Many people say,“There’s no one smarter than an emperor; there’s no one wiser than a Sanghan.” During the Kangxi reign of the Qing dynasty, it was rumored that there lived an old Bhikshu (monk) of great cultivation at Wutai Mountain. One day Emperor Kangxi suddenly thought that there had been no news of his father ever since he went to Wutai Mountain and left the home-life. He wondered if the old Bhikshu might be his father, Emperor Shunzhi. Kangxi took off his imperial robes and dressed as a commoner. Unaccompanied by a single minister or official, he went to Wutai Mountain to search for his father. Upon entering a temple, he saw the old monk, but could not be sure it was his father, since the monk was dressed in dishevelled rags, with face unwashed, beard unshaven, and hair uncut--truly a rustic monk.
Afterwards, Kangxi paid another visit to Wutai Mountain and saw the rustic monk again, this time meditating in the Chan hall. Kangxi immediately went back and ordered someone to buy a prostitute named Golden Flower at the brothel and bring her back to him. Kangxi said to Golden Flower, "Go and keep the old monk company at Wutai Mountain. If you can make the old monk open his eyes, I'll give you ten thousand ounces of gold. Then you'll be rich and you won't have to be a prostitute anymore."
Golden Flower could not refuse the emperor's orders, so she went to Wutai Mountain. When she found the old cultivator, she put on her most winsome and captivating manner, but the monk had sufficient samadhi and remained unmoved by her. After two days and nights, the monk opened his eyes and said to her, "Since you've sat with me for two days and nights, you can have these two bronze dollars." Seeing that the monk had opened his eyes and spoken, Golden Flower took the bronze coins and returned to Kangxi to collect her reward.
When Kangxi heard that the monk had come out of samadhi, he put on his imperial robes and, accompanied by his retinue of ministers, he went to Wutai Mountain to see his father. On the way there, he was met by several thousand Bhikshus who came out to greet him. When Kangxi finally reached the place where the old monk had meditated before, there was no one there. After a little while a young novice less than ten years old appeared carrying a worn hat. He left the hat under the incense burner and then left. Thinking it strange, Kangxi moved the incense burner aside and saw that it was not a hat, but a slip of paper with a message:
I owed her two dollars from last life. Golden Flower was supposed to spend two nights with me. Because Emperor Kangxi served as match-maker, I have had to cultivate five hundred years less.
The Bhikshu and the novice were both gone. Since Emperor Shunzhi had left the home-life, he attained to the fruition five hundred years earlier.
On his way home, Kangxi did not see any of the Bhikshus who had welcomed him on his way there. Yet every blade of grass by the roadside had a bronze coin on it.