Stories from Buddhism: Zhen Biao

Mu Mu

PureInsight | June 7, 2007

[] Shi Zhen Biao
was from Bai Ji (in today's Korea). His family lived in Jin Shan and
made their living by hunting, generation after generation. Later on, he
felt deeply guilty in his heart so he went to the mountains, shaved his
head with his knife, prostrated himself, and requested to be initiated
into monkshood by Bodhisattva Mi Le. Zhen Biao did not eat or drink
while praying day and night. On the morning of the seventh day, he saw
Bodhisattva Di Zang who pointed her golden staff at Zhen Biao's body
and said: "Buddha Tathagata was pleased to see your heart of regret,
however, you did serious bad deeds before, so you need to continuously
repent before you can be initiated into monkshood. As for whether you
can get rid of suffering, it's totally up to your ability to
concentrate." The moment she finished talking, the Bodhisattva
disappeared. Encouraged, Zhen Biao continued praying with more

When the second seven-day had just passed, a demon with a terrifying
facial expression picked Zhen Biao up and threw him over the cliff.
Zhen Biao struggled painfully in the air but, strangely, even his skin
was not injured from falling to the bottom of the cliff. He knew it was
the Bodhisattva who was protecting him and he climbed back onto the
rock. However, the demon kept on appearing every day and scared Zhen
Biao with various horrifying expressions. Zhen Biao clenched his teeth
and continued. Another seven days passed, the demon disappeared and a
lucky bird came, singing: "Bodhisattva has come." Zhen Biao stretched
his body to find himself surrounded by a silver world with white clouds
curling up around him.  

Bells were ringing and flower petals were flying in the heaven.
Escorted by a solemn guard of honor, Buddha Tathagata slowly came to
the front of Zhen Biao and touched the top of Zhen Biao's head and
said: "Well done, the great man is seeking for the monkshood." This was
repeated three times and Zhen Biao was formally initiated into
monkshood. Buddha also granted him an ecclesiastical robe, alms bowl
and the name of Zhen Biao. Tears poured from Zhen Biao's eyes.

Buddha Tathagata then brought out two things that were white and shiny.
They looked like tooth picks but not like those of ivory or jade. On
one of them was "the number nine" and one the other was "the number
eight." The lord of heaven said to Zhen Biao: "If one wants to become a
monk, one must repent on his own wrong doings." Buddha then took out
one hundred and eight small slips and told Zhen Biao: "On each one of
these slips is one suffering in human world. When some people want to
receive forgiveness from Buddha Tathagata, they will have to repent for
ninety days, forty days or twenty one days depending on how serious
their crime is. When the time is up, you just mix the slips of "number
nine" and "number eight" with those one hundred and eight small slips
and throw them into the air in front of a Buddha statue. You will know
if you have Buddha's forgiveness when the slips fall on the ground. If
the one hundred and eight small slips scatter in all directions and
only the "number eight" and "number nine" slips stay in the center, you
have received upper rank initiation. If most of the small slips scatter
far away, but one or two small slips touch the "number nine" or "number
eight" slips, you need to see clearly what sufferings are written on
those slips and repent further on them. Then, throw the two small slips
with the "number eight" and "number nine" slips once again. If the
small slips fly away from the center, it means that you have received
medium ranked monkshood. If the "number eight" and "number nine" slip
are buried among the small slips and you aren't able to see them, it
means that your sin is too deep and you cannot be initiated into
monkshood. Even after another ninety days of repenting, you can only
receive lower ranked monkshood." Buddha Tathagata again told Zhen Biao:
"The slip of "number eight" represents the newly committed karma and
the slip of "number nine" represents the inborn karma."

Upon finishing his words, the Buddha left in an auspicious cloud.

Zhen Biao came down from the mountain with the celestial clothes and
bowl in his hands. On his way down, the grass covered the road for him.
Creeks and valleys showed no difference in height, and birds and fierce
beasts cleared the way in front. When he came to the foot of the
mountain, a voice in the air told the villagers: "A Bodhisattva has
come down from the mountain. Why don't you come to welcome him?" Soon,
many people rushed out from the villages. Some took off their clothes
and covered the road with them and some used carpets and blankets to
cover the road for Zhen Biao to walk over. Zhen Biao understood
people's hearts and walked with each one of them. A woman put a piece
of white silk on the ground and Zhen Biao stopped his feet promptly.
The woman complained that he was not treating everyone equally. Zhen
Biao said: "It is not that I am not merciful or treating you unfairly.
It's just because I saw a pig on it and was afraid of hurting it and
decided to walk around it." Zhen Biao picked up the pig and walked over
the white silk.

From them on, there were often two tigers at the side of Zhen Biao.
Zhen Biao said to them: "I do not want to go to cities. Please lead me
to a place where I can cultivate." So, the tigers lead him to a place
and Zhen Biao sat down to meditate. Later on, believers from many
places came without being told and built the Jin Zhan temple.

(From Legends of Holy Monks - Volume 7)

Translated from:

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