A long time ago, the morals of the people in a village had become very bad, and gods were going to destroy the town. A Bodhisattva wanted to save the benevolent people in the village, giving those who knew the difference between good and evil another chance to survive. So she went down to the world and turned into a beggar. She arrived at the village to beg from house to house, but no one was willing to give her a bite of food.
She walked to the entrance of the village and found that an old lady was offering incense to the Buddha, so she stepped forward to beg. The old lady embarrassingly said: “I have this bowl of rice. Let me give you half of the bowl. I’ll leave this half for the Buddha’s offering.” The Bodhisattva pointed to a pair of stone lions at the village entrance and said to her: “When you see the eyes of these lions turn red, there will be a great flood. You should run up the mountain — remember this.”
The old lady immediately told the villagers, but no one believed her. They laughed at her and ridiculed her, saying: “How could the eyes of the stone lion turn red?”
One day, a few layabouts in the village wanted to make fun of the old lady, so they dyed the eyes of the stone lions red with red dye. When the old lady saw the stone lion’s eyes were red, she anxiously shouted to the villagers: “Run! It’s going to flood.”
The villagers bent double with laughter having successfully fooled the old lady. The old lady kept shouting, but no one took it seriously and no one listened to her. Seeing that everyone ignored her, the old lady ran up the mountain alone, and a flood soon submerged the whole village.
A kind action gave the old lady the chance to hear the Bodhisattva’s warning. When the villagers listened to the old lady’s advice, they had evil thoughts, fooled her and ridiculed her, and even painted the lions’ eyes red. In the end, good thoughts and actions save the good, while evil thoughts and actions eliminate the bad.
Translated by Joseph Wu and edited by Helen