By Doing Good We Benefit Ourselves

January 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Stories from China | 1 Comment
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To the reader,

Enjoy this wonderful story from the Qing Dynasty (the last dynasty of China). It’s very touching. I hope this story will inspire compassionate thoughts in your life. Have a great day, and a wonderful new year!

Kind regards,
June Taylor

August 04, 2012 | By Chufan

( A broker in the Qing dynasty, Mr. Zhang, crossed the Yangtze River from the north to Jiangning, also known as Nanjing, to collect a debt. He planned to return home for the New Year holiday right before the year ended. With his belongings on his shoulder, he left very early, but had to wait under the eave of a building in the market for the city gate to be opened.

After waiting for some time, Mr. Zhang got so tired that he gave up, put down his cloth bag filled with gold and silver, sat on it, and closed his eyes to rest. When the city gate opened, he rushed to the gate with his belongings on his shoulder, completely forgetting the cloth bag he had been sitting on. When he realized he did not have the bag with him, it was more than one li (~0.3 mile) away. He immediately hurried back to the site. But the marketplace was already crowded with people and his bag was gone.

Mr. Zhang frowned and hovered nearby, hoping that someone might return his bag. An elderly man appeared and asked what had happened. He listened, then invited Mr. Zhang to his home and said, “I found a bag on the ground when I opened the door this morning. I don’t know if it is yours.” Mr. Zhang replied, “Inside the bag are two envelopes, each with a certain amount of silver bullion. The larger one belongs to my boss and the smaller one is mine.” The elderly man checked the items in the bag, which were exactly as Mr. Zhang had described. He thus returned the bag to Mr. Zhang.

Mr. Zhang was moved to tears and wished to thank him by giving him his own silver bullion. The elderly man smiled and replied, “I would not have told you about the bag if I loved money so much. Do you understand?” Mr. Zhang asked the elderly man his name and left for home.

When Mr. Zhang was waiting by the river for the ferry, a strong wind suddenly started up. Many boats capsized, and many passengers were drowning. Seeing this terrible scene, Mr. Zhang had a compassionate thought: “I recovered the lost bullion today. Without it, I would have been dead. I indeed regained my life.” Using all of his own money, he hired people to rescue those who were drowning. Several dozen people were saved by his compassionate thought.

All the survivors came to thank Mr. Zhang for saving them. One of them happened to be the son of the elderly man who had returned Mr. Zhang’s lost bag to him. He was on his way home to Nanjing after finishing business in the north area of the Yangtze River. Mr. Zhang was surprised about this. He then told his own story to those present, and everyone was amazed at the miracle. They realized it must be the heavenly law of good is rewarded with good. Later, these two families became relatives by marriage.

In this story, the elderly man did not keep the fortune he found for himself and did not ask for a reward for doing a good deed. He not only saved Mr. Zhang during his hardship, but also planted a seed in Mr. Zhang’s heart to do good deeds, thus laying an opportunity for his own son to be saved later.

Can you imagine what might have happened if the elderly man had kept it for himself? Mr. Zhang might have killed himself over the huge financial loss, and in turn, would not have had the chance to save many people from drowning, including the son of the elderly man. Even if Mr. Zhang did not die and was compassionate toward those who were drowning, he would not have had the money to hire people to help rescue them. On the other hand, it would have been worse if Mr. Zhang had not cared about those who were drowning because of his own misfortune.

An old saying advises, “Doing good deeds without seeking repayment will inspire others to be compassionate and resolve your own tribulation; helping people in need will help them accumulate money to do good deeds and you will receive help from others.

Finally, the following saying provides sound advice, “It is better do small good deeds to build up fortune for the future than to sigh over the decline in morality; it is better to help others every day so that you might be helped in hard times than to sigh over degenerate morals.”

Story from Xi Chao Xin Yu by Xu Xiling and Qian Young, Qing Dynasty

Chinese version available

CATEGORY: Traditional Art and Culture


Tales From the Practice of Medicine: Lack of Forbearance Can Ruin Health

October 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today | Leave a comment
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By Yu Lin

A patient whom I will call Rita came to me to treat her Parkinson’s disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, Parkinson’s disease is called “trembling paralysis.” 

Rita was referred to me by a doctor of Western medicine. She had been suffering from this ailment for three years. Both her hands trembled, but the right one trembled more severely than the left.

When Rita tried to eat, the food always fell to the floor before it reached her mouth because of her severe trembling. Although there were improvements after I treated her for a while, they were always followed by relapses.

After several relapses, I began to carefully inquire about recent events in her life. She related her story to me about events that had tormented her for the past three years.

While she was telling the story, her mood changed from one of tranquility to agitation, then anger, followed by sorrow. It was then that I understood the real cause of her illness and how the affliction arose.

“My husband and I own and operate a company that transports shipping containers, and we have a villa on an island. Along with our neighbor, we were the only residents of the island, and we shared a common private road. Because the road was in disrepair, we proposed that we share expenses to repair it, but they declined and we had no alternative but to do it ourselves.

“We never imagined that the contractor who repaired the road would inadvertently leave a pile of rocks in the middle of the road, which greatly inconvenienced the neighbors when they used the road.

“They thought that we had acted rashly in anger and had it done on purpose. So they closed a gate on their property, blocking a short cut we had been using to get to our villa. We then had to drive several extra miles to reach our home.

“My husband started talking about their actions with foul language and then in anger cut off their water supply. We had installed the water supply system, and the neighbor connected to it in order to save money.

“They almost went mad with anger and cemented a pile of stones in the middle of the road, thus completely blocking our way home. This cost us $2,000 worth of road repairs, and we became absolutely irreconcilable enemies. On top of that, the most intolerable thing was that both of us had to seek legal assistance, which ended up costing about $2 million!

“For the past three years, we have not been able to live in the villa. And the neighbors cannot live in their home either. Our conflict is now at the stage of a life-and-death struggle. Because the court has not delivered a verdict, we are unable to sell the villa, and we cannot live there but must keep up the maintenance of the house. …”

As she spoke, I could see she was trembling with anger. Her face was red, and she appeared to be on the borderline of collapse.

Seeing her pain and anger, I could see the root of the recurring relapses. Anger adversely affects the liver, thereby causing irritation and more anger. With this being the case, it causes discomfort, harming the flow of energy, the spirit, and the body.

It did not occur to her that the fight with her neighbor was nothing when measured against her own life. In fact, with just one thought, the conflict could have been easily dispelled, but now, because of small-mindedness, the dispute continued endlessly with much money spent in vain, and with only constant misery left.

I knew that her illness could not be cured with medicine alone, but rather must be cured from its root. So I spoke to Rita about forbearance, explaining the principle to her.

I told her, “Take a step back, as the sea and sky are boundless, and endure a bit, as even a flower will bloom in the shade of the willow tree.”

After listening to me, Rita said that if she had heard those words three years ago, she would have never allowed the situation to develop to what it was today.

I talked to her about the principles of “Zhen Shan Ren” (truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance), and about Falun Dafa, a meditation and exercise practice. I also spoke to her about reincarnation and the reciprocating effects of karma.

It was the first time she had heard of these principles. “Oh, my! Is it true that we have deviated so far from truth, compassion, and forbearance that such tribulations are upon us? Is it because we have done many bad deeds in our past lives, and now owe lots of debts to others?” she asked.

“Is that why we are suffering such retributions? Is it correct to suppose that they are warnings for us? Perhaps God allows us to be humans so that we can show kindness to others.”

Her hands stopped trembling. As she left, she said to me, “Doctor, you have assuaged my three years of depression and resentment.”

I did not say more but just watched as she walked away with a huge sigh of relief.

Translated from

Dreams and Truth — Secret of a Scale

August 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discoveries, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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Tai Ping, Ed.

[] What is a dream? Modern science posits that dreaming is a kind of nerve activity of the cerebral cortex during sleep. However, many people clearly see future activities or omens in their dreams. Some people see other kinds of pictures or lives. Many of these events actually happen later. These are some of the things that modern science is unable to explain. In fact, from a cultivation point of view, some dreams occur when a person’s Primordial Spirit (yuanshen) has left the human body, gone to another dimension and has seen the scenery there. Or lives in other dimensions reveal the scene to him or her. Of course, there are other complicated reasons for having dreams. Many dreams have no direct relation to a person at all. I will share with you a strange dream from historical records.

During the Ming Dynasty, there was a wealthy man who became rich from selling products from southern China in his grocery store. He had one son and two grandsons and had a very happy family. Later, he became sick and bed-ridden. Before he died, he gave a weighing scale to his son and very seriously told him: “This scale is a treasure that helped me build up my wealth. It is made from black wood. The scale is hollow inside and filled with mercury. When one sells things to a customer, one should push the scale slightly upward. The mercury will go to the head of the scale. The customer will think that the product weighs more than its actual weight. When you buy products to stock up, you push the scale down a little, so the mercury moves to the end of the scale. The seller will think that the product weighs less than its actual weight . In this way I have taken advantage of many people. That is how I built up my wealth.”

The son was very shocked when he heard this. How could his father do such an immoral thing? He did not argue with him because his father was very ill. After his father died, he burned the scale. He did his best to do all kinds of charitable acts. He comforted people who were in danger and helped poor people. He took care of disabled and old people. He always worried that he hadn’t done enough good to compensate for his father’s unscrupulous deeds. Because of his kindness and sincerity, he exhausted half of his family fortune within three years. He was not unhappy because this is what he wanted to do. But his two sons died one after another. He felt sad because he thought that his good deeds were being rewarded with calamity! So he often sighed that the gods were ignorant and that good and evil were reversed. Unavoidably he held a little hatred in his heart.

One night, he had a dream in which he saw a palace where an official presided. The official told him: “Your father was supposed to be wealthy because of his generosity in a previous life. Even if he hadn’t used the scale, he would still be rich. But he used that scale with such bad intent. Additionally, he obtained a lot of karma. Yet he didn’t repent even as he was dying. Therefore, he will suffer hardship to pay it back. This was just his foolishness. Because of his evil deeds, God sent two angels called Broke and Consumption to become your sons to squander your family’s wealth. The original plan was that after they squandered all your wealth, what was left of your property would be burned down. Because of your father, you wouldn’t have enough food and clothing. Moreover you would not live long. Your father thought that he could leave a lot of wealth to his son and grandsons and that they would enjoy life without worrying about anything. There was no way for him to know that his son would not live long, or that his grandsons had come to ruin his family. Fortunately, you have a compassionate heart that is enough to compensate for your father’s sin. God has observed you for three years and found that you are always sincere and honest, which is a very rare thing. Therefore, God decided to call back the two angels. In the near future, you will have virtuous children and exceptional descendants. In addition, your life will be prolonged. You should diligently cultivate your kindness without hatred in your heart.” After he awakened, the son was suddenly enlightened. From then on, he was always very determined to be kind to other people. Later, he had two sons, who both passed imperial civil examinations and won honors for the family.

After reading this historical record, I cannot help but think how well the principle of “good is rewarded with good, and evil is met with evil” works. Because living beings cannot see causal relationships, they dare to do evil things. They don’t believe in retribution. Moreover, they even spread corrupt principles such as “Nice guys finish last” to attract people to do wrong. They don’t know that true justice is real and fair. Because people have different blessings, virtue, and predestined relationships, retribution will be different for each person. Good deeds are rewarded with good, evil deeds with retribution.

Therefore, in the process of Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong, some people have ill-gotten wealth from catching, beating, fining and betraying Falun Gong practitioners. They don’t know that their behavior has planted the roots for their future punishment. If they do not grasp the opportunity to rectify the wrong deeds, it will be too late to regret.

This material was from “Moral Collection.”

Translated from:

Honor Heaven and Understand One’s Responsibility, Follow the Dao That Guides One’s Behavior

August 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Children's Stories, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | Leave a comment
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( The ancient Chinese honored and respected heaven’s will. They believed that when one is attuned to heaven’s will one can understand human affairs and act righteously. The ancients observed, studied, and hypothesized about the movement, changes, and rules that govern the universe and nature. The findings allowed them to understand the ever-evolving human society and the rules that govern mankind’s existence. Based on that, they deduced that the principles of moral conduct should harmonize with heaven and earth and prevent one from deviating from the righteous path.

According to Shi Ji (Records of the Grand Historian), there lived a virtuous court official, Sima Jizhu, in the kingdom of Chu. He studied in Chang An, an ancient capital of China during the Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties and now called Xi’an. He was well versed in The Book of Changes and the teachings of the Yellow Emperor and Lao Zi. Besides that, he was highly educated and had great foresight. One time, court officials Song Zhong and Jia Yi paid a visit to Sima Jizhu to ask his thoughts on human affairs. At the time, Sima Jizhu was having a discussion with three students. When they noticed Song Zhong and Jia Yi, they invited them to join the discussion. Song Zhong and Jia Yi responded that they only wished to listen. Sima Jizhu continued to talk about the movements of heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, and their relationship to benevolence and righteousness, as well as the good and the bad omens. Everything was explained in an organized and logical manner. Song Zhong and Jia Yi both listened attentively and with great respect.

Sima Jizhu continued, “A gentleman is straightforward when offering good advice and does not expect to be repaid when giving praise. He kindly and honestly points out other’s mistakes, keeping the nation’s and people’s well-being in mind. A genuinely virtuous person will not accept a government position if he does not think he can it perform well, nor will he take a salary that exceeds his efforts. He is not ecstatic when offered a position, nor is he worried about losing his job; the key is that he does things conscientiously. On the other hand, a wicked person who is hungry for power uses his authority to threaten others. He uses the law as a tool to force out the righteous person and exploits the common people. He will do anything for personal gain, and that is despicable. A wicked official does not enforce the law to prevent robberies, does not take care of and reform the neighboring tribes when they do not surrender, and doesn’t stop other wicked ones from uprising and obstructing the path of the sages. All kinds of disasters occur as a result of degenerated moral values.”

Song Zhong and Jia Yi were impressed and humbled by Sima Jizhu’s speech and commented, “It is true that good moral values lead to peace, whereas power and force lead to danger. One should learn and follow the laws of heaven in one’s activities, and become a righteous instead of a wicked person who caters to the powerful.”

After the fall of the Qin Dynasty, the Marquis of Dongling was relegated to the level of a common person. One day he visited Sima Jizhu to talk about his future. Sima Jizhu asked, “What do you want to know about your future?” Marquis of Dongling replied, “I’ve heard that when a bothersome smell becomes strong, it needs to be aired; when the temperature gets too hot, the wind will blow; and what is congested needs to be aired. From winter to spring, what is curled up will be extended. Things rise and fall, and they come and go. However, I still have doubts and would like to hear your advice.” Sima Jizhu said, “You seem to understand the principles, then why do you need me to talk about your future?” Marquis of Dongling replied, “I don’t seem to thoroughly understand the profound meanings of what I have heard and hope you can guide me.” Sima Jizhu responded, “Who does the heavenly law favor? It favors those who are virtuous. When a virtuous person conducts himself according to heavenly law and does things to benefit the common people, the gods will help him. From dusk till dawn, flowers wilt and bloom; winter leaves and spring arrives; all things wane and will be reborn. There is always a calm and deep pool at the end of the rapid river water. There must be a deep canyon underneath the high mountain ridge. There is cause and effect, and all matters are predestined. When a person cultivates to become virtuous, good manners and etiquette will follow.”

Ancient Chinese have believed and followed the principle of “man and heaven are one.” They knew that there was a direct relationship between cosmic changes and changes in human affairs, and that good deeds will be rewarded and bad deeds will receive retribution. Therefore, they placed great importance on elevating their moral standards. However, the Chinese Communist Party has acted against heaven’s will and done things that are against the laws of heaven and earth, morality, and the cosmic law, thus, creating countless tragedies. Their actions will not be tolerated by the heavenly principles.


Moral Integrity and Trust: A Virtue and a Responsibility

August 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Good Advice, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Relevance to Today, Stories from China | 2 Comments
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March 27, 2009 | By Zhizhen

( Traditional Chinese culture was imparted by gods, and it has a very long history. Ancient Chinese people emphasized moral cultivation, and they considered moral integrity and trust as the most fundamental element of moral cultivation.

From the process of heaven and earth having given birth to all things and nurtured all things, the ancient Chinese people have seen the universe’s characteristic of truthfulness and non-deception. They called this characteristic “integrity or honesty.” They stressed that human beings should pursue moral integrity and be in accord with heavenly principles. From the structure of the Chinese character, “trust” (pronounced as “xin“), one can see that this character is a combination of two characters, “human” (pronounced as “yen“) and “human’s words” (pronounced as “yan“). Therefore, the Chinese character “trust” means that “human’s words are trustworthy.” As a result, in Chinese culture there are the following sayings about “trust”: “A promise is worth one thousand ounces of gold;” “Promises must be kept, and action must be resolute;” and “A promise cannot be taken back once it is made;” and so on. There are many stories about ancient Chinese people being honest and trustworthy and keeping their promises.

For example, Confucius taught his students to hold such an attitude toward learning and knowledge, “What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know.” That is, it is true knowledge when one acknowledges what one knows and admits what one does not know. One should not be presumptuous and should be modest. One should fit one’s actions to the words, and “A gentleman takes it as a disgrace to let his words outstrip his deeds.” According to Lun Yu (Analects of Confucius), when Confucius talked about how a person cultivates himself or treats others, he repetitively mentioned “trust,” “An individual cannot establish him- or herself without honesty and trust.” When Confucius talked about governing a nation, he said, “People cannot be governed without trust.” So he believed that “trust” was even more important than the army or food.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, when young Fan Zhongyan (a very famous scholar and prime minister in the Song Dynasty, who had very high morality) was still studying in Suiyang, he got to know an alchemist. One day, the alchemist got a serious illness, and he asked someone to find Fan Zhongyan. He told Fan, “I have a secret alchemy recipe. My son is still young and I cannot teach him the Golden Touch skill. Now I will let you help keep this secret recipe.” The alchemist sealed, in a package, the secret recipe as well as one jin (about one pound) of platinum that he had made through alchemy, and he handed the package to Fan. He then died. Several years later Fan became a government official who served in the role of providing criticisms and suggestions to the government. He found that alchemist’s son and told him, “Your father had the magical Golden Touch skill. When he passed away, you were still very young, and he let me keep this secret recipe for you. Now you have grown up, and I should hand it to you.” He then took out that package that contained the recipe and the platinum and handed it to the alchemist’s son. The seal mark was still intact, proving that the package had never been opened.

Fan Zhongyan’s son, Fan Chunren, likewise followed his father’s will. When he governed Luoyang, he brought happiness to the local community through his moral integrity and honesty. Because of his governing, “no one pocketed anything found on the road, and no families needed to bar their doors at night.” Once in the place of Baisimapo when an old man sat under the sun by a wall, someone came to tell him, “Your family’s yellow calf has been stolen.” After hearing the message, the old man still sat there; he did not move at all, nor did he say a word. A moment later, another person came and told him again about the loss of the calf. The old man peacefully told that person, “You do not need to look for it. It must be someone who wanted to make a joke and has hidden it.” Those who passed by felt strange and they asked the man, “Sir, your family has lost a cow. Others told you this again and again, but why don’t you care about it.” The old man said with a smile, “Since Mr. Fan has lived here, who would want to become a thief? This is in no way possible.” A moment later, the calf came back as expected.

There was another story about moral integrity and trust, which is called “Zhong Shiheng does not break his promise to the Qiang people.” Zhong Shiheng was a famous general in the Northern Song Dynasty. When he went to Qingjian City to guard the border of the nation, he visited the tribes of the Qiang people inside the border. Niujia Tribe leader Nu-E was stubborn and conceited, and he did not obey the local regulations of the Song Dynasty. Zhong Shiheng made an appointment with Nu-E; Zhong would visit the tribe to show that he cared about the people. Then, unexpectedly, a big snow fell in the evening, and it was very difficult to travel the next day. Furthermore, Nu-E’s tribe was located in remote mountains, which was hard to reach. Zhong’s subordinates tried to persuade him to go there on another day. However, Zhong insisted on keeping his promise. Nu-E thought that Zhong would definitely not come in such a big snow. Surprisingly, Zhong showed up, which made Nu-E admire Zhong very much. Nu-E quickly gathered his people to come to listen to Zhong’s words. Ever since then, various Qiang tribes continued to follow Zhong. Since Zhong’s army had not caused trouble for the local people, his army had won the hearts of the people there and had gotten along very well with the local people. The Qiang people called the army “Zhong’s Army.” Later whenever the Xixia (a warring state of the Song Dynasty) army came to invade the country, the Qiang people always immediately informed Zhong of the invasion, and they exerted effort to help Zhong’s army. Thus Zhong’s army won each and every battle, which made the border return to peace.

Moral integrity and trust is the fundamental principle that one should follow when one conducts oneself and lives in society. It is a basic requirement of human nature, human values, as well as human responsibilities. It is a virtue. It is even more so a responsibility. Ancient Chinese people often used the criterion of “extreme honesty” to restrict themselves, manage their relationships with others, and improve the morality of society. However, in the current society, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does not value moral integrity and trust. It has always used its lies to brainwash people. It has persecuted those who dare to speak out about the truth. It has been persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, who follow the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. As a result, the CCP has caused a rapid degeneration in the social morality. At present, when heaven is about to eliminate the CCP, more and more people have withdrawn from the CCP and its related organizations, and they have thus chosen righteousness and conscience. This is really a wise choice.

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