The Golden-haired Lion Gets Peeled to Save the Hunter
Once upon a time, a hunter, upon the request of the king, was ordered to hunt and peel off the skin of a golden-haired lion. The hunter spent quite a few days in the mountain in search of the beast. As his food and water were running short, he still found no golden-haired lion in sight. It was mid-summer and the intense heat was really unbearable. The hunter was now at the edge of death. He groaned in whisper, “Whoever has mercy, please come and save me!” The golden-haired lion heard it and took pity on him. It held him up and put him into a cold spring. Then it collected some fruits and berries for him. The hunter came to himself. When he woke up to see the golden-haired lion, he felt rather surprised, thinking, “This is the very beast that the king is after. But it saved my life when I was at the edge of death, how can I kill it? But if I cannot capture it, how can I account to the king?” Thinking of this, the hunter kept sighing with sadness. When the golden-haired lion learnt it, he sympathized with his experience and comforted him by saying, “Don’t be worried or vexed, you can take as much skin as you like from me. Today, I have been totally devoted to you. With this as a virtue, I vow to attain Buddhahood.”
At these words, the hunter peeled off the skin of the golden-haired lion, thus fulfilling the mission assigned to him by the king.
Excerpt from the Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish