The Iron Arhat that Fell Behind

PureInsight | October 17, 2005

[] During the reign of Chenghua of the Ming Dynasty (1465-87 AD), a old Buddhist monk from Yuhua pond in the Wutai Mountains, begged for alms in the Yu district of Shanxi Province. He got a pile of iron. The Yu district iron factory cast the iron into 500 Arhat statues. Every one of them weighed around a hundred catty (1 catty = 0.5 kg). The monk needed to move the statues back to his temple. Transportation was a huge problem. The locals only had donkeys. The load was a little too light for a donkey if it only carried one Arhat statue at a time. However, a donkey isn't strong enough to carry two. Even if the donkey carried two each time, how long would it take to haul five hundred of them? This worried the old monk a lot. He stared at those immobile Arhats, and spoke out to himself, "If you all could walk by yourselves, how great that would be!" Just as he finished his words, a miracle appeared, and those five hundred Arhats really started to walk by themselves.

The old monk majestically led the five hundred Arhats back to Wutai Mountain. Among them there was an Arhat that fell behind. When he walked to the Sigou village, the sun was setting. He saw a woman washing clothes at the side of a well, and his heart was moved by worldly desire. He walked over, "Young sister, may I ask you how far Yuhua pond at Wutai Mountain is from here?" "60 Li (Chinese mile approx. 0.5km)!" this woman didn't even lift her head up as she replied.

"Young sister, it is already late, I don't want to walk anymore, could I borrow lodging tonight in your home?" This woman was a bit annoyed and spoke, "I don't have room in my house. You can just spend the night beside this well."

"How can I spend the night beside this well?"

"You are an Arhat made of iron, what are you afraid of?"

Once this Arhat heard the word "iron", he immediately froze to his original shape, stiffly sat beside the well and couldn't move. His innermost feeling of sorrow and the expression of confession was unforgettable to everyone who passed by and saw this Buddhist statue.

Every attachment is a mountain obstructing a cultivator from consummation.

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