For thousands of years, spiritual practice and cultivation principles have been part of Chinese culture and civilization. Countless stories of practitioners becoming immortals, becoming enlightened, and attaining supernatural powers have been passed down and recorded in the annals of history. However, the world is full of skeptics and doubters who don’t believe in enlightenment.
No matter how many miracles have been recorded in the history of supernatural powers, people often treat them as myths and legends only a few short years later.
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Only very few people bother to think about it carefully; if those miraculous occurrences are entirely baseless, how can they be passed down for thousands of years?
Enlightenment passed down by the ancients
Seeing the brilliant murals in splendid Buddhist caves, people will exclaim that the ancients were amazing because they could sculpt and depict such a fabulous Buddha statue and a rich and colorful Buddhist world. So why did the ancients have such great “imagination and creativity”?
When visiting and seeing the relics of Buddhas, people often asked: “Is this relic a Buddha’s tooth or bone?” So then why don’t ordinary people have such relics after death?
There are people who travel thousands of miles to see “indestructible” bodies of eminent monks in the famous mountains and holy places. But then people ask: “Why didn’t the bodies of these eminent monks rot with the grass and trees or turn into dust?”
The long quest for the way begins
When we ponder this, we can understand the existence of these miracles that demonstrate human life’s great wonders and mysteries. For example, cultivation practice can change a person’s body and transform it.
This is a true story that took place in the last years of Cao Wei, one of the three central states in the Three Kingdoms period (A.D. 220-280). Zhu Shixing (nicknamed Zhu Bajie), a young man from Yinchuan, was the first Han Chinese to be ordained as a Buddhist monk.
He devoted himself to the study of Buddhist scriptures. He felt that the translated scriptures had limitations and were challenging to understand. He decided to travel westward to seek the original complete scriptures. He went through many hardships, and it took him 20 years to reach his destination.
At that time, Zhu Shixing set off from Luoyang and embarked on the dangerous journey, crossing quicksand to Khotan in the Western Regions, and copied 90 chapters of the original Sanskrit scriptures. He was about to dispatch his disciples to bring the scriptures back to Luoyang.
Unfortunately, the Theravadin monks in Khotan would not allow the disciples to propagate Mahayana scriptures in China, so they told the King: “The Han Chinese monk wanted to confuse the canon and should be banned.” Consequently, the King of Khotan refused to listen to Zhu Shixing’s explanation. Left with no choice, Zhu Shixing told the King to burn the manuscripts. To prove the genuineness of Zhu Shixing’s heart, the King agreed.
At the King’s order, firewood was piled up in front of the great hall. Before the fire started, Zhu Shixing prayed to Heaven and said: “If the Dharma should be spread to the Han people, the manuscripts will not burn in the fire. If not, then let them be disposed of.” Just after he finished his prayer, the manuscripts were thrown into the fire.
The scriptures miraculously survive the fire
Miraculously, the manuscripts not only did not catch fire, but the fire was extinguished as well. The manuscripts remained intact. Everybody knew then that this was a miracle from Heaven to allow the Dharma to spread to the East. So Zhu Shixing obtained the King’s permission to bring the scriptures back to China.
The disciples brought the Buddhist scriptures to Luoyang, but Zhu Shixing stayed in Khotan and did not return.
Zhu Shixing died in the Western Regions at the age of 80. His body was cremated; however, after the fire had burned out, his body was intact.
An eminent monk who was there folded his hands in prayer and said to Zhu Shixing: “If you have attained the Tao, your body will also be destroyed. You do not have to do such a shocking act!” At that moment, Zhu Shixing’s body dispersed in response. This is in reference to Zhu Shixing’s “indestructible body.” This miracle soon spread to the Central Plains.
It is believed that the indestructible body after death is an extension of the will of a true righteous cultivator, and this can also be changed at will. Zhu Shixing first manifested an indestructible body, the body was intact after the cremation, but after the monk’s words, his body dispersed in response. The miracles that occur with cultivation are genuinely amazing!