Gods See to It That the Bad Suffer and the Good Avoid Disaster
(Clearwisdom.net) The following is a story from a book authored by the famous scholar Hong Mai during the Song Dynasty (960 AD-1279 AD).
Every year on August 18th of the lunar calendar, the Qiantang River experienced its highest flood tide. It was a very famous and spectacular event, so most people in the Lin'an region went to observe the flood tide on that day.
During the fall of 1140 AD, two nights before the day of the highest flood tide, several residents who lived close to Qiantang River heard voices from the sky. The voices said: “Several hundred people should die on the bridge this year. They are wicked, dissolute, or unfilial persons. Now check the names according to the death list. For those who are on the list but have not yet come, quickly urge them to come; for those not on the list, tell them to leave.” Many voices replied in the sky: “Yes! We will follow your orders!” Hearing those voices, the local residents were startled and terrified, and they dared not speak.
The next night some people who lived near the bridge received a warning in their dreams: “Don't go to the bridge tomorrow; the bridge will collapse!” When they awakened in the morning, they told their neighbors about the dream and realized that many others had had the same dream the night before. They more firmly believed that gods were protecting them and that the imminent danger would be terrifying.
It was the day of the highest flood tide, and the bridge was overcrowded with people who had not received the warning. Those who had had the dream observed from beside the bridge. When they saw their relatives and friends stepping onto the bridge, they advised them to leave. However, their relatives and friends took their words as unbelievable nonsense and would not listen at all. Those who had received the warning eventually had to leave by themselves.
After a while, the tide turned. The tide turbulently rushed in and created quite an extraordinary scene. The spectators got very excited. They shouted, clapped, and danced with joy at the marvelous view below. Suddenly the bridge collapsed and all those on the bridge fell into the tide and drowned.
Afterwards the family of the dead came to identify the bodies, and some passersby found that those who had died were indeed wicked, dissolute, or unfilial persons. People realized that this was not an accident but rather the gods taking advantage of the viewing of the high tide to eliminate bad persons.