Once upon a time there was beggar Fan Dan living in a dilapidated temple. He would go to beg each day and store all rice in a pot. Surprisingly the pot seems can never be filled. He was wondering if anything wrong with it.
One night he hid himself and watch carefully see what would happen, found a white rat which come to steal his rice. He asked the white rat, “Why are you stealing from a poor wretch like me?”
“Well,” replied the white rat, “it is your destiny to lead a hand-to-mouth life, you will never have more than enough no matter what you do.”
“Then why should I deserve such an ill fate?” Fan asked.
“I don’t know, go and ask the Buddha by yourself.” Said the rat.
From then on, Fan Dan started his journey to the Western Heaven where Buddha lives.
One day he went to beg from a rich landlord, the landlord heard his story and requested “When you see Buddha, can you ask for me why my daughter is mute?” Fan promised readily.
Fan was passing by an earth-god temple, he got the second request from the earth-god, “When you see Buddha, please ask for me why I never get a promotion.”
Several months later, Fan met a big river without any bridge. A turtle swam along and carried him to the other bank. Having heard Fan’s story, the turtle also begged, “ can you please ask Buddha why I can never go to Heaven?” Fan accepted the third requests.
Finally Fan reached the Western Heaven and saw Buddha. Buddha said firstly, “It is a rule here, you can only ask no more than 3 questions.” This has put him in a dilemma, as he had come all the way to ask about his destiny, but he had promised to ask 3 questions for others, he had to keep his own words. Hesitated for a moment, he asked the 3 questions for others.
Buddha’s answers as bellow:
The landlord’s daughter will speak when she meets her husband; the earth-god is a money-grubber, with gold under his left root and silver under his right root, will have to give them up; the turtle can only go to Heaven if he get rid of the 24 night-luminescent pearls on its head.
Fan Dan passed on the reply from Buddha to the turtle, the turtle gave Fan its pearls as gift and flew to Heaven; the earth-god gave all his gold and silver to Fan after got the answer from Buddha.
Fan moved on to the village. Seeing Fan approaching, the mute daughter tugged at her father’s sleeve and uttered, “Dad, he is back.” The landlord was astonished. He had heard the words from Buddha but how could he marry his daughter to a beggar. He then gave Fan some silver as traveling expense instead. But as soon as Fan left, the girl became mute again.
The rich landlord realized the seriousness of Buddha’s words and finally approved the marriage. The husband and wife led a happy life till the end of their lives.
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