around and quickly ordered him to leave. Fa-hui thought to himself, "Because I have come a long way but have not yet come so far as to understand the purpose of this, perhaps I should not disobey," and gulped it down. Drunk, he vomited and, dazed and confused, passed out, while Chih-yüeh betook himself elsewhere. When Fa-hui regained consciousness, realizing that he had violated the monastic rule against drinking wine, in his great shame he struck himself and, in penance for what he had done, wished to take his own life. As a consequence of this reflection he attained the third fruit [of Buddhist practice].

Chih-yüeh returned and asked him, "Have you got it now?"

Fa-hui replied, "Yes," whereupon he returned to Kao-ch'ang.

Fa-hui was still over two hundred Chinese miles away when, without advance verbal or written news of his impending arrival, Nun Feng summoned the Assembly of Nuns to go out to wait for him. Examples of her foreknowledge were all like this.

All the nuns of Kao-ch'ang revered Nun Feng as a teacher. When she was ninety-six years old, she died in the third year of the t'ien-chien reign period (504) of the Liang dynasty.

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