Virtue, Happiness and Fortune

Ling Er

PureInsight | June 2, 2008

[] Shu Yan, of
the Song Dynasty, was a smart and honest as a child. He wrote excellent
articles when he was as young as seven. He was so talented that at the
age of fifteen he was recommended to the emperor by the county
magistrate. Although he had the opportunity to be interviewed directly
by the emperor, he chose to attend the examination along with the other
3,100 candidates. Sitting in the exam, it turned out that Shu Yan had
done the exam problem before. Thus he raised his hand and spoke with
the exam administrator, "Sir, I have done this problem before. I want a
fair game. Could you give me a different problem?"

His request was honored. When he got the new problem, he read it
carefully, thought for a while and then finished his writing without
any interruption. The chief exam administrator was amazed at his
talent. Shu Yan first asked to attend the exam rather than have the
privilege of a personal interview with the emperor. Then he asked for a
new problem in the exam. His honesty earned him respect. Not only did
word of this spread among the other candidates, but also the emperor
became aware it. The emperor summoned Shu Yan and praised him, "You not
only possess genuine talent, but also possess the virtue of honesty!"
This virtue helped Shu Yan advance on the totem pole later on.

Honesty and virtue naturally attract fortune. Thus, everybody should
obtain possessions in a proper way. In modern times, certain people get
their fortune by harming others in a brazen way. For example, Jun Wu
was a director in the Shi He Zi Court of Nong Ba Shi. On June 20, 2007,
he accepted the task of illegally sentencing Falun Gong practitioners,
as well as the big financial rewards that came with it. His mother
tried to dissuade him from taking the case, warning him that Falun Gong
practitioners are all kind and selfless people. He said, "I don't think
anything will happen to me. Why should I give up the opportunity to
earn money?" Then a few days later, he fell in his office and died the
next day of stroke caused by a brain hemorrhage. He was the only child
in his family, leaving his wife, son and his mother to fend for
themselves. His mother believes his death to be the result of karmic

Those like Jun Wu who pursue fortune and so-called "happiness" by
harming or inflicting pain on others have lost the pure kindness that
should be inherent in human nature. In fact, only such virtues as
honesty may lead to fortune in a proper and lasting way.

Speaking of fortune, I can't help associating it with a program called
"A Short Dream" from the Divine Performing Arts Group's Chinese New
Year performance. The program portrays an ancient story. In the story,
a Taoist encouraged a scholar to pursue religious cultivation. As the
scholar was obsessed with fame and fortune, he decided not to cultivate
himself. To awaken the scholar, the Taoist created a vision for the
scholar, who fell asleep while waiting for his meal, and dreamt of
rising in the ranks, marrying a beautiful wife, having a big family,
and earning a large fortune. However, in the dream, he and his family
were suddenly sentenced to death due to his embezzlement. The dream
depicted dozens of years of his turbulent life. When he awoke, his rice
was just about ready to be served. The scholar learned that life was
like a dream; fame and fortune are transient. Several dozen years can
fly by in a flash. Then he knelt down to beg the Taoist to lead him to
the path of cultivation. Since fortune is transient, why should he do
those things to erode his morality and eventually hurt himself?

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