The story of Golden Cicada is found in Chapter 100 of Journey to the West (also known as the Monkey King). The title of the chapter is “The Goal of Seeking Buddhist Scriptures Is Achieved: The Five Holy Priests Reach Truthfulness.” According to the story, Buddha Sakyamuni spoke to the Priest of Tang and his three disciples (the Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy) when he was about to give them their heavenly rank in Paradise. Buddha Sakyamuni explained to the Priest of Tang, “In a previous existence, you were my second disciple and were called Golden Cicada, but because you paid no heed to my teaching and showed disrespect, I had you reborn in the East.”
Even though Golden Cicada was his second disciple, Buddha Sakyamuni did not turn a blind eye when Golden Cicada showed disrespect to the Buddha Law. Every being is equal before the Buddha Law. All those who show disrespect to the Buddha Law will have to face serious consequences, so Buddha Sakyamuni banished him from Paradise to the human realm where he would have to suffer from calamities and hardships. He arranged for Golden Cicada to be born as a human and to cultivate for ten incarnations in a row. On the tenth incarnation, Golden Cicada nearly drowned at the age of one month when he was put into a basket, which was placed in the river.
Golden Cicada grew up as an orphan and became a monk in a Buddhist temple. When he went on a journey to the West for the sacred Buddhist scriptures, he encountered many calamities and tests. He had to be determined and maintain strong righteous thoughts in order to obtain the Fa [Law and principles of the Buddha School], pass each test and overcome each calamity during the journey to the West. If he failed, he would have endured all the hardships in vain, and might have been killed by monsters during the journey.
Golden Cicada and his disciples were so determined to obtain the Buddha Law that no hardship or calamity could deter them from their goal and prevent them from returning to Paradise. They had to endure and overcome precisely eighty-one calamities before they could return with the genuine Buddhist scriptures to the East. Their hardships demonstrated the severity of disrespecting the Buddha Law and how much suffering one has to endure in order to pay back the sin.
Buddha Sakyamuni is at the level of Tathagata. Golden Cicada had disrespected the Buddha Law of a Tathagata. He had to suffer ten painful incarnations because he had scoffed at the Tathagata’s Law. If he had slandered or cursed the Buddha Law of a higher level than that of a Tathagata, he would have had to suffer even greater misfortunes. One can only imagine the magnitude of sin in slandering the most fundamental Fa of the universe or cursing Lord of the Buddhas.
From Golden Cicada’s story, we can infer the fate that awaits those who slander the great Fa of the universe. No matter where these beings may have originated or how high their heavenly levels were, they will have to face karmic retribution for their crimes. Golden Cicada’s story also reminds Dafa disciples of the supreme importance and magnificence of clarifying the truth about Falun Dafa to the worldly people to offer them salvation.
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