Meditation & Health #7 Contents

Be a Fire That Lights Up Others

Translation by Springleaf Illustration by Liyi

One day, a Zen master named Xianya came across a bickering couple while he was on his way to preach dharma.

Wife: What kind of husband are you? There’s not a shred of manhood in you!

Husband: If you criticize me one more time, I’ll beat you up!

Wife: Go ahead and try! You’re not a man at all!

Master Xianya shouted loudly to passersby, “Look! There’s a fight going on here! There’s no free entry to bullfights, cockfights or cricket fights, but human fights are free for all to watch!”

The couple continued quarrelling.

Husband: If you keep this up, I’ll kill someone!

Wife: Kill someone then! Even if you kill someone you’re still not a man!

Master Xianya: This is exciting! He’s going to kill someone, come and watch!

Passerby: Sir! What are you shouting about? What’s their fight got to do with you?

Master Xianya: Why doesn’t it concern me? Didn’t you hear that they’re going to kill someone? If someone dies, they’re going to need a monk to say prayers at the funeral. That means I would have a chance to receive some donations!

Passerby: This is absurd! You hope they’ll kill someone so you can receive donations!

Master Xianya: Let’s hope no one gets hurt, then I’ll start my preaching!

At that moment the couple stopped their quarrelling, distracted by the argument between the master and the passerby, and came over to find out what the fuss was about.

The Zen master said to the couple, “Even the thickest layers of ice can be melted by rays of sunlight. Food that is frozen can be cooked by fire. As a couple brought together by fate, you must be the sunlight that warms the hearts of others. Be a fire that lights up others and fulfills their wishes, not a fire that destroys.

I hope you two live happily together!”

Meditation & Health #7 Contents