There was a small Buddhist temple standing halfwayup Four Girls Mount, within the boundaries ofChengdu, capital of Sichuan Province in China. Withinthe temple there was an old monk with severalnovices. They lived comfortably as the temple,though insignificant in name and size, attracted anendless stream of pilgrims and tourists.
One night, the huge statue of the Buddha, as tall as two meters, fell suddenly from its seatand broke in pieces. But two smaller statues on either of his sides, Gold Boy and Jade Girl, stillremained intact.
As it so happened, the annual Buddhist meeting had to be held the next day and a largenumber of pilgrims were expected. What would the monks do to deal with the unusualsituation? They were quite at a loss. The old monk managed to keep calm. He arranged to havethe broken pieces moved away, put the statue of Gold Boy on the vacant seat and leave thestatue of Jade Girl in the firewood room.
The younger monks were rather puzzled. They couldn't understand how Gold Boy could takeover as the image of the Buddha, for he was not only much shorter but also grinning cheekily.If he was found out by the pilgrims there would be a great farce. Nobody would do worshippingand offer money for incense.
What they didn't expect was: nothing happened. Everything went well as usual. Pilgrims came inlarge numbers and incense was burnt abundantly. People knelt before the statue andmurmured their prayers in awe and piety. When it was evening and the monks counted theincense money, they found they received as much as ever.
The old monk smiled, saying, "The pilgrims will prostrate in respect at the statue on the seat ofthe Buddha, no matter who occupies the seat at the moment. That's one of thecharacteristics of human beings."
The younger monks took it to heart, quite impressed by the hard fact that the seat is themost important thing. Who occupies it and how it is occupied—all these things seem nothingto be considered.