Ancient Cultivation Stories: The Female Pheasant

People do not know where Shi Sengan was from but we do know that he was dedicated to his cultivation. He meditated and spread the dharma and was very capable. During the reign of Emperor Wenzuan of the Qi dyansty, Sengan cultivated on Wangwu Mountain and had two dozen disciples following him. When he began to teach the Nirvana Sutra, a female pheasant would crawl over to the side of a seat to listen. When the monks were having a meal, it would go out to search for food. No matter whether it was day or night, it would come to listen to the dharma. But, strangely, the pheasant stopped coming before Sengan finished volume three of the sutra. Everyone thought it was odd. Sengan told them: "The female pheasant has already been reincarnated as human. There is no need to feel strange."

On the fourth year of Wuping, when Sengan led his disciples to Yuezhou, he said suddenly: "The female pheasant was reincarnated here." He went into a house to summon the pheasant. A girl came out and seemed to recognize him. They greeted each other and both were very delighted. Her parents felt odd and invited Sengan to come inside.

Sengan asked them: "Why is she named Female Pheasant?" "She grew pheasant hair when she was born so we named her Female Pheasant." Sengan laughed loudly and told them about the predestination. The girl shed tears after she realized what had happened. She asked her parents permission to become a nun and they consented joyfully. Sengan again narrated the Nirvana Surtra to her without leaving out any part. But she was at a loss after volume three.

From the Legends of Holy Monks, Vol. 4

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