Stories of Supreme Spiritual Responses《Crows Cawing Together》

《Guru’s Talks》(Book 223 Stories of Supreme Spiritual Responses《無上殊勝莊嚴的感應》「烏鴉同時大叫」)
Crows Cawing Together
‧Written by Sheng-yen Lu‧
Translated by Janny Chow
A US Daden Culture Publication

  Among the poetry of the Song Dynasty, I am fond of the ones written by Li Zengbo, who also went by the aliases Changru and Kezhai. He was born in Tanhuai and made his home in Jiaxing. After serving as a pacification commissioner in Hunan, he became a highly regarded scholar-official. Later, he went on to serve simultaneously as the prefectural magistrate in Qingyuan and as a Coastal Regulation Officer. His work Kezhai’s Manuscript has been handed down to us.
  A flavor of leisure permeates Li Zengbo’s poetry. Here is an example:

  The owner of Hongxi has been idle for half a year,
  He is still not tired of it.
  It is said that one may fish in the creek,
  Grow horse feed in the field,
  Wear an orchid, or consume a chrysanthemum.
  The urgent call to dispatch fills the autumn wind,
  While the bamboo flute whistles under the night moon.
  How many men of meritorious service have been left behind at
  the Han border?
  Now, I shall take my earthen liquor jar to the north sea,
  And sing and dance to the east mountain.
  
  Here is another:

  Chariot and crown have come by chance,
  Rank and wealth a cup of water,
  I shall lean against the building whether deployed or not.
  Review briefly the plums, study the willows,
  Send my spirit to the cranes, and join alliance with the seagulls.
  Instead of composing the official documents,
  I look for the woodman.
  Instead of moving words,
  I turn to fishing.
  Who cares if the raging of the east,
  And south winds above the river never stops?
  Are you aware that,
  The green fields of now are far superior to the green oil?
  
  And another:

  This life of mine, wandering without fixed dwelling,
  Past is gone, present is here,
  The gulls and herons all recognize me.
  Slightly tapping my light dinghy,
  While misty waves dim the northern sky.
  Heaven and earth exist on their own,
  So is the world, and countless past relics.
  Regarding all worldly events,
  I have always thrown them into a cup of wine,
  Never letting tears wet my black robes.

  ***
  On June 1, 2011, I returned to the Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple in the Washington state of United States. The fellow students there shouted loudly, “We invite Grand Master Lu to reside permanently in Seattle!”
  Their voices reverberated. I was greatly moved.
  I responded, “When the crows in Seattle all caw simultaneously.”
  On June 2, 2011, at eight o’clock in the morning, I was standing leisurely outside the True Buddha Quarter. Suddenly a flock of crows flew over from the right side of Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple. When they flew above my head, they started cawing loudly in unison:
  “Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!”
  They then flew in circles three times above me.
  This was a yogic response to the statement I had made the day before.
  Master Lianwang witnessed the episode and said, “How wonderful, how wonderful! Grand Master Lu only said it yesterday, and today the crows are indeed cawing loudly together.”
  I myself also found it strange. What was happening? Could it be that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas wanted me to reside permanently in the Seattle area?
  I could benefit many sentient beings by staying in Taiwan. Students from mainland China, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan all could travel to Taiwan easily.
  In Taiwan, every Saturday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, ten thousand people attended the dharma teaching and the numbers of students taking refuge were in the hundreds, sometimes up to a thousand. By my approximation, during my last year in Taiwan, multiplying the attendance at each teaching by the number of dharma teachings held yielded a number in the four hundred thousands, with at least seventy thousand people having taken refuge.
  ***
  Should I stay in Seattle?
  Should I stay in Taiwan?
  Or Indonesia, or Malaysia, or Australia?
  I can feel that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple here in Redmond want me to stay in the Seattle area.
  I said, “Let the crows caw together!”
  And indeed, the crows cawed loudly at the same time! They also flew in spirals three times above my head.
  I wrote a poem:
 

 
  With the passing of light clouds and shower,
  The blazing heat is gone,
  Rosy clouds line the Seattle sky.
  A windy path leads up to quietude,
  A small slanting gate stands guard,
  My home is at the edge of the lake.
  Evening twilight calls out to the crows,
  A wind from the bamboos flutters the pine needles.
  What a clear and transparent window gauze.

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