The Wonder Power of Filial Piety

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Painting with scenes from The Twenty-four Cases of Filial Piety. Kano Motonobu, 1550 (part) (Public Domain)

Filial piety was considered one of the fundamentals for the virtue of kindness in ancient times. Here is a folklore story, which tells of the incredible wonder that it could bring.

A beggar by the name of Guo lived in Huofu city of the Wanzai county during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 A.D.) His left palm and two feet were grown the opposite way round to normal. He could only pivot on his right hand to drag his body forward. People called him “Dragging Guo”.

Dragging Guo’s mother was old and suffered from gout. His brother too was a sick man. Guo begged on the street on the first and fifteenth day of each month. People knew of the situation of his family and were willing to give him food and items. Guo managed to sustain the living of the three of them for 18 years without a complaint.

In a winter day in 1296, Guo met a Taoist priest on the street. Seeing that despite Guo’s own harsh life he was still willing to take care of his mother and brother, the priest gave him five pills, “Take the pills and your chronic ailments will be healed instantly.” He told Guo.

Guo did as instructed. He swallowed all the pills and his back to front limbs turned back to the normal position as they should in just an instance.

The amazing recovery made Guo a normal person. He had no excuse to beg anymore and neither did the people in town give him food any longer. Making a living for three mouths became a big problem for Guo. At this lowest point in his life, he met the priest again. Bowing respectfully to thank him, Guo asked, “Thank you so much for healing me. But I was too foolhardy to take all the pills by myself without thinking about my mother. She is still sick in bed. What should I do now?”

The priest gave him another five pills. He told him his mother’s sickness would be healed by taking two. A rich man who had the same illness as Guo’s mother knew of the remaining three pills.

The rich man said to Guo, “I heard that you have three miracle pills. I will buy them with a silver ingot (worth 50 taels). What do you think?” Guo did not want the money. Instead he asked the rich man to provide for his family of three for life should the rich man really recover from his illness after taking the pills. The man agreed.

Upon taking the pills, the rich man was healed instantly. He kept his promise to provide for Guo’s family for the rest of their lives.

Their story spread around and people were amazed by Guo’s filial piety which touched the immortal who in return bestowed blessings on him. Even a beggar like Guo can respect his parent and love his brother in such a way. As normal folks, we too can help others and accumulate good karma in our own way.

一念孝悌 感召仙家賜藥 醫好宿疾

古時認為,孝悌是仁心的根本。有這麼一則民間故事,一個人若有孝悌之心,還能有幸遇到高人賜藥醫病呢!

元朝時期,萬載縣獲賦市有一個乞丐姓郭,他的左手和兩腳都是反掌於上,只能用右手拄地,擦著行走,時人都叫他「郭擦」。

郭母老邁,又得了痛風,郭擦的弟弟也有疾病。郭擦每月初一和十五出去行討,城裡的百姓都很可憐他,常常給他一些東西。就這樣,郭擦養活著母親和弟弟。他如此乞討了十八年,也沒有怨言。

元成宗元貞二年(1296年)冬,一個道人遇見郭擦,看他生活得實在貧窮艱苦,但還是心甘情願地孝養母親,照顧弟弟,就給他五個藥丸,說:「你吃下我的藥,宿疾就可立即痊癒。」

郭擦聽從他的教誨,把藥丸全都吃下了,果真郭的手腳隨即正位,像正常人一樣。

郭的疾病痊癒以後,沒有託辭可以繼續做乞丐,城裡的人也不再施捨他食物。於是,孝養母親,照顧弟弟也成了很大的難題。正在窘迫困頓之時,郭擦再次遇到了那名道人,恭敬地向他拜謝,並且祈求道:「承蒙您施惠賜藥,但我一時忘了生病的母親,竟然沒有分給她一點兒藥丸。如今,母親還在病著,怎麼辦才好?」

於是,道人再次送給他五個藥丸,教他的母親服下兩丸,郭母的疾病立即痊癒了。還剩下三個藥丸,正好被一個富人知道了,富人得的病和郭母相同。

這名富人就對郭擦說:「聽說你有三丸靈丹妙藥,我以一錠鈔(《新元史》:五十兩鑄為錠)買你的藥,怎麼樣?」但是郭擦不願意要錢,只希望富人能夠身體恢復健康,提供他一家三口終身衣食所需,就已足夠。那富人答應了。

郭擦把藥送給富人。富人吃下藥丸,即時痊癒,很是靈驗。富人很守信用,真的供給郭家三口終生衣食所需。人們不禁感嘆,郭擦一念孝悌感動天地,所以能遇到神仙,享受這些福分。一個乞丐尚且能孝敬雙親,關愛手足,尋常百姓同樣也能濟助他人,累積福德吧。

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