A White Goose Listens to the Sutra

Publish Date:2021-11-30

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Huiyuan, a long hair monk of Shaolin Temple during the Daxiang two years (580) of the Northern Zhou Dynasty, was one disciple of Dumentong Fashang, top management of the sangha at that time. Huiyuan chanted The Lotus Sutra and The Vimalakirti Sutra one thousand times respectively, sit in meditation for breath-counting and also had learned Chan Buddhism from master Sengchou.


Huiyuan lectured on theories of scriptures and widely preached dharma in Shaolin Temple. Most of time the number of audience could reach one thousand.

Huiyuan’ s most interesting story was A White Goose Listens to the Sutra. According to legend, he kept a white goose in Qinghua Temple (the present Jincheng, Shanxi province). The goose always stood in a corner listening whenever Huiyuan lectured. People took no notice of this and then the white goose listened to lectures on dharma for many years. Later Huiyuan lived in Jingying Temple of Chang’ an city. This goose always cackled in the corridor day and night, which made monks restless and even hateful. But it was master’ s goose and people could not do anything about it. Soon a monk would go to Chang’ an to handle affairs and straightforward took this goose lest it always cackled in the temple. The monk got to the gate of Jingying Temple, releasing the goose. It went straight to the meditation hall and gleefully leaped on and on. Thereafter the goose still went to listen to lectures on dharma, back at the sound of the bell, never late or leaving early.

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