A True Story of Reincarnation: Drunken Imperial Concubine

Xiao Lian

PureInsight | July 30, 2006



Whether we are cultivators or non-cultivators, in general we are all
very interested in knowing more about our previous lives and how our
previous lives relate to our current lives. Therefore, articles on this
subject are quite popular.  However, for those of us who are in
the middle of this unique period of time in history when the entire
universe is undergoing the Fa-rectification, no matter who we were and
what type of lives or experiences we have had in the past, nothing
counts unless those who are cultivators can assimilate to the Fa, and
those who are not know the truth of Dafa. If a being can't reach
the  indestructible standard set by the Fa for different living
beings at different realms, everything will be erased.

This story of "Drunken Imperial Concubine" is not about the famous
Imperial Concubine Yang (719-756 A.D.) who lived during the peak of
Tang Dynasty. The Imperial Concubine in this story lived during the
reign of Emperor Daizong, who was on the throne from 762 to 779 A.D.


During the reign of Emperor Daizong, the country was relatively calm.
When Emperor Daizong's father Emperor Zuzong was alive, the two
capitals Chang'an and Luo Yang, which had been under rebel occupation
during the An Lushang uprising, had already been recovered. Generals Guo
Ziyi and Li Guangbi had led the military to put down the rebellion and
return the country to peace. When Emperor Daizong ascended the throne,
the country was doing reasonably well. The only major problem he faced
was that an elderly official, Li Linpu, who was the prime minister at
the time, was conspiring with Empress Dowager Zhang to persecute
officials loyal to the Emperor. After careful consideration, Emperor
Daizong sent someone to behead Li Linpu at night.

Emperor Daizong respected Buddha.  Three of his most important
officers believed in Buddhism.  Daizong made a lot of
contributions to the spreading of Buddhism during that period of time. One
day, Daizong heard that General Guo Ziyi's father's grave had been
vandalized. Many thought that it was done on the order of officials
in the court who were not on friendly terms with General Guo.  Dai
Zong followed it closely. General Guo Ziyi happened to be at the court
that day. When Emperor Daizong asked him about it, General Guo didn't
blame anyone and simply said, "Your Majesty, I have not led my army
strictly enough. My soldiers  have often stolen treasures from other people's
graves during the war.  Now the same thing has happened to my
father's grave.  Isn't this retribution?"  Later, people
commented that An Shushan and Shi Siming had killed a lot of people
during the rebellion.  In the end, they were both killed by their own
sons.  This was also retribution. These stories are in the
historical records. Here are some more stories that have not made it
into the historical records.

Emperor Daizong was a smart guy, but he lacked Emperor Taizong's
decisiveness and strategic mind.  Honestly speaking, while he
would have made a good minister at the Ministry of Rites, but it was a
little bit challenging for him to rule a country after a major civil

He was good at playing the banjo.  Once he went to see the young
girls who had just been selected into the royal palace as
ladies-in-waiting. He didn't go there to look for beautiful women. At
that time, he was already a student of Buddhism. He mainly wanted to
learn from the girls to see if the country had been peaceful and how
life had been for ordinary citizens.  As Emperor, he needed to
know his people.  He wanted the girls to play music so he could
learn the states of their minds. No matter how auspicious a certain
musical piece was supposed to be, to an expert it will sound differently
based on the musician's various states of mind.  

Therefore, Daizong asked the young girls to come into the palace. 
At the beginning, they danced and played music together.  Later
on, Daizong thought, "Why don't I perform a test and see if there is
anyone among them who truly understands me?" So he began to play the
banjo by himself.  After a while, he was totally absorbed by his
own music and incorporated his understanding into his music:

The clear music comes from heaven;

Heavenly beauties' colorful ribbons are swaying in the air.

Solemnity is revealed in the Fa realm and amidst the sound of the bell;

Lotus flowers blossom after dust is cleaned.

I am worried about the country's suffering;

I want to use this opportunity to know my people.

My wish will be fulfilled when people lead a happy life;

Who knows my heart amidst the music?

Gradually Daizong heard some flute music being played as if it had come
from the edge of the sky.  It felt like many rivers going to the
sea and a gentle hand comforting the heart.  He put more thoughts
into his music:

I illustrate reincarnations and cycles in my music,

My banjo can tell the story of retributions,

The Emperor respects the Buddha on the behalf of citizens,

People respect Buddha and hold etiquette in their heart!

At this point, the flute music changed also:

Happily cultivating alone with no intention;

The blue sea and clear sky are mine to swim.

Live in a shabby house and eat coarse food;

I quietly observe worries in the world.

The flute music then became sad and in a minor key, as if drizzle were falling
on a clear day.  Daizong understood that the music was expressing
the sadness that ordinary people felt during the civil war. He also
sensed that people still liked and respected the emperor and the
dynasty.  When his thoughts came back from the music, Daizong
looked at the young girls and said, "Who is the person playing the
flute?" A young girl stepped out from the group. She was not the most
beautiful one out of all the girls. But she had an elegant demeanor and
maintained her composure well in front of the Emperor. Daizong was very
happy and asked for her name.  Others answered, "Her name is Su
Yunjing. She is 18 years old and from Yangzhou." Daizong asked her to
become his personal lady-in-waiting and take care of his daily life.

Later on, Daizong learned that she was not only good at playing flute,
but also good at calligraphy and painting.  More importantly, she
told Daizong about people's suffering during the rebellion.  As a
result, Daizong waived a lot of taxes for the people and also collected
money and food to help the people.  

Soon Daizong promoted her to the position of imperial concubine.  He
wanted to set aside Empress Dugu and name Su as the Empress
instead.  However, Su didn't agree with the plan. She said to
Daizong, "The Empress hasn't made any major mistake. If you discard
her, what will people think of it?  Moreover, you are already
studying Buddhism.  Don't do such an unkind thing."  Dai Zong
was quite touched and said, "In the dirty secular world, it is good to
know there are still kind people out there. Kind people will receive
rewards for their kindness at the end."  

Soon the Tibetans and Uigurs mounted an attack against China. Daizong
had to leave the capital and go into hiding. Empress Dugu was very
jealous of Su.  She invited Su over to drink with her in the
Emperor's name. When Su became drunk, Empress Dugu told her the truth,
"In the past you were the one who occupied all the attention of the
emperor, while the emperor rarely paid any attention to the rest of us.
Now he is in trouble. It is all your fault." Empress Dugu then gave Su
a cup of poisonous wine and asked her to drink it, saying, "Your death
will ensure the survival of the Tang Dynasty." Although Su was drunk,
her mind was still clear.  She said, "Since you want me to die, it
is OK. Please give me a pen."  She wrote the following sentences:

Studying Buddhism should truly improve your actions;

In managing a country you need to emphasize virtue;

The land hasn't fully recovered yet;

Trouble starts in the backyard of the palace;

Please think carefully.

Everything is in the cycle of retribution;

Do not blame Empress Dugu.

Support the column that is reaching the sky;

Eliminate enemies soon.

When the four seas are peaceful,

After ending all our secular predestined relationships;

It's the time when we meet each other again.

After she finished writing the poem, she drank the poisonous
wine.  Before she died, she asked for two favors from Empress
Dugu:  (1) Please pass this poem to the Emperor and (2) Just throw
me into a dry well.  I owe you a life in the past.  Now we
are even.  

At that moment, Empress Dugu saw their predestined relationship in the past:

It was during the Sui Dynasty.  A pair of twin sisters were born
into a wealthy family in Suzhou City with the last name of Lin. When
they reached the age of marriage, many matchmakers proposed marriages
for them. But their father wasn't happy with any of the young men. A
matchmaker came and told him about a pair of twin brothers who were
very talented and would have bright futures.  The father was very
happy and agreed to marry his twin daughters to the twin brothers. He
wanted the twin daughters to marry into the same family so they could
look out for each other. However, after the wedding ceremony, the Lin
family found out that there weren't any twin brothers. There was only
one young man, although he was indeed quite talented. The twin girls'
father was angry at the deceit but it was too late and there was
nothing he could do. He could only hope the two daughters would not be
jealous of each other, since now they had to share one husband
between the two of them. Within a month of the wedding, the two girls
began to fight over their husband. Two years later, the younger sister
pretended that she wanted to mend the relationship with the older
sister. Then the younger sister gave the elder sister a cup of
poisonous wine and threw her into a dry well after she died.

When she saw what had happened, Empress Dugu sighed, "Who can jump out the cycle of retribution!"

After Daizong returned to the capital, he learned what had happened and
read Su's parting poem. He was very sad.  However, he was a
student of Buddhism after all and knew the principle of
retribution.  He concentrated on managing the country and tried
his best to mend the country after decades of wars and disasters. 
Even though the country still suffered from wars and disasters during
his reign, he went down in history as one of the more accomplished Tang


This article talks about retribution and the relationship between two
people who really could understand each other. Emperor Daizong was me
in a past life.  Imperial Concubine Su was my current girlfriend
in a past life.  Empress Dugu is a fellow practitioner in my
community. She is a very diligent Dafa cultivator.  I won't say
too much about her.  Please continue to read my next article
"Where did the flute music come from?"  It talks about how Su had
learned to flute so well. Why was her flute music so magical? 
What kind of predestined relationship led her to acquire such good
flute skills?

Translated from:  


Add new comment