A Story of an Incarnation: Both Real and Surreal

Xiao Lian

PureInsight | October 8, 2006

[PureInsight.org] A few days
ago, my girlfriend wanted me to tell her a story. I sat in the lotus
position and meditated for a while, and then I told her this somewhat
incredible story.

It was back in the time of Emperor Tai Zu of the Yuan Dynasty
(1206-1367 A.D.). There was a merchant in the herbal medicine business.
He was bringing some precious herbal medicine from Changbai Mountain
(in the northeastern of China) to the south of the Yangtze River to
sell. Although he was not perfect, he was quite honest and charitable.
His character was somewhat like a good-natured person in the
countryside today. In the past, he was once cheated by a local resident
while buying materials for herbal medicine and suffered a huge loss,
and he was very furious about it. This time he thought, "If everything
goes smoothly, I should tour around Jiangsu and Zhejiang area,
especially the West Lake, which was described by writers as a
fairyland. It will be a great pleasure and a trip of a lifetime if I
can tour this region." He arrived south of the Yangtze River smoothly.

He sold all his herbal medicine to the owner of an herbal medicine
shop. The owner treated him to a dance performance. He didn't remember
much from the dance but he was quite impressed by the Five-String Banjo
played by a girl. As the girl moved her fingers, beautiful sound flew
naturally out of the banjo constantly, which he enjoyed very much.

Two days later, he chartered a boat to tour the West Lake alone. But he
didn't know the boat punter was a robber. While he was having a great
time, the punter suddenly rocked the boat and he fell into the water.
He couldn't swim so he lost conscious in a moment. The robber pulled
him out of the water and tied him up, and started punting the boat to
the shore. He was not carrying any cash. All his money was in the form
of bank notes, which he had sewn into his clothes. The robber wanted to
take him to the shore and search for the notes in his clothes
thoroughly. While the boat was moving toward the shore, a "propitious
cloud" drifted from afar and suddenly enveloped boat. When the robber
turned back and looked, the merchant disappeared too! The robber
couldn't figure out how the merchant had disappeared. He accepted his
bad luck and went home dejectedly to receive his wife's scolding.

Where did the merchant go? When he woke up after an unknown period of
time, he found himself lying on a platform inside a pavilion. As it was
getting close to dusk, he couldn't see the surroundings well. He sat
there and thought for a while before he finally realized that someone
had rescued him. He got up and circled around the pavilion several
times trying to find his benefactor but he didn't see anybody. He only
saw a portrait of Bodhisattva on one of the supporting poles in color
and lifelike, and her eyes seemed moving. There was a portrait of a
Chinese dragon opening its mouth and brandishing its paws on another
pole, which was also in color. In the northwestern corner of the
pavilion, there was a five-string banjo. "Maybe the owner is out, "he
thought, "I feel quite lonely here, why not play the banjo to ease my
loneliness." Then he thought to himself, "I'm afraid it is not a good
idea. I shouldn't touch the owner's things when he's not home." He then
thought, "But he put me next to the banjo. I'll explain to him when he
comes back!" So he sat down next to the banjo. He didn't know how to
play banjo before. But because he had seen the girl's finger techniques
during the dance performance, he imitated her and started playing.

He didn't know that this banjo was not an ordinary banjo, it was a Fa
instrument of the gods. The banjo had intelligence, and it could read
its player's mind. He started playing although he didn't know how.
While playing, he thought of his past, his sufferings and pleasures.
When he was sad, the sound of the banjo became heavy; when he was
happy, the sound of the banjo became resounding and resonant. After
playing for a while, he found his state of mind had changed, and it had
changed to be so pure and comfortable, so light and carefree. Then he
thought, "I wonder what it is like to be a god. How wonderful it would
be if I could be a god." He looked up and saw stars all over the sky,
but why was the banjo so transparent, shining, and yet not dazzling to
the eyes? He thought to himself, "Have I really encountered a god?" He
didn't think much but continued playing the banjo, and his state of
mind became even purer. He also believed in cultivation practice even
more. Although on the surface he didn't appear to be someone with great
virtue in this lifetime, his inborn quality was extremely good from
before. Although he did not understand directly what "cultivation
practice" was, through playing the banjo, his xinxing was elevated, which was in itself a process of cultivation.

He didn't know how long he played the banjo and eventually he became a
little tired. He looked at the poles, and found the poles were also
bright and transparent. Moreover, the dragon seemed to have come to
life, and started to move slowly. The Bodhisattva's portrait simply
started flying towards the sky little by little. He had one thought
from the bottom of his heart, "If only I could elevate like them!" In a
short moment, a light beam as thick as a finger was shooting down from
the sky, and the Bodhisattva was smiling and waving at him from the
above. Out of instinct, he did not have a thread of human thoughts, and
only wanted to harmonize with what the Bodhisattva wanted – returning
to Heaven. Then he reached out his hand and held the light beam and,
slowly, he rose up as well.

In the end he succeeded in cultivation practice in this way. Now he's
in Heaven paying attention to everything that is happening in the human

Postscript: In fact this merchant was one of my assistant primordial
spirits in the past. Succeeding in cultivation practice using this
method sounds quite incredible. Just think if he wasn't steadfast in
cultivation practice or his enlightenment quality wasn't good at a
crucial moment, how could he succeed in cultivation?! Speaking of this,
I'd like to have a word with my friends who haven't walked in the door
of cultivation practice yet: In Buddha Sakyamuni's time there was the
story about a daughter of the dragon king having her gong unlocked as
soon as she heard the Dharma. In that context, no wonder this example

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2006/9/6/39853.html

Add new comment