Previous Incarnations and Present Life: Wen Tan

Edited by Shiwen

PureInsight | June 9, 2003

[Series note: People encounter and befriend one another because of predestined relationships. With that in mind, one cannot talk about predestined relationships without talking about reincarnation. In this series, we will introduce stories of incarnations from ancient Chinese historical books. Hopefully these stories will inspire us all to treat everyone we meet with kindness.]

[] Wen Tan was a former Jing Shi. [Note: A Jing Shi was a successful candidate in the national civil service examination held at the imperial capital in ancient times.] Wen Tan had high moral integrity and, because of this, won everyone's respect. When Wen Tan was only about three or four years old, he could recall events in his previous life.

Wen Tan's parents had another boy before he was born, named Wen Gu. Wen Gu could recite poems with adults at the early age of five. He was extremely intelligent. One day, though, while he was still very young, he fell into a well and drowned.

His parents grieved terribly about Wen Gu's death. That finally changed when, one day, Wen Tan told his parents, "I had a silver gourd, a painted ball and some scented bags. I put them inside a hole in an apricot tree. I wonder if they're still there?" His mother looked for these items with him and found them.

Then his parents realized that Wen Tan was the reincarnation of the boy they had lost because those things that he mentioned had belonged to Wen Gu. Since then, they became all the more affectionate and protective toward Wen Tan, even more than they had been toward his elder brothers. When Wen Tan was 15 years old, he could write articles with magnificent, meaningful, and delicate choices of words and phrases and wrote with a refreshing style. Later, Wen Tan participated in the national civil service examination at the imperial capital. Fan Yucheng, an imperial scholar at the National Academy, was the official in charge of that imperial examination. He was very impressed with Wen Tan's exam and allowed him to pass the national civil service examination held at the imperial capital.

Source: A Collection of Bizarre Stories (or Taiping Guangji)

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