Budai (Venerable) (6th cent. AD)
“The Master was from FengHua in MingZhou, and, because of his propensity for sitting by a riverside, was known as Old riverbank. No one knew his name, but because he always carried a cloth sack on his back, he was known as Budai Heshang (”cloth Sack monk“). He always spoke strange and wonderful words, and could make anyone alternately laugh and weep. He was constantly chortling and was fond of playing with children.
“When he passed through a marketplace, he would beg for anything he saw in
an attempt to get people to establish affinities with him. One day he
slapped the back of a monk who was walking in front of him and said, 'give
me a coin.'
“The monk replied, 'Tell me the way, and I'll give it.'
“The Master set down his cloth bag and stood with his hands firmly planted
on his hips.
“Another time the monk Baofu asked, 'What is the Great meaning of the Buddha Dharma?'
“The Master then set down his cloth sack.
“Baofu replied, 'Is that all? Is there nothing bigger?'
“The Master then picked up the sack, flung it across his back, and left.
Later on, at Yaolin Temple, he sat upright on a stone and spoke the
Maitreya, truly Maitreya.
With a hundred million transformations,
He constantly reveals himself to the world,
But people do not understand.
Although he then entered Cessation (Nirodha) (i.e., Nirvana), he later was seen in another province, walking along with his cloth bag.
“His eulogy reads,
Just as this cloth sack confuses many men,
He begs from whomever he meets. Whatever for?
Whenever he meets a test, there's nothing you can do.
Don't miss the chance; he is the future Buddha!”
29, pp. 1-2)
1) Chinese: bu dai