PureInsight | August 11, 2003
[PureInsight.org] Each person's life has long been meticulously arranged by gods; otherwise a fortune-telling master wouldn't be able to accurately predict the future of a person. However, one's fate isn't completely cast in stone, and our choices are also important variables to our lives. Perhaps when the gods arrange the destiny of each human, they also arrange opportunities for one to make one's own choices in the pivotal moments that would lead to a different life. Hopefully, after reading such stories, people around the world will make wise decisions on issues regarding Dafa and Dafa practitioners. Refusing to believe the lies of Jiang and treating Dafa and Dafa practitioners with compassion is choosing a bright and glorious future for oneself.
In the twenty-fifth year of Kai Yuan (713-742 AD) of the Tang Dynasty (618 -906 AD), Zheng Qian was the court academician for rituals and formalities. There was a man by the name of Zheng Xiangru. He was over fifty years of age. Zheng Xiangru traveled from Long Nan to take the government's official qualification examination. He went to pay his respects as a nephew to Zheng Qian. Zheng Qian treated him just like anyone else. Zheng Xiangru made another visit but was treated in the same indifferent manner.
Zheng Xiangru thereupon asked Zheng Qian, "Uncle, don't you know that I will succeed in my examinations? Confucius said, 'He who is capable of inheriting the Zhou Dynasty can be foreseen even a hundred generations in advance.' I am only an ordinary person, but if Confucius were still alive, I would be at the same level as his second best students, such as Yan and Zi Xia, if not at the level as his best student Yan Hui." Zheng Qian was quite astonished by his audacious comment on being able to foresee the future, so he tested Zheng Xiangru with several questions, which Zheng Xiangru answered with ease.
Thereafter Zheng Qian stopped receiving guests in order to focus on talking to Zheng Xiangru. Zheng Qian also took the opportunity to ask Xiangru a question, which he'd had on his mind for some time. "If you knew you would succeed in the exam, why did you wait until so late to take the examination?" Zheng Xiangru replied, "It is destined that I will not succeed in the examination until next year. That is why I decided not to come before the time had arrived." Zheng Qian asked, "Which government position will you get?" Xiangru replied, "In another seven years, I will be appointed to be an officer in the Qu Prefecture of Xin An County. In ten years I will die in my post." Zheng Qian asked, "What can you tell me about my future?" Xiangru replied, "Five years from now, the nation will enter a new era. In another fifteen years, there will be a large scale rebellion in the region of You Ji that will tarnish your reputation. If you can truly pledge your allegiance to your country, you may just get a slap on the wrist as a demotion. Otherwise, there will be more severe consequence than I can predict."
In the spring of the next year, Zheng Xiangru passed the examination. In seven years, he was appointed as an officer in the Qu Prefecture of Xin An County. Before he left for the post, he went to bid farewell with Zheng Qian in tears, telling him that this would be their last meeting. Three years later, an inspector visited Zheng Qian. Zheng Qian took the opportunity to ask if Zheng Xiangru was still in Qu Prefecture. The man said, "A few months after he assumed his post, he was stricken with an acute disease and passed away at a Buddhist temple."
In the twenty-ninth year of the Kai Yuan Era, the Emperor started a new era called the Tian Bao Era (742-756 AD).
In the 15th year of the Tian Bao Era, An Lushan rebelled in the Eastern Capital. He sent one of his officials, Zhang Tongru, the mayor of Xijing, to Chang'an. An Lushan asked Zhang Tongru to move all government officials of the Tang Dynasty to the Eastern Capital, Luoyang. After moving to the Eastern Capital, Zheng Qian became an official and was in charge of maritime security. Then Zheng remembered Xiangru's words, so he pretended to be insane, and asked to be dragged to the streets so that he could wipe himself with dirt. Meanwhile, he secretly wrote reports to the emperor. The same year when the Emperor Su succeeded to the throne at Lingwu, the Tang Dynasty successfully put a stop to the rebellion in the Eastern Capital. The Emperor Su asked to try all traitors during the rebellion by law. Although Zheng Qian worked for the enemy, he didn't display allegiance to An Lushan. Therefore, he only received a small demotion and was placed in charge of the Civil Affairs in the city of Wenzhou.
Fortunately, Zheng Qian followed Xiangru's advice, and continued to be loyal to the country. A correct decision at that critical moment saved his life. Otherwise, he would have surely received capital punishment after the rebellion subsided.
Note: Zheng Qian (692 – 764 A.D.) was a famous painter and writer in the Tang Dynasty. He was also known as Zheng Yuqi. He was from Yingyang of Zhengzhou Prefecture, Henan province. At the beginning of Tian Bao Era, he was in charge of music for rites. Later on, he went on to other jobs, including being a professor in the Imperial College of Guangwen and an official in charge of maritime security. He was good at poetry, penmanship, and painting. He was especially good at landscape painting. He was equally talented in writing poetry, writing calligraphy and painting. Therefore, he won praise from the Emperor Xuan citing "Zheng Qian's three incredible talents." Zheng Qian was also an expert of geography. He wrote the Record of Armed Forces for Defense during the Tian Bao Era, which recorded mountains, rivers and important geographic locations for the armed forces. He won the respect of the strata of scholars with the name and nickname "Zheng Guangwen" [Note: Guangwen in Chinese means knowledgeable.]
Yang Shou was a Prime Minister in the Tang Dynasty. When he was young, he studied at Mt. Lushan. One day, while he was admiring the landscape, he accidentally wandered into a place that no tourist had been to. Yang Shou ran into a Taoist there who said to him, "If you cultivate the Tao, you will have a chance to become an immortal. If you insist on pursuing a career in politics, you will attain the highest position in the country below the Emperor, but in the end, you will face a major catastrophe. Will you follow me to cultivate the Tao?" Yang Shou hesitated for a moment, but finally made up his mind to pursue a career in politics.
Thus Yang Shou declined the Taoist's offer. Later Yang Shou did become the Prime Minister, but he finally died a tragic end in a wasteland in southern China.
It was such a precious opportunity for Yang Shou to meet an immortal who offered him salvation, but instead of cultivating the Tao, Yang Shou chose a conventional path to politics in the human world. In the end, like the Taoist immortal had predicted, Yang Shou met with a tragic end. Such a pity!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/7/8/22322.html