Ancient Cultivation Stories: The Great Monk, Dao Xian

Shi Dao Xian originally came from the State of Kang Ju of the Western Region of ancient China. He had used to be a travelling businessman. One day, he attended a senior Buddha monk's lecture and became awakened. He sank his treasure ship into the river, said his farewells to his wife and children and became a monk at the Bamboo Wood Temple in Guan Kou. At the tonsure ceremony, he swore to the public, "I'll not leave the temple until I become enlightened."

Thereafter, Dao Xian lived all by himself without contacting the outside world. He repaired and extended the temple and paths around it. Gradually, some other Buddhist cultivators also built huts near his temple. Every time when he opened and read the Buddha's Scripture, Dao Xian would sob and sigh with feeling. He wondered why he had no alternatives other than the teachings of the deceased that became available to him. Since he began cultivating, Dao Xian sat for 4 or 5 days each time when he meditated. If he had an appointment with someone to visit him, he would sense the visitor's approach and stand up to greet the guest. If nobody came, he would stay in his room for meditation. His mind was tranquil, like a motionless sea.

When the State of Liang was established, the King Tan respected Dao Xian as a teacher and invited him to Shan Xi. At that time in Shan Xi, Daoism was in vogue and there were many Daoist temples and so Buddhism was discriminated here. Dao Xian took things calmly although King Tan was worried about his safety. One day, some cultivators saw a fire from Dong Gang and were afraid the fire would harm Dao Xian. They carried water containers to rescue him. When they arrived at Dao Xian's place, they saw him sitting in the big fire and giving out a roaring flame. These monks gasped in admiration for his super virtue. Afterwards, a monk named Li Xue Zhu donated his own land to build a statue and pagoda for Dao Xian. Since then, at least nine out of ten households from the far and near villages followed the faith.

At that time, a royal prince and duke, Fan Yan from Ci Zhou began to believe in Buddhism. He set up the statues of the four heavenly kings at the Liang Tai Buddhist Temple on a mountain for people to pray. When Dao Xian came to the Buddhist temple, the heads of the four heavenly kings gave off five colours of light. In fact, the lights were the natural flames coming from the fire pot which Dao Xian carried. One day before Lu Fa He became a high ranking official, he was very poor and lowly. He came to the temple to fetch the food. Some cultivators complained about that. Dao Xian said, "He is the high ranking Duke San Tai. What are you condemning him for? He will become wealthy and powerful in the future." Not long after, what Dao Xian had said became true.

When Dao Xian was not well, a celestial boy would come out of a green stream, holding a bowl of miraculous medicine and kneeling before him to feed him the medicine. Dao Xian's illness was immediately cured.

Dao Xian had been living in the mountain for 28 years. He again roamed around to save sentient beings. Once upon a time, there was a drought and people were praying to the heavens for rain. Dao Xian came to the Rain Dragon Palace and said, "Why have you been sleeping so soundly that you did not hear the pray for rains?" Shortly afterwards, a heavy rain was pouring on the earth. People respected Dao Xian as a god.

During the period of Sui Dynasty, Dao Xian came back to the Buddhist Temple in the mountain. When he arrived, the paths were very clean because the mountain celestials had swept them for him. Dao Xian passed away sitting as if in meditation when he was more than one hundred years old.

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