The first issue of Time magazine in this new millennium ranked most influential personalities in every historical period of human civilization. The dubious distinction of "dictator of the 14 century" went to Zhu Yuanzhang (also known as Zhu Hung Wu), a Chinese of humblest origin (a homeless) who eventually "chased out the descendants of Genghis Khan and became the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty in China." According to Time, Zhu's other accomplishments included policies that led to "an agricultural bonanza", which made "the ordinary Chinese... the most prosperous inhabitants on earth." His success has largely been attributed to his key advisor, Liu Chi (also known as Liu Bowen), another legend in China famous for his wisdom and prophecies. What follows is an ad hoc English rendition of a conversation between Zhu and Liu, as documented in Ming dynasty royal archives. Emperor: Please advise: who will spread the Tao during the last Fa-declining period?

Liu: There is a rhyme to reveal this secret: Neither is a Buddha nor is a Tao, Wearing a four-liang[1] flannel cap light and short, Temples are not where the true Buddha stays, Maitreya is he who commands all.

Emperor: Where, then, will Maitreya come into birth?

Liu: Your majesty, please hear this prophecy: When the future spiritual Lord descends into this world, he will not assume the figure of a royal court dignitary; nor will he care to be a prince. Staying away from the Buddhist temples and Taoist monasteries, he is instead born into an indigent family. He travels extensively around the "Northern Zhao and Southern Yan", and scatters the gold all along his way.

Emperor: For the sake of our progeny, can you clarify what happens after the Ch'ing Dynasty[2]?

Liu: I dare not expose in its entirety. But it is certain that the Ch'ing Dynasty remains solid before the opening of the sea routes to the outside. Bloodshed and wars, however, will ensue following the opening. If the time has come again for another opening to the outside, on an even larger scale, it must be "Lao Shui"[3] is reigning in Beijing.

Emperor: What kind of changes, if any, does "Lao Shui" bring to the country?

Liu: There are a lot of them. The most prominent one is the multitude of Taos will fade to introduce a great cultivation practice. This practice will make people younger than their age. It comes at a time when the monks have so degenerated that they are even demanding brides for themselves - hat a funny moment, that ladies start marrying monks.

Emperor: What do you have to say about the Tao in that era?

Liu: In the final phase of the Fa-declining period, thousands of Great Enlightened Beings will descend into the human world; and hundreds of Buddha's will do the same. A full sky of Taos, immortals and Bodhisattva's, etc., will find it hard to escape this upcoming calamity. It is none other than the Buddha for the Future who descends to spread the Fa at this final moment. All Buddha's and Taos, in the heaven or in the human world, can only be spared if they are fortunate enough to be associated with the Fa by a "golden string"; otherwise, their fruit status will be cut down. After this declining period, Maitreya seals off the total of 81 calamities.

Now, I'd like to share some of my observations regarding this conversation.

  1. The origin. The above prophecies most explicitly reveal the origin, beginning and dissemination of Falun Dafa. The line "Wearing a four-liang[4] flannel cap light and short" is an analogy used to describe the hairstyle of today's gentlemen. The males of the Ming dynasty wore a distinctive hairdo that involves the binding and knotting of the hair, usually very long, at the top of their heads. The "four-liang[5] flannel cap" refers to the modern short-cut hairstyle prevalent among males nowadays. The rhyme also makes it clear that Falun Dafa is neither Buddhism nor one of other religions; and its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, was raised in an indigent family.

  2. The place to spread the Fa. The area identified as "Northern Zhao and Southern Yan" clearly is Beijing. Both "Zhao" and "Yan" in ancient China stand for Hebei province that surrounds the city of Beijing. It is also of significance to note that Liu Chi described the beginning of Dafa introduction in Beijing in 1992 as "scatters the gold all along his way."

  3. The time period. The "another opening to the outside, on an even larger scale" refers to the ongoing "open-up and reform" program in China. Besides, Liu Chi is the author of the popular "frying cake verses", which, as pedestrian as it might seem to many, correctly predicts the ebb and flow of China's future dynasties since his time[6]. The part in the conversation about the Ch'ing history is fully consistent with current records. For instance, the Opium War forced China to open its doors to the world powers led by the British in 1840梐nd to a humiliating one-hundred-year subordination in wars.

  4. Moreover, the passage also talks about the effects of Falun Dafa on human health, such as making people younger than their age. The last part vividly depicts the Fa-rectification process, with all gods, Buddha's, Taos, as well as human beings, going through the ultimate test. As taught by Mr. Li Hongzhi, sentient beings failing the test will lose the opportunity forever. The rule applies even to those Buddha's, who "will drop down when they can not handle it well" (from Zhuan Falun) Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that the Buddha coming to save sentient beings is identified as "Buddha for the Future", who is also called Maitreya.

I'd like to conclude on a note to fellow practitioners: Let's not wait any longer, now that the celestial secret has fully been revealed; otherwise, it will be too late for regret when this opportunity is lost forever.

[1]One liang is 1and 1/3 oz.

[2]The Ming (1368-1644) and the Ch’ing (1644-1911) are two consecutive dynasties in China. Apparently, even before this conversation, the emperor had known the name of the subsequent dynasty through Liu.

[3]"Lao" means "old"; and "Shui" is "water". The mention of "Lao Shui" here is interesting as its implications are consistent with those of the name of current Chinese despotic leader Jiang Zemin. "Jiang" in Chinese refers to river; "Zemin", by literal translation, is "helping people grow by watering them continuously." Ironically, during the summer of 1990, the first year Jiang assumed the top office of the country, China saw a large part of its territory most damagingly flooded; and human tolls were in the thousands. It was widely circulated within the somewhat "superstitious" segment of the population that the flood might have some to do with the name of their leader. Since that time, however, severe floods have become a usual occurrence every year in China. [4]One liang is 1and 1/3 oz. [5]One liang is 1and 1/3 oz. [6]Liu Chi, along with Zhu Yuanzhang, is a most colorful character the mundane Chinese royal history has to offer to the general public. He is also credited with creation of the "moon cake" holiday now widely observed―for the original purpose of serving as a liaison tool in uniting Chinese natives against their Mogul rulers.