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AN EVERLASTING OATH: READING FENG ZIKAI’S LIFE PROTECTION MURALS (EXCERPT)

by Xi Murong (1943 - )
English translation: Zhi Yue

A set of Life Protection Murals sits upon my desk. At each glance, my eyes would well up with tears, and each reading arouses such tender sentiments within me. What touches my heart is the fifty whole years of ups and downs contained from the first volume to the sixth.

For five decades, half of the artist’s life, he has dedicated his efforts to the same aspiration and promise. He has painstakingly collected materials as well as carefully considered, painted, and written accompanying poetic verses. All of these are for nothing but to keep his promise, “For however long I am able to live, I shall uphold your words.” This is all out of his wish to express admiration and respect for the teacher who he had followed from ages thirty-one to seventy-eight. Come to think of it, a great half a lifetime has been dedicated to the fulfillment of his everlasting and beautiful oath. It is already an unlikely feat in an era of peace and prosperity, let alone fifty years of living in China with its difficulties and turbulences which we all know of.

The book contains the ultimate portrayal of a Buddhist’s loving kindness and compassionate intentions, the highest level of works from the artist’s enthusiastic and innocent heart. The series was finally published and placed upon the desks of so many Chinese people─it should also be counted as a fabulous miracle, right? How else can the efforts of these people be described? I think this world is certainly something that we cannot understand. Perhaps the only solution is faith, that there is a power beyond us, which determines everything.

── from You Yishou Ge (There is a Song)