PureInsight | July 28, 2003
[PureInsight.org] Wei Zheng was a Pu She [a cabinet-level rank in the Administrative Department of the emperors government] in the Tang Dynasty. One day, when he had just lain down to take a nap, two lower-level government officials stood chatting outside the room in front of the window. One of them said, "Our promotions are decided by this old fellow [Wei Zheng]." The other disagreed, "No, everything is decided by heaven." After hearing this exchange, Wei Zheng wrote a letter and asked the man who referred him as "the old fellow" to deliver the letter to the office of the Shi Lang in the Ministry of Civil Personnel. The man had no idea that the letter read, "Give this man a promotion." Unfortunately, as soon as he stepped out of the Administration Department, he began to suffer from indigestion so he asked the other man to carry out the task for him.
The next day the Ministry of Civil Personnel issued an official notification that promoted the man who believed that "everything is decided by heaven." Wei Zheng was puzzled when he read this notification, so he questioned the two men. When Wei Zheng learned the other man had delivered the letter in place of the man that he had planned to promote, he let out a long sigh and said, "Looks like it is true that everything, including one's career, is determined by heaven!"
How do the gods determine our lives? One thing is for sure. It is guided by a very strict standard. Gods will reward a man based on the amount of virtue he carries from his previous lives. One's virtue determines everything. This is why the Chinese people always remind each other to accumulate virtue by doing good deeds, and not to do bad deeds.
Source: Anecdotes of the Ancient Chinese Government (or Chao Ye Jian Zai in Chinese.)
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/7/5/22236.html