"Xue Mo uses his sincerity for religion, and his experiences come near to the extreme limits of life. Thus there is a sort of intoxication of the spirit in the body, a kind of madness in the manner of Dionysius, the god of wine."
The Holy Monk and the Spirit Woman [Serial 71]
translated by J. C. Cleary
Chapter 9: Long-Gone Fallen Flowers
4. An Interesting Debate
According to the records in the Secret Transmission of Khyungpo, Khyungpo Naljor, who had an expert knowledge of Sanskrit, had a debate with a Hindu.
I fictionalized it a little, and wrote about it in my novel Spells of the Western Xia:
The story goes, that in a mountain valley, he happened to meet an old lady who was selling fried cakes. She picked up a fried cake and said, “If you can answer my question, then you can have a fried cake. I can also give you a pair of shoes.”
Then she asked: “Don’t you say that all things have no self? Then what do you liberate?”
Khyung answered using the explanations of the Consciousness Only school.
The old lady gave a sarcastic laugh.
She also asked: “You say that all things are impermanent. So isn’t that nirvana which you seek impermanent? If it is impermanent, what meaning is there to your seeking? If it is permanent, what about ‘all things are impermanent’?”
According to the account, Khyung had no answer.
… In a few days, he aged ten years.
There is another story in the Secret Transmission of Khyungpo. In it, the one debating with Khyungpo Naljor is not an old lady, but rather Pema Nam. The story goes that at the time some followers of Hinduism were debating with some followers of Buddhism. Again according to the story, what Pema Nam wanted to do at the time was still to destroy Khyungpo Naljor’s basis of faith. Everyone knows that once the basis of faith is destroyed, the palace of belief collapses.
Those questions which Shakyamuni Buddha paid no attention to when he was in the world became the main issues for non-Buddhists challenging Buddhism. For example: Is the world finite or infinite? Does nirvana exist or is it nonexistent? And so on and so forth. They put special emphasis on the question of existence or nonexistence after nirvana, because this touches on the ultimate issue of belief, and the result of not paying attention to this is always to call forth a hiss of disapproval. The story goes that Pema Nam at least wavered for a time. During the time of Khyungpo Naljor’s pilgrimage, he made a serious study of the Bhagavad Gita with an eminent Hindu teacher, and he was always full of praise for the Bhagavad Gita.
·to be continued...·
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