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Records Of Venerable Dàozhèng’s & Méisōng’s Rebirths 道证与梅松法师往生记 Classic Cases Of Rebirth With Ease 自在往生之著名公案

◎ 清 • 道证(梅松)
Qīng [Dynasty’s] Dàozhèng ([And] Méisōng)

道证,杭州人,住郡东大椿禅院。

[Venerable] Dàozhèng, [a] Hángzhōu person, lived [in] Jùndōng’s Dàchūn Chányuàn [i.e. Great Toon Chán Monastery].

性诚实,专修净土。每日三时,炷香为度,长跪佛前,虔持名号。

[His] nature [was] honest, [and with] focused cultivation [of the] Pure Land [teachings]. Every day, [for] three periods, [with a] stick [of] incense’s [burning time] as measurement, [he would] long kneel before [the] Buddha, [to] sincerely uphold [his] name.

[Note 1: As those who are very honest have great respect for truth and truthfulness, they are thus easier aligned to the truths of the Buddha’s teachings, likewise easier to be truly sincere and diligent when learning and practising them.]

年八十,一日谓众曰:「来年二月十二日,我西归矣。」

[During his] eightieth year, one day, [to the] assembly [he] said, ‘[On the] coming [lunar] year’s second month’s twelfth day, I [will to the] West return.’

[Note 2: This is announcement of his ‘advanced knowing of the time of arrival’ (预知时至) in Pure Land, one of the most convincing auspicious signs (瑞相) (if truly departing on time). The timing is known by having fixed an appointment with Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛) himself, who will stay true to his word, by coming to receive and guide to his Pure Land then, as mutually agreed. While those able to have such proclamations come true prove they are indeed well-practised in mindfulness of Buddha, they also prove the efficacy of Pure Land practice to others less learned and practised, thus giving them greater confidence on what can be achieved. If the Venerable was manifested from Pure Land to set an example of how practice can be done, he can be said to return to Pure Land. If he was not from Pure Land, he can be said to return ‘home’ to his Buddha-nature (佛性) via reaching Pure Land.]

及期,无恙。或戏之曰:「今日是二月十二矣,师何不西归?」

Reaching [that] day, [he was] without sickness. Perhaps making fun [of him, someone] said, ‘[As] today is [the] second month’s twelfth day, why [has the] master not [to the] West returned [yet]?’

证惊曰:「今果华朝耶。」

[Venerable Dào]zhèng [was] startled [and] said, ‘[Is] today really [the] Flowers’ Birthday [Festival] [i.e. 花朝节]?’

[Note 3: The Venerable could have chosen the day of the festival for easy remembrance, though he lost track of the date on that day. He also could have chosen the day with some playfulness, to mark the day he will be born from a lotus flower in Pure Land, thus celebrating a spiritual flower’s birthday, instead of many worldly flowers’ birthday.]

即沐浴焚香,集众而化。

Immediately bathing [and] burning incense, [he] gathered [the] assembly and departed.

[Note 4: Although the appointment was almost forgotten, the Venerable was still able to depart with ease for Pure Land as scheduled, after taking time to prepare and fulfil what he should. This further highlights his great ease.]

有僧梅松者,与证同修净土,住妙严寺。

[There] was [a] monastic [named] Méisōng, with [Venerable Dào]zhèng together cultivating [the] Pure Land [teachings], living [in] Miàoyánsì [i.e. Wonderful Adornment Monastery].

其夜,梦中有人告曰:「道证师坐化,尔何不一送耶?」

That night, in [a] dream, [there] was [a] person [who] told [him, ‘As] Master Dàozhèng [has] sat [and] departed, why [did] you not first send [him off]?’

[Note 5: This informer could be a manifested Bodhisattva or Buddha, who informed him of the auspicious departure, while also helping to set the course for the next auspicious departure to come.]

梅松觉而趋视之,抚其背曰:「平日相知,临去何无消息?虽然,我亦不久于世矣。」

[Venerable] Méisōng awoke and hurried [to] see him. Patting his back, [he] said, ‘[In] ordinary days [as] close friends [with] each other, [when] approaching departure, why [was there] no news [from you]? Even though I likewise, [will] not [for] long [stay] in [this] world.’

[Note 6: Usually, there should not be touching of the bodies of the recently departed. This is in case the consciousness is still attached to the body, which will then feel magnified pain through it when touched, due to increased sensitivity. However, he knew that Venerable Dàozhèng has already swiftly departed for Pure Land, thus readily expressing friendly affection. This was also followed by his own announcement of ‘advanced knowing of the time of arrival’ in Pure Land, though with the exact day not mentioned, perhaps allowing for some flexibility due to matters to settle.]

归三日,亦坐化。事在乾隆三十年。《染香集》

[Having] returned [for] three days, [he then] likewise sat [and] departed. [This] matter [occurred] in [Emperor] Qiánlóng’s thirtieth year [i.e. 1765 C.E.]. ([From] ‘Collection [On Being] Perfumed [By] Fragrance’)

[Note 7: The two Venerables were able to depart with great ease, in advance escaping from the ill effects of ageing, sickness and death.]

评曰:至期而忘西归,临去而无消息,盖无心于生死也!梅松随步后尘,非净业成熟而能然乎?

Commentary: [When on the] arrival date yet forgetting [to] return [to the] West, [and when] approaching departure yet without news, [these are] because [Venerable Dàozhèng was already] without thoughts about birth [and] death, [thus ready for liberation! On Venerable] Méisōng, [who] followed [Venerable Dàozhèng’s] steps [from] behind, [if] not [also with his] pure karma matured, [how] then [was he] able [to do] so?

[Note 8: It is possible to be very mindful of Buddha, yet not so mindful of worldly dates and events! Yet, those who truly have ‘advanced knowing of the time of arrival’ in Pure Land will be able to depart in time. Even if they forget, there will be reminders from others, including by Bodhisattvas and the Buddha. However, there are some cases of delays due to matters yet to be settled, though still with announcements of these delays in advance. (See too, the first ‘Related Case‘ below, which is similar to this case.)]

《净土圣贤录》:
(Record [Of] Pure Land’s Noble Sages):
续编卷一 • 往生比丘第一
Continued Compilation’s Scroll One: First [Section On] Reborn Bhikṣus
胡珽撰
Compiled [By] Hú Tǐng

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

相关公案
Related Cases:

冬瓜和尚往生记
Record Of Venerable Winter Melon’s Rebirth
自在往生之著名公案
A Classic Case Of Rebirth With Ease
https://purelanders.com/2020/12/30/record-of-venerable-winter-melons-rebirth

更多中英公案
More Chinese-English Cases
https://purelanders.com/?s=%E5%87%80%E5%9C%9F%E5%9C%A3%E8%B4%A4%E5%BD%95

《净土圣贤录》
Record [Of] Pure Land’s Noble Sages  
http://donglin.org/wenku/3/3-19%E5%87%80%E5%9C%9F%E5%9C%A3%E8%B4%A4%E5%BD%95%2020161101.pdf

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