13 PURE LAND PATRIARCHS

莲宗初祖庐山东林远公大师 (334-416, AD)

东晉庐山慧遠大師 (HuiYuan) 雁門 (山西崞县) 人,幼年好学,通达六经,精晓儒道。年廿一礼道安大师出家,誓弘佛教,於庐山建东林寺,鑿池种莲。集緇素百二十三人共結莲社,立誓念佛求生西方。居庐山三十年,著书立说倡导念佛法门, 为世所崇。 乃中国佛教净土宗之创始人。

1st Patriarch: Hui-Yuan (334–416, AD), Founder of the Pure Land Sect in China.

Master Hui-Yuan (Far-Reaching Wisdom) of the East Forest Temple, Mountain Lu, Jiang-xi, in the Eastern Jin Dynasty of 4th century China, was a native of Yan-men (now Chun District, Shan-xi Province). An ardent young scholar by nature, he had not only mastered the Six Confucian Classics, but was equally versed in Taoism as well. Under the initiation of Great Master Dao An, he was ordained as a monk at the age of 21 and vowed to spread the Buddha’s teachings in the world. He built the East Forest Temple at Mountain Lu, where he cut a pond to grow the lotus and gathered together a group of 123 members, composed of monks and laymen alike, to form the first Lotus Society, committed to the great common faith of Rebirth into the Pure Land of Bliss by following the Buddha recitation Method. During his 13 years of sojourn at Mountain Lu, he kept writing to establish the Buddha recitation Method, for which he was universally recognized as the Founder of the Pure Land Sect in Chinese Buddhism.

莲宗二祖长安光明导公大师 (613-681, AD)

唐朝长安光明寺善导大师 (Shan Dao) 山东临淄人, 字净业,一生精苦勤笃,严持律仪,丝毫不犯。少年出家,居长安三十余载,精勤念佛, 广弘净土。为净土三经注疏,写《阿弥陀经》十万余卷,画 <西方净土圣相> 三百余壁。师因念佛口出光明故,世人尊为"光明和尚"。日本净土宗更奉为高祖。

2nd Patriarch: Shan-Dao (613-681, AD)

Master Shan-Dao (Good-Guide) of the Light Temple, Chang-an, capital of 7th century China in the Tang Dynasty, was a native of Lin Zi, Shang-tong Province; his personal name: Good Karmas. He was well reputed as a lifetime strict and strenuous upholder of the dignity of precepts, without a slightest breach. He was ordained as a monk at his early age and, during his over 30 years of sojourn in Chang-an, he had been always diligent and vigorous in practicing the Buddha Recitation Method with a view to enhancing and spreading the Pure Land Teachings far and wide. He wrote Commentaries on the Three Major Sūtras of the Pure Land Sect, copied in handwriting more than 100,000 juans (scrolls) of The Amitabha Sūtra, and produced more than 300 magnificent mural paintings on the Pure Land Vistas. While he recited "Amitabha" for convocation, there was always a ray of bright light emitting from his mouth. Thus, he was titled "Monk of Light." In the Pure Land Sect of Japan he was further honored as "the Eminent Patriarch."

莲宗三祖南岳般舟远公大师 (712-802, AD)

唐朝南岳承远大师 (ChengYuan) 汉州(今四川锦竹县)人。出家之后曾四处游访参学, 慧日三藏教之依 《无量寿经》 修念佛三昧, 乃笃志净土。 居南岳衡山(今湖南省)设净土教法,生活检朴,刻苦办道。建弥陀寺(今祝圣寺, 修持 <般舟三昧念佛> 法门, 受其教者万计, 后被唐代宗恭称为 《般舟道场》.

3rd Patriarch: Cheng-Yuan (712-802, AD)

Master Cheng-Yuan (Inheritor of Remote Past) of the Temple of Mountain Heng, Hunan, in the Tang Dynasty of 8th century China, was a native of Han-zhou (now Jin-zhu District, Si-chuan Province). After ordainment as a monk, he had travelled widely in pursuit of learning from various sources. Among these experiences he was taught particularly by Tripitaka Master Hui Ri (Wisdom-Sun) to abide in The Sutra of Amitabha ( i.e., The Sutra of Infinite Life) for cultivation of Samadhi by the Buddha Recitation Method. Thence onwards, he had devoted himself to the Pure Land Sect. During his sojourn at Mountain Heng, South China (now Hunan Province), he had established the Method of the Pure Land Teachings, by simple living and strict practicing in matters of Dharma. He build the Amitabha Temple (now Zhu-sheng Temple for Holy Services), dedicated to the Buddha Recitation Method for the sake of Samadhi of Pratyutpanna (Buddha-Presence), whereby tens of thousand aspirants were taught and converted. It was later officially entitled as the Temple of Pratyutpanna (Buddha-Presence) by Emperor Dai of the Tang Dynasty.

莲宗四祖五台竹林照公大师(生卒年籍贯皆不祥)

唐朝五台法照大师又称五会法师 (Fa Zhao), 少年为僧, 仰慕东林远公遗教, 至心念佛, 定中得见二祖授 真传。 居衡洲云峰寺精勤修行。于钵内见五台圣境,后诣五台,亲见文殊,为说念佛法门。大历四年,于湖东寺开设 《五会念佛》 道场,从宫廷至蔗民感应殊胜。遂于五台山建竹林寺广弘净土法门,唐代宗于京城感应师于五台念佛之声, 礼请入宫尊称为国师, 教导五会念佛法, 故又称五会法师。

4th Patriarch: Fa-Zhao (birth & death dates, and native place unknown)

Master Fa-Zhao (Dharma Illuminating) of Mountain Wu Tai (Pancasikha, i.e., Five-Terraced), in the Tang Dynasty of 9th century China, was also known as the Venerable of Five Ways of Intoning the Buddha Recitation. Ordained as a monk at his early age, he was aspirant towards the teachings of Master Hui Yuan and totally committed to the Buddha Recitation Method. Once, in deep meditation, he was granted an interview with the 2nd Patriarch, by whom he was officially authenticated for transmission. He resided in the Yun-feng (Clouds-Peak) Temple, Heng-zhou, Hunan, for diligent cultivation and vigorous practice, to the effect that, in his mendicant bowl, he saw reflections of the idyllic beauty of Mountain Wu Tai, which he later personally visited. There he had the honor of meeting with Manjusri Bodhisattva, who instructed him to follow the Buddha Recitation Method as the Open Sesame. In the 4th year of the Reign of Da Li, at the East Lake Temple, he implemented the new Method of Five Ways of Intoning the Buddha Recitation. Marvelous spiritual responses were felt from royalties at the palace to the commoners on the streets. Eventually, he built the Bamboo Forest Temple to enhance the spread of this unique Pure Land Method. Emperor Dai at the Capital, so impressed with the Master’s sound of Buddha Recitation at Mountain Wu Tai, had reverentially invited him to the palace and conferred upon him the supreme distinction as Imperial Preceptor.

莲宗五祖新定乌龙康公大师 (770-805, AD)

唐朝新定少康大师 (Shao Kang) 缙云 (浙江) 人。少年出家, 博通经论,志心净土, 专修念佛。曾为方便施教故, 将乞食钱散诱小儿念佛,接引群生信受念佛法门。师念佛时,口出光明现阿弥陀佛像。后于睦州乌龙山建净土道场,集众念佛, 大弘净土。

5th Patriarch: Shao Kang (770-805, AD)

Master Shao Kang (Prosperity Junior) of the New Tranquillity Temple, in the Tang Dynasty of 9th century China, was a native of Jin Yun (now of Zhe-jiang Province). He was ordained as a monk at his early age, and had made extensive studies of the Sūtras and Sāstras (Treatises), yet he was intent upon the Pure Land, specialized in the Buddha Recitation Method. For expediency of wide spread of the Buddha’s Teachings, he used to throw the begged money to the children on the streets, to lure them to chant "Amitabha," so as to teach all sentient beings to accept with sold faith the Buddha Recitation Method. When the Master was reciting "Amitabha," bright rays of light emitted from his mouth in the form of the Amitabha image! Later, he built the Pure Land Temple at Mountain Dark Dragon, Lu-zhou, Zhe-jiang Province, as a Dharma Center (Bodhimandala) for assemblage of Buddha Recitation to enhance the spread of the Pure Land Teachings.

莲宗六祖杭州永明寿公大师 (904-975, AD)

宋朝杭州慧日山永明寺延寿大师 (Yan Shou) 浙江坑县人又名智觉禅师, 将军出身, 行善好施, 戒杀放生. 初出家本为禅门法眼宗第三代祖,后归心净土, 精进念佛,每日订功课一百零八种,日持佛号数万,作四料简提倡禅净双修。着有《宗镜录》百卷及《万善同归集》等传世。

6th Patriarch: Yan-Shou (904-975, AD)

Master Yan-Shou (Longevity) of the Eternal Light Temple, Mountain Wisdom-Sun, Hang-zhou, in the Song Dynasty of 10th century China, was a native of Keng District, Zhe-jiang Province, known as "Chan Master of Prajnā-Awakening." Originally a general by profession, yet he was fond of performing charitable deeds, forbidding killings, and setting free all sentient beings caught. At his early stage, soon after his ordainment as a monk, he was made the 3rd Patriarch of the Dharma-Eye Sect of the Chan School. Eventually, he was converted to the Pure Land Sect, and had since become a diligent and vigorous upholder of the Buddha Recitation Method. He had set 108 items of tasks for his daily lesson and tens of thousand Buddha Recitations for his daily exercise; in his Chan Master Lin Ji on Four Options: A Summary he emphasized disciplines in the Chan and Pure Land Sects as essentially intercomplementary. His publications include The Buddhist Heritage through the Looking Glass in 100 volumes and The Convergence of All Excellences: A Collection of Essays.

莲宗七祖杭州昭庆常公大师 (959-1020, AD)

宋朝杭州省常大师 (Xing Chang) 浙江人, 字造微,童真入道, 精进修持, 戒行严谨, 通《大乘起信论》, 修天台止观。 住杭州西湖昭庆寺,雕刻佛像,刺血书写《华严经》等。结净行社, 率众共修, 遂使念佛求生净土蔚然成风。

7th Patriarch: Sheng-Chang (959-1020, AD)

Master Xing Chang (Awareness of Eternity) of the Bright Bliss Temple, in the Song Dynasty of 11th century China, was a native of Zhe-jiang Province; his personal name: Zao Wei (Attainment to Subtleties). Ordained as a monk in his early childhood, he had observed the precepts strictly; mastered The Sraddhotpada Sastra (The Treatise of Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna); and had thoroughly well disciplined himself in the Method of Sammata Vipasyana (Meditation and Contemplation) as taught by the Tian Tai School (Sadhama-Puntarika). During his sojourn at the Bright Bliss Temple, West Lake, Hang-zhou, he was noted for having carved numerous Amitabha images and icons and copied the copious Hua Yan (Avatamsaka) Sūtra with his own blood. He formed the Good Karma Society, led the public to seek cultivation, and had made a vogue of the Buddha Recitation Method for Rebirth into the Pure Land of Bliss.

莲宗八祖杭州云栖宏公大师 (1532-1612, AD)

明朝杭州云栖寺祩宏大师 (Zhu Hong) 杭州人,号莲池 (Lian Chi) 亦称云栖大师。年十七岁中秀才,以学问德行著称。出家后博学经教,融通禅净二宗,以禅理疏《弥陀经》。制定水陆仪文,瑜伽焰口法,以济幽冥之苦.著作甚丰, 有 《云栖法汇》 刊行于世, 为明朝四大高僧之一。

8th Patriarch: Lian-Chi (1532-1612, AD)

Master Zhu Hong of the Clouds-Dwelling Temple, Hang-zhou, in the Ming Dynasty of 17th century China, was a native of Hang-zhou, Zhe-jiang Province; his personal name: Lian Chi (Lotus Pond), also known as Master Clouds-Dwelling. At the age of 17, he was passed as Xiu Cai (Elite Talent) in the Imperial State Service Examination, well known for his scholarship and virtuous deeds. After his ordainment as a monk, he applied himself to extensive studies of various Sūtras and doctrines. Fusing the Chan and Pure Land Sects into perfect congruence and harmony, he wrote A Commentary on The Amitabha Sūtra in light of the Chan Principles. He had implemented the details of obituary rituals and the method of incense-burning for ceremony of spiritual union (Yoga), so as to relieve the pain and suffering of the underworld. He was a prolific author, his publications including Collected Works of Master Clouds-Dwelling. He was ranked as one of the Four Eminent Monks of the Ming Dynasty.

莲宗九祖北天目灵峰旭公大师 (1598-1655, AD)

清朝灵峰智旭大师 (Zhi Xu) 吴县(江苏)木渎人,即澫益大师,自号八不道人。 初时受学儒家作《辟佛 论》数篇。 十七岁阅读莲池大师《竹窗随笔》始悟,隋即痛改前非,出家后博学诸宗教义,主张儒释道三教一致,统禅教律三学为一, 而归净土,谓"灵峰派"学说。著有《灵峰宗论》、《净土十要》等注释和论著共六十余种。其中《澫益大师净土集》为其净土教法之专著。

9th Patriarch: Zhi-Xu (1598-1655, AD)

Master Zhi-Xu (Wisdom-Dawning) of the Mysterious Vulture Peak Temple, North Mountain Brahmā Eye, in the Qing Dynasty of 17th century China, was a native of Mu-Du, Wu District, Jiang-su Province. Alias: Master Ou-Yi (Growing Lotus Root); further self-styled as Monk of Eight No’s! An ardent student of Confucianism at his early age, he composed several essays on anti-Buddhism. But at the age of 17, he became enlightened by reading Master Lotus Pond’s (Lian-Chi) Essays Composed by the Bamboo Window. He then adamantly had all his previous errors rectified. After his ordainment as a monk, he had made an extensive studies of the essentials of various Sects and Schools, advocating the summit convergence of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, culminating unification of the Three Sects of Chan, Tian Tai, and Precepts (Laws), and final abidance in the Pure Land Teachings, known as Doctrines of the Mysterious Vulture Peak School. His publications include Heritages of the Pure Land Sect, Ten Essentials of the Pure Land Teachings, etc., totaling up to 60 volumes odds of works and commentaries, among which Master Ou-Yi (Growing Lotus Root): Complete Works on the Pure Land Sect proves his special magnum opus on the Pure Land teachings.

莲宗十祖虞山普仁策公大师 (1627-1682, AD)

清朝常熟虞山普仁寺行策大师 (Xing Ce) 江苏宜兴人, 字截流。 二十三岁出家,参习禅定, 精进不懈历 时五载,因而顿悟诸法要义。后于江浙一带专弘净土, 大阐净宗。复兴莲社, 倡导集众七日念佛共修, 乃为"佛七"之开始。 撰《莲藏集》,《净土警语》、《劝发真信文》等书行世。

10th Patriarch: Xing-Ce (1627-1682, AD)

Master Xing-Ce (Whip for Practice) of the Universal Compassion Temple, Mountain Yu, in the Qing Dynasty of 17th century China, was a native of Yi-xing, Jiang-su Province; his personal name: Cutting-off the Samsara Flow (Jie Liu). Ordained as a monk at the age of 23, he had devoted five years persistently and intensively to the practice and discipline for Chan Meditation and, as a result, he became suddenly enlightened on the essential significance of all dharmas. In the later phase of his life, he propagated exclusively the Pure Land teachings in areas of Jiang-su and Zhe-jiang Provinces, whereby he had greatly enhanced the Sect’s prestige. He restored the Lotus Society and was the first to conduct the 7-Day Course for Buddha Recitation, thus marking the beginning of this tradition. His publications include The Treasures of the Lotus Sect: Collected Essay, Aphorisms of the Pure Land; Exhortations on the Generation of Authentic Faith, etc.

莲宗十一祖:杭州梵天贤公大师 (1686-1734, AD)

清朝杭州梵天禅寺实贤大师 (Shi Xian) 江苏常熟人, 号省庵,字思齐。十五岁出家, 修行用功, 广学多 闻。 禅、教、性、相,无不精通。曾于阿育王寺佛陀舍利塔前, 先后五次燃指供养,发四十八大愿,感得舍利放光。晚年居杭州梵天寺,结社念佛,专修净土,著有《往生传》、《劝发菩提心文》等行世。

11th Patriarch: Shi-Xian (1686 – 1734, AD)

Master Shi Xian (Real Worthy, Bhūtabhadra) of the Brahmā Temple, Hang-zhou, in the Qing Dynasty of 17th century China, was a native of Chang-shu, Jiang-su Province; his personal name: Xing-An (Reflection Hut), alias: Si Qi (Aspiring towards Eminence). Ordained at the age of 15, diligent and vigorous in pursuit of cultivation, erudite in scholarship, and well learned, he was thoroughly at home in the teachings of various Sects of Buddhism, such as Chan, Tian-Tai, Śūnyāta, Yogacara, etc. For five times he had alternately burnt his fingers as sacrifices right in front of the Pagoda of Buddha's Relics, at the King Asoga Temple, and made 48 great vows; his devotion was so mysteriously responded that there were rays of light emitting from the relics of his body after cremation. In his later life he resided at the Brahmā Temple, Hang-zhou, and formed the Buddha Recitation Society as devotees to the Pure Land Sect. His publications include Biography of Lives Reborn into the Pure Land, Exhortations on the Generation of the Bodhi Heart, etc.

蓮宗十二祖:紅螺資福醒公大師 (1741-1810, AD)

清朝紅螺際醒大師 (JiXing) 字徹悟, 號訥堂, 乾隆時人, 既通達禪宗又通達教理, 而後卻獨獨歸心極樂淨土。率眾精修,蓮風遠播。晚居紅螺山,歸者愈眾,遂成淨宗道場。

12th Patriarch – Ji-Xing (1741-1810, AD)

Master Ji-Xing (Link to Awakening) of the Bliss-Providing Temple, Mountain Red Snail, in the Qing Dynasty of 18th century China, was a contemporary with Emperor Qian Long; his personal name: Radical Awakening, alias: Mute Hall. With superior understanding of the teachings both of the Chan and the Tian Tai Sects, he eventually abided in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. He led the public to pursue spiritual cultivation by strict discipline, so as to help spread the teachings of the Lotus Sect, far and wide. In his later life he resided at Mountain Red Snail and a great number of people came to seek his instruction, thus making it truly a Dharma Center (Bhodimandala) for the Pure Land School.

莲宗十三祖:苏州灵岩量公大师 (1861-1941, AD)

民国苏州圣量大师 (Sheng Liang )陕西合阳人,即印光大师,别号常惭愧僧。年幼时随兄长读儒家书 籍,二十一岁出家。博通经藏及各宗教法,但力倡念佛。复建天台宗江苏灵岩山寺,教人以伦常因果为基础,念佛生西为归宿。在苏州创办弘化社, 印经布施, 广结善缘。 晚居灵岩山寺, 改成净土专修道场。 著《印光大师文钞》《印光大师全集》等行世。

13th Patriarch: Yin-Kuang (1861-1941, AD)

Master Sheng-Liang (Saintly Capacity) of the Temple of Mountain Mysterious Rock, Su-zhou, Jiang-su Province, in the Qing Dynasty of later 18th century China, was a native of He Yang, San-xi Province; well known as Master Yin Guang (Light of the Buddha-Impression); self-styled as the Monk Always Ashamed of Himself. In his early life he studied Confucian classics with his elder brother. Ordained as a monk at the age of 21, he had penetrated into the vast treasures of Sūtras, mastered the doctrines of various Sects and Schools, yet, nevertheless, he vigorously advocated the Buddha Recitation Method. At Mountain Mysterious Rock he established the Pure Land Temple as a Dharma Center (Bhodimandala), where he taught people with doctrines on family relationship as grounded in karmatic connections, and the Buddha Recitation Method as aimed at the final goal of Rebirth into the Pure Land. In Su-zhou he established the Buddha’s Teachings Enhancement Society, reprinting the Sūtras as true charity and thus spreading good karmatic connections extensively. In his later life he resided at the Temple of Mountain Mysterious Rock, transforming it into exclusively a Pure Land Dharma Center (Bhodimandala). His publications include Collected Papers of Master Yin-Guang, Complete Works of Master Yin Guang, etc.

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