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Without Buddha Dharma

Having achieved enlightenment, Master Sengcan, the Third Patriarch of Chan Buddhism, followed the instructions of the Second Patriarch to lead a secluded life in Mount Wangong. At the time, an anti-Buddhist persecution was launched by Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou Dynasty, so Sengcan had to move to a remote place in Mount Sikong at Taihu County. He lived there for over ten years, unknown by others.
In the twelfth year governed by Emperor Gaozu of the Sui Dynasty (592 A.D.), Daoxin, a 14-year-old novice monk, implored Sengcan to show him the way to deliverance. Sengcan asked him, “Who has ever put you in bondage?”
Without hesitation, Daoxin answered, “Nobody.”
Sengcan hinted, “If that is so, then why should you ask for deliverance?”
Upon hearing these words, Daoxin attained his final enlightenment and served Sengcan as his attendant. It was nine years before he was entrusted with the robe and Dharma. Sengcan’s Dharma-transmitting verse is:
The flowers are planted when the ground is ready,
From this planting the flower blooms.
If no one plants the seed,
The flowers and ground are both extinguished.
Without Buddha Dharma, there would be no flowers or fertile ground. This is Chan.
 

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