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Dharma Master Shen Guang Retorts Sarcastically

Dharma Master Shen Guang said, “ Hey! What did you come here for? Don’t you even know what Sutra lectures are all about? Where did you come from?” “ I came here from India.”
“You come from India, and I am here explaining the Buddhist scriptures. Don’t people explain Buddhist scriptures in India? You don’t even seem to know.” Patriarch Bodhidharma replied, “ The Sutra lectures in India explain the wordless true Sutra. The Sutras you lecture on here have words.”
Dharma Master Shen Guang asked, “ What is the wordless true Sutra?”
Patriarch Bodhidharma answered, “ The Sutra I lecture is wordless. It is just a piece of blank paper. As to the Sutras you lecture, the inked areas are words, and the blank areas are paper. Why are you explaining them?”
Dharma Master Shen Guang replied, “ I lecture on the Sutras to teach people how to end birth and death!”


Having Not Yet Ended Birth and Death, His Annoyance Turns to Rage
生死未了。 惱羞成怒。

Patriarch Bodhiharma said, “Since you teach people how to end birth and death, tell me, how does one end birth and death? In the Sutra you are lecturing, the inked areas are words, and the blank areas are paper. What do you use to teach people how to end birth and death? Have you ended your own birth and death?”
Hearing that, Dharma Master Shen Guang was speechless and thought to himself, “The things this Indian says are outlandish. Is he a manifestation of a demon king? Otherwise, how could he be slandering the Triple Jewel like that?” Thereupon, his annoyance turned to rage, and he lost his temper, “I’m going to try you out, you demon king!”

達摩祖師說:「你教人了生死,生死怎麼了法?你所講的經,黑的是字,白的是紙,憑什麼教人了生死?你自己的生死了了沒有?」神光法師ㄧ聽,問得他也沒話說了,心想:「咦!這個印度人講話很特別的,大約是魔王所現吧?要不然,怎麼這樣譭謗三寶?」 於是就惱羞成怒,發了脾氣:「我要試試你這個魔王!」

Once His Temper Flares, in His Rage, He Strikes the Patriarch

Wah! You see, his lectures caused flowers to rain down from the heavens and golden lotuses to well up from the earth, and still he lost his temper! That’s why I said Buddhism seemed to exist in China, and yet it did not. What happened when he lost his temper? What happened when he got angry? He grabbed his weapon. What was it? His string of recitation beads. His beads weren’t lightweight like these “stars and moon Bodhi” beads of mine. His recitation beads were made of iron! They were hard and durable. His recitation beads were designed to be a weapon to be used in case he encountered weird entities, demons, ghosts, wolves, reptiles, tigers, or panthers. He could conveniently grab his recitation beads and attack. This time, encountering Patriarch Bodhidharma, who had dared to challenge him so, his wrath was extreme, like a combination of tidal wave, avalanche, and earthquake. As he whipped out his beads, he snapped, “ You are slandering the Dharma!” and cracked Patriarch Bodhidharma across the mouth.

哦!你看他講經講得天花亂墜,地湧金蓮,也ㄧ樣發脾氣! 所以我就說似有似無嘛!發了脾氣怎麼樣呀?他就拿起他的武器:他的武器是什麼?就是ㄧ串念珠。他這念珠,不是我這個星月菩提:我這個不太重,很輕。他那個念珠是用鋼鐵造的,又硬又堅固,是拿著當武器的,遇到什麼妖魔鬼怪、狼蟲虎豹,就拿著這念珠打。

The Blow Breaks Teeth; He Swallows Them with the Blood

Patriarch Bodhidharma was caught unprepared because he never expected that Dharma Master Shen Guang would hit him. Although certified sages can penetrate others’ thoughts, the Patriarch did not reflect in advance on what the Dharma Master might do. Although Patriarch Bodhidharma had some skill in the martial arts, he was caught off guard. It never occurred to him that the monk would make such a vicious attack, that being unable to reply, he would resort to brute force. As a result, the blow broke off two of Patriarch Bodhidharma’s teeth.
What did Patriarch Bodhidharma do about the two broken teeth? Well, he was a sage, and there’s a legend about the teeth of a patriarch**a certified sage**and what happens if they get broken and he spits them out onto the ground. It’s said that if a sage’s teeth are knocked loose and he spits them out on the ground, it won’t rain for three years.
Patriarch Bodhidharma thought, “Ai! If it doesn’t rain for three years, just imagine how many people will starve! I have come to China to save beings, not to kill them!” And so Patriarch Bodhidharma did not let his teeth fall to the ground. Instead, he swallowed them, just as if he were eating a pancake. Well, pancakes aren’t that hard**it was more like eating a bone! He swallowed them and made his exit.
Therefore, in China, there is a saying that came from that incident, “If someone knocks out the teeth of an arhat, the arhat swallows them.”

達摩祖師ㄧ想:「噢!若三年不下雨,你說這要餓死多少人!我來度眾生、救眾生,這不是殺眾生嗎?」 可是如果不吐到地上,這牙怎麼辦?於是,兩顆牙也捨不得吐到地上,就把這兩顆牙像吃油餅似的,吞到肚裏去了;油餅沒有那麼硬,他就像吃骨頭似的,吃到肚裏頭去;然後就走了。
所以在中國有這麼ㄧ句話:「羅漢打落牙和血吞。」 就從這裏來的。

Enduring the Insult, The Patriarch Leaves Silently

Having broken off two of the Patriarch’s teeth, Dharma Master Shen Guang felt that he had won a real victory. Without saying a word , Patriarch Bodhidharma turned around and left. He did not fight back. Not at all! Foreigners are bound to be bullied. After all, he couldn’t go to the government and file suit against Dharma Master Shen Guang for knocking out two of his teeth. Those who have left home have to be patient; how much more must a Patriarch forbear! After that happened, he just left and headed toward Henan.

神光法師把達摩祖師的牙打掉兩顆,覺得他這回真勝利了! 這達摩祖師轉過身,也沒說什麼,就走了,也沒回打他兩下,沒有!外來的人被人欺負也就算了,雖然人把他的牙打掉兩顆,也不能到政府那兒去告這個神光;出家人要忍辱嘛!況且他是個祖師,更應該忍辱!於是就向河南走去了。

A Parrot, Understanding Who He Is, Asks How to Escape the Cage
鸚鵡知音 問計出籠

On the road, he met a parrot imprisoned in a wicker cage. However, this bird was much more intelligent than the Dharma Master Shen Guang. Recognizing that Bodhidharma was a patriarch, the bird chirped,
He Who Intentionally came from the West
Intentionally came from the West,
What method is best, if you please,
To escape this cage and leave?
  Although Patriarch Bodhidharma hadn't been able to find any people who really understood who he was, this parrot definitely recognized him. He knew who he was. Hearing the bird's plea for help, Bodhidharma was pleased and taught the bird an expedient method--a provisional, not a real, Dharma. He said,
To escape the cage, to escape the cage;
Stick out both legs. Shut both eyes.
That is the way to escape from the cage!
It was a secret, wonderful formula--a secret Dharma. It's for sure the Patriarch whispered it. He didn't say it so loudly as I am speaking now! He certainly must have used a very small voice: "To escape the cage...that is the way to escape from the cage!" He spoke softly like that. Why? If he had said it out loud so that others could hear him, then the method would not have worked. From this we can see how much trouble the Patriarch took to be kind.

走到半路上,遇到一隻鸚鵡;這隻鸚鵡被圈在籠子裏,可是這隻鳥比神光法師聰明得多,牠認識達摩祖師是一位祖師,就說: 西來意,西來意,請您教我出籠計。

The Smart Bird, Pretending to Be Dead, Cleverly Escapes the Cage

Mastering the method taught, the little bird chirped, “All right! Good method! Now I understand how to get out of the cage!” When the bird saw his owner approaching in the distance, he applied the expedient method. Sticking his legs out straight and closing his eyes, he waited for his owner to come close.
Every day when the owner came home, he always played with this bird that he was so fond of. Talking to it would cheer him up. And so, as usual, upon his return, he first went to check on his bird. But this time when he looked in the cage he was shocked. He practically burst into tears. Why? His little bird lay on the floor of the cage, unmoving. He couldn’t have been more upset if his own son had died. In fact, it’s likely that this bird meant even more to him than his son!

方法教會了,這小鳥就說:「好了!我現在明白什麼是出籠計了!」 於是,當牠看見主人遠遠地走來了,登時就把這方便法用出來,腿也伸直,眼睛也閉上了,就等著主人來親近牠。

Freedom over Birth and Death Comes, When We Truly Escape Our Cage
生死自由 真出籠計

The owner pulled open the cage door and gently placed the little bird in his hand. It was still warm, not yet cold. In fact, because the bird was only pretending to be dead, of course it retained its body warmth. The owner peeked at the little thing, turning his hand this way and that. The bird didn't even quiver. Whatever angle he viewed it from, the bird appeared to be really dead. Its body was still warm; only its breath seemed to have stopped. Slowly he open his hand... PHLLRTTPHLRTTPHLRTT! The bird broke loose from his hand and flew away! It had escaped from the cage!
But we are still in a cage right now! How do we escape? As to human beings, you shouldn't think you are free. Don't misinterpret freedom, saying, "I am really free. If I want to eat, I eat; if I want to drink alcohol, I drink alcohol. I can do anything I please. I can ignore the rules if I want to! That's what I call freedom!" That's a misinterpretation of freedom. To be truly free, you must be free of birth and death, and then if you wish to fly into space, you can fly into space, and if you wish to burrow into the earth, you can burrow into the earth. If you can do that, you will gain the kind of freedom that the little bird gained.

於是就把籠門打開,將小鳥拿出來放到手上,還是熱呼呼地沒有涼,因為牠是裝死,所以身上的暖氣不會沒有的。這主人把小鳥放在手裏轉著看,嗯!不動了,翻過來看,掉過來看,看來看去,看牠真像死了似地,但身體還是熱的,只是不喘氣了。於是就把手打開看看。噢!把手一開,你說這隻鸚鵡怎麼樣?牠精神就來了,噗!噗!飛了!這隻小鳥的出籠計靈了! 可是我們現在都在籠子裏呢!我們這個出籠計怎麼辦?我們人哪,你不要自以為是自由的,不要誤解自由,說我願意吃就吃,我願意喝酒就喝酒,願意做什麼就做什麼,我不守規矩也可以,這就是自由。這叫誤解自由,真正的自由,要能生死自由,我願意飛到天空就飛到天空,我願意鑽到地裏就鑽到地裏;你若有這個本事,才是自由,就像那隻小鳥。

The Yamas of the Ten Courts Invite the Master to Tea
十殿閻君 請師喝茶

Dharma Master Shen Guang knocked out two of that Indian monk's teeth, and since the monk didn't retaliate, the Dharma Master figured he had the advantage--that he'd won the victory. He'd put a barbarian monk in his place. But not long after he struck the barbarian, the Yamas of the Ten Courts paid a call: "Dharma Master, your life is supposed to end today. We Yamas from the Ten Courts now wish to invite you to a meeting. We will go there to investigate your case."
Hearing that, Dharma Master Shen Guang exclaimed, "What?" as he watched those ten black-faced people who claimed to be the Yamas of the Ten Courts approach him and request his presence in the dark yin realm where he was to take tea with King Yama. Dharma Master Shen Guang said, "Oh! What? I still have to die? I also have to die?"
The Yamas of the Ten Courts challenged him, "Why would you not have to die? What talents do you have that make you think you don't have to die?"
Dharma Master Shen Guang replied, "I speak Sutras so well that flowers rain down from the heavens and golden lotuses well forth from the earth; doesn't that qualify me as having ended birth and death? I still have to die?"
The Yamas of the Ten Courts said, "Of course you have to die!"


Even the Venerable Yamas Will Bow to Whoever Is Free from Death
誰能不死 閻君亦拜

Dharma Master Shen Guang asked, "Who in this world is free from death? Is there anyone in this world who has really ended birth and death?"
"There is," the Yamas of the Ten Courts replied. "There's someone in this world who has ended birth and death."
"Who?" asked Dharma Master Shen Guang. "Please tell me so that I can follow him to learn the way to end birth and death."
The Yamas of the Ten Courts replied, "Which one? He is the black-faced monk;whose teeth you knocked out. He is free from death. King Yama has no control over him. Not only that, King Yama bows in respect to him every day!"
Dharma Master Shen Guang replied, "Oh! He is a monk who has ended birth and death? Fine. I don't want to go with you yet. I want to go find that black-faced monk and follow him to learn the Dharma-door of ending birth and death. Could you wait a bit to take me away? Is that all right? I am determined to end birth and death! Could you speak to King Yama on my behalf to see if he can give me a little more time so I can go learn this Dharma-door?"
The Yamas of the Ten Courts replied, "All right. Since you are so sincere, what you ask is not beyond the realm of possibility. We can be expedient and agree to a compromise."
Well, they didn't drag him off to have tea with King Yama. You know, of course, that King Yama also enjoys a good cup of tea. You who like to drink tea should exercise some caution! Ha! Ha!

神光法師說:「那麼在這世界上誰能不死?世界上到底有沒有人生死了了?」 十殿閻君說:「有!世界上有了生死的。」

Barefoot, Dharma Master Shen Guang Races after the Patriarch
神光法師 赤足追祖

As soon as Dharma Master Shen Guang heard that the Yamas of the Ten Courts agreed to his request, he was so delighted that he even forgot to put on his shoes. So anxious was he to avoid King Yama that he raced barefoot after Patriarch Bodhidharma.


Meeting the Parrot Who Escaped from the Cage, He Realizes He Must Pretend to Be Dead
見鳥出籠 悟裝死人

Patriarch Bodhidharma walked on ahead; the Dharma Master pursued him from behind. In his pursuit, he passed the parrot who had gained his freedom through the help of Patriarch Bodhidharma. Suddenly he understood, "Oh! That's what it's all about! I have to play dead. I have to be a living dead person!"


Pursuing the Patriarch, He Follows Him Straight to Mount Song
追隨祖師 直至嵩山


Dharma Master Shen Guang raced after Patriarch Bodhidharma. The Patriarch paid no attention to him but just kept on walking. Dharma Master Shen Guang followed him all the way to Bear's Ear Mountain, close to Mount Song, the Central Yo [sacred mountain], near Luoyang. The Five Yo [sacred mountains] are Mount Tai (Peace) in the east, Mount Heng (Authority) in the south, Mount Hua (Elegance) in the west, Mount Heng (Constancy) in the north, and Mount Song (Eminence) in the center.

While the Patriarch Sits Facing the Rock Wall, The Dharma Master Seeks to Repent
祖師面壁 法師求懺

He caught up with Patriarch Bodhidharma, only to find him sitting in meditation facing a rock wall. He was turned toward the wall and not speaking to anyone. Seeing the Patriarch there in meditation, the Dharma Master knelt down and did not get up, saying, "When I first saw you, I did not know that you were a patriarch, a sage. I hit you with my recitation beads, and I'm really sorry. I am truly remorseful. I know you are a person with true virtue. You are a noble one who cherishes the Way. I am now seeking the Way, the Dharma, from you."
Patriarch Bodhidharma took one look at him and said nothing; he remained sitting in meditation. Dharma Master knelt there seeking the Dharma for nine years. Patriarch Bodhidharma meditated facing the wall for nine years, and Dharma Master Shen Guang knelt there for nine years.
We cultivators of the present time sit for a while and then begin to feel aches in our waist and pains in our legs, getting very uncomfortable. All of us should reflect on what it would be like to kneel for nine years. How comfortable would that be? How much fun?
All of us should reflect on how those of old could kneel for nine years seeking the Dharma. We of today can't endure nine days or even nine hours without feeling it's impossibly bitter and terribly uncomfortable. Some of us also think: "In the morning I don't get breakfast, and at night there's nothing sweet to drink." All sorts of such false thoughts arise. Comparing ourselves to those of old, how do we feel?
Do you feel concerned about Dharma Master Shen Guang? He knelt there for nine long years. Probably some of you are thinking, "Incredible! Kneeling for nine years like that, Dharma Master Shen Guang's legs must have really hurt. It must have been much worse than the leg pain we experience sitting in meditation. Nine years is a long time." Someone else may say, "He must have run away." Let me tell you, he did not run away! If he had run away after he had knelt for nine years, all the effort he made would have been wasted. It would not have been worth a penny. Therefore, he would rather have knelt there until he died than to have run away. "Patriarch, if you don't transmit to me the Dharma for avoiding King Yama, I will not get up under any circumstances."


Kneeling for Nine Years, He Seeks the Dharma for Ending Birth and Death
九載跪求 了生法門

During the nine years he knelt there, Dharma Master Shen Guang's skill was almost perfected, but not quite. One year, it snowed very heavily on Bear's Ear Mountain. Outside, the snow was deep. Patriarch Bodhidharma sat meditating and as Dharma Master Shen Guang knelt there, he became buried in snow up to his waist. Imagine that! The snow must have been at least two to three feet deep, yet Dharma Master Shen Guang continued to kneel there seeking the Dharma.
At about lunch time, Patriarch Bodhidharma got up from where he had been facing the wall meditating and saw that the Dharma Master was still kneeling. He said, "What are you doing here, acting like that? It's snowing so hard. Why are you still kneeling there?"
Dharma Master Shen Guang replied, "I am seeking the Dharma! I am seeking the Way! Please, Patriarch, be compassionate and transmit to me the method for avoiding King Yama. Before, I lectured on the Sutras, but could not end my own birth and death. Now I want to end birth and death. Please, Patriarch, transmit the Dharma for ending birth and death to me."
Patriarch Bodhidharma thought for a while and said, "Now you are kneeling here pleading with me to teach you the Dharma for escaping King Yama. But do you remember the time when I asked you a question and you responded by breaking off two of my teeth with your recitation beads? Do you remember that time?" Then, he asked, "Is it snowing?"
Dharma Master Shen Guang said, "Yes, it is snowing. I am buried in snow up to my waist."
Patriarch Bodhidharma asked, "What color is the snow?"
Dharma Master Shen Guang said, "Snow is white, of course. Everyone knows that snow is white. I am not the only one who says so."
Then Patriarch Bodhidharma gave him a problem to solve. He assigned him his test question. He said, "Fine. You see that the snow falling from the sky is white. When red snow falls from the sky, I will transmit the Dharma to you. I will teach you how to end birth and death and escape from King Yama. If no red snow falls, you are out of luck. What a vicious monk you are to have knocked out two of my teeth with your recitation beads! I have already been most compassionate by not seeking revenge; how could I possibly transmit the Dharma to you!"
You all think about it: wouldn't solving that problem have been like trying to find a hair on a monk's head? In other words, wasn't it impossible? Monks are bald; there would be no hair to be found, right? But Patriarch Bodhidharma was searching for a hair on a monk's head. He said, "Whenever you see red snow falling, then I will transmit the Dharma to you." That was the test question he gave to Dharma Master Shen Guang to answer.

達摩祖師一想:「你現在跪在我面前要求法躲閻羅,你不記得我問你話時,你用念珠打掉我兩顆牙,你不記得那時嗎?」然後就說:「你看現在天是不是下雪?」 神光法師說:「是下雪!這雪現在都沒我的腰了。」

“To Find a Buddha,     You have to See your Nature.    Whoever Sees his Nature is a Buddha.”


Bodhidharma’s Bloodstream Sermon / 《達磨大師血脈論》
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