Myths and Legends of China
Anger of the Buddhist Priests
The Buddhist priests saw from a distance what had taken place, and shouted: “Murder, murder! The Taoist superintendents are being killed.” They surrounded Sun, saying: “These priests are our masters; they go to the temple without visiting the King, and return home without taking leave of the King. The King is the high priest. Why have you killed his disciples? The Taoist chief priest will certainly accuse Page 356us Buddhist priests of the murders. What are we to do? If we go into the city with you they will make you pay for this with your life.”
Sun laughed. “My friends,” he said, “do not trouble yourselves over this matter. I am not the Master of the Clouds, but the Great Holy One, a disciple of the Holy Master from China, going to the Western Paradise to fetch the sacred books, and have come to save you.”
“No, no,” said they, “this cannot be, for we know him.” Sun replied: “Having never met him, how can you know him?” They replied: “We have seen him in our dreams. The spirit of the planet Venus has described him to us and warned us not to make a mistake.” “What description did he give?” asked Sun. They replied: “He has a hard head, bright eyes, a round, hairy face without cheeks, sharp teeth, prominent mouth, a hot temper, and is uglier than the Thunder-god. He has a rod of iron, caused a disturbance in Heaven itself, but later repented, and is coming with the Buddhist pilgrim in order to save mankind from calamities and misery.” With mixed feelings Sun replied: “My friends, no doubt you are right in saying I am not Sun. I am only his disciple, who has come to learn how to carry out his plans. But,” he added, pointing with his hand, “is not that Sun coming yonder?” They all looked in the direction in which he had pointed.
Sun bestows Talismans
Sun quickly changed himself from a Taoist priest, and appeared in his natural form. At this they all fell down and worshipped him, asking his forgiveness because their mortal eyes could not recognize him. They then begged Page 357him to enter the city and compel the demons to repent. Sun told them to follow him. He then went with them to a sandy place, emptied two carts and smashed them into splinters, and threw all the bricks, tiles, and timber into a heap, calling upon all the priests to disperse. “Tomorrow,” he said, “I am going to see the King, and will destroy the Taoists!” Then they said: “Sir, we dare not go any farther, lest they attempt to seize you and cause trouble.” “Have no fear,” he replied; “but if you think so I will give you a charm to protect you.” He pulled out some hairs, and gave one to each to hold firmly on the third finger. “If anyone tries to seize you,” he said, “keep tight hold of it, call out ‘Great Holy One, the Equal of Heaven,’ and I will at once come to your rescue, even though I be ten thousand miles away.” Some of them tried the charm, and, sure enough, there he was before them like the God of Thunder. In his hand he held a rod of iron, and he could keep ten thousand men and horses at bay.