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The monk and the dragon.
It once happened that in the state of Kashmir, a poisonous earth dragon lived in a cave near a monastery of five hundred Theravadin arhats (Buddhist monks). This dragon terrorized the region and made people's lives miserable. Every day the arhats (monks) would assemble, and together they would try to use the power of their collective meditation to drive away the dragon. But always they failed. The dragon simply would not leave.
Then one day a Mahayana Chan (Zen) monk happened to stop at the monastery. The arhats (monks) complained about this terrible dragon and asked the (Zen) monk to join them in meditation, to add the power of his meditation to theirs. "We must force this beast to leave!" they wailed. The Chan (Zen) monk merely smiled at them and went directly to the poisonous dragon's cave.
Standing in the cave's entrance, the monk called to the dragon, "Wise and virtuous Sir, would you be kind enough to depart from your lair and find refuge in a more distant place?"
"Well," said the dragon, "since you have so politely asked, I will accede to your request and depart forthwith." The dragon, you see, had a fine sense of etiquette. So, away he went!
From their monastery, the arhats watched all this in absolute astonishment. Surely this monk possessed miraculous Samadhi (liberation) powers!
As soon as the monk returned, the arhats (monks) gathered around him and begged him to tell them about these wonderful powers. "I did not use any special meditation or samadhi," said the monk. "I simply kept the rules of discipline and these rules stipulate that I must observe the minor requirements of courtesy as carefully as I observe the major requirements of spirituality."
So we can see that the collective power of five-hundred arhats' meditation/Samadhi are sometimes not the equal of one monk's simple adherence to the rules of discipline.
- EMPTY CLOUD - THE TEACHINGS OF XU YUN
2. Empty cloud – The teachings of Xu Yun
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