Story of Guan Yin – Merciful Princess Miaoshan（Thousand Arms and Thousand Eyes Guan Yin Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara)
Since the Tang Dynasty, there have been legends saying that the Guanyin Bodhisattva is the Princess Miaozhuang.
The story of Princess Miaoshan, the third daughter of King Miaozhuang, who saved her father and achieved success in spiritual cultivation. Since the Tang Dynasty, there has been a legend that the Goddess of Mercy Guan Yin (Avalokiteśvara) is the daughter of Miaozhuang.
According to legend, in the past there was a wonderful, beautiful Kingdom. King Miaozhuang had a fierce personality and often relied on force to fight against neighboring countries. In his country, the ministers were always trembling when the King saw them, for fear of accidentally violating his rules and bringing upon themselves the scourge of life.
Merciful Princess Miaoshan’s Childhood
King MiaoZhuang had been in power for many years, and he had no son; he only had three beautiful daughters. The three Princesses were called Miaoqing and Miaoyin, and the youngest daughter was called Princess Miaoshan.
Princess Miaoshan had many special qualities since she was born: when Princess Miaoshan was born, a fragrance that emanated from her body and filled her room, and everyone around her could smell the refreshing fragrance. When she was born, there was a glowing rainbow sky, which was visible all over the royal palace. Princess Miaoshan was clever and bright since she was a child, and she possessed insights beyond ordinary people. When she was born, colorful aerial clouds surrounded the palace. She was able to recite poetry as a child.
One day, the three princess sisters were playing in the royal garden together, and the elder sister Miaoqing said: “We were all sheltered by our King father and live a happy life. I hope that we can remain together forever.”
The second sister Princess Miaoyin said: “Elder Sister, people often say that there is no feast that will last forever, and we are women. Once we get married in the future, how can we always be together like this?” The youngest sister Princess Miaoshan smiled and said nothing. When the two elder sisters saw that she was silent, they asked her what she thought. Princess Miaoshan replied, “Life is rich and glorious, just like the clouds in the sky. It comes and goes; nothing is permanent.” I only wish to have a pure land, something like a mountain where I can spend my whole life cultivating and relieving the suffering of all beings.” Two elder sisters became speechless after Princess Miaoshan replied.
The time passed, the three Princesses have grew up to be young ladies, and the King Miaozhuang
prepared to recruit husbands for his three loving daughters. Unexpectedly, the third princess, Princess Miaoshan, refused to get married. She repeatedly said to her parents: “My entire life, my only wish has been to practice meditation in the mountain, and stay in the monastery to practice. In this royal palace, everything is glorious and wealthy; this is not what I want. I hope father, you can appreciate my sincerity and fulfill my wish.”
King Miaozhuang was very displeased when he heard this, and he immediately ordered his Queen to convince her. Very soon, the first Princess Miaoqing and the second Princess Miaoyin successively got married. However, the third Princess Miaoshan still had no interest in getting married. She kept repeatedly pleading, and expressed her firm belief and determination to cultivate with nuns and monks in the mountain.
Imprisoned in the Garden
When King Miaozhuang heard about his youngest daughter’s response, he was furious: “I am the King of a country, how can my daughter be a nun! If you are not obedient, you will be imprisoned in the back garden until you change your mind!” However, Princess Miaoshan did not succumb to the King’s threat, and she was banned to the royal back garden for years.
After being banned in the back garden, Princess Miaoshan did not feel sad or aggrieved because she lost her father’s favor and glorious life. Instead, she took this opportunity to start a serious cultivation practice. Although King Miaozhuang kept Princess Miaoshan imprisoned in the back garden, she was his biological daughter, and he always felt unhappy about keeping her imprisoned. In addition, the Queen often tried to persuade the King to free her. Sometimes others were allowed to visit, hoping to persuade Princess Miaoshan to change her mind. However, with the passage of time, Princess Miaoshan’s meditation practices became increasingly sophisticated, and her faith in cultivation became more and more firm. King Miaozhuang looked at this situation and felt increasingly disappointed and discouraged.
Leaving the Palace and Staying in the Temple
One day, Princess Miaoshan proposed to her King father that the royal garden was not a good place for long-term retreat. She heard there was a certain Baique Temple in the mountain, where there were many nuns and monks practicing. King Miaozhuang realized that she was planning to be a nun at Baique Temple. He was not happy, because Princess Miaoshan insisted on going to the mountain temple to practice, and she would not change her mind. The King thought to himself, that in order to let Princess Miaoshan give up her goal, maybe he should try to satisfy her wish by letting her go to Baique Temple first. The King knew that formal monasteries had miserable lifestyles, including lots of hard work. If she can’t stand that kind of hard life, she will naturally turn back to me, back to the royal family. Secondly, as a King, he could command the Abbess in the temple to persuade her slowly and change her mind. So finally, the King agreed to Princess Miaoshan’s request: go to the mountain temple and engage in meditation and cultivation .
The head nun (Abbess) Niuniu received the order from the King Miaozhuang, stating that she had to persuade Princess Miaoshan to change her mind. Therefore, when Princess Miaoshan came to the monastery, Abbess talked to her: “Princess, don’t think that the monastic life is so free and easy. Once you are monastic, all beings are equally the same according to Buddha’s teaching, and there is no distinction between superiority and inferiority. Even though you are the daughter of the emperor, King Jinzhiyuye, when you came here, you agreed to share in all of the works like other nuns with no special treatment. You must do all the miscellaneous chores. You need to understand these things.”
Princess Miaoshan replied sincerely: “Since I am dedicated to monasticism, I have no regrets. Although the monastery life may be hard for me, I only wish to learn meditation and attain the path to liberation. As for all kinds of chores, I am willing to accept any assignment, and there is no complaint”. In this case, the Abbess said: “From tomorrow your first assignment will be to work in the kitchen. Wake up early every day to boil water, provide water for all the nuns and monks in the temple, and cook for everyone. If there is a delay, you cannot be excused; I hope you can try to do it by yourself. ”
Buddhadharma Protectors Come to Help
In this way, Princess Miaoshan did all kinds of chores. For instance, she burned wood to start up a fire, chopped wood in the forest, mopped the floor with water, and various other chores; she basically did everything. She was a princess, how could a pitiful body like hers bear such a heavy burden? But Princess MiaoShan never complained. She endured it every day and tried to do her job well. If she had spare time, she meditated and engaged in spiritual practice. Princess Miaoshan’s sincerity finally moved the Buddhadharma protectors. As a result, the Eight Celestial Dragons, the East Sea Dragon King, the Buddhadharma protecters, and so on came one after another to help her to do her chores; even the birds and animals came to help. They swept the floor, carried the water, carried the firewood, cut the firewood, and sent the vegetables to the kitchen.
They even helped to prepare the incense offering and the tea, so that Princess Miaoshan could spare more time to practice her cultivation. At first glance, the Abbess Niuniu never thought this kind of thing could happen, and she had no idea at all, so she had to report to the King Miaozhuang honestly.
Burning the Temple
The King Miaozhuang received a report from the Abbess and realized that there was no hope for Princess Miaoshan to come back, and he couldn’t help but feel angrier. The King immediately commanded the soldiers to surround the temple, and ordered them to burn the temple, killing all of the monks and nuns. The monks and nuns in the temple were very scared. Princess Miaoshan saw everyone like this, and she couldn’t bear it. After all, she was close with them. Everyone was about to be killed by the fire. So she prayed to the Venerable Lord Buddha, she chewed open her fingertip, and she allowed her blood to spurt toward the sky. Black clouds appeared all over the sky, and suddenly, red rain fell from the sky. The fire suddenly disappeared, and a major disaster was immediately resolved.
When King Miaozhuang saw that the fire had suddenly disappeared, he became angrier yet. He commended the soldiers and explained to them that Princess Miaoshan should be bound, brought into court, and punished for the crime of not being filial. He also asked the soldiers to execute her. Therefore, while Princess Miaoshan was bound and brought to the court, the King asked the Queen to try again to persuade Princess Miaoshan to obey him. Unexpectedly, Princess Miaoshan was determined and did not change her initial intention at all. King Miaozhuang had to give another order to imprison her in the cold palace. However, Princess Miaoshan did not succumb to the father’s authority, and opposed everyone, saying: “If you want to kill, you don’t have to threaten me. My wish will never change.” King Miaozhuang heard this, and was extremely angry. He finally gave the order to immediately execute Princess Miaoshan.
Princess Miaoshan was taken to the execution ground, and the executioner was waiting for the King’s execution order. Suddenly, a red light covered Miaoshan’s body, causing the knife to snap into three pieces, and the sword to break. Seeing this situation, King Miaozhuang ordered her to be hanged. At this moment, a snow white tiger suddenly jumped out of nowhere, the sergeants were horrified, and no one dared to step forward. They could only watch the tiger while it carried Princess Miaoshan, as it jumped and disappeared into the black pine forest.
Going Putuo Mountain in the South Sea
A while after Princess Miaoshan was carried into the black pine forest by the tiger, she slowly woke up and saw that she was lying under a large pine tree. She recalled: “I don’t know what happened to me. I remember that I was almost killed by my father, the King . Why did I come to this place? While pondering, Princess Miaoshan saw a very solemn person floating on an auspicious cloud. He came slowly toward Miaoshan, slowly descended from the sky, and spoke to her. Princess Miaoshan surprisingly answered at first sight. This solemn person said: “I am Sakyamuni Buddha.” I am here to guide you on your path to cultivation. When Princess Miaoshan realized that the Buddha Sakyamuni had arrived, she sincerely bowed to Buddha. The Buddha then said to Miaoshan: “There is Putuo Mountain in the South Sea of the Kingdom; this is your place for monasticism.” I will call the Dragon King to transform a lotus platform for you and help you to cross the ocean.” So Princess Miaoshan arrived at Putuo Mountain in the South Sea, practiced there for years, and achieved success.
King Miaozhuang is Ill, Princess Miaosha dig own eyes and cut own hand for medicine
Years later, the King Miaozhuang suddenly became very ill, and the doctors could not cure him. At this time, Princess Miaoshan had already practiced Buddhism and gained enlightenment, and she knew her father had this difficulty. Even though her father once forced her to give up her cultivation path, she still wished her father could recover from his illness. Moreover, Princess Miaoshan practiced with great compassion; when she received her father’s bad news, she turned into an immortal and went to treat her father. Princess Miaoshan had no doubt when she heard that the only medicine that could cure her father was the eyes and hands of a relative. Princess Miaoshan immediately cut and dug at her hands and eyes, and this medicine saved her father’s life. King Miaozhuang recalled the ways in which he had persecuted Miaoshan in the past; he had even ordered her to be executed. Now, King sincerely thanked Miaoshan, and he felt very ashamed. Princess Miaoshan took this opportunity to teach her father the way to practice cultivation and Buddha’s teachings.
Princess Miaoshan has grown one thousand eyes and one thousand hands, and is more solemn and beautiful than before
King Miaozhuang piously prayed to Lord Buddha that his daughter, Princess Miaoshan, could grow a thousand eyes and a thousand hands to recover her body, so that she could save all beings. Because of his piety, Lord Buddha heard King’s wishes and prayers, and in an instant, Princess Miaoshan grew a thousand more solemn and beautiful eyes and a thousand more hands than before.
Princess Miaoshan was finally called “Great Mercy, Great Compassion, Free Suffering, Giving Joy, South Inspirationless Guan Yin Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva” because of her various terms of life cultivation merits.