Saving Others Is Saving Ourselves
(Clearwisdom.net) Ji Yun (circa 1724 to1805), also known as Xiaolan, was a scholar and author in the Qing Dynasty. He recorded and narrated a story in his book, Yuewei Hut Diaries, about a person who saved other people and then was saved himself. The story can still inspire people today. It goes as follows.
Mr. Shi lived in Xian County. Other people called him "Old Shi" and forgot his real name. Although Old Shi disregarded trifles, he was a straightforward and upright person. He looked down upon mean and shameless people.
One day, while he was passing by a market on the way home from a gambling place, a family from a farm village caught his eye. The husband, wife, and a baby were huddled together and crying sadly. Old Shi's neighbor told him, "They owe some powerful person money. The husband wants to sell his wife to return the money. The couple are very fond of one another. They can't let go of each other. In addition, the mom is still breastfeeding the baby. Therefore, they feel especially sad at this moment of separation."
Old Shi asked, "How much do they owe?" His neighbor replied, "30 gold dollars." Old Shi asked, "How much are they selling the wife for?" The neighbor said, "50 gold dollars, selling her as concubine for another person." Old Shi asked again, "Can they stop the transaction and buy her back?" His neighbor replied, "They just signed a contract. However, they have neither received payment nor have they stamped their fingerprints. It is still possible to buy her back." Old Shi immediately handed over 70 gold dollars to the husband which he just won gambling, and said to them, "I gave you 30 gold dollars for your debt. The other 40 gold dollars are to support yourselves. Stop the sale."
The couple was extremely thankful. They later invited Old Shi to their home and treated him to a chicken dinner and wine. The husband suddenly wanted to leave home with their child. He asked his wife to "sleep" with Old Shi to return his generosity. The wife nodded her head. Then, she hinted at this idea to Old Shi. Old Shi became wise to the situation and replied solemnly and sincerely. "I was a robber before. After that, I was a bailiff. I used to hardheartedly kill people. If now I take advantage of your difficulty and sleep with you, I am not a human. I could not do this thing!" He turned his head and left right away.
After half a month, Old Shi's home caught fire in the middle of night. It was during harvest season. Every home was stocked with firewood, grains, and straw, even on the roof. It was windy that night. Because fire was everywhere, Old Shi's family was desperate to flee, but he stayed with his wife and son in the home and waited for death. Suddenly, they heard a voice from above, "God of the East Mountain sends a sudden message. Eliminate Old Shi's family from the list of all families needing to be destroyed by the fire. Old Shi's home is not allowed to burn down." Then, a big bang was heard. The rear wall of Shi's home collapsed. Old Shi pulled his wife with his left hand, held his son with the right hand, and jumped out the house. It seemed that he had wings, as he jumped a long distance.
After the fire was put out, villagers found that 90% of the people died. Old Shi's whole family survived. There was no damage to their clothes or food, either. After he fixed the rear wall, their lives quickly returned to normal.
All his neighbors were feeling happy for Old Shi. They said, "We were laughing at you and called you a fool. You gave 70 gold dollars to those people that you had never met! We could not imagine that you used 70 gold dollars to save your family! We should all thank God!"
After the story, Ji Yun said, "I think that the family of Old Shi were protected by God. The virtue for giving money is 40%. The virtue for rejecting lust is 60%."
Therefore, we can see that saving people is actually saving ourselves. Rejecting lust and controlling our behavior are important for human beings. People's words are heard by Gods. People's behaviors are also seen by Gods. Good or bad will eventually be rewarded!