[PureInsight.org] The teachings of "accumulating virtues by performing good deeds" and "taking helping others as joy' are consistent throughout the traditional Chinese culture. There are many Chinese sayings on that subject, such as "good will be rewarded with good," "A family who is always kind will have plenty to celebrate," "The first person plants trees and people behind him will get the shade." The next story is about another saying, "ancestors who accumulate virtue will bring benefits to their children and grandchildren."

Yang Rong was born in Jianan (today's Ning County, Fujian Province) during the Ming dynasty. He was a famous official of the Ming Dynasty. He, Yan Shiqi and Yang Bo were three important officials with the same surname of Yang who had served under four emperors, Emperor Chen (Yong Le), Emperor Reng (Hong Xi), Emperor Xuan (Xuan De) and Emperor Ying (Zheng Tong), from 1403 to1449. The three Yangs enjoyed high prestige, universal respect and excellent reputations. The Ming History Records says, "If one makes a list of wise and able officials during the Ming Dynasty, the three Yangs have to be at the top of the list." During the time that "the Three Yangs" were in charge of the government, policies were wise, the country was peaceful, people were prosperous and everything was in order. The Three Yangs indeed made many contributions to the country.

Yang Rong's ancestors made a living by running a ferry for people. During his great-grandfather's time, there was a flood and many houses were destroyed. A lot of people and property was washed into the river. Many ferry owners took the opportunity to grab as many valuable goods from the river with their boats as they could. Only Yang Rong's great-grandfather and grandfather risked their lives to rescue people who had fallen into the river. They didn't try to grab any goods at all. As a result, all the other ferry owners had obtained a huge amount of property from the flood. Yang's family was the only one who still had to rely on rowing the ferry boat to make a living. At that time, many neighbors were laughing at them and said that they were very stupid. But Yang's great-grandfather and grandfather were very happy because they had saved many people's lives.

The Yang family's lives didn't improve until the generation of Yang Rong's father. One day, a Daoist came to Yang's home and told Yang Rong's father, "Your grandfather and father accumulated a great deal of virtue after their deaths. Because of it, your children and grandchildren will be rich and famous."

Afterwards, Yang Rong was born in Yang's family. He was bright and smart when he was young. He was not only talented, he also loved to study. He passed the imperial civil service examination when he was still a young man. At the beginning, he was assigned as an official responsible for compiling historical records. He was subsequently promoted to be one of the top royal advisors and eventually became the Minister of Commerce. Yang Rong had a very sharp mind. When helping to make policies, he was fast and decisive. He served under four emperors, who all respected him. Yang Rong was eventually given the title of a duke. The emperor even honored his grandfather and great-grandfather by bestowing official rank on them posthumously. After Yang Rong died, the emperor especially honored him with the title of Grand Teacher. His children and grandchildren enjoyed great lives as well. His great-grandson Yang Dan became the governor of two Chinese provinces in the south and then the Minister of Justice.

Yang Rong's ancestors were ferry boat owners who had kind hearts. They bravely risked their lives to rescue those people who had fallen into the river and accumulated a great deal of virtue from their kind deeds. They eventually became famous through their descendent Yang Rong. From that, one can see that kind deeds get rewarded in mysterious ways.

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