Monk Ji Gong
Ji Gong was born to a wealthy family in the early part of the Southern Song Dynasty. As a young man, he joined a Buddhist monastery and took the name, Dao Ji. Unlike most monks, he dressed sloppily in torn rags and even on occasion ate meat. In short, he was a bit of a character, and his idiosyncrasies irked the other monks. This earned him the nickname “Ji the Crazy Monk,” later shortened to “Master Ji,” or Ji Gong.
Despite his eccentric personality, Ji Gong was sincere, kindhearted, and a well-accomplished follower of the Buddhist teachings. He was known for helping those in need and sometimes even saving their lives. Chinese folk legends fondly describe his various exploits.
Summoning Logs from a Well
One popular story tells of Ji Gong using paranormal powers to pull logs out of a well. A temple was to be built in Hangzhou and desperately needed wood. The best wood was found only in Sichuan province, some 900 miles away. The monks were desperate.
But that did not stop Ji Gong. He used his powers to bring the logs over one after another. The other monks piled them up, until the monk charged with counting them suddenly shouted: “Enough!” Ji Gong had already beckoned another log, but hearing the monk yell, he stopped it. That last log remained half-submerged in the well, and later generations built a pavilion over it, naming it the “Divine Teleportation Well.”
Stopping a Flying Mountain Peak
Another story, which inspired the Shen Yun dance Ji Gong Abducts the Bride, recounts the monk’s creative ways of rescuing people from imminent danger, even if against their will.
One day, Monk Ji Gong was walking towards Lingyin Temple when suddenly he felt a sudden jolt to his heart. Sensing something amiss, he used his ability of clairvoyance to investigate, and saw that a mountain peak was about to come crashing down on a nearby village.
Alarmed, Ji Gong began shouting to the townspeople, warning them to run for their lives. But they just laughed and dismissed him as “that crazy monk talking nonsense again.” It was then that Ji Gong spotted a wedding procession in the village. He barged in, snatched the bride, threw her over his shoulder, and ran.
Alarmed, the groom and wedding guests called all of their family and friends to chase after the kidnapper. Before long, the entire village was chasing after them.
No sooner had they gone past the village gate than a giant mountain peak nearby collapsed, landing on the village with a crash. Huge rocks flew everywhere, shattering roofs and flattening buildings in an instant.
Ji Gong had rescued the village, but just then he noticed that back in the village a little girl was staggering behind and a gigantic boulder was thundering toward her. He immediately aimed his palm at the boulder and instantly forced it back with his powers, saving her life.
That famous boulder is now called Hangzhou’s “Flying Peak,” and today, visitors can see the imprint of a hand sunk into the base of the rock.
July 31, 2011