A Rich Woman of the Song Dynasty Helps her People and the Kingdom

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(Public domain)

The Song Dynasty Empire ordered its people to pay more taxes in order to cover its military expenses after liberating the area of Yanjing.

Liu Shi was the wife of a wealthy man from Huairen County. After her husband’s death, Liu lived together with their son. After she heard the government raised taxes on the people, she donated 100,000 strings of coins to pay for the poorer people in the county who couldn’t afford the tax on their own.

When the county magistrate heard of this, he thought that was an incredible thing, so he dispatched a man to the Liu family residence to pick up the 100,000 strings of coins. It took him a few days to empty Liu Shi’s 7 warehouses and transport that much money. Liu Shi then cleaned the warehouses and prepared the space to worship the Buddha for three consecutive days.

The next morning after completing her worship, Liu Shi looked at the warehouses and found they were full of money, totaling 100,000 strings. And all the money was tied together with a red rope. Every five strings were tied together with a small wooden sign that said 「Ma Qing.」

Everyone was shocked, and no one knew how this could have happened. One person said: “I heard that in Qingzhou, there is a Ma family nicknamed, ‘A Hundred Thousand Family.’

Liu quietly sent people to Qingzhou to inquire about the Ma family. Sure enough, there was a Ma family which had been a wealthy family for three generations. And it just so happened that their 100,000 strings of coins in a warehouse disappeared overnight without explanation.

Liu hired a person to write a letter and ask the Ma family to pick up their missing fortune. But the Ma family was so shocked to hear the news that they just sighed for a long time. The master of the Ma family said: “The blessings of our Ma family have subsided, and the money belongs to those who have virtue. This is God’s will. I will not bring the money back.」

Liu knew that she could not force others to accept the money, so she said: “Since I sincerely donated my own money to help the country, how can I have other thoughts about what to do with this bounty?” Thus, she gave all the wealth from the Ma family to help the poor and to assist in building temples.

Despite Liu Shi giving all her money away, God seemed to favor her, because within a few years, she became wealthy again.
In this story, Liu Shi believed that money is supplied by God. In the end, her generosity and consideration for others brought her even greater wealth and more favorable returns.

Translator: Yi Ming
Editor: Derek Padula

宋朝女富豪 仗義疏財 濟民助國

宋朝宣和年間,朝廷收復燕京後,由於軍費耗竭,於是朝廷下令,百姓要向政府繳納免役錢(百姓免除勞役,改納「免役錢」,由官府募人充役)。


劉氏是海州懷仁縣楊六秀才的妻子。楊六死後,家裡只剩下劉氏和一子相依為命,好在家境比較殷實富足。劉氏聽說官府催徵緊急,不少貧窮的百姓無財可納,於是劉氏懇請縣府,以家財十萬緡(宋時一緡相當於七百七十文錢)代替貧戶繳納。


縣令一聽,這是大好事,欣然同意。於是調派人手前往劉氏家,一連幾天才運完十萬緡。劉氏家的七間庫房也就全都清空了。劉氏清掃庫房,準備設案供佛三天三夜。


清理完畢後,第二天早上一看,劉氏驚奇地發現屋子裡竟然堆滿了錢財,正好十萬緡,而且全都是用紅麻繩繫成一貫一貫的,每五緡作一個辮,辮頭還都掛著一個小木牌,上面寫著「麻青」二字。


凡是看到的人都大吃一驚,誰也不知怎麼回事。有一個人提醒道:「我聽說青州有一個麻員外,家裡非常富足,號稱麻十萬家,難道是神明將麻家的錢全都運到這裡了?」


劉氏悄悄地派人前往青州,尋訪麻家。果真有麻氏其人,麻家三代富裕,其祖上以錢十萬鎮庫,一直沒有用過。不料,這些錢一夜之間全都消失了,不知去哪兒了。劉氏派專人捎去書信,殷切地問候麻氏,並請他派舟車前來取錢。


麻氏聽聞消息,驚訝地感嘆良久,說:「我們麻家的福分消退了,錢歸於有德之人,這也是上天所授,上天的意思。今天我再去取回錢,既違天理,也非人情,我實在不敢去。」


劉氏知道不能強人所難,說道:「我既然誠懇地捐錢,以助國用,怎麼還能有其他非分之想呢?」於是,她將十萬緡錢財全都送給貧民,或用於資助修建佛院道觀廟宇,一分也沒有留在家裡。儘管散盡家財,上天似乎對劉氏青睞有加,不出幾年,她的家裡依然很富裕。


這則故事裡,散財的劉氏認為錢財是上天所賜。慷慨的財富觀,利他的心地,終能結出富貴的碩果。

Original Post:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dZ5y8BPFLWkVMY0oYO1mCpwRI6agp9s26VGXzjhZT0Q/edit#

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