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The Magical Power of Ch'an Master Yin-Feng

During the Tang Dynasty, a Ch’an master, Venerable Yin Feng, possessed great magical power according to the legends. Once, he came across a fierce battle between two armies. Anxious about the potential lives to be lost, he tried to make peace through patient persuasion.

Nobody listen to his advice.

Finally he threw his staff into the sky, flew up and proceeded to dance with his staff. The battling soldiers looked at him dancing in the air and stopped fighting with each other. An otherwise bloody battle was instantaneously stopped by the Ch’an master’s magic. Even since that event, people called him the Master of the Flying Staff.

The Ch’an master has a very good sense of humor, and was full of Ch’an surprises. One day he was lecturing on the subject of life and death. He asked his disciples, "Have you seen people die during sitting meditation?"

His disciples replied, "Certainly. One Ch’an master passed away during sitting meditation."

The Ch’an master asked, "Then, have you heard of people dying while standing?"

"Yes, we have. The family of Venerable Fu all died while working their farm. Many Pure Land practitioners can also die at will." His disciples replied.

The Ch’an master then asked, "How about seeing anyone dying while standing on his head?"

His disciples were astonished and replied, "That we have never heard of or seen before."

The Ch’an master said, "Fine. In that case, I will show you." He then stood on his head and entered Nirvana. His disciples were shocked and saddened. They hurried to make funeral arrangements and encountered a difficult problem. When they attempted to move the master’s body, they found it immovable like a steel pillar. No matter how much force they used, they could not pry it off the ground. Nobody knew what to do until the arrival of the master’s sister, a highly cultivated nun. She scolded, "You used magic to confuse people while alive. Do you still want to use the same trick to impress others at death? Come down now!"

Strangely, the body fell on command. The Ch’an master did not want to impress others with his magic. He did want others to see how Ch’an practitioners could treat the state of death with total control and freedom.


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