During the Song Dynasty, there was a talented and knowledgeable statesman called Su Dongpo. He was a devout Buddhist and was good friends with Master Fo Yin who lived in the Jinshan Temple across the river. They got together very often to engage in philosophical discussions.
One day, Su Dongpo had an inspiration and wrote a poem:
“As I pay my deepest respect to the great Buddha,
His bright illumination lights up innumerable worlds in the universe;
I am seated firmly on the golden purple lotus,
And nothing can move me, including the eight winds.”
He was very proud of it and wanted to share his creation with his good friend. So he wrote down the poem and dispatched his errand boy to deliver it to Master Fo Yin.
When the boy returned, he took the letter eagerly, expecting to see praises for his brilliance. To his dismay, there was only one big word on the letter: “Bullshit!” He was outraged. Immediately he set off on his boat to dispute with the Master.
As the boat approached, Su Dongpo saw Master Fo Yin standing at the shore smiling at him. “My great statesman! Didn’t you say that you are unmoved even by the eight winds? Why is it that with a single word, I managed to move you across the river?” At that moment, Su Dongpo realized his folly and felt ashamed by his arrogance.
Those of us who are aspiring to master the skill of serenity and be able to remain unperturbed by external factors (what is called “unmovable by the eight winds”), please take some time to listen to what I have to say about the importance and benefits of meditation.
(Note: “Eight winds” refers to eight worldly conditions that we go through in our daily lives: praise, blame, fame, disgrace, gain, loss, suffering and happiness.)