He has been something of a living legend and his life has sparked admiration and inspiration around Chinese Buddhist and by the time he spent in the afterlife, Hsu Yan was recognized as one of the most recognizable Han-Chinese Buddhists in the Middle Kingdom, he lived for 119 years. During her lifetime he was the author of numerous poems and writings. He is considered a Buddhist idol and has two orders named after him.
The great Xu Yun ( 虛雲 ) was born in 1840 and lived to witness the last five reigns of the Manchu dynasty and its decline between 1910 and 1911. As the new order took shape in China, the new leaders were less interested in the Buddhism to the point that they considered it to be a medieval superstition that held China back from progress in both social and economic directions and, like any other culture, history and traditional teachings were not compatible with the era of modernization that was “raging” through China leaving monasteries and thousand year old traditions in ruins. All this did not prevent Xu Yun from rescuing Chinese Buddhism from its dangerous decline and even managed to revive and update it, founding and restoring temples, schools and even hospitals.
The story involving the UFO story originates from an autobiography by a famous Chan Buddhist that Hsu Yun was an influential Buddhist teacher. The discovery about the mysterious account was discovered by Sanjin Đumišić, a Swedish writer, photographer, intermediate composer as he was reading Chan’s Buddhist autobiography. In the pictorial biography/autobiography of Master Hsu-Yan, Sanjin discovered the account of Hsu-Yan and his visit to Da-luo gaze in 1884 when he was on the way to pay his respects to the “lamps of wisdom” (source):
At the end of the Great Prayer Meeting, I climbed Da-luo Peak, where I paid obeisance to the ‘lamps of wisdom’, he said to appear there. I didn’t see anything the first night, but on the second, I saw a large ball of light flying from the north to the Central Peak, where it all shrank, dividing a little later into more than ten balls of different sizes. The same night, I saw in the central peak three balls of light flying up and down in the air and in the North Peak, four balls of light that varied in size.
On the tenth day of the seventh month I paid obeisance and offered thanks to Manjusri Bodhisattva and then descended from the mountain. From Huayan Peak I walked north and reached Da-ying, south of Hun-yuan, where I visited the North Peak of Mount Heng which I climbed as Hu Feng Pass. There, I saw a stone arch with the inscription: ‘The First Mountain of the Northern Regions’. When I arrived at the temple, I saw a flight of stairs that was so high that it seemed to lead to heaven, and a forest of stone tablets and arches. I made an offering of incense and came down from the mountain..
The same accounts can be found in the pictorial biography:
The Master bowed to the Wisdom Lamps at the top of Ta Min Mountain.
People often came to this place to witness what fortune they could.
At first there was nothing unusual, but then everyone showed up:
The big ones, the little ones, and in between – each fireball was unique.
What these Description could actually be referring to is difficult to understand and imagine, they are an unusual account that has yet to be repeated, but in the look where Master Xu Yun- witnessed these mysterious balls of fire in a Buddhist monastery was built.