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Story from Ancient China: The Flying Mountain

One day, the crazy monk predicted that at noon the strange flying mountain would fly to the village and stop in front of Lingyin Temple. (Image:  Shen Juexiao via   flickr / CC BY 2.0 )
One day, the crazy monk predicted that at noon the strange flying mountain would fly to the village and stop in front of Lingyin Temple. (Image: Shen Juexiao via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

Once upon a time, it was said that there was a small flying mountain in Sichuan Province. Sometimes it flew toward the east and sometimes it flew toward the west. Yet wherever it stopped, many houses were smashed and many people were killed.

The ‘crazy monk’

At that time, there was a monk in Lingyin Temple on the bank of West Lake in Zhejiang Province. He acted like a madman, so people called him the “crazy monk.” One day, the crazy monk predicted that at noon the strange flying mountain would fly to the village and stop in front of Lingyin Temple.

Lingyin Temple. (Image: Qa003qa003 via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Lingyin Temple. (Image: Qa003qa003 via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0)

He got up early that day and rushed into the village. He delivered the news door-to-door. He shouted: “Today, a mountain will fly to the village. We should evacuate the village as soon as possible; otherwise, it will be too late!” He shouted until his mouth was dry and his lips were cracked, but no one believed him.

The crazy monk kidnaps a bride

The sun rose higher and the noon hour was approaching. The monk became very anxious. At that moment, he suddenly heard the sound of music and he ran toward the sound. He saw there was a wedding taking place, where there were many people in attendance.

The crazy monk picked up the bride and carried her on his shoulder as he ran out of the village. The crazy monk kidnapped the bride! The whole village leapt into action. Every man and woman, both the young and the old, chased after the monk.

jigong insane monk lingyin temple stories from ancient china

The ‘crazy monk’ from Lingyin Temple predicted that a mountain would fly to the village and stop in front of Lingyin Temple. (Image: tenzinmullin via flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Carrying the bride, the monk just hurried on. The villagers chased him a dozen kilometers, but could not catch up with him. When the sun rose over their heads, the monk stopped. He put down the bride and sat down on the ground.

The villagers rushed to him and wanted to beat him up. Just at that moment, the sky turned dark. The villagers heard a huge “bang” and saw the mountain fall on their village. The people then understood why the crazy monk had kidnapped the bride — it was to save everyone’s life!

Villagers restrain the ‘flying mountain’

When the villagers were ready to leave, the monk spoke:

All the villagers acted immediately. Some of them used hammers and some of them used chisels.

lingyin temple stone buddha statues mountain story from ancient china

The villagers used hammers and chisels to carve 500 Buddha statues on the mountain that landed in front of Lingyin Temple to stop it from flying off again. (Image: Erik Larson via flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

They were busy all night. By morning, 500 stone Arhats were finished, but they realized the Buddhas had no eyes nor eyebrows. The monk said: “I know what to do; let me try!” Using his long fingernails, he scratched the statues’ faces. Soon after, the eyes and eyebrows of the 500 stone Arhats were all fixed.

Ever since then, this small mountain has no longer flown elsewhere, but has always remained in front of Lingyin Temple. Since it had flown in, people called it “the flying mountain.”

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