Stories from Buddhism: Seng Jia

Mu Mu

PureInsight | May 21, 2007

[] The Buddhist
master Seng Jia originally came from the Great Region and his local
family name was He.   He came to Mainland China during the
early period of the Tang Dynasty.  He began cultivating at the
Long Xing Temple in Chu Zhou City.  Subsequently, he demonstrated
magic powers to save sentient beings.  

First of all, he led his disciple, Hui Yan, to Lin Huai County in Si
Zhou City.  He was offered land to build a temple. 
Miraculously, a lintel with the epigraph "Gu Xiang Ji Temple" and a
golden statue were dug out of the ground.  The golden statue had
the characters for "Buddha Pu Zhao" on it.  When people heard
about it, they sighed for the miracle and vied to be the first to
donate to the temple.

 Once upon a time, Seng Jia spent a night at the local Huo
family's home.  During his sleep, his body, together with his bed,
suddenly extended 3 inches longer.  People were astonished at
it.  Later, eleven plates of Mother Buddha (Bodhisattva Guan Yin)
were found at the Huo's house.  The whole family joyfully
celebrated the discovery and became stronger believers in
Buddhism.  They donated a plot of their land to build a temple.

One day, Seng Jia journeyed to the Long Guang Temple in Jia He
village.  It was a seaside village.  Most of the villagers
lived by fishing.  Seng Jia tried very hard to persuade them to
give up fishing and make their living another way.  He told them
that killing would lead to degeneration.  Many villagers took his
advice and gave up fishing by breaking up their fishing tackle and

Afterwards, Seng Jia wandered to Jin Ling.  He found that the Guo
Xiang Temple there was worn and left with no one cultivating
there.  He put his clothes on the roof beam of the temple and
left.  Soon, people were attracted by a curious fragrance that
spread out from the temple.

When Seng Jia resided in Chang An City, a royal son-in-law, Wu You Ji,
was sick and visited him.  Seng Jia gave the water in which he had
bathed to Wu You Ji to drink.  Wu You Ji was cured.  Since
then, Seng Jia became well known for his curious medical
treatment.  When patients came to see him, he stroked the patients
with a willow branch, or ordered them to wash a stone lion, throw a
bottle or take the blame on themselves for their wrongdoings.  The
patients were cured by the marvelous treatments.  Even the water
that he had used to wash his foot could cure stubborn illnesses.  

Seng Jia was able to predict blizzards and could relieve droughts by
bringing rainfall.  He had great magic power and extraordinary

It was the second year of the Jing Long period of the Tang
Dynasty.  Emperor Zhong Zong invited Seng Jia to join the
Inmperial Daoist rites and appointed him as the Imperial Master. 
Seng Jia lived at the Juan Fu Temple.  There was a small hole on
the roof of his room.  He filled in the hole with a cotton
ball.  At night, he took out the cotton ball and a queer fragrance
would fly from the hole and spread all over the room.  In the
morning, the fragrance returned to the roof and Seng Jia filled the
hole with a cotton ball again.  

One day at the Imperial Court, Emperor Zhong Zong said to Seng Jia,
"The capital city has had no rain at all for several months.  I am
very worried about it and expect your mercy to resolve the
problem."   Seng Jia held a bottle of water and sprayed it
towards the four corners.  Soon afterwards, black clouds gathered
overhead and a heavy rain poured on the earth.  Zhong Zong was so
happy that he ordered that the name of the temple where Seng Jia
resided be changed to Lin Huai Temple.  However, Seng Jia
requested  the name be changed to Buddha Pu Zhao.  The
Emperor considered that "Zhao" was also in the name of the Heavenly
Queen's Temple and it was inappropriate to give the same name for Seng
Jia's temple.  So the Emperor Zhong Zong decided to name the
temple Pu Guang Temple and wrote the inscription in his own writings.

On  March 2 of the fourth year of the Zhong Zong period, Seng Jia
passed away at the Juan Fu Temple.  Zhong Zong ordered a pagoda to
be set up to enshrine and worship him.  Soon after the order, a
strong wind blew widely with a bad smell.  The Emperor asked his
imperial subjects about the reason.  One of them said, "Master
Seng Jia initially begged alms in Lin Huai County.  I'm afraid he
may be requesting to return to the place.  That may be the reason
for the bad smell."  As soon as the Emperor gave tacit permission
for the request, the bad smell disappeared and changed into a sweet
smell.  In May of that year, Seng Jia's body was sent to Lin Huai
County and a pagoda was set up to enshrine and worship him.  

Later, Emperor Zhong Zong asked Master Wan Hui, "Who reincarnated into
Master Seng Jia?"  Master Wan Hui answered, "Seng Jia was the
embodiment of Bodhisattva Guan Yin."

From Legends of Holy Monks, vol. 7

Translated from:

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