Read about the fascinating journey of two Western monks who traveled from their homeland to China, encountering perilous landscapes and sharing tales of their quest for enlightenment.
Two monks from the Western Region arrived in the inland of China. One headed straight to Wutai Mountain, while the other sought refuge in Mount Tai. Their clothing, appearance, and language were entirely different from the people in the Chinese mainland.
The Western Region monks claimed, “We came from the Western lands, passing by the Flaming Mountain. The mountain had layers upon layers, and walking on it felt like being steamed on a stove due to the intense heat. Therefore, we had to travel swiftly after the rain and walk with complete concentration, never taking our eyes off the path. Our steps had to be extremely light; otherwise, if we accidentally kicked a rock, flames would burst forth and burn us. We also passed through the Quicksand River, where there was a Crystal Mountain in the river with cliffs soaring into the sky, shining brilliantly and transparently. Looking across the mountain, it seemed as if there was nothing obstructing the view. There was also a narrow and treacherous pass on the mountain, only wide enough for one vehicle to pass through. Guarding the pass were two dragons, facing each other with their mouths and horns. To pass through, pedestrians had to first pay respects to the dragons. Once the dragons allowed passage, their horns and mouths facing each other would naturally separate. These dragons were white, and their scales, as well as the whiskers on their mouths, were as clear and transparent as crystal.”
The Western Region monks continued, “We have been traveling for eighteen years on this journey. When we initially left the Western lands, there were twelve of us, but upon reaching China, only the two of us remain. It is widely rumored in the West that China has four famous mountains: Mount Tai, Mount Hua, Wutai Mountain, and Mount Putuo. It is said that these mountains are covered in gold, and the Guanyin Bodhisattva and Manjushri Bodhisattva on the mountains are as lifelike as real people. It is also said that anyone who can reach these four famous mountains can instantly attain Buddhahood and eternal life.”
Listening to their words, one comes to understand that Westerners envy the East, just as we in the East envy the Western world. If the Western pilgrims and the Eastern travelers were to meet halfway and share their aspirations, they would surely exchange knowing smiles and alleviate the hardships of their long journeys.