(from the Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, vol. 1, p.102)
The fourteenth patriarch, Master Nagarjuna (tree-dragon), also called Dragon Conqueror, was a native of Western India who obtained the Dharma from master Kapimala at their very first meeting. Later he went to Southern India where many people in that part of the country had faith in the efficacy of good works. When they heard Master [Nagarjuna] expounding the wonderful Dharma they said to one another, "The first thing in life is for a man to have fortunate karma. Followers talk about the Buddha-nature, but who can see it?"
The Master said to them, "If you wish to see the Buddha-nature then first get rid of your lassitude."
One of them asked, "Is the Buddha-nature large or small?"
"Neither large nor small," replied the Master, "neither broad nor narrow, without good fortune or retribution; it is not born and does not die."
Those who heard of a principle so superior all returned their beginners' resolve. Then the Master returned to his seat and showed them his being, free of delusion. It was like the disc of the full moon. The whole assembly could only hear the sound of the Dharma but could see no sign of the Master. Amongst the assembly was the son of an old venerable by the name of Kanadeva. He asked the others, "Do you know the meaning of this form or not?"
The assembly answered, "It has never been so how is it possible to know what it is?"
Kanadeva said, "What is being demonstrated to us is the Master's showing of the essence and form of the Buddha-nature. How is it possible to know that? By the form of the formless samadhi which is like the full moon. The knowledge of the Buddha-nature is vast and clear!"
Having said this, the moon disc disappeared and the Master, returned to his original seat, recited a gatha:
"With my revealing the form of the full moon
The essence of all the Buddhas is expressed
The expounding of the Dharma is not its form
Even by discernment is has no sound or shape."
On hearing this gatha the assembly suddenly awakened to the Unborn and all wished to leave the home life to seek for emancipation. The Master then shaved their heads and instructed the sages to give them the precepts.
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