Doing Good Deeds Earns a Deity’s Respect

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Doing Good Deeds Earns a Deity’s Respect

The following three short stories describe situations where actions taken to benefit people impressed the gods.

People That Do Good Deeds Earn a Deity’s Respect

Zhang Guaiya (946 – 1015 AD) was a Chengdu City official. One night he dreamt that a deity summoned him. While they were talking, someone delivered a message to the deity, “Mr. Huang Jianji from the West Gate has arrived.” Then a person wearing Taoist clothes entered the room. The deity immediately greeted him with great respect.

The next morning, Zhang Guaiya dispatched subordinates to invite people named Huang Jianji to his office. When Huang arrived, Zhang realized that this person was exactly the same man he had seen in his dream. He asked Huang, “What good deeds have you done? Why would a deity respect you so much?”

Huang responded, “I haven’t done any really great deed. I just bought wheat at the regular price when it was ripe. I then sold it at the original price to people the following year when the harvest was poor. I sold it for the same price that I bought it. I lost nothing by doing so, but it solved a crisis for other people.” After hearing what Huang Jianji said, Zhang Guaiya sighed. He quickly asked his staff to help Huang to a seat before bowing to him deeply.

“A deity will respect a person who does things to benefit the population. We should widely promote Huang Jianji’s action. When people know that doing good deeds will earn the deities’ respect, more people will follow suit.”

A Selfish Man Is Killed by Thunder; A Kind Man Is Rewarded with a Son

Sun Simiao (581 – 682 AD), one of the most famous doctors in Chinese history, lived during the Tang Dynasty. He devoted his whole life to medicine. He authored many books, including Qian Jin Fang and Qian Jin Yi Fang. These books have been passed down through the generations.

Sun once unintentionally saved the life of a dragon. To repay Sun’s kindness, the dragon offered him a medical prescription used in the Dragon Palace. Sun applied it in his medical practice and it worked very well. Thus, he compiled it into his book, Qian Jin Fang, and engraved it on a stone tablet to pass on to later generations.

At that time, another person heard about this. To reap huge profits, he used his official authority to seize the just-completed tablet. He copied the ancient prescription inscribed on the stone in order to produce and sell it in books. When he was finished, he destroyed the stone. Soon after that, the skies turned dark and a rainstorm began. The selfish man who abused his power was struck and killed by a large burst of lightning.

Later, a kind-hearted person hired the original craftsman with his own money to re-inscribe the prescription on another stone tablet. This is how the precious prescription was passed on to later generations.

One night, this kind man had a dream. Sun Simiao told him in the dream, “Supposedly, you are predestined not to have a son. Because of your good deed, a distinguished son will be bestowed upon you.” Not long after this dream, his wife became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. His son became a magnificent person when he grew up.

The selfish person who crushed the engraved stone only thought of his own self-interest, while the altruistic person who re-inscribed the prescription only thought of others. Ironically, the selfish person ended up with nothing and the kind person unexpectedly benefited from his own good deed.

Eliminating Bad Decrees Without a Trace

During the Xuande Era of the Ming Dynasty (1426 – 1435 AD), many eunuchs were sent to the Indian Ocean to search for precious treasures. An innumerable amount of spending and countless lives were wasted on the trips. During the Tianshun Era (1457 – 1464 AD), someone suggested that the emperor resume the treasure hunt. The emperor thus assigned Chief of the Defense Department, Xiang Zhong (1421 – 1502 AD) to study the past documents regarding the treasure hunt and develop a new plan.

At that time, Liu Daxia (1436 – 1516 AD) was in charge of maintaining documents. When he heard the news, he hid the files from Xiang’s staff. The project was thus suspended because no file was available for reference.

Later, when Xiang Zhong interrogated the file-keepers about the missing treasure hunt files, Liu smiled and said, “Hunting for treasure in the Indian Ocean was a disastrous idea. Even if the files exist today, they should be destroyed to prevent future trouble. Why do you ask for their whereabouts?” Xiang suddenly became clear-headed. Respect for Liu Daxia instantly increased. He apologized, “Your good deed has moved the Heavens. You deserve to have my position!” Indeed, Liu Daxia was later promoted to become the Chief of the Defense Department. His descendents also served as high-ranking officials.

These historical stories are recorded in the Qing Dynasty book written by Zhou Anshi, The Complete Anshi Records.

利益百姓 神仙敬重

一、利益百姓 神仙敬重

张乖崖在成都做官时,梦见自己被神仙招去。正在说话间,忽然有人进来,向神仙报告:“西门黄兼济到!”当时便走进来一位束发道人。那位神仙,便立即接待他,对他非常礼貌恭敬。

第二天早晨,张乖崖派人请“名叫黄兼济的人”过来,黄兼济到来后,张乖崖一看这人,完全是梦中所见到的那位束发道人。

张乖崖问他:“你有什么善行?为什么神仙十分尊敬你?”

黄兼济回答说:“我并没有什么大善行。只不过在麦熟时,用平价收进,到第二年青黄不接、百姓生活艰难时,就用平价卖出。买进卖出,都是一样的价格,对我没有什么损害,对百姓就解除了危急。就是这样罢了。”

张公(张乖崖)听后,不禁感叹,连忙让属僚扶他到座上,张公连连向他行礼。

一个人做了好事,利益百姓;神仙对他,都很尊敬。黄兼济的行为事迹,可以广泛地推广。大家都知道了“做好事能受神仙尊敬”,就会有更多的人,去仿效了!

二、碎碑雷击 刻碑得子

唐代的著名医学家孙思邈,一生致力于医学,著有《千金方》、《千金翼方》等书,传于后世。

孙思邈曾经在无意之中,救活了一条龙,后来由于龙的回谢,使他得到了龙宫的药方。他用龙宫的药方治病,效果很好,便将此药方编入《千金方》中,刻碑,以传后世。

当时,有个人知道了此事。这人为了牟取暴利,便立即把刚刚刻好的石碑,以官权霸占为己有,拼命拓下(古代的一种复制方法)来,准备将药方印成书卖,以致击碎了石碑。很快,天降暴雨,那个霸权自利者,便被巨雷打死。

后来,有一位善良的人,自己出钱,再次请原先的那个匠人,重新刻了碑文。珍贵的《千金方》,这才得以传之后世。

这位善良济世的人,夜里梦见孙思邈对他说:“你本来命中无子。因为刻了《千金方》,当得贵子。”不久,他的妻子果然怀孕,生了一个儿子。长大后,成为大贵人。

碎碑的人,只想著专横霸道,自私自利;刻碑的人,只想著济世利人。其结果是:只知道自利的人,他何尝得到利益;只想利益他人的人,他自己何尝没有得到利益呢?

三、不露痕迹 消除弊政

明朝宣德年间,曾经派遣太监到西洋(当时称爪哇以西的印度洋为西洋,并包括沿海的陆地)寻宝,花费不计其数,死人不可计算。

天顺年间,有人建议皇上:再派遣人去西洋。皇上就命令兵部主事人项忠,参考过去的寻宝档案,以制订新方案。

当时刘大夏任郎中(官职名),他先到放案册的地方,把案册藏了起来。办事人员找不到那些案册,致使这件事就停了下来。

后来,项忠以丢失案册的事,责问档案的管理人员。刘大夏笑著说:“这是弊政(指下西洋寻宝事),即使案册仍在,也应毁掉,以除后患。怎么还要追问那些案册的去向呢?”

项忠惊醒,对刘公(刘大夏)肃然起敬,道歉说:“您的阴德动天,我这个位子,应当属于您了!”后来,刘大夏果然升官到太保大司马,子孙历代贵显。

(以上均据清代《安士全书》)

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