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4.5 (Tsai no.56) Hui-sheng

The nun Hui-sheng (Victorious Wisdom) (425-505) of Solitude Convent of Liang

Hui-sheng's secular surname was T'ang. Her family was originally from the city of P'eng-ch'eng [in northeast China], but her father, T'ang Seng-chih, took up residence in Chien-k'ang [the capital of the Liang dynasty].

When still a child Hui-sheng wanted to leave the household life to become a nun. She was upright in character and restrained in speech; her deeds matched her words. Lacking any tendency to frivolity, she would remain indoors for as long as ten days. All who saw her respected her extraordinary qualities.

In the twenty-first year of the yüan-chia reign period (444) of the Sung dynasty, when Hui-sheng was eighteen years old, she left the secular life and lived at Meditation Grove Convent as a disciple of the nun Ching-hsiu (no. 52). After her reception of the obligation to observe all the monastic precepts, she lectured on the Flower of the Law Scripture. Under the tutelage of the nun Hui-hsü (no. 48) of Collected Goodness Convent she studied the five ways of meditation.

Later, under Hui-yin of Grass Hall Monastery and Fa-ying of Spiritual Root Monastery, Hui-sheng cultivated the practice of contemplation in which she grasped to an exceptional degree the marvellous realization of the [Buddhist Way]. Whenever others perceived this and asked her about it, she always replied, "Sins, whether serious or slight, should be disclosed at once. Confess them diligently day and night."

Exalted and humble alike respected her, giving her offerings without cease.

In the fourth year of the t'ien-chien reign period (505) of Liang she died at the age of eighty-one and was interred on Bare Plank Mountain.

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