A Parrot Is Awakened To The Dharma 鸚鵡悟佛

When Wei Nankang (i.e., Wei Gao, 745-805CE) was garrisoning Shu, he constantly cared for a parrot, which was extremely intelligent. The person who had tamed it had also told it of Buddhist philosophy, saying: “If you wish to worship the Buddha, you must use thought to attain freedom from thought.” The parrot would then raise its head and spread its wings, as if it were listening, as if it were accepting. When receiving teaching on Buddhist thought, it would remain silent without answering, and then chant: “Amitabha” once, as if to indicate that it had been awakened, achieving insight into causality through thought, and into the truth through no-thought. One day it did not shake and did not fall forward, but knocked its wings, curled its feet, covered itself and died. Duke Wei ordered it be cremated, which left ten relics, for the burial of which the duke erected a pagoda, naming it the Parrot Pagoda.

Anon., Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.267 (Tale 486):

鸚鵡悟佛

韋南康鎮蜀時,常籠養一鸚鵡,甚慧。馴養者曉以佛理,曰:「若欲念佛,當由有念,以至無念。」鵡即仰首奮翼,若聽若承,及教之念佛,則默然不答,或詰其不念,則唱言「阿彌陀佛」一聲,意若有悟,以有念為緣生,以無念為真際也。一日不震不仆,款翼委足,弇然而絕。韋公命焚之,有舍利子十枚,公為立塔瘞之,號曰鸚鵡塔。

Yuan Haowen 元好問, Chang Zhenguo 常振國 (ed), Xu Yijian zhi 續夷堅志 (Continued Records of the Listener), and Anon., Jin Xin 金心 (ed.), Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi 湖海新聞夷堅續志 (Continuation of Records of the Listener with New Items from the Lakes and Seas) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986).

 

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A Monkey Becomes A Temple Spirit 猿為廟神

The Song emperor Lizong (Zhao Yun, r. 1224-64) summoned the thirty-fifth Daoist Heavenly Master to court, and as the tide was ebbing, he passed by the side of the Liuhe Pagoda, where he noticed that there were newly built temple wings to it, so stopped his sedan chair and asked its neighbours: “To what spirit is this dedicated? To misfortune or to fortune?” The commoners said: “A spirit of prosperity. The populace have just constructed this temple.” The Heavenly Master said: “Were it to have been one of misfortune, I would have exorcised it.” The commoners asked: “What for?” The Heavenly Master replied: “This is a white ape from Longhu Peak; it has taken many things, and I had not expected to see it treated as a spirit here.” He brandished his sword and rebuked it: “If you bring fortune to the populace, my punishment will not reach you; if you do not, you will be reported and face the consequences.” The temple stands to this day.

Anon., Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi, 後2.253 (Tale 457):

猿為廟神

宋理宗朝召三十五代天師赴京,退潮,道經六和塔側,見新廟翼然,停轎問其鄰曰:「此為何神?為禍為福?」民曰:「福神也。民方創此廟。」天師曰:「苟或為禍,吾將除之。」民曰:「何如?」天師謂:「此龍虎山一白猿,失去多載,不圖今日為神於此。」仗劍叱曰:「既福民,罰乃不及,苟或反是,必將奏誅。」至今廟猶在。

Yuan Haowen 元好問, Chang Zhenguo 常振國 (ed), Xu Yijian zhi 續夷堅志 (Continued Records of the Listener), and Anon., Jin Xin 金心 (ed.), Huhai xinwen yijian xuzhi 湖海新聞夷堅續志 (Continuation of Records of the Listener with New Items from the Lakes and Seas) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1986).