The Jeweled Lance

The Jeweled Lance is a military weapon, and here is a story about it.  During the T'ang Dynasty there was born to a very rich family a boy named Hsueh Jen Kuei. Up until the time he was seven or eight years old, he never spoke a word. His father and mother were deeply concerned, fearing that since he hadn't even said "father" or "mother" in all these years, he certainly must be dumb. When he heard his father and mother's discussion he promptly said "father," and his father dropped dead. Then he said "mother" and his mother died too. He was a transformation of 'the spirit of the constellation "White Tiger", and his extreme virtue, evident in the purity of his voice, was so heavy that his common parents couldn't acknowledge that they had given birth to such a being. The recognition of it killed them. It was somewhat like an emperor bowing to a beggar. Most beggars couldn't take it. Then Jen Kuei was entirely alone.

His family had been excessively wealthy, but because he was young, the relatives were able to steal the money, and he was penniless. What is more, he ate a tremendous amount. He could eat a bushel of rice or noodles—about 40 to 50 pounds—in one sitting! Consequently no one wanted to raise him, and there was no money in the house.

At that time Liu Yuan Wei, a wealthy man, was building a new house with logs so big that it took eight men to move one. Hsueh Jen Kuei, who was around 15 at the time and uncommonly tall, could carry two all by himself, and what is more, could work better than the eight who were slow and who stumbled around a lot. He would swing a log onto his shoulder and pace off as if it were nothing at all. When Liu Yuan saw his great strength, he fired the other eight; even though Hsueh Jen Kuei ate a little more, he also did more work, so Liu Yuan kept him on to do whatever work arose.

      Hsueh Jen Kuei, who didn't have many clothes, lived outside the main house in the scant shelter of a fire wood lean-to in the midst of the snowy Shanhsi winter. One snowy night Liu Yuan's daughter heard him rolling around in his sleep in the cold. When she first looked out her window she saw a white tiger, but when she looked a second time, she saw it was Hsueh Jen Kuei, the workman. (Thus he was known as the transformation of the white tiger constellation). Seeing him in the cold she sympathized and decided to give him some clothing. She returned into her room, and without lighting the lamp she by chance grabbed up from among her clothes and an extremely expensive sweater which her father had given her. It was red, and whoever wore it would always be warm. She dropped it outside at the place where Hsueh Jen Kuei slept. When he awoke and saw the piece he put it on beneath his other clothing, and he was warm.

      The next day when he was shoveling snow, he got hot so he stripped off his outer garments, revealing the bright red super-sweater beneath. Lui Yuan happened by, saw him and wondered why he was wearing the clothes he had given his daughter. “It’s for sure my daughter’s having an affair with him!” he thought, and fired Jen Kuei.

      After Hsueh Jen Kuei left he asked his daughter for the special red sweater but she couldn’t find it. This confirmed his suspicions and he began to question her about the affair. “Watch what you do or you won’t succeed.”

      The daughter merely said, “Impossible. A person’s situation is a result of fate, not of his actions.”

      Her father said, “A person’s situation is a result of his actions, not fate. You have to act, otherwise you never have success.”

      She replied heatedly, “If you are destined to have money, you will certainly get rich."

      Her father retorted, “If a man does not do well, how can he have money?” She argued back and forth with her father who finally got angry and told her to get out. “If you’re so fond of him,” he said, “then get the hell out of here! Go live with him some place else. You have no reason to stay here!”

      Hsueh Jen Kuei was living in a poor hut, and the daughter joined him there. Even though she and Jen Kuei had not had an affair, she was forced out by her father. After his accusations, it actually happened, and the two of them began to live together, Jen Kuei hunting ducks to support them. He shot the ducks only through the mouth as they flew over, and so got a good price for them because the duck meat was not damaged. The two lived together for a long time until the Emperor of T’ang called up the army against the Koreans. Prior to this, Korea had followed China’s commands, but now she refused to listen and made war. Jen Kuei enlisted and became China’s Achilles. Ke Su Wen, the Korean super warrior, hurled his spears from hundreds of yards away; Jen Kuei knocked them down with his arrows.

When Jen Kuei stormed Korea, his bravery was matchless;
The rescue from the quicksand revealed his uncommon strength.

The Emperor of T'ang had heard of Hsueh Jen Kuei, but had never seen him because his generals, although pleased with Jen Kuei, were afraid of losing their positions, and didn't wish to disclose to the emperor that such a person existed. The emperor knew, however, and went off to secretly review his troops and rind Jen Kuei. Traveling through Korea he encountered the great Korean General Ke Su Wen. The very sight of this magnificent general rippled the emperor's spine so he jumped on his horse and galloped away. Ke Su Wen pursued him calling out, "Surrender immediately or I'll kill you!"

      The emperor kept fleeing until his horse ran into a quicksand bog and got stuck about 10 feet from shore. Ke Su Wen tried to knife him, but he couldn't reach that far. Had he not left his spear and arrows behind, the emperor surely would have been done for. But he could throw his knife, and the emperor, realizing this, began writing out a document of surrender on part of his robe with his blood. At this crucial moment, when China was about to fall and be conquered by Korea, Jen Kuei arrived. He was about a quarter mile away, riding fast as the wind bearing down on Ke Su Wen with his eighteen foot Jeweled Lance. When Ke Su Wen saw this furious approach, he nearly had a heart attack, and fled in fright; his greatest fear was Hsueh Jen Kuei who had never failed to defeat him.

Hsueh Jen Kuei came galloping up and slid one end of his eighteen foot Jeweled Lance under the belly of the emperor's horse and lifted then them straight up out of the mud onto the bank just like a hydraulic jack! The dynasty was saved and the Koreans defeated by the courage and heroism of Hsueh Jen Kuei.

The rescue from the quicksand revealed his uncommon strength.
            After Korea submitted to the Celestial rule,
            That country's rebellious thieves vanished without a trace'

Commentary of The Jeweled Lance Hand and Eye (see cover):

      The story about the Jeweled Lance was told by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua as a commentary to the gatha, which appears, on the cover of this month’s issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea. The story has been compiled from translations made by several members of the Buddhist Text Translation Society. The translation of the gatha is by Dharma Master Heng Ch’ih.