True Stories of Reincarnation: Where Did the Sound of the Flute Come From?

Xiao Lian

PureInsight | August 9, 2006

[] Preface: If one mentions the heavenly principle "good will be rewarded with good and evil will be met with evil" to modern Chinese people, one will likely be ridiculed and laughed at. They will say, "You see those corrupt Communist Party officials? They have embezzled so much of the hard earned money of the common people- they deserve to be imprisoned or even put to death. But they live very good lives! You see those honest and kind-hearted people? Hardly any of them have met with good fates! Nowadays you have to be practical, or else you will suffer a great deal." Many people talk in this manner, but in my opinion, it is they who are truly pathetic and ridiculous.

Ordinary people always focus on the little bit of profit and gain right in front of their eyes, and do not care about the later parts of their lives or the eternity of their lives. In fact, the predestined relationships between people in the world are very complicated. For example, on the surface A might have done something unfair to B, while A did something good for C in the past (either in this life or in a previous life), so C will want to repay A for his good deed. If B owed C a great deal in the past, C will of course want to get what B had owed him from the past (including physical and psychological things). If B sees it from a selfish perspective, he will feel that he was the one who loses and often wonder why it is always him who is unfairly treated. He will have a pessimistic and wronged feeling in his heart. But if he could see through all these superficial matters and take them as a motivation to move forward, the result would appear different.

The story related in this article is to explain the complexity of predestined relationships among people. It also illustrates that "good will be rewarded with good, and evil will be met with evil" is not at all what people understand to be based on the notions that they have formed in society and from a selfish standpoint,. In addition, it talks about what the existence of mankind from the ancient to modern times has actually been for. Let's start the story now.

The story of Su Jingyun (please go to for her story) starts from an incident during the reign of Emperor Yangdi during the Sui Dynasty. Two sisters named Lin married the same husband, and the younger sister poisoned the elder sister and threw her body in a well outside of the house. Later, when the husband came back home and asked about it, the younger sister told him that her sister had taken some poison and jumped into the well because she felt that she had lost the love of her husband and couldn't take it anymore. The husband knew that the two sisters hadn't been very happy and it was normal for one of them to have suicidal thoughts. So he let the matter drop. He ordered to have his wife's body picked up from the well and buried in a simple manner. The younger sister finally had her husband all to herself. Her husband was very good to her. She had a boy and a girl over the next two years, and the family was living a harmonious and happy life.

However, no one ever imagined that the good time wouldn't last long. A famine started in the Suzhou area, and diseases spread far and fast. The whole family died in the disaster. After their deaths, their True Spirits went to the Judgment Court in Hell. The King of Hell asked the judge to count out the good and bad deeds that the younger Lin sister had committed in this life one by one. The judge said that the best thing she did was taking care of her husband wholeheartedly without any complaints and immoral thoughts, and the most evil thing she did was killing her sister with poison out of her strong jealousy. Her two children had had great predestined relationships with her. She had saved their lives in some previous lives and they became her children in this life to repay the debt of gratitude to her. The King of Hell said, "She can't be allowed to die this way, because if people don't know the consequence of a jealous person doing evil deeds, later on they will do bad things with no restraint." Therefore, the devil minions were ordered to tie her up with thick iron chains and escort her back to the human world.

Everyone was living with extreme fear in the middle of a famine. When she was escorted back into the human world, the people in the area were extremely shocked. Several brave ones asked her while trembling, "Didn't you die? How come you came back?" The little devils counted one by one her good and bad deeds in her life and finally said, "The reason why the King of Hell asked us to bring her back is to tell you all that the result of doing bad deeds is to go to Hell, and even if one can reincarnate into a human body, the karma owed will still have to be paid back. Now it's time for us to go back and report to the King of Hell.� They disappeared with her instantly. It happened right before dusk. People who witnessed everything felt as if they had been in a dream.

After she was brought back to Hell, she was sent to a water cellar where she suffered from being bitten by bugs and snakes there and enduring various other tortures. The pain cannot be described in words at all. Nearly a hundred years passed in this way. One day, a fairy named Chang E and a god named Er Lang came to Hell to inspect things on the orders of Jade Emperor. Approaching the water cellar, they heard a woman crying very sadly. Chang E thought the voice sounded familiar and had a close look: "You the evil creature! You are here!" It turned out that she was originally a jade Pipa (a traditional Chinese music instrument) that Chang E used to own. Seeing Change E, she cried even more sadly. Feeling sorry for her, Chang E asked, "What serious sin have you done to fall into this situation?" She then related how she had killed her twin sister. Chang E sighed, "The secular world is indeed a place where people create karma. Controlled by demonic hearts, people do bad deeds and create karma, and eventually they have to come to Hell to suffer. It's truly easy to fall and difficult to get out of here! You wait here and I will report your case to the Jade Emperor. He will make a decision about you."

At that moment, Change E heard another woman's cry from somewhere above, which sounded even sadder and pathetic. The woman cried while saying: "I, a fairy, died in a miserable and unjust way. Ever since being poisoned to death by her, I have been staying in this place with no food and water. My predestined life has still not ended. If she is forgiven easily, no matter what, I will not give in, and am determined to file a complaint against you!" Chang E and the God of Er Lang had a close look and found that the other woman was crying in a place with no food and water (it was not Hell, but a dimension existing at the same time and same location which can be seen by a god with one glance). God of Er Lang said to her, "Now you don't have anything to eat and drink, but later on you will be allowed to have all the delicacies of the human world. Don't cry anymore and don't hold such hatred anymore." Chang E said, "She owes you a life and everything will be fine when she pays it back to you sometime later. Don't cry anymore." God of Er Lang smiled, "Since you are so lonely, it would be ok to arrange for an emperor in the human world to have you as a 'Gu Du (Lonely) Empress.'" When the women was sure that the two gods had made up their mind and she could reincarnate to the human world to enjoy life, she stopped crying and said, "I can stop hating her, but I want to be 'Du Gu (Lonesome) Empress' in stead of'Gu Du (Lonely) Empress.'" God of Er Lang laughed, "What's the difference between you and a naughty child in the human world? Do you still feel unfairly treated with regard to our saving you? It's ok if you want to be Du Gu (lonesome). Being not lonely is being not lonely. We have to go back to the heavenly palace now." Change E and God of Er Lang said goodbye to the King of Hell and went straight to Ling Xiao Palace. At that time, the Jade Emperor was discussing things with Tai Yi, a Taoist god. After greeting the Jade Emperor, Chang E explained the purpose of her coming there. Tai Yi smiled and looked for a long time, and then said to the Jade Emperor: "This person has some significant background. Maybe it's a good idea to handle it in this way." Tai Yi then whispered to the Jade Emperor for a while. Jade Emperor said with a serious countenance, "You go back to rest. I will arrange the case of the Jade Pipa."

After Chang E left, the Jade Emperor called the King of Hell in and asked: "When will she pay back the karma owed for killing her sister?" "Another five years." "It's better to do it like this: when she pays back all the karma, send her to the immortal world where a senior immortal happens to need a piece of quiet jade to help his concentration during cultivation. She was originally a jade Pipa I had given to Change E. However she went down to the secular world on her own and committed a sinful deed. If she could help the senior immortal to succeed in cultivation, her karma can be eliminated and she can be listed in the group of immortals." The King of Hell nodded in agreement.

In this way she was eventually returned to her original form - a jade Pipa. The senior immortal concentrated wholeheartedly on the jade Pipa and soon he obtained the Dao through cultivation. When he was about to get out of the Three Realms, he suddenly noticed that the life of the jade Pipa had an even more remote and deeper origin and it bore an obvious mark granted by a Buddha on its forehead. This mark was not one of an ordinary Buddha, but the one granted by the King of Turning the Law Wheel who would be preaching the great Fa in the future when the universe enters the dharma-ending period. This was of great significance! And this is the greatest honor for a life in the universe! So he invited many gods to come to discuss the incident and how to arrange her future. One god said, "The King of Turning the Law Wheel has already been reincarnated in the human world for a period of time now. Now that she is a marked disciple of the King, let's arrange for her to reincarnate to a family of cultivators in the human world, and this way we will be helping with perfecting human history and letting a disciple of his accumulate mighty virtue during the time when the King of Turning the Law Wheel will be preaching the Fa in the dharma ending period, and we would have done a good deed. Another then said: "We can't let his disciple get to the human world too easily and have to set some difficulty for her…"

So the jade Pipa again reincarnated in the human world and was born to a family named Su in Yang Zhou. It was during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty. Her father was a kind person who enjoyed helping others. He and his wife, Madam Guo, led a life doing good deeds and accumulating virtue, and were well praised by the neighbors and community. However, such a nice family had suffered from various disasters when the couple was young. Large domestic animals they had raised in their household were stolen and their house was once burned down. When both of them reached their thirties, they finally had two sons. But the children were sick from the time they were born. So the couple carried the kids everywhere to seek help from doctors. However, both boys died of sickness five years later because no medicine could help. People in the village once laughed at Su, "You have been cultivating Buddhahood and doing good deeds for so many years, but why haven't you got any benefit, and come to the situation of living on humble fare and clothing? Why do you bother to continue your cultivation?" Su smiled and said, "cultivating Buddha is not at all for the comfort in the human world, and everything has it cause and effect." Even though he had said that, he still felt that he indeed had been treated unfairly and felt confused in his heart.

Sometime later a crazy Taoist came to Su's house with a short flute in his belt. The crazy Taoist insisted in staying at their house. But Su said, "My whole family is cultivating Buddhahood. If you were to stay at my house, we would interfere with each other in cultivation." "Don't you have three rooms in your house? It's enough for me to live in one room. How can people who cultivate Buddhahood let a Taoist die of starvation on the street? What kind of Buddhist cultivator are you? Today no matter what you say, I have to stay here." The crazy Taoist walked straight into the house. Left with no other choice, Su allowed the crazy Taoist to live in his house. The Taoist's stay lasted for half a year. The good thing was that except for food, he did not need any other care from the Su family, and he didn't interfere with their cultivation. The crazy Taoist did his meditation every day in his room and sometimes he would play his flute for a while. The tune of his flute playing was never heard in this human world:

Clear sound flows out of my heart,

True gold shines in the evil secular world.

With suffering and resentment vanished beyond the ninth heaven,

I leisurely observe the past and present.

On evening half a year later, the Taoist told Su and his wife with a smile, "You have proven yourselves to be cultivators of Buddhahood. You have done so well in not only tolerating ordinary troubles, but also even the interference with your cultivation. I truly admire you. Today I am leaving here but I'd like to leave this flute for you as a souvenir. Please let your child carry it in the future." Before Su and his wife had a chance to say a word, the crazy Taoist levitated into the air and disappeared. The strange thing was that after he left whenever the time that the Taoist used to play the flute came around, the sound of a flute would be heard from far and near, sometimes powerful and magnificent, sometimes deep and refined, sometimes like thousands of birds singing, sometimes like hundreds of rivers running into the ocean, sometimes like tens of thousands of horses galloping by and sometimes like little springs trickling down the hill.

Before long Su's wife became pregnant and a little girl was born. Just before the girl was born, the sound of a flute appeared again, so Su named her Yun Jing, meaning having the calmness of being in the clouds and yet full of life. Su also remembered to put the short flute the crazy Taoist had left behind next to his daughter. When the girl became a little more than one year old, a monk came to Su's house. As soon as he arrived, the monk said, "A Taoist told me that he hoped I could come to teach your daughter how to play the flute." Upon hearing that, Su thought to himself, "What's the use of playing a flute?" But another thought appeared in his head, "The flute sound of that crazy Taoist was indeed amazing; whenever I had a xinxing problem and had trouble improving myself, the sound of the flute would surely make me feel wide open at heart and not feel frustrated." So he smiled broadly and said, “"Since you are a friend of that Taoist, please teach my daughter play the flute." So the monk started to teach Ms. Su how to play the flute.

As a matter of fact, teaching the girl to play the flute was a way to set up a predestined relationship between Ms. Su and Daizong (an emperor in Tang Dynasty), and further leave a piece of culture in human history. It was also to allow the two of them to get together during the Dharma Ending Period when the King of Turning the Wheel starts to preach Dafa and fulfill their original vows back when they descended down from higher realms, which is to assist Master in Fa-rectification and save sentient beings.

In fact, playing flute is not a simple thing. Its realm is also unlimited. The tune played depends on the realm the person is in, and it is inseparably related to one's realm in cultivation. Su Jingyun was progressing very fast in both cultivation and playing the flute. But as she grew older, her father noticed that his precious daughter had a shortcoming She was always forgetting things and had a poor memory. She quickly forgot where she had left things just a little while before. Her father felt a little troubled. But she was becoming more and more beautiful. He then didn't pay too much attention to the problem in this regard.

When she turned 16, the monk one day said that he had to leave. Before he left, he asked Su to make sure his daughter keep up her practice with the flute. Su said to the monk, "We won't want to stop your from leaving if you insist. But today I have a question to ask and hope you can help to explain." The monk asked, "Please let me know what your question is." Su asked, "Why has our family led such a difficult life? According to the reasoning, a family who cultivates Buddhahood should not have so much suffering." The monk replied, "Aha, you finally asked this question. It shows that although you have met the xinxing requirement of a cultivator, you still don't understand the principles." Su admitted, "You are right." The monk asked, "Did your ancestors do any major bad deeds?" "My ancestors were very close to Wu Zetian's immediate clan (translator's note: Wu Zetian was a concubine of a Tang Dynasty emperor who usurped the throne after his death)." The monk said, "Let me tell you the truth. You were actually an ancestor of Wu Zetian in a previous life. The cause and effect and the cycle of reincarnation talked about in the Buddha school will never have any errors or exceptions. Think about it, you did so many bad deeds back then, how could you be allowed not to pay back the debt you owe? It's fortunate that you have been cultivating and doing good deeds. Everything will be resolved in a benevolent way. Your daughter will also enter the royal court and settle a piece of her own debt. Although you won't be able to cultivate beyond the Three Realms in this lifetime, your debt will all be paid back, thus you will have a good place to go. Wonderful! Wonderful!" Upon finishing talking, the monk disappeared instantly.

Back then, the country was in a civil war. The city of Yang Zhou was not in peace either. Robberies happened often and people lived in fear all the time. In addition, the crop harvest was not good during those years. People were all living in very difficult conditions. However, Su's family never had a shortage of food.

The year when Su Jing Yun was 18, the royal court sent officials to Yang Zhou to select beautiful young women as attendants at the royal court. Su Jingyun was chosen, so she said good-bye to her parents and the neighbors in Yang Zhou, and came to the royal court.

Postscript: No matter what a life has done in the world, he will face the consequences of his actions. Some are good ones and some are bad ones. This principle will never change whether people believe in it or not. Here I'd like to warn those who are still enthralled by the Communist evil cult that for the eternity of your own life, escape from the control of the evil Communist specter and choose a beautiful future for yourselves. Don't forget that gods are compassionate and yet are also incomparably solemn.

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