Stories from Buddhism: Hui Neng's Robe

PureInsight | December 31, 2006

[] There was a legendary monk in Chinese history named
Hui Neng. He was the sixth in the line of chiefs of the Chang Zhong
sect of Buddhism.  Hui Neng became enlightened in terms of
Buddhism.  At the time, Hong Ren, the fifth chief, took out a
kasaya (robe) made of silk and cotton.  It was the symbol of the
level of attainment in the Chang Zhong sect.  

He said to Hui Neng, quite seriously, "Our master Da Mo brought this
precious kasaya from Tian Zhu.  The kasaya is not the Buddha Fa
but it is closely connected to the Fa.  The kasaya is a
manifestation of the Buddha Fa. It follows the Fa and the Fa is passed
down together with the kasaya.  The kasaya exists only when the Fa
exists.  Today I pass the kasaya down to you and you become the
sixth generation chief of Chang Zhong."

Hui Neng accepted the kasaya in a respectful manner.  He looked at
it carefully and found that it was precious.  It was delicately
made, very silky, and the colors were bright and light.  It was
made of the silk and cotton cloth of Tian Zhu.

Hui Neng realized that his inheritance of the symbolic object from the
fifth generation chief would cause his fellow monks to become
jealous.  Therefore, at dawn, he took his luggage, quietly
squeezed out the door, and hurriedly ran towards the south.  

Hui Neng was travelling at double speed for days and nights.  When
he was about to approach Da Yu Hill, he suddenly saw that hundreds of
people were chasing and shouting at him.  The monk who ran in the
front was Hui Ming, who was the first one of his chasers to grab for
the kasaya.  He ran at the front and thought that the unique
kasaya would magically be his.  Hui Ming rushed up quickly. 
By then, Hui Neng was too hungry to run any more.  He realized he
was unable to run away from them.  He put the parcel in which the
kasaya was wrapped down on a stone along the road and shouted at the
approaching crowd, "This kasaya is the symbol of dissemination of the
Buddha Fa.  Why do you people want to snatch it by armed
might?  Possessing the kasaya without the Fa is just like having a
flower in a mirror!"  Then he hid himself in the bushes along the

Hui Ming rushed up fast. He saw the kasaya on the stone and tried to
pick it up.  A miracle happened in that the parcel was so stuck
that it could not be removed no matter how hard Hui Ming had
tried.  He was shocked and in a flash he experienced the infinite
power of the Buddha Fa.  He bowed respectfully to Hui Neng and
asked him to lecture on the Fa to him.

Hui Neng left Hui Ming and went to the Ning Nan area.  He settled
down at the Baolin Temple.  One night, after several months, a
crowd of monks spewed from the back of the mountain.  They wore
short tops and held torches.  They were knocking at the back gate
of the Temple.  Hui Neng got up from bed and heard a voice
shouting, "Hui Neng kid, hand us the kasaya or we'll take
action."  Another attempt to grab the kasaya!  Hui Neng did
not have time to think about what to do, but picked up the parcel and
hurriedly ran away from the front gate.  He ran as fast as he
could to the hill that was located in front of the temple.  He ran
up the hillside and looked back to find the long queue of torches, like
a snake wriggling rapidly towards the hill.  Hui Neng was too
tired to move any more.  He hid himself in a crack between
rocks.  He did not know how much time had passed until he smelt a
heavy smoke.  He stretched out his head to have a look.  He
saw the whole hillside had become a sea of fire.  The crowd of
monks had searched the hillside but couldn't find Hui Neng.  They
were angry and set fire to the hill.  They thought Hui Neng would
come out by himself because of the fire.

At this crucial junction, the first thing that came into Hui Neng's
mind was the kasaya in his hand.  He put aside the danger to his
own life, not wanting any damage at all to come to the precious
Buddhist kasaya.  He was wondering what to do.  In this state
of emergency, he recalled the situation where Hui Ming was unable to
move the parcel. He realized that the kasaya in his hand was a precious
cloth and a Fa weapon.  The fire would not be able to burn
it.  Hui Neng saw the big fire approaching closer and closer, so
he calmly put on the kasaya, sat on a rock and closed his eyes to
meditate.  At this moment, he felt his body sinking
downwards.  Everything around him was disappearing. The fire
disappeared.  The heavy smoke vanished and the world became
extremely quiet.

About four hours passed.  Hui Neng was awakened by a strong light
in his eyes.  He opened his eyes and found the Sun was rising from
the east of the mountain.  The green grass and trees that had been
there yesterday were burnt into ashes.  He looked at himself and
found that the kasaya was still bright and had no damage at all,
although a layer of ashes had fallen on it.  When he was getting
ready to leave, Hui Neng accidentally glanced at the rock where he had
been sitting and was shocked to see two deep marks from his
knees.  He watched more closely and found that the creases of the
cotton of the kasaya were also clearly pressed on the mark.  Hui
Neng experienced again the mighty power of the Buddha Fa.  Later
Hui Neng returned to Caoqi.  His disciples moved the rock to their
place to show their respect and to pray near it.  They called the
rock "Shelter from danger rock"

Before he passed away, Hui Neng advised his disciples that their first
master, Da Mo, had left a message about, "Disseminating the Buddha Fa
to save sentient beings.  The school of the Buddha Fa was just
like a flower that blossoms five times only.  In fact, the
leadership of the school of the Buddha Fa had been passed down for
exactly five generations since the first Master Da Mo when it got to
Hui Neng.  The fifth chief, Hong Ren, also advised me to stop
passing down the kasaya, because it causes fighting."  Therefore,
the kasaya for the Chang Zhong School stopped being passed down since
then.  The kasaya followed the Buddha Fa.  Passing down the
Fa meant passing down the kasaya.  The kasaya existed only when
the Buddha Fa existed.  It meant that the school of Chang Zhong
automatically reached its end because the kasaya stopped being passed

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