In order to search for the Truth, the Twenty-ninth Zen Patriarch Huike read all the Scriptures and looked for Masters everywhere when he was young. Later, he was guided by a celestial being to go south to the Shaolin Temple to get initiated into Bodhidharma’s lineage. At the Temple he disguised himself as an ordinary person and did all kinds of hard labor in order to teach sentient beings who had an affinity with him until he was executed after being falsely accused by an abbot. Why did Zen Master Huike suffer such karmic retribution even after he had attained the Tao? Why are enlightened Masters able to save other people but not themselves?
Of course, the Zen Patriarchs themselves had no karma, but they assumed the karma of other sentient beings. They transformed many beings and so had to bear their karma. It would be good if a Master could stay in this world life after life, but they cannot. This is the strict law of the mundane world. Therefore, when great Masters come here they have to pay for karma when it comes, just as Huike and Simhabodhi did. They accept whatever comes, good or bad, and never complain, care, or worry about it; they just let it be. They transform as many sentient beings as possible, without feeling proud and thinking, "I have come here to transform sentient beings." They never think like that.