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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GloriaJ Folklore: Shape changer/shifter legends (31) RE: Shape changer/shifter legends 14 Nov 11


There's a chinese text called the Wumenkuan written down in 1228 but referring to events several hundred years before.It includes a "story" called Hyakujo's Fox:-.
Hyakujo, a historical person, was head of a large monastery.Every day he gave a talk to the monks, and as they dispersed one old monk always lingered behind.Eventually Hyakujo became curious and went up to ask him who he was.The monk replied "I am not a human, I'm a ghost - I was once, like you, head of this monastery.But one day a monk asked me a question, and because of the answer I gave I now must live through five hundred lives as a fox"
"what was the question?"
"He asked me -" Is the enlightened man subject to the laws of cause and effect, or free of them?" - and I replied "He is free of them" - are you able to see my mistake and free me from the body of the fox?"
Hyakujo said "Ask me the question"
"Is the enlightened man subject to cause and effect?"
Hyakujo replied " He is one with cause and effect"
The monk thanked him and said "Now you have freed me, if you go up onto the mountain you will find the body of a fox - please give me the ceremony of a funeral."

   This story is a spiritual teaching in the Buddhist tradition.It seems at first to give the answer to the monk's question.But the editor,in 1228, adds this;- "Why was he turned into a fox - and why released from the fox's body? If you have an eye to see through this you will know that the old monk did enjoy his five hundred happy blessed lives as a fox".

    I've been inspired by this book for years and have come up with a series of songs based on it.This one I set in a wood near sheffield where the fox appears.


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