The Emperor and the Buddha’s Relics

The Emperor and the Buddha’s Relics

Emperor Xian brought the Buddha’s relics to the palace and made an offering to the relics, which glowed in the night. Early the following morning, the court celebrated this as being the result of imperial virtue, but Wen alone did not celebrate it.
The emperor said to Wen, “All the other courtiers are celebrating this. Why do you alone not celebrate it?”
Wen said, “When I read a Sutra in the past, it said, ‘The Buddha’s light is not blue, yellow, red, white, and so on’. Therefore, the light must be the light of a dragon deity guarding the relics.”
The emperor said, “What does the Buddha’s light look like?”
Wen remained silent. Because of that he was forced to resign.

Student: “Why did Wen remain silent without answering when asked what the Buddha’s light looks like?”
Master: “He had compassion for the emperor.”
Student: “Why did the emperor force Wen to resign?”
Master: “Because the Emperor put into his own eyes and ears the medicine that he should have taken.”

Although Master Wen remained silent in order to protect the emperor from calamity, the calamity fell not only upon the emperor but also upon the whole country.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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