On every mountain trail we climb, at each monastery we visit, we hear two monks' names: Master Xuyun, and Master Hsuan Hua. Of course Master Hsuan Hua is the reason we are visiting Buddhist Monasteries in the first place. He is the founder of our Buddhist association, and the monk who brought the Dharma to the West. But his Dharma-transmitter, the 120 year-old Great Master, our grand-teacher, Master Xuyun, (Empty Cloud) is the monk from whom all Chan teachings flow in China for the last century.
For the last two days we have stayed at Zhenru Monastery on Yunju (Cloud Dwelling) Mountain in Jiangxi Province.
Master Xuyun was both frugal and tough. For years I had heard that at age 118 (!) he still preferred to live in a cowshed at Zhenru Monastery rather than move into the more comfortable quarters of the Monastery. Before Master Hsuan Hua entered Nirvana he passed along a few photographs of Master Xuyun, one of which was the elder monk sitting in front of his cell in the cowshed building.
The cowshed at some point fell down but its location was memorialized with a Master Xuyun Memorial Hall. Our delegation made a pilgrimage to that spot and here is a photo. A more detailed report will follow.