Dream and Reality: Han Que and the Fish

Edited by Shi Ran

PureInsight | March 8, 2004

[PureInsight.org] Han Que lived in Gushu Village, Hanyin County. He lived with his cousin Lu Ge who earned the degree of Xiu Cai (the lowest degree conferred upon successful candidates under the formal civil service examination system) and was in charge of the local water dam.

Han Que had loved to eat fish since he was a child. He often bought fish from a low-level official. One night Han Que had a dream that he became a fish. Unaware of the net cast into the water by two fishermen, Han Que the fish swam in and got caught. They threw him into a barrel, and covered him with hay. Then he saw the same official he bought fish from standing near the lake bargaining with the two fishermen. After they settled the deal, the official stabbed his gills, put a hay rope through the gills and lugged the straw rope before he took off. Han Que was in agonizing pain. The official took Han Que the fish home, and showed him to his wife and servants. Soon he was laid on a cutting board and felt the knife chop his body and remove his scales. It wasn't until they chopped off his head that Han Que woke up from the nightmare.

Then he sat there staring blankly for a long time. Lu Ce came to his room, was shocked by his behavior and asked what had happened. Han Que told him of the dream, and summoned the official who purchased the fish in his dream. He asked him to go find the two fishermen whom he had just purchased the fish from. When Han Que saw the two fishermen, they looked just like the two fishermen from his dream.

Later, Han Que became a monk and lived in Zhi Yuan Temple. It was the second year of the Kai Cheng Era under the reign of Emperor Wen Zhong of the Tang Dynasty.

Why did Han Que decide to cultivate in Buddhism after this dream? Because of his strong attachment, Han Que had killed and savored many fish. Perhaps he finally realized the principle of karmic retribution. One will be held ultimately accountable for one's own actions.

Source: You Yang Mixed Stories

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/2/11/25728.html

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