The story of the Big Head Buddha is embedded in Chinese culture as immovably as dumplings are in Chinese cuisine. This tale, like so many that are handed down from generation to generation, is delightful.
According to folklore, when the lion first appeared on earth, he was a major troublemaker. His bad reputation called Buddha down to the land of mortals to put an end to the lion’s misdeeds. Dressed in the robes of a monk, with a fan in one hand and a gourd of whisky in the other, he called out to the lion to stop his wrongdoings.
Naturally, the arrogant lion didn’t pay heed. When his arrogance crossed a line, the pair of them began a battle on the streets. While the lion desperately wanted the bottle of whisky, he was also terrified of the Buddha’s fan. The fight went on with no end in sight. Finally, the Buddha whipped out a long red sash from around his waist. He threw it around the animal, reined it in and dragged it forcibly to the nearest temple. Amid the silence and reverence, the lion found peace in his heart as the pair sat silently in prayer.
This story is still very popular today, with families retelling it during festivals of cultural importance. The legend has been embroidered over the years – there are versions today, which speak of the Buddha partnering with the lion on a quest for a magic mushroom.
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