Snakes and Cultivation


Located in the Yang Ming Mountains, Ling Chuan Monastery occasionally receives visits from snakes. One day, a large boa startled some nuns, who screamed out in surprise. Witnessing their reaction, the Master said to them, “This is not a courteous way to treat another sentient being that comes to cultivate its bodhi mind. You should get along in harmony.”

On another day, a small snake appeared inside the Chan Hall, moving in a pattern similar to the monks’ walking meditation. The attendant monk of the hall bent down to transmit the Three Refuges to the snake, and then asked it to leave. The snake persisted in its own “walking meditation” and showed no sign of leaving. Suddenly, the Master walked in and said, “Leave.” The snake went away immediately.

“Such is the difference between a good cultivator and an ordinary one,” sighed the monk.