How Master Xu Yun Beat the Japanese Using Meditation


Master Xu Yun (in his 103rd year of age) relates the following story in his autobiography:

During the transmission of the Precepts in the spring, a spirit which lived in a tree at the monastery came to receive them as a preceptee. Master Guan-ben, the Superintendent of the temple, recorded this unusual occurrence as follows: At the transmission of the Precepts, a monk came and asked for the Bhiksu precepts. He said that he was called Zhang, had been born in Qujiang, that he was 34, but had never found anyone to shave his head. When asked if he had come with the usual ceremonial robe and articles for the occasion, he replied that he had not. As he was frank and sincere, he was provided with all the things required and given the Dharma name of Zhang-yu. Before his turn came for the transmission, he worked hard at cleaning the temple. He was reserved and did not speak to the other monks. When he was admitted to the Vinaya Hall, he faultlessly observed the rules of discipline, but after he had received the Bodhisattva Precepts, he could not be found, so his robe and certificate of discipleship were kept in the Vinaya Hall and the incident was soon forgotten. The following year, before the transmission of the Precepts, Master Xu-yun dreamed that the monk came and asked for the certificate. Asked where he went after the transmission, he replied that he had not gone anywhere as he lived with the earth god. His certificate was then burned as an offering and thus returned to him. In the summer and autumn we repaired the nunnery of Wu-jin to receive all the nuns coming to Qujiang. Da-jian Temple had just been rebuilt, but the renovation of the Nan-hua Monastery was not yet complete. From time to time I was consulted by Gu-shan Monastery on various matters and thus kept busy all of the time. On top of all this, Japanese bombers disturbed us every day by flying over the monastery on their missions.

Note by Cen Xue-lu, Xu-yun’s Editor

After the fall of Canton to the Japanese, the provincial wartime capital was set up at Qujiang and high-ranking military leaders frequently came to the Nan-hua Monastery. The Japanese Intelligence learned that the temple was used as a meeting-place for Chinese officials. In the seventh month, when a large number gathered there, eight enemy bombers came and circled over it. The Master knew of their intention and ordered the monks to return to their dormitories. After all the guests had taken refuge in the Hall of the Sixth Patriarch, the Master went to the main hall where he burned incense and sat in meditation. A plane dived, dropping a large bomb which fell in a grove on the river bank outside the monastery without causing damage. The bombers returned and circled over it when suddenly, two of them collided and crashed to the ground at Ma-ba, some ten miles to the west. Both planes were destroyed with their pilots and gunners. Since then, the enemy planes dared not come near the monastery and always avoided flying over it on their bombing missions to the hinterland.

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