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Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
SAVING A SWAN WITH HIS BLOOD

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia

One windy day he reached a vast expanse of desert. The wind was blowing so hard that it was difficult for him to keep his eyes open. He had had nothing to drink in three days. Then a flock of swans flew overhead and a small one fell earthward. He walked over, picked it up, examined it, and realized that the small swan was also dying of thirst.

Staring at him, the bird cried desperately as though pleading for water.
Tsong-kha-pa wished to save the bird, but the only thing he had to give it was some of his own blood. He bit his finger and, drop by drop, gave his blood to the swan. After a time the swan regained its strength and flew away. But Tsong-kha-pa fainted because he had been thirsty for a long time and had lost much blood.

At this time, Avalokiteivara (Guanyin Boddhisattva) was reposing on a lotus-shaped sedan on Putao Mountain. Suddenly aware, she opened her eyes and looked to the west. Seeing Tsong-kha-pa in difficulty, she dashed to him on a five-colored cloud, spread rain with a willow twig, and saved him. The desert regained life. The next morning, as the morning sun dyed the snow-topped mountains, grass budded in the desert.


From Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 51, 1992: 219-242

Feng Lide and Kevin Stuart
Qinghai Education College, Xining, Qinghai, PR China Folklore Concerning Tsong-kha-pa

This article is a selective translation of tales centering around Tsong-kha-pa (1357-1419), the great Tibetan Buddhist reformer.

Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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