Sunday, July 22, 2012

Footprints in Wood Tell Story of Buddhist Monk’s Prayers

In a story straight out of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, human footprints worn into a wooden floor mark the spot where a 70-year-old Buddhist monk named Hua Chi, has said his prayers in a temple in Tongren, China, for over twenty years.

More than 1 1/2 inches deep in some places, the prints tell the story of unbelievable prayer frequency, which according to Hua Chi at one point occurred over 3,000 times per day!

Hua Chi admits that due to his age, he was forced to cut back on his prayers, and these days can only manage about 1,000 times a day.

Even by Buddhist standards, which stress living life in a state of meditation and contemplation in order to reach Nirvana, his original rate of 3,000 prayers per day is considered excessive.

Today, hundreds of students visit the monastery which houses the temple bearing the prints in which the soles of the monk's feet have become embedded in the floor. There is little to say, as the message of uninterrupted belief couldn't be very much clearer.

Hua's daily routine is simple and never varies. Before sunrise, he arrives at the temple steps, places his feet in his footprints and bends down to pray. He then walks all around the temple grounds until it is time to return for more prayers.

"During the first years I would pray 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. But I have grown older, so in recent years I have only done around 1,000 each day. I reconstructed this temple and have prayed and walked around the temple all these times so that after my death my spirit will not suffer," said Chi in a recent interview.

Chi is also a doctor in traditional medicine and says he likes doing good and making people feel better, but one can only wonder when he finds the time to practice.

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