(Clearwisdom.net) Luo Mingxiang was a well-known mathematician and astronomer of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). One day in the ninth year of Emperor Daoguang's reign (1829), he was reading the capital report in Beijing. There was a record about a government official with the surname Zhuo who was struck by lightning and died while passing by Gaoyou (currently a city in Jiangsu Province), after he was examined by various government departments and picked as the mayor of Leizhou. Zhuo was from Manchuria with a family background of the Ministry of Rites. Luo Mingxiang thereupon inquired about this matter to Chancellor Liu Shenfu of the Ministry of Rites.

Liu Shenfu said that Zhuo was his colleague, and that a person like Zhuo could not be tolerated by the heavens. Liu Shenfu said, "In the beginning when he was appointed as mayor, he only brought his wife with him. He left his blind mother in the national capital with the excuse that he didn't have enough money to cover the travel expenses. He said he would send a person to take his mother to Leizhou after he arrived there. Zhuo told his mother he had already paid three years' rent on the house, and that each month she could get money from a store for her living. His blind mother had no alternative but to obey his arrangement. One month after Zhuo left, the landlord came to ask for the rent and the store would not give her money. It turned out Zhuo had only paid one month's rent on the house and only deposited a small portion of money at the store. His mother suffered hunger and cold, and cried day and night.

"One day, Zhuo was passing by Gaoyou in a boat. He had once owed some money to a person from Shanxi Province and this person also happened to be on this boat. When the boat arrived at Gaoyou Lake, Zhuo ordered his servant to go and discuss with the boatman a way to murder the man from Shanxi by pushing him into the lake. Zhuo promised that he would give the boatman money afterwards, but the boatman insisted that he would not do it. So Zhuo asked the sailor to do it and the sailor complied because of the money.

"On that same evening, right as they began their plot to murder the man from Shanxi, a enormously loud thunderbolt came from the sky, blasting Zhuo outside of the cabin and killing. Zhuo's wife was critically injured by it, as well.

"By now, all the people on the boat were extremely panic-stricken and the boatman had no choice but to tell the story about Zhuo's plot to secretly kill the person from Shanxi. Everyone at last understood that Zhuo had received heavenly punishment, and with that they all calmed down. The person from Shanxi immediately burned the record of debt Zhuo owed him, and while facing the sky, he planned to politely thank the god of thunder for three days in the temple for the god of thunder in the Huai'an government building before leaving."

December 20, 2006