PureInsight | August 29, 2005
[PureInsight.org] The divine jade I am about to tell you does not refer to the Divine Jade worn by Jia Baoyu in The Dream of Red Chamber (紅樓夢.) It is a key item in one of my reincarnations.
The story began in Baoding, Hebei Province during a summer in the Zhengde Period (1505 – 1521 A.D.) of Emperor Yidi's reign in the Ming Dynasty. One day the town held a large market gathering that attracted a lot of vendors and buyers. An elderly woman nearly 60 years old also came to the market. She came from a literary family and had been well educated, but later her family fell into poverty and obscurity. Her husband died five years ago and she had lost contact with her children, not knowing whether they were dead or alive. Therefore, she had been looking after herself and going to town to buy necessities on her own for the past five years. It started as a fine sunny day, but later it suddenly began to drizzle. After finishing buying a few necessity items, the elderly woman began to hurry back home to Yulingbao, a suburbs over 65 miles from Baoding. On her way home, the drizzle turned into a heavy shower. She happened to spot a ruined Buddhist temple on the roadside and walked briskly towards it to escape the shower.
After she entered the main hall of the temple, she realized it was a temple that revered Buddha Amitabha. There was no monk in sight and everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. It was apparently an abandoned temple. Then she suddenly heard a baby's wailing from the offering table. She followed the sound and discovered a baby boy wrapped in a small blanket. It was a very handsome and adorable little boy. "Who could have forgotten this baby here?" she wondered. She unfolded the blanket and discovered a letter and a piece of jade hidden inside. It said in the letter, "I am a lady from a prominent family in Baoding. My parents had promised my hand in marriage to a family, so I was unable to marry the man I truly loved. A year ago, I had a rendezvous with my boyfriend at night and I became pregnant with this baby. I am terribly ashamed of myself. I cannot face my family any more, but I don't want to elope with my boyfriend either. I decided to leave the baby in front of Buddha Amitabha on the auspicious occasion of the large market gathering. ["Large market gathering" in Chinese has the same pronunciation as "Great Fortune."] I beg a kindhearted person to adopt this baby boy. He was born on the 8th of the hiemal month last year. The piece of jade in his blanket was found on top of his chest after he was born. I didn't see him being born with the jade. I lost consciousness after he was born. But as soon as I came to, I saw the jade on his chest. It must be a rare treasure. Perhaps it is a sign that the boy came from a high place. I hope that he will be healthy and be spared of all disasters. I have left some gold and silver jewelry with him to cover the expenses for raising the baby. After I finish writing this letter, I might throw myself into the river and kill myself. As long as the baby finds a good family to adopt him, I will die in peace…"
The elderly woman gave a long sigh, sympathizing with this ill-fated woman. Then she picked up the jade and had a closer look at it. It is a very beautiful translucent piece of jade that did not have the slightest imperfection. It was perfectly round and was one size bigger than a coin. There was a round hole in its center so one could put a string through it to make it a fashion accessory. Upon close inspection, the elderly woman could see that there were many moving things and deities inside the jade. "This must be divine jade piece." The elderly woman thought to herself. She wiped her tears, picked up the baby and put away the divine jade. She looked out through the window and saw the shower had diminished. She thought, "The blanket is too thin. If I carry the baby out in such a thin blanket, he is bound to catch cold. If only there were a bigger and thicker blanket." Then suddenly a golden streak of light appeared. A large blanket came flying down from the sky. It was not too thick or too thin. It did not catch fire when thrown into the fire. It beaded up the water when thrown into water. In addition, it had a giant Chinese character "pre-destiny" embroidered on it. The elderly woman hurried to catch the blanket. It was then she was convinced that the baby must have come from heaven. With the baby in her arms, she got down on her knees and bowed to the statue of Buddha Amitabha. She pledged to Buddha Amitabha that she would take good care of the boy. Then she brought the baby back to her home in Yulinbao.
Taking care of a small baby is usually a highly demanding and exhausting business. But the baby was very sweet and good-natured. He almost never cried or made any fuss. He grew stronger and bigger each day. The elderly woman was completely smitten. Because he seemed to have a strong predestined relationship with Buddha Amitabha, she was inspired to name him Shun Yuan, which means "follow your pre-destiny" in Chinese. Little Shun Yuan called her grandma. The elderly woman smiled contentedly every day for she couldn't be happier than to have a grandson. Soon seven years passed.
At noon of a day in the spring while little Shun Yuan was playing by himself in the courtyard, a Buddhist monk entered the courtyard with a begging bowl in his right hand. The monk appeared very dignified and elegant with an air of commanding authority to him. Little Shun Yuan found him very familiar so he approached him. He grabbed the monk's hands and led him into the house. He called out to the elderly woman, "Grandma, we have a guest! We have a guest!" She stopped cooking and came running out right away. When she saw it was a monk asking for alms, she immediately invited him in. The monk was very straightforward. He sat down in the living room and told her directly, "I have come to ask for a meal and to tell you something important. You must give the child a proper education and teach him to cultivate morality and do good deeds. This way, when the Ten Evils poison the world, his predestined relationship with the Buddha Fa will be renewed and he can be led to the Buddha Fa again, and both of you will be able to obtain salvation from the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel in person. I hope that you will take heed of my words. Never forget what I have told you! Never forget what I have told you!" The elderly woman asked, "Does the world of Ten Evils refer to the Dharma-Ending Period that Buddha Sakyamuni mentioned?" The monk replied, "The secrets of heaven must not be revealed. You will know when the time comes. Incidentally, the child's mother is still alive. She has become a nun cultivating in a Buddhist nunnery. Don't think about looking for her now because all of you shall have the opportunity to listen to the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel giving Buddha Fa lectures." Upon finishing these words, he walked out with a bowl filled with rice and disappeared right away.
The elderly lady thought about how she could give Shun Yuan a proper education overnight and, finally, she remembered that her husband had known a landlord named Zhao in Baoding who used to be a schoolteacher. Mr. Zhao was a very virtuous and learned man. She took the opportunity of the next large market gathering to go to Baoding and took Shun Yuan with her to meet Mr. Zhao. After she told him the story about Shun Yuan since the day of the adoption in detail, Mr. Zhao agreed to educate Shun Yuan in his home right away. From that day on, Shun Yuan lived with Mr. Zhao to receive education. Mr. Zhao taught him the classics, manners and music. In his spare time, Shun Yuan helped with the household chores and won Mr. Zhao's family's and servants' affection. When Shun Yuan was 13 years old, a plague hit the villages surrounding Baoding. The elderly woman contracted the plague and passed away. Before she died, Mr. Zhao took Shun Yuan back home to see her. She took the opportunity to pass the letter from his birth mother, the jade and the unusual blanket to Shun Yuan and told him never to lose them. She also told him that he must become a learned man with good manners. Most importantly, she told Shun Yuan that he must obtain the Fa when the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel descends the world to teach the Fa and that they shall meet again then. Soon after their meeting, the elderly woman passed away. When Shun Yuan heard the news, he was overcome with grief. He buried the elderly woman with tears and kowtowed in front of her tomb three times.
After Shun Yuan returned from her tomb, Mr. Zhao told him, "My child, you are extremely talented and have already surpassed me. I know a very learned man named Zeng who is highly educated and talented. He lives about 100 miles away. I have decided to put you under his tutelage. Mr. Zeng is actually a Buddhist cultivator. He excels in astronomy, history and incantations, but he is not a monk. In fact, he has a family with a wife and a daughter. His daughter is about your age. He is more like a hermit living in a thatched hut. You will see what I mean when you get there. Actually, his 'thatched hut' is even better than my house. He also has a wealth of friends. Why don't you pack your things today? We will leave tomorrow." Shun Yuan said, "I shall never forget you as my great benefactor. But after I leave, who is going to sweep the snow and tend the paddies for you?" "Silly child. It is my own fault that I am not learned enough to complete your education. To tell you the truth, I am very reluctant to part with you. I have an idea. When you obtain the Fa from the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel at the Dharma-Ending Period, you must tell me about it so that I may obtain the Fa too. What do you say?" Shun Yuan replied, "I will. If you don't believe me, let's shake hands to seal my promise." Shun Yuan finally stopped his tears and smiled happily.
On the next day, little Shun Yuan and Mr. Zhao traveled in a horse carriage to Mr. Zeng's home. After they arrived, Mr. Zhao was about to ask the servant to knock on the door when Mr. Zeng suddenly appeared at the door and saluted them with his fists in front of his chest. Mr. Zeng said, "I knew you were coming today! It must be a long trip!" Mr. Zhao said, "I have heard that you know everything! Now that I know the rumor is true!" "Please do come in!" said Mr. Zeng. When everyone sat down and had tea, Mr. Zeng explained to them what had happened.
Mr. Zeng said, "Yesterday my wife, my daughter and I each had a dream about a rare piece of jade. You know a lot about my household, but there is one important thing you definitely do not know. On the day after my daughter was born, a piece of jade appeared on top of her chest. After my daughter learned to speak, she told me there was supposed to be a pair of jade pieces and that the other piece is with another person. Last night my daughter dreamed a pair of jade pieces was hanging in our hallway. I dreamed of two children playing at the Jade Palace in heaven. Then a loud and powerful voice came from the sky. It said, 'I am going to teach the Fa in the human realm. Those of you who wish to listen to the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel teaching the Fa in person must descend to the human realm with me!' Then those two children immediately knelt down and pledged to descend to the human realm. In order to find each other in the human realm, they brought a pair of jade pieces with them so that they would be able to find each other. When I woke up this morning, I had a premonition that important guests would arrive at my home today. You see? You have come today!" Mr. Zhao froze in astonishment. He could hardly believe that such an incredible thing would happen in this world. Mr. Zeng asked, "Does Shun Yuan have his jade with him? May I see it?" Shun Yuan took the jade from his pocket and told Mr. Zeng about his story since his birth. Mr. Zeng then inspected the jade carefully. He exclaimed, "It is indeed exactly identical to my daughter's jade!" After hearing Shun Yuan's story, he asked his wife and daughter to come out and meet them.
As soon as little Shun Yuan saw Mr. Zeng's daughter, Xiao Ru, he acted like he had finally found a family member from whom he had been separated for a long time. He burst into tears and could not utter any word. Xiao Ru became equally emotional. After observing their interaction, Mr. Zeng announced, "There is no need to say anything else. From now on, Shun Yuan is my son-in-law. I will have my Xiao Ru marry him when they grow up. When Shun Yuan passes the imperial government official qualification examination, we will hold the wedding. I will definitely make Shun Yuan a learned, moral man." After bidding Mr. Zhao farewell, Mr. Zeng started teaching the Confucian classics, rites, music, Buddhist cultivation and even Taoist incantations.
When Shun Yuan reached the age of 18, Mr. Zeng told him to take the civil service qualification examinations. Mr. Zeng had two purposes. He wanted Shun Yuan to pass the examination and receive some recognition. He also wanted Shun Yuan to help the royal court revive the declining rules of rites in society. Shun Yuan first passed the county exam and then went on to the imperial exam. He passed the imperial exam in second place. It just happened that the Ministry of Rites had an opening, and he was appointed to be a high-level official at the Ministry of Rites. Before he took up his post, he returned to Baoding to visit Mr. Zhao and also to marry Xiao Ru. Before he and Xiao Ru left for his post, Shun Yuan told Mr. and Mrs. Zeng, "Father, why don't you two come with us and enjoy a luxurious life?" Mr. Zeng replied, "Your mother and I are used to live in this thatched hut. We are not interested in the secular life. Now my daughter has become your wife. I hope that you will treat her well. But I think I need to build two more thatched huts. This way, you two will have a place to stay when you come back. Take care!" Shun Yuan and Xiao Ru knelt down and kowtowed to Mr. and Mrs. Zeng. Then they got in the horse carriage and left. Mrs. Zeng was very sad and didn't want to part with them. She mumbled to herself, "When are they going to return?" Mr. Zeng told his wife optimistically, "They shall return. They will definitely come back." On their way to Beijing, Shun Yuan and Xiao Ru passed by Yulinbao, where he had lived with the elderly woman. Shun Yuan renovated the elderly woman's tomb and built a small temple next to it. He also hired a person to care for the tomb full-time.
At the Ministry of Rites, Shun Yuan made a lot of progress in reviving the country's rites and music. Unfortunately, later on, society's morality went downhill and corrupt government officials seized power. There was nothing he could do. About ten years later, Shun Yuan quit his post and retired. He and Xiao Ru returned to Mr. Zeng's home. As soon as they entered the door, Mr. Zeng said, "Like I have told you, you will come back someday. I have built two thatched huts for you two. Why don't you live with us for the rest of your life? In the next and later reincarnations, we shall meet the Holy King Who Turns the Wheel and obtain the Fa." From then on, Shun Yuan and Xiao Ru lived in the newly built huts and led a pastoral life as farmers for the rest of their lives.
I wrote this article in tears. To know how difficult it was for me to obtain the Fa makes me appreciate more the difficulty and hardship Teacher has endured to spread the Fa. Fellow practitioners, we wouldn't have obtained the Fa if Teacher hadn't looked for and found us or if we haven't endured a lot of hardships during so many of our past incarnations! This is a sacred and magnificent predestined relationship that came only once in eternity! Let's strive forward together in cultivation practice and return to our respective homes.
Finally I will tell you who these people are in this life. Shun Yuan is me. Xiao Ru is a fellow practitioner who I now call "second elder sister." The monk was Teacher in that life. I am not sure if Mr. Zeng was also Teacher in that life. As for Mr. Zhao and the elderly woman, they have both obtained the Fa. I met "the elderly woman" only a month ago. As soon as I met her, I thought she felt familiar but I didn't know what kind of predestined relationship we had had. One night I entered a sleepy trance and had a very long dream. This article is the summary of my vision in the dream. The woman who gave birth to Shun Yuan and attempted suicide became my mother again in this life, showing that no one can escape from predestined relationships.
Time permitting, I will compile and publish the stories from my other reincarnations. To limit the length of the article, I will end the story here. If you don't believe me, just treat it as a fairytale.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/8/24/33582.html