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Master Daoqi

Master Daoqi (in the Tang Dynasty), whose secular surname was Zhao, was from Qiantang in Zhejiang Province. He had been a sharp observer with a spirit of indulgence and forgiveness since he was a child. After going to school, he extensively learned a variety of classics. One day when he was on the street, he met a Buddhist monk who was walking while reciting Jingming Sutra. The sight of this thrilled him, so he invited this master to his home for a meal and asked him about the temple he lived in. The Buddhist monk said that he was from Dingshui Temple. Then Daoqi pleaded with his parents for allowing him to become a Buddhist monk. His mother said, “When you were born, I dreamt myself holding the sun and the moon in my hands. I found a fortune teller for divination after I woke up, and he said you would earn a fifth-rank official position. If you became a Buddhist monk, I would never be able to see that happen.” Despite her mother’s words, Daoqi went to Dingshui Temple and became a Buddhist monk.

Master Daoqi started learning the Buddhist precepts and disciplines at the age of 17, and later he went to Lingyin Temple to study Huayan Sutra before joining Tianzhu Temple for meditation and Dhuta practice. There were grottos in the mountain and Master Daoqi usually went there for meditation. It was a place frequented by such fierce beasts as tigers and leopards, and often harassed by deer. Once a giant python snaked towards Master Daoqi with its mouth wide open and its tongue flicking, as if it were trying to swallow him, but the master was not distracted at all. There was no spring in that mountain, but as long as Master Daoqi scratched the earth with his walking stick, spring water would flow out instantly.

In the 21st year of the reign of Tang Emperor Zhenyuan (805 AD), scholars from all corners of the country invited Master Daoqi to preach Huayan Sutra. It was a bitingly cold winter and snow went rampantly all over the earth. At this very point, two lotus-like flowers blossomed on the ground in the blink of an eye, fresh and shining. The audience marveled at the scene they had never seen before. Master Daoqi had a fine reputation, but he required little for his daily life. His food and clothing were even too simple for any ordinary man. At last, Master Daoqi passed away in a temple in the mountain.

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