There was a certain mountain in China. Since the snow accumulated on it year after year without ever thawing, it was named Chang Bai (Always White) Mountain. There was a county at the foot of the mountain with two cities, one in the east and one in the west. Thus, it was named Shuang Cheng (Twin Cities) County. In this county lived a peasant of the Bai (White) family whose name was Shan (Mountain). As a child, he was simple and honest. Since his family was so poor that he virtually had to beg for food, he was nicknamed
“The Mendicant.” When he grew older, he took delight in horseback riding and swordplay. He had a military spirit and was an expert fighter. If he saw injustice on the road, he would go out of his way to aid the victim. He considered it an honor to give up his life for the sake of his friends. He found happiness in taking losses and benefitting others. At the age of fifteen, he attended a private school and gradually had some achievement. At seventeen he founded a free school in the village, personally serving as the teacher. When he was nineteen, his mother passed away. He built a simple hut by her grave and lived there in mourning. Later, he left the home-life to cultivate the Way. Indeed, he did become a mendicant [a Buddhist monk is also referred to as a mendicant].
A Verse Says:
The Mendicant Chang Bai was simple and honest in nature.
He was always quick to help people and benefit others.
Forgetting himself for the sake of the Dharma,
he was willing to sacrifice his life.
Bestowing medicines according to people’s illnesses,
he gave up his own marrow and skin.
His vow was to unite in substance with millions of beings.
His practice exhausted empty space as he gathered
in the myriad potentials.
There is no past, no future, and no present,
No north, no south, no east or west.