Squire Kou Entertains the Lofty Monk
The Tang Priest Does Not Covet Wealth and Honour
All kinds of matter are really without matter;
No emptiness is truly empty.
Stillness and clamour, speech and silence, all are the same:
Why bother to dream-talk in one's dreams?
The useful includes the useless in its application;
Achievement lurks within failure.
When the fruit is ripe it reddens of itself;
Do not ask how the seed is to be grown.
The story has told how the Tang Priest and his disciples used their magic powers to stop the monks of the Spread Gold Monastery. When the monks saw after the black wind had passed that the master and his disciples had disappeared they thought that their visitors must have been living Buddhas come down to earth, so they kowtowed and went back. Of them we tell no more. As master and disciples traveled West spring was giving way to early summer:
The air was clear, mild and refreshing;
Water chestnuts and lotuses were growing in the pool.
Plums were ripening after the rain;
The wheat was forming as the breezes blew.
Flowers were fragrant where blossoms fell from trees;
The oriole grew tired amid the willow's light branches.
Swallows over the river taught their young to fly;
The pheasants fed their chirping chicks.
South of the Dipper the sun was always seen;
All of creation shone with brightness.
We could never describe in full how they ate at dawn, found shelter at dusk, rounded ravines and climbed hills as they went along their way without incident for a fortnight. Then another city wall appeared in front of them. As they came closer to it Sanzang asked, “What sort of place is this, disciple?”
“I don't know,” Brother Monkey replied, “I don't know.”
“You've been this way before,” put in Pig, “so how can you claim that you don't know? I suppose you're being crafty and just pretending you can't recognize the place to make fools of us.”
“You're being completely unreasonable, you idiot,” said Monkey. “Although I've been this way several times I've always come and gone by cloud high up in the sky. I've never landed here. I had no interest in the place, so why should I have looked it over? That's why I didn't know. I'm not being crafty, and not trying to make a fool of you either.”
While they were talking they came close to the city before they realized it. Sanzang dismounted, crossed the drawbridge and went straight in through the gates. As they went along the main street there were two old men to be seen sitting under a portico and talking.
“Disciples,” said Sanzang, “stand here in the middle of the road, keep your heads bowed and don't run wild. I am going under that portico to ask where we are.”
Monkey and the others stood still as they had been told while the venerable elder went up to the two men, put his hands together and called out, “Greetings, benefactors.” The two old men were idly chatting about such things as prosperity and decay, success and failure, sages and good men, their heroic deeds in ancient times, and where such men were now. Really, they said, it was enough to make you sigh.
When they suddenly heard Sanzang's greeting they returned it and asked, “What do you have to say to us, reverend sir?”
“I am a monk who has come from far away to worship the Lord Buddha,” Sanzang replied, “and I have just arrived here. I wonder what this place is called, and where there are any pious folk from whom I might beg a meal.”
“This is the prefecture of Brazentower,” one of the old men said, “and this is the county of Diling near Brazentower city. If you want vegetarian food, reverend sir, you won't need to beg. Go past this archway to the street running North-south. There's a gate-tower shaped like a sitting tiger facing the East, and that's Squire Kou's house. In front of it is a sign that says 'All monks welcome'. A monk from far away such as yourself will be given all you want. Off you go, and stop interrupting our conversation.”
Sanzang thanked them, turned to Monkey and said, “This is Diling county in the prefecture of Brazentower. The two old men said that on the street running North-south past this archway there is a gate-tower shaped like a sitting tiger that is Squire Kou's house. In front of it is a sign that says 'All monks welcome'. They told me to go there for a vegetarian meal.”
“The West is a land of Buddhists,” said Friar Sand, “and they really do feed monks. As this is only a seat of local government we don't need to present our passport. Let's go and beg ourselves a meal; that'll be all the better for travelling with.” The master and his three disciples walked slowly along the main street, filling all the people in the market with alarm and suspicion as they crowded around, struggling to see what the strangers looked like.
Sanzang told his disciples to keep their mouths shut, saying, “Behave yourselves! Behave yourselves!” The three of them kept their heads bowed, not daring to look up. Then they turned a corner and did indeed see a main road running North-south.
As they were walking along it they saw a gate-tower like a sitting tiger. On a screen wall inside the gateway hung a great sign on which were written the words “All monks welcome.”
“The West is indeed the land of the Buddha,” said Sanzang. “Nobody, however clever or stupid, is dishonest. I did not believe what the two old men told me. Now I know it is just as they said.” Being the boor that he was, Pig wanted to go straight in.
“Just a moment, idiot,” said Monkey. “Wait till someone comes out so we can ask what to do before we go in.”
“Big brother's right,” said Friar Sand. “If we don't show respect for his privacy we might irritate the benefactor.” They let the horse rest and put down the luggage outside the gates. A little later a slave came out with a steelyard and a basket in his hands that the sudden sight of the strangers made him drop in alarm.
“Master,” he reported, running inside, “here are four strange-looking monks outside.” At the time the gentleman was walking with a stick in the inner courtyard, reciting the name of the Buddha. When he heard the report he dropped his stick and went out to welcome them. Their ugliness did not frighten him.
“Come in, come in,” he said. Behaving with all courtesy, Sanzang went inside with him.
The gentleman led them along a passageway and into a house, where he said, “The upper building includes a Buddha hall, a surra library and a refectory for you gentlemen. The lower building is where your disciple's family lives.” Sanzang expressed endless admiration. He brought out and put on his cassock to worship the Buddha, then went up into the hall to have a look. What he saw was:
Clouds of incense,
The-ball was filled with a brocade of flowers;
All around was gold and many colours.
From red frames
Hung a bell of purple gold;
On a lacquered stand
Was set a matching decorated drum.
Several pairs of banners
Were embroidered with the eight treasures;
A thousand Buddha statues
Were all covered in gold.
Ancient bronze incense-burners,
Ancient bronze vases,
Carved lacquer tables,
Carved lacquer boxes.
In the ancient bronze incense-burners
Was always eaglewood incense;
In the ancient bronze vases
Were the colours of lotus blossoms.
On the carved lacquer tables
Were fresh fruits;
In the carved lacquer boxes
Fragrant petals were piled.
In glass bowls
Was pure, clear water;
In crystal lamps
The fragrant oil shone bright.
A metal chime
Resounded long and slow.
This was like a treasure house untouched by the world,
A family Buddha hall rivaling a monastery.
The venerable elder washed his hands, took a pinch of incense, kowtowed and worshipped, then turned back to greet the gentleman.
“Wait a moment,” Mr. Kou replied. “Let us make our introductions in the sutra library.” What they saw there was:
A square stand and upright cupboards,
Jade boxes and golden caskets.
On the square stand and in the upright cupboards
Were piled up countless scriptures;
In the jade boxes and golden caskets
Were stored many a manuscript.
On lacquered tables
Were paper, ink, brushes and inkstones,
All the finest treasures of the study.
Before the scented screen
Were calligraphy, paintings, a lute and chess,
All for the most refined of interests.
A magic chime of light jade covered with gold,
And a copper tripod in the wind and under the moon.
The clear breeze freshens the spirit;
The purified heart is aware; the mind set on the Way is at ease.
When the venerable elder had reached the library and was going to bow to him Mr. Kou held on to prevent this and said, “Won't you take off your cassock?” Sanzang then took off his cassock, after which he greeted Mr. Kou. He then told Monkey and the other two to greet him too. Orders were given for the horse to be fed and the luggage put in a corridor. The gentleman asked about their background.
“I have been sent by the emperor of Great Tang in the East,” Sanzang said, “to the Vulture Peak in your splendid country to see the Lord Buddha and ask for the true scriptures. I am here to request a meal because I have heard that in your distinguished household you honour monks. After that we will be on our way.”
The gentleman's face was suffused with pleasure as he replied with a chuckle, “My name is Kou Hong, my other name is Kou Dakuan, and I have lived for sixty-four wasted years. When I was forty I made a vow to feed ten thousand monks, and you will complete the number. In the twenty-four years during which I have been feeding monks I have kept a record of their names. Having nothing else to do in recent days I have counted the names of all the monks I've fed, and the score is now 9,996. I was only short of four to make up the full number. Then today heaven has you four teachers down to me to complete the ten thousand. Will you be so good as to tell me your names? I hope that you will stay for a month or more until I have celebrated the completion, after which I will send you teachers up the mountain in carrying-chairs or on horses. Vulture Peak is only some 250 miles from here, not at all far away.” Sanzang was thoroughly delighted to hear this, and he agreed to it all at once.
Several young and old servants fetched firewood, drew water, and brought rice, flour and vegetables into the house with which to prepare them a meal. All this disturbed the gentleman's wife, who said, “Where have these monks come from, and why is everyone so busy?”
“Four eminent monks have just arrived,” the servants told her, “and when the master asked them where they were from they said they'd been sent by the emperor of the Great Tang in the East to go to worship the Lord Buddha on Vulture Peak. Goodness only knows how far it is to here from there. The master said that they had been sent down from heaven and told us to get them a vegetarian meal quickly.”
The old woman was also very pleased to hear this, so she told a maid to fetch her clothes so that she too could go to see them. “Only one of them is handsome, ma'am,” the servant said. “The other three don't bear looking at. They're really hideous.”
“What you people don't realize,” the old woman replied, “is that if they look ugly, strange and freakish they must be heavenly beings come down to earth. Hurry and tell your master straight away.”
The servant ran straight to the surra hall, where he said to the gentleman, “The old lady's here to pay her respects to the lords from the East.” On hearing this Sanzang rose from his seat. Before the words had all been spoken the old woman was already before the hall, where she lifted her eyes to see the Tang Priest's majestic countenance and his splendid bearing. When she turned to see the extraordinary appearance of Monkey and the other two she was somewhat alarmed even though she knew they were heavenly beings come down to earth; she fell to her knees and bowed.
Sanzang quickly returned her courtesy, saying, “Bodhisattva, the honour you do me is undeserved.” The old woman then asked her husband why the four reverend gentlemen were not all sitting together.
“We three are disciples,” said Pig, thrusting his snout forward. Goodness! His voice was like the roar of a tiger deep in the mountains. The old woman was terrified.
As they were talking another servant appeared to announce, “The two young masters are here too.” When Sanzang turned quickly round to look he saw that they were two young scholars, who prostrated themselves to the venerable elder after walking into the sutra hall. Sanzang was quick to return their courtesy. Mr. Kou then came up to take hold of him and say, “These are my two sons. Their names are Kou Liang and Kou Dong. They have just come back from their school and have not yet had their lunch. They are here to pay their respects because they have heard that you teachers have come down to earth.”
“What fine sons,” said Sanzang with delight, “what fine sons. Indeed:
If you want to make a lofty match you must do good:
The success of your sons and grandsons depends on study.”
The two scholars then asked their father, “Where have these lords come from?”
“From a long way away,” Mr. Kou replied with a smile. “The emperor of Great Tang in the East of the Southern Continent of Jambu has sent them to Vulture Peak to worship the Lord Buddha and fetch the scriptures.”
“We have read in the Compendious Forest of Facts that there are four continents in the world,” the scholars said. “This continent of ours is the Western Continent of Cattle-gift. There is also an Eastern Continent of Superior Body. How many years did it take you to get here?”
“I have been a long time on the journey,” Sanzang replied with a smile, “met many vicious demons and monsters, and suffered greatly. I have been greatly indebted to my three disciples for their protection. Altogether it has taken me fourteen winters and summers to reach your splendid country.”
When the scholars heard this they said with unbounded admiration, “You really are holy monks, you really are.”
Before they had finished speaking a servant came in to invite them to eat: “The vegetarian banquet has been set out, so will you eat, my lords?” The gentleman then sent his wife and sons back to the house, while he went with the four monks into the refectory for the meal. Everything was set out very neatly. There were gold-lacquered tables and black-lacquered chairs. In front were fine cakes of many colours that skilled chefs had made up in up-to-date styles. The second row contained five dishes of hors-d'oeuvres, in the third row there were five dishes of fruit, and in the fourth were five large dishes of snacks. Everything tasted good, looked good and smelt good. Vegetable soup, rice and steamed breadrolls were all spicy, piping hot, and most delicious. There was plenty to fill one's stomach. Seven or eight servants rushed around waiting on them, while four of five cooks were kept constantly busy. Just watch while some poured soup and others filled the rice bowls, coming and going like shooting stars chasing the moon. Pig was finishing up bowls in single mouthfuls, like a gale blowing the clouds away. Thus master and disciples ate their fill. Sanzang then rose to thank Mr. Kou for the meal before setting out again.
The gentleman blocked his way saying, “Teacher, won't you take things easy and spend a few days here? As the saying goes, it's nothing to start a journey but it's hard to end one. I will send you on your way when we have celebrated the completion of my vow.” Seeing how sincere and determined he was, Sanzang had no option but to stay.
Five to seven days quickly passed before Mr. Kou engaged twenty-four local Buddhist monks to perform a mass to celebrate the fulfillment of the vow. The monks spent three or four days writing texts out and chose a lucky day on which to begin the Buddhist service. The way they did it was like in the Great Tang. There was
A great display of banners,
Where the golden countenance was set out;
Rows of candles
And incense burnt in offering.
Drums and gongs were beaten,
Pipes and shawms were played.
Sounded in tune;
To the beat of the drum,
And the woodwind's notes,
The words of sutras were recited in unison.
First the local god was put at ease,
Then spirit generals were invited to come.
The documents were sent out,
And they bowed low to the Buddha statues,
Reciting the Peacock Sutra,
Each word of which could sweep away disasters,
A stand of lamps was lit for Bhaisajya-guru,
To shine with flames of dazzling brightness.
They performed the Water Ceremony
To end any sense of grievance.
Then they intoned the Avatamsaka Sutra
To do away with slander.
The Three Vehicles of the Wonderful Law are very fine:
Different monks are all the same.
The mass lasted for three days and nights before it ended. In his longing to go to the Thunder Monastery the Tang Priest was determined to be on his way, so he took his leave of them and thanked them.
“Teacher, you are very eager to say good-bye,” Mr. Kou said. “I suppose you must have taken offence because for days on end we have been so busy with our service that we have treated you very offhandedly.”
“We have put your noble house to a great deal of trouble,” Sanzang replied, “and I do not know how we will ever repay you. How could we possibly have taken offence? But when my wise monarch saw me off through the passes all those years ago he asked me when I would be back. I wrongly told him that I would return in three years, never imagining that the journey would be so badly delayed that it has already lasted fourteen years. I do not even know whether I will succeed in fetching the scriptures, and it will take me another twelve or thirteen years to get back. How am I to face the penalty for breaking my monarch's sage command? I beg you, sir, to let me go to fetch the scriptures and return. Next time I come to your mansion I will be able to stay much longer.”
This was more than Pig could bear. “You don't care at all about what we want, Master,” he shouted at the top of his voice. “You're showing no consideration at all. The old gentleman's very rich, and now he's fulfilled his vow to feed monks. Besides, he's really sincere about wanting to keep us here. It'd do no harm if we stayed here for a year or so. Why be so set on going? Why leave all this good food to go begging for meals elsewhere? Is it your parents' home ahead?”
“All you care about is food, you cretin,” shouted Sanzang angrily. “You don't care at all about the transference of cause and effect. Really, you're such an animal you'd eat from the trough to scratch the itch in your belly. If you people are going to be so greedy and stupid I'll go by myself tomorrow.”
Seeing that the master's attitude had changed, Monkey grabbed hold of Pig and punched his head. “You've got no sense, you idiot,” he said abusively. “You've made the master angry with us too.”
“He deserved that,” said Friar Sand with a grin, “he deserved that. He's disgusting enough even if he doesn't say a word, but he would have to interrupt.” Breathing heavily, the idiot stood to one side, not daring to say another word.
Seeing the anger of master and disciple, Mr. Kou said, his face wreathed in smiles, “Do not be so short-tempered, teacher. Make yourself comfortable for the rest of the day. Tomorrow I will have banners and drums brought here and ask some relations and neighbors to come to see you off.”
As they were talking the old woman come out again to say. “Venerable teacher, as you have come to our house you should not refuse too insistently. How many days have you spent here now?”
“It is already a fortnight,” Sanzang replied.
“That fortnight is my gentleman's achievement,” the old woman said. “I have a little pin-money with which I would like to entertain you gentlemen for another fortnight.”
Before she had finished speaking Kou Dong and his brother came out again to say, “Your four lordships, in the twenty and more years during which our father has been feeding monks he has never met better ones than yourselves. Now that by your gracious condescension you have made up the total you really have brought glory to our thatched hovel. We two are too young to understand about cause and effect, but we have often heard it said,
The husband gets what he has merited,
The wife gets what she has merited;
Nothing is got when nothing is merited.
Our father and mother each want to make a humble offering in order that each of them may merit a reward, so why must you refuse so insistently? And as we two brothers have saved a little of our school fees we hope to be allowed to support you gentlemen for another fortnight before seeing you on your way.
“I dare not accept even the lavish hospitality of the venerable Bodhisattva your mother,” Sanzang replied, “so how could I accept you brothers' generosity? I could not possibly do so. I really must set out today. Please, please do not take offence. If I do not go now I will be unable to avoid execution for exceeding my emperor's time-limit by so long.”
When the old woman and her two sons realized that Sanzang was determined not to stay they started losing their patience.
“We invite you very nicely to stay,” they said, “but you're obstinately set on going. If you're going, go, and cut out this chatter.” Mother and sons then left to go back to the house. Pig could hold his tongue no longer.
“Master,” he said to the Tang Priest, “don't overdo it. As the saying goes, 'If you can stay, don't go away.' Let's stay here for another month to let the mother and her sons fulfil their wishes. Why do you have to be in such a rush?” The Tang Priest made another angry noise at him and shouted again.
The idiot then slapped his own face twice, saying, “Tut, tut, tut. Don't talk out of turn. You spoke again.” Brother Monkey and Friar Sand, who were standing to one side, started spluttering with laughter. The Tang Priest was angry with Monkey again.
“What are you laughing at?” he asked, and made the hand magic, ready to recite the Band-tightening Spell.
This so terrified Monkey that he fell to his knees at once and said, “I didn't laugh, Master. Whatever you do, don't say the spell! Don't say it!”
Seeing that master and disciples were getting into a worse and worse temper with each other Mr. Kou gave up his insistence on their staying. “Don't quarrel, teachers,” he said, “I'll definitely see you on your way tomorrow morning.” He then left the sutra hall and told his secretary to write a hundred or so invitations to his neighbors and relations to see the Tang Priest off to the West early the next morning. He told the cooks to lay on a parting banquet, while also instructing his steward to have twenty pairs of coloured flags made, hire a band of musicians, and engage a group of Buddhist monks from the Monastery from the South and another group of Taoist priests from the Eastern Peak Temple. Everything was to be ready and in order by ten in the morning. All the gentleman's staff went off to carry out their orders. Soon it was evening again, and after supper everyone went to bed. It was the time when
Dots of homegoing rooks pass the lonely village;
Drum and bell can be heard from each other's distant towers.
In streets and markets the bustle is stilled;
In all the houses the lamps shine dimly.
Flowers in the breeze throw shadows under the moon;
The stars shine bright against the Milky Way.
Where the cuckoo sings the night seems deeper;
All natural sounds are stilled across the earth.
During the third and fourth watches of the night all the household servants in charge of various matters got up early to attend to their tasks. Just watch. The cooks preparing the banquet were busy in the kitchen. The people who had to buy coloured flags were bustling in front of the hall. Those engaging Buddhist and Taoist clergy were hurrying about as fast as their legs could carry them. Those hiring musicians were in a great rush. The messengers delivering invitations ran all over the place, while the servants preparing the carrying-chairs and horses were calling to each other. They were all shouting from the middle of the night until dawn, and by around ten o'clock everything was prepared. This was all because the family was rich.
The story tells how the Tang Priest and his disciples got up early to be waited on once more by that crowd of servants. The venerable elder told them to pack the baggage and saddle the horse. When the idiot heard that they were about to go he pulled a face, pouted and grumbled, but he still had to pack the clothes and begging bowls then go to look for the carrying pole. Friar Sand brushed the horse, saddled and harnessed it, and stood waiting. Brother Monkey put the nine-ringed monastic staff in his master's hand and hung the passport in a bag in front of his chest. They were now all ready to set out. Mr. Kou then invited them into the large hall at the back, where a feast was set out that excelled even the one they had eaten in the refectory.
Curtains hung from on high;
Screens stood all around.
In the middle was a picture:
A mountain of long life and a sea of blessings.
On both walls were displayed.
Scrolls of spring, summer, autumn and winter.
From the dragon-patterned tripod came clouds of incense;
Above magpie-tailed burners rose auspicious vapors.
In bowls were bunches of color,
Fresh and brilliant flowers of splendid form.
The tables were piled with gold:
Lines of confections shaped like lions and immortals.
Music and dancing before the steps were in true harmony;
The dishes in the hall were like a brocade.
Exquisite soup and rice, both free of meat;
The finest tea and the best of wines.
Although they were only commoners
Their home was fine enough for a prince.
All that could be heard were happy sounds
So loud they surprised the sky and shook the earth.
The venerable elder was just exchanging courtesies with Mr. Kou when a servant came in to report, “The guests are all here.” These were the people who had been invited-neighbors, relations by marriage, and some of his pious friends who also fed monks and recited the name of the Buddha-and all of them bowed to the venerable elder. After the greetings had been made everyone sat down. Outside the hall zithers and panpipes were played, while inside the hall pipas and songs accompanied the banquet. Pig paid great attention to this rich banquet.
“Brother,” he said to Friar Sand, “relax and eat as much as you can. There won't be anything as good as this to eat after we leave the Kou house.”
“Nonsense,” Friar Sand replied with a laugh. “As the saying goes,
No matter how splendid the banquet you eat,
For only a while can it keep you replete.
Your savings may meet the expense of the road,
But savings can never in bellies be stowed.”
“You're hopeless,” said Pig, “hopeless. If I eat my fill today I won't feel hungry for the next three days.”
“Idiot,” said Monkey, who had heard this. “Don't fill your belly till it bursts. We've got to start walking now.”
They were still talking, and it was almost noon when Sanzang raised his chopsticks and said grace. Pig grabbed a bowl, filled it with desperate speed, and ate five or six bowlfuls in succession, gulping down a whole bowlful at a time. Without any qualms at all he filled both his sleeves with steamed bread, twists, pancakes and cooked dishes before rising with his master. Sanzang thanked the gentleman and everyone else, then they all went outside together. Just look at the coloured banners, splendid canopies, drummers and instrumentalists outside. Only then did two groups of clergy, one Buddhist and one Taoist, arrive.
“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Kou, “you are late. Our teacher is in a hurry to leave, so I will not be able to offer you a meal. I'll show you my gratitude when we come back.” Everyone then opened a way to let them through, the carriers carrying their chairs, the riders on their horses and the walkers on foot all let Sanzang and his three disciples go first. The heavens rang with drumming and music, the flags and banner blotted out the sun, crowds pressed around, and carriages and horses were all packed close together as everyone came to watch Mr. Kou seeing the Tang Priest off. The splendor all around was more magnificent than pearls or jade, and no less fine than brocade screens behind which spring lies hidden.
The Buddhist monks playing Buddhist tunes and the Taoist priests their Taoist airs all escorted the travelers out of the prefecture. When they reached the three-mile pavilion, baskets of food and jars of drink were set out, cups were raised, and they all drank parting toasts.
Mr. Kou, loath to let them go, said as he choked back his tears, “Teacher, you must spend some more days with us on your way back with the scriptures to fulfil my longing.” Overcome with gratitude, Sanzang thanked him at great length.
“If I reach Vulture Peak,” he said, “and see the Lord Buddha the first thing I will do will be to praise your great virtue. We will certainly come to kowtow to you in thanks on our return journey.” As they talked they covered another mile or so without noticing it. Then the venerable elder insisted on taking his leave, at which Mr. Kou turned back, sobbing aloud. Indeed:
He who had vowed to feed the clergy found enlightenment:
He was not fated to see the Tathagata Buddha.
We will tell not of how Mr. Kou went home with everyone after seeing the travelers off as far as the three-mile pavilion, but of how the master and his three disciples went on for some twelve or fifteen miles. By now it was growing dark.
“It's late,” Sanzang said. “Where are we to spend the night?”
Pig, who was carrying the pole, pulled a face and said, “You would have to leave ready-cooked meals behind and refuse to stay in a nice cool brick house so as to go wherever it is we're going. That's just asking for trouble. It's very late now. What'll we do if it starts raining?”
“Evil, insolent beast,” cursed Sanzang, “complaining again. As the saying goes,
The capital may be remarkably fine,
But we can't linger here for a very long time.
If we are fated to visit the Lord Buddha, fetch the true scriptures, go back to Great Tang and report to the emperor I will let you eat in the imperial kitchens for years on end. Then, you evil beast, you will swell up till you burst. That will teach you to be such a greedy devil.” The idiot chortled quietly to himself, but did not dare say another word.
When Brother Monkey raised his eyes to look around he saw some buildings beside the road and asked his master urgently, “Can we spend the night here? Can we?” Sanzang went over to the place, where he saw a ruined memorial arch on which was inscribed
THE VIHARA OF PADMAPRABHA
“The Bodhisattva Padmaprabha was a disciple of the Buddha Sikhin,” said Sanzang, dismounting. “He was dismissed for eliminating the Demon King of Poison Fire and turned into the Spirit Officer of the Five Manifests. There must be a shrine here.” They then all went in together. The cloisters had all collapsed, the walls had fallen down, and there was no trace of anybody around, only of vegetation running wild. They would have gone out again, but the sky had filled with dark clouds and it had started to pour with rain. There was nothing for it but to find a place in the ruins where they could shelter from the storm. They kept completely silent, not daring to speak aloud for fear that some evil demon might hear them. Thus it was that they endured a sleepless night sitting or standing there. Oh dear! How true it is that
Disaster strikes at triumph's height;
In time of joy comes sorrow's blight.
If you don't know what happened when they carried on with their journey, listen to the explanation in the next installment.