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Once he became famous, the Living Buddha spent his time wandering outside the monastery, free and unrestrained, "like floating clouds and wild cranes (xiányún yěhè 闲云野鹤)," as they say. Moreover, he continued to act in ways that were crazy and unruly. The other monks in the Monastery of the Golden Mountain could not longer tolerate him and tried to figure out ways to be rid of him.
"I suggest we get rid of the Crazy Monk. A real living buddha would not behave in like a demon that way (guǐyàngzi 鬼样子)."
"Not so fast. The Living Buddha attracts a lot of oil and grain to the monastery every year. At the annual Winter Meditation (chánqī 禅七) he brought in a lot of donations. He is a living benefit to the monastery. So how could we just throw him out the door?"
It was true that the Living Buddha had a large following of religious devotees. Even though he himself did not spend any of the money, each year his followers volunteered a lot of donations to the Monastery of the Golden Mountain, as well as to the Qīxiá Monastery (栖霞寺) in Nánjīng. So they really couldn't afford to throw him out.
"Who's chanting so deafeningly?"
"It's the 'Living Buddha' again."
"It figures. Sigh."
One day in his wandering the Living Buddha stayed at the house of a follower named Hú 胡, who lived in Nánjīng, and who offered him a bath.
"Living Buddha, the bath water is ready," said Mrs. Hú.
"Ah, but the body is only a dirty shell. It cannot be cleaned even if it is washed day and night," replied Miàoshàn.
"But the weather is very hot. Please wash a little," she urged politely.
"Oh very well, since you want me to. Normally I never bathe."
In a little while Miàoshàn emerged. "All done," he said.
"That was fast," thought Mrs. Hú When she went into the bath room, she discovered that the water smelled strongly of sandal wood, and she called others to come and see, and everyone was amazed.
"If you think it smells so good, why not take a sip," said Miàoshàn. It's likely to heal your illness."
"That's odd. How did he know I had any illness?" thought Mrs. Hú. She in fact had not felt very well for several months. Indeed she felt quite exhausted all the time. So she took his advice and tasted the bathwater. Suddenly a feeling like a stream of hot air rushed through her from head to foot.
"I feel warm all over my body. I can't describe the relaxed feeling. It's wonderful! Oh Living Buddha, you are truly a miraculous being (shénxiān 神仙)! You have healed me!" And she bowed before him
And so people began to come asking to drink some of the Living Buddha's bath water, and his fame spread everywhere.
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