Master Xu Yun: Sincere Geese Practice the Dharma


Master Xu Yun (in his 82nd year of age) relates the following story in his autobiography:

‘That year (1920/21) Upasaka Zhang Jue-xian took a pair of geese to Yun-xi Monastery to set them free.  I was asked to teach them the refuge formula and both birds bowed their heads and kept silent as if to receive it.  After that, they raised their heads and seemed to be very happy.  From then on they went with the monks to the main hall and looked at those reciting the sutras.  For three years they followed the monks when the latter walked in procession round the statues of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; everyone in the temple liked them.

One day, the goose (i.e. the female) went to the door of the main hall, where she stood still, then walked round three times, raised her head to gaze at the statues and died, her feathers remaining lustrous when placed in a wooden box for burial.  The gander cackled ceaselessly as if he could not bear to part with his mate.  A few days later, he refused to feed and swim and then stood in front of the main hall to gaze at the statues of the Buddha, spread his wings and died; he was also placed in a small box and buried in the same place as his mate.’ 

(Empty Cloud: Translated by Charles Luk [1988], Pages 101-102)



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