Arhats Arrived

Yutang Lin

One thought of welcoming holy ones to protect the Guru
Inspired sudden appearance of prayer-beads of the Arhats
Golden fan gently waved, spreading wind of Buddhas' grace
Enjoying Buddhas' blessing as an ignorant-to-the-world being


During my recent trip in China disciple Qin Cheng suggested to me several times to let lineage disciples recite often the Ritual of Welcoming Sixteen Great Arhats to Protect the Holy Teachings (as composed by the 13th Dalai Lama) to supplicate to the holy Arhats (sixteen in number according to the Tibetan tradition, and eighteen according to the Chinese tradition), who are transformations of Buddhas, for their "blessings on Guru's good health and longevity, everlasting of the Dharma lineage, pronounced wide-spreading of holy teachings, and abundance of people and products" (quoting a repetitive prayer from the ritual).

While her words still rung in the ears, when we reached Guang Zhou disciple Wei Jian, who was unaware of Qin Cheng's suggestions, offered me an eighteen-Arhat hand-mala (short string of prayer beads) that consists of glass-beads containing images of the Arhats inside, and in addition there are one such bead of Sakyamuni Buddha and one of Guan Yin arranged on two ends of a diameter, while on each side of these two beads nine beads of Arhats are strung. Wei Jian happened to meet and purchased this mala even before he became a Buddhist, and it had been stored away in some boxes for years, only very recently had he happened to rediscover it.

A few days later Qin Cheng saw an Upasaka Hai holding a golden color paper fan that can be folded. On one side of the fan is a famous calligraphy "Nan De Hu Tu" (Rare to be muddle-headed) by Zheng Ban Qiao (a famous scholar of the Qing Dynasty), and on the other side is a Chinese brush-painting of the eighteen Arhats. Qin Cheng inquired about it so as to get one for me. Upasaka Hai was very generous; he immediately asked her to offer on his behalf the one he held to me.

Without prearrangements, suddenly two relevant Dharma treasures arrived together. Sufficient for me to hold the mala in my right hand for chanting Amitabha, while waving gently the precious fan with my left hand to enjoy breeze after breeze of Buddhas' blessing winds, and thus playing the role of a practitioner who is "rare in being muddle-headed" to worldly matters.

Qin Cheng's one thought of protecting the Guru and the Dharma immediately inspired the holy Arhats to display their blessing arrival through such convenient ways. In addition to being grateful, I carefully recorded the superior blessed events chronologically to commemorate such grace, and furthermore, using this to urge respectful and faithful ones to advance further on the Dharma path.

Written in Chinese and translated on July 22, 2009
El Cerrito, California

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