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Quelling the Demons' Revolt: A Novel From Ming China by Guanzhong Luo

Quelling the Demons' Revolt: A Novel From Ming China by Guanzhong Luo

Author:Guanzhong Luo
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: fiction, Historical, General, History, Asia, China, Literary Collections, Asian, Chinese
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Published: 2017-09-05T01:15:21.293000+00:00


11

PELLET PRIEST SPIRITS AWAY MARSHAL WANG’S MONEY;

SEVEN SAINTS DU CUTS OFF HIS SON’S HEAD WITH MAGIC.

POEM:

Varied is the magic of the Dark Goddess;

Study it—you’ll have an epiphany;

If anger, greed, and lust you can forswear,

A minor immortal in this world you’ll be.

After Marshal Wang returned from his excursion outside the city, he had no other activity planned for that day, and his followers dispersed. The following day they all—officials, private citizens, and idlers alike—called on him to pay their respects. “Yesterday we spent the day outside the city,” he said. “but today I’m not going out. Instead I’ve arranged a drinking party in the back garden.” He told them not to go home but to join him there to watch plays and other diversions. Now, this garden of his had not just a single pavilion but a large number of places for enjoying oneself. The pavilion they went to on this occasion was called Four Views. After his men had arranged his food and drink, the marshal sat alone in the pavilion, while all the others, from officials to private citizens to mere attendants, demonstrated their talents in front of him.

As they drank, they heard a sudden sound from one of the uprights in the pavilion, and everyone was startled, from the marshal himself down to the lowliest servant. When they looked, they found that someone had fired a pellet into the garden.

“What a scoundrel!” said Marshal Wang. “It’s lucky he hit the upright. If he’d struck me, it would have been a disaster!” He ordered his staff to find out who had fired the pellet. They searched all around, but how could anyone fire a pellet into such a large garden with such high walls? As they debated the question, the pellet itself rolled along the pavilion floor, made a few skips, and then spun around hundreds of times like a jade bobbin.

“Incredible!” exclaimed the marshal. At this point a loud pop was heard from the pellet, and out shot the tiny figure of a man. Although small at first, once it met the first breath of terrestrial wind, the figure gradually grew until it became a six-foot-tall priest wearing a fiery red cassock and gold earrings. The marshal and all the others present were dumbfounded.

The priest stepped forward and addressed the marshal: “I bow before you.”

Although he said nothing, the marshal thought, what a fine priest this man is! I must treat him with all due respect. He rose to his feet and returned the bow, asking, “May I ask what brings you here, Reverend Master?”

“I’m an itinerant monk from the Manjusri Temple on Mount Wutai in Yanmen county of Daizhou, and I’ve come here especially to visit you, sir, and to beg for a vegetarian meal.”

The marshal had always venerated Buddhist doctrine and regularly donated to the Three Buddhist Treasures,1 and so now, on seeing this kind of priest coming to beg for alms and arriving in such an extraordinary fashion, how could he be anything but delighted? “Please take a seat,” he said.



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