The Story of the "Kind Person's Bridge"
(Clearwisdom.net) Once upon a time, a fengshui master traveled to Qiongnong Mountain, a place well known and long admired by Daoists. It was a sizzling hot summer day with a blazing sun high in the sky. The fengshui master climbed down the mountain and walked past a place known as "Two Knee Fountain." He then came up to a thatched cottage located at the entrance of a town. He was sweating all over and very thirsty, and he could hardly bear it anymore. Suddenly he saw an elderly lady and quickly begged her for water to drink. The woman said that she would boil some water immediately and asked him to please wait for a moment.
The fengshui master was eager to release his thirst so he said, "I will just drink the cold water in the big jar behind your door." After he said that, he took the ladle to get the cold water. The woman turned around, grabbed a handful of rice chaff, and threw it into the water jar. The fengshui master was not happy but didn't feel it was appropriate to lose his temper. After he got the water in the ladle, he patiently blew away the rice chaff before drinking it. After he finished drinking the water, he started to chat with the woman about fengshui matters. She asked him to help her pick a good location for the foundation of a new house. The fengshui master was angry with her for throwing rice chaff into his water, so he purposely picked a location that would lead the family to a bad outcome according to fengshui principles and told her exactly how the house should be orientated. He then left.
Many years later, the fengshui master went back to the mountain. He saw a dignified new house at the place where he had instructed the elderly lady years ago to build, but he wasn't sure who lived there. Just then she came out of the house. She recognized the fengshui master and warmly invited him to come inside and take a seat. She said, "We are lucky that you gave us instructions concerning where to build a good house. Since then, our farm has done very well. All our family members are happy and healthy. Our life is really good. We have always wanted to find you and give our thanks to you. To our surprise, you are here again." She then prepared a banquet to honor him. She requested all her family members to personally thank him one by one.
The fengshui master was deeply confused. He felt bad about what he had done before and grew quiet. The elderly lady then told him, "People like us who live in the mountains treat guests with kindness and honesty. I remember that last time you came. I did not have boiled tea or hot water to give you. You were gong to drink the cold water instead. I suddenly became worried that you would get sick from drinking a lot of cold water quickly when you were so hot and sweaty and had difficulty catching your breath. So I threw some rice chaff into the water. That way, you had to blow the rice chaff off and drink the water more slowly. I am sorry that I did not explain my reason to you at that time. I didn't want to embarrass you."
Her explanation made the fengshui master feel even more ashamed. He felt bad for having repaid her kindness with malice. So he told her what he had done and said, "In fact, fengshui does not always work. What's always true is that good will be rewarded with good and hard work will be recognized. In the future I will rectify my own behavior and become a kind and honest person like you."
He then donated money to build a little bridge nearby and called it the "Kind Person's Bridge."
First published in English at http://pureinsight.org/pi/articles/2005/11/14/3503.html