In the history of Chinese Buddhism, the Northern and Southern Dynasties were an important period marked by the emergence of many eminent monks. During this period, the power of Buddhist monks had grown unprecedently; along with this development was the rising phenomenon of the vast influence of the laity. Together the laity and the monks constituted the two sides of the Buddhist prosperity at this time. The lay Buddhists varied in their depth of religious conviction, personal characteristics, and behaviors. Among them this paper selects Liu Yi-min (Cheng-chi) of the Eastern Jin as the subject of a case study. Liu played a unique role in the religious development of contemporary lay Buddhists. He did not accept the practice of donation to dāna-pati as the main part of worship. Instead, he assumed the role of a Buddhist devoted to continuous self-cultivation. Liu joined the Huiyuan monks to worship Buddha, and their alliance became an early paradigm of the practice of group worship based in monk-laity mutuality (zengsu gongxiu) in the history of Buddhism. Both Liu`s unconventional reclusive practice and his belief in the Pure Land set him apart from the secular practice of contemporary lay Buddhism in appearance and in spirit. This paper discusses Liu`s life and deeds and his interaction with contemporaries. It also examines his scholarship, mode of religious faith and practice, as well as his Buddhist though. By doing so, it aims to provide a multi-faceted exploration of lay Buddhists at that time.