In the main hall of the Lama Temple in Beijing stands a huge, 18-meter tall Maitreya statue. Hand-carved during Qianlong Emperor’s reign of the Qing Dynasty, the statue stands tall and mighty.
The Cultural Revolution in the 1960s caused tremendous and irreparable damage to thousands of architectural and cultural treasures across China. Miraculously, both the statue and the temple survived the calamity.
An old lama who lived in the Lama Temple told the following to a pious young visitor:
“The court of Qianlong Emperor ordered the making of a Maitreya statue out of a huge tree trunk from Tibet in order to safeguard the city of Beijing. To ensure the stability of the hugh statue, a two story high platform-style walkway was built on the sides and back. The walkway allowed only a single man to pass and was attached to the statue with an iron chain to stabilize it.”
He went on to say:
During the Cultural Revolution, three red guards came to the temple to smash the statue. The first one went on the walkway and slashed the chain with an axe. The axe landed on his leg instead. The second one picked up the axe and again slashed. He missed and fell to the ground. The third one was too shocked to do anything, and all three left without harming the statue. Reportedly, none of them lived long after the incident. Thereon, no others dared to return and the statue remained intact.
The incident with the three red guards reminds us that if we believe in God and are kind, we have nothing to lose. On the other hand, if we don’t trust in God’s existence or harm cultivators walking on their paths to follow God, we will suffer damnation and victimization in return.
Translated by Cecilia Kwan.