Stories from History - A Blue Phoenix Paid a Debt of Gratitude

Haibin Yidou

PureInsight | April 7, 2007

[] Yang Bangyi was from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). One
day, when he was reading in Tianwang Temple after he passed the
candidacy examination in the provincial imperial examinations, he saw
the wings of a blue phoenix, which sat straddling on the body of a
Buddha statue, fall off from the rain dripping on them over the years.
Bangyi thought of putting the wings back on, but he asked himself
whether the wings wouldn't be damaged again from the rain if the temple
were not get repaired first. He knew that he couldn't afford to do it
by his own efforts. So he made a book for recording contributions and
wrote a preface for it. He donated 10 liangs (50 grams equal one liang)
of silver first. He then carried the donation book and went to many
wealthy gentlemen and his classmates asking for donations. After
collecting enough money, he had the temple repaired and the wings of
the blue phoenix connected back to its body.

Bangyi came to the capital to participate in the final exam the
following year. The title of the test was "The crown prince went for an
outing in the royal garden." After finishing the main article, Bangyi
wrote the upper portion of the antithetical couplet:

The red temple shows a lucky sign; a red phoenix exhibits brightness on the red steps of the palace.

But he couldn't think of the bottom part to match got the top
antithetical couplet. He thought hard but still didn't have a clue when
it was close to the time to hand in the paper. Suddenly he saw a blue
phoenix calling in the sky and then it flew away. Bangyi had a thought
and wrote down the matching couplet right away:

The blue palace displays an auspicious sign; a blue phoenix flew on its wings high into the blue sky.

He was satisfied with his work after he finished. Sure enough, the
official in charge praised the couplet highly. Yang Bangyi was ranked
first among all participants in that year's exam.

(From Erke Xingshi Henhyan  - The Common Sayings to Awaken the
World, a non-classical novel written in the Qin dynasty)  

Translated from:

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