filthy bodhisattvas!

This was passed to me today by one of my colleagues here at the IBS. It’s from a 15th century Tibetan source (I think), and it’s best to imagine the final “m’s” of the chants to be long and drawn out, with the lips closed, humming:

The sewers of Benares are filled with all kinds of disgusting filth. Living in that filth are horrible creatures like worms and parasites that cause all sorts of diseases and ailments. One day, Avalokitesvara, taking pity on these creatures, transformed himself into a bee and flew through the sewers and over the heads of the filthy creatures. As he flew, he chanted the Triple Refuge: Buddham saranam gacchami; Dhammam saranam gacchami; Sangham saranam gacchami (“I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha”). The lowly creatures looked up from their filthy abode and seeing the bee thought, “My, doesn’t that bee look happy. What is that bee saying? It sounds very pleasant.” And they too began to chant the Triple Refuge: Buddham saranam gacchami; Dhammam saranam gacchami;Sangham saranam gacchami. So doing, they were able to generate enough good merit to be born as nicer kinds of flying insects in their next lives. These flying insects then perished while flying over the Ganges River, fell into the river, and were then able to achieve birth in the Pure Land.