Stories from Buddhism: Tong Xuan

Mu Mu

PureInsight | May 21, 2007

[] Tongxuan's family name was Li and he was born in Northeastern Taiyuan. He was addressed as The Great Scholar Zaobai (Dates and Cypress).
He was more than seven feet tall and had a purple color face with long
eyebrows and nice teeth. He wore a hat made of birch skin and clothes
made of rough cotton without a belt or shoes. He had an unconventional
and unrestrained character and his behavior was unpredictable. He was
also very knowledgeable and good at Confucianism and Buddhism.

Tongxuan was very devoted to studying the Huayan Canon. In the spring
of the seventh year of Kaiyuan (A.D. 719), he went to Gao Shannu's home
in Daxian village Tongying township in southwesten Meng county with a
newly translated Huayan Canon. He stayed there studying the Canon in
the side room without going out for three years. Every day he only ate
ten pieces of date and one piece of cypress leaf cake, which surprised
the household of the Gao and their neighborhood. Once Tongxuan came
back from Han village with his canon and saw a tiger. He fondled the
back of the tiger and asked him to carry the canon to his room and the
tiger did what he asked.

There was no spring to provide drinking water at the place where
Tongxuan lived. One day, a storm came and an old pine tree was pulled
out. The land where the roots of the tree grew became a pond with a
depth of more than ten feet. The water in the pond was sweet and then
was called the Senior Spring. Also, there was no candle at his room,
however there was white light that could be seen in the room every
night. After Tongxuan came to the side room, two maids always went
there with food boxes. When he finished eating the food boxes
disappeared, which lasted for five years. The paper and ink were also
supplied without failure.

On 28th March in the eighteenth year of Kaiyuan, Tongxuan died at the age of 96. A white light went out from his head to the sky.

From Legends of the Holy Monks, volume 7

Translated from:

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