Monk Ming Dian Calmed a Stormy Sea by Throwing a Handful of Soil Into It

Sunset over Thun Lake.

Instructed by a Taoist, Yao Yingfeng could foretell people's death dates from their traumas. (Image: Evgeniy Fesenko via Dreamstime)

There once was a Japanese ship that was sailing and had reached the sea near a Chinese coastal town. Suddenly, a fatal storm struck and the Japanese ship was on the brink of sinking. But a Chinese monk standing on the shore picked up some soil next to him and threw it into the sea. The raging storm suddenly became calm and the Japanese ship was able to safely reach the shore.

Monk Ming Dian calmed the stormy sea

In the third year of the Shaoxi era of the Southern Song Dynasty (roughly around 1134 AD), a Japanese ship intended to cross the ocean. But while it was sailing off China’s coast, the sea suddenly became rough and stormy and the ship was in danger of sinking. As he saw what was happening, a monk standing on the shore picked up a lump of earth and threw it into the sea. Instantly, the stormy sea became calm and the ship was able to dock safely.

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Once the vessel’s passengers learned that it was the monk named Ming Dian who prevented the ship from sinking, they bowed down to thank him. The monk told them: “You had better not leave until tomorrow.” Heeding his advice, they waited to depart until the next day. As a result, the ship was able to sail with a tailwind.

After saving the ship, the monk advised them not to set sail again until the following day.
After saving the ship, the monk advised them not to set sail again until the following day. (Image: Ai-lan Lee via Dreamstime)

It was said that Ming Dian was a monk at Puzhao Temple in Huating County. Unlike his name, which signifies clear understanding and wisdom, he always seemed to be absent-minded and would often speak incoherently. However, surprisingly, when it came to predicting other people’s fortunes, he spoke clearly and accurately. It was thus that he was able to save the Japanese ship.

Ming Dian was also quite unique in that no one had ever seen him sleep. No matter the weather, Ming Dian always stood alone under the eaves of an empty porch, leaning against one of the pillars chanting Buddhist scriptures all night, day after day, year after year. Nobody knew the reason behind it.

Often, Ming Dian roamed walking barefoot through the hustle and bustle of the marketplace with a long coat that dragged on the ground. If he went into a shop, he would sit down and, miraculously, the business of the store would suddenly prosper, earning the shop’s owner several times more money than usual. Therefore, all the shop owners loved to see his arrival.

If he went into a shop, he would sit down and, miraculously, the business of the store would suddenly prosper.
If he went into a shop, he would sit down and, miraculously, the business of the store would suddenly prosper. (Image: Nui7711 via Dreamstime)

Sometimes, Ming Dian went out to beg for a meal. However, he did not keep the food for himself, but he distributed it to needy children, creating more good karma. Occasionally, some nasty people approached him, hurling verbal abuse or even throwing stones or broken tiles at him. But Ming Dian never got injured by them and never held a grudge, thus resolving the bad karma with inaction.

From the historical records, Ming Dian’s deeds convinced people that he was an authentic monk. He may have been unusual among his peers, but that is why he appeared to be above the world and had powers beyond those of ordinary people.

Translated by Joseph Wu

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