Previous Incarnations and Present Life: Eight Hundred Coins

PureInsight | July 21, 2003

[Series note: People encounter and befriend one another because of predestined relationships. With that in mind, one cannot talk about predestined relationships without talking about reincarnation. In this series, we will introduce stories of reincarnation selected from ancient Chinese books. Hopefully these stories will inspire us all to treat everyone we meet with kindness.]

[] There was a temple in east Anren Township, in Yichun County, where a monk in his 90's lived. He had a great many pupils and disciples. Regardless of whether they were monks or laymen, they all called him Shang Gong (the Superior Reverend). Nobody could remember what his real name was anymore. The temple owned a farm in Changzhu and used it to raise livestock.

One night the old monk was asleep when he dreamed that an old woman in black came up to him, bowed down and then left. Before she left, she said to Shang Gong, "I just owned your temple eight hundred coins." Shang Gong woke up and felt very strange about what she had said in the dream. He took a pen and wrote down the story on a wall in his bedroom. The disciples living with him had no idea what the story meant.

About five days later, an old cow raised by the temple died. The monk in charge of livestock tried to sell the corpse on the street. No matter who he approached, the buyer would only offer 800 coins to the monk for the cow. The monk then wrote a report to Shang Gong about it, "One of the cows in Changzhu died, and I wanted to sell it. Although there were many butchers, they all gave the same price of eight hundred coins." Shang Gong sighed and said, "It's okay, as the debt has now been repaid." Then Shang Gong asked the monk to read the account that he had written earlier on his bedroom wall. Both of them felt quite sad and emotional afterwards.

Reference: Yutang Xianhua (Conversation at the Jade Hall)

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