Buddha and Cow Dung
- The famous Chinese poet Su Tung-po (1036-1100)
in the Song Dynasty wrote very simple Chinese
Poems based on Buddhist Philosophy, as he
himself was a very religious person. He was
appointed to the position of the Director of
Literature in the Imperial Court.
One day he visited a Buddhist Temple and meditated
with the Monk Buddhastamp. After a little while,
Su asked the Monk: "Look at me, Venerable. I am
sitting here meditating. What do I look like?"
Buddhastamp examined Su closely for a while and
said, "Officer, you are very solemn, radiant and
gentle. You look like a Buddha Stature." Su was
very pleased and elated with the answer.
After a while, Buddhastamp asked Su, "Officer, I am
sitting here meditating also. What do I look like?"
Mr. Su thought for sometime, this Monk has always
had the upper hand whenever we debated on any subjects.
Now, I have the opportunity to beat him. So, he replied,
"You look like a heap of cow dung, Venerable." On hearing
this, the Monk simply smiled and did not argue with
him at all.
Thinking that he had won the debate, Mr. Su went
about telling everybody in town how he triumphed
over the monk, until his younger sister heard of it
and enlightened him, "My dear brother, you had lost
the debate completely."
"What!? I am very sure the Monk was fooled this time.
Why do you say so?"
"Dear brother," said Miss Su, "the Monk's heart was
filled with Buddha nature, therefore he saw you as
a Buddha. But your heart was filled with cow dung,
and therefore you saw him as a heap of cow dung."