Encourage People To Be Kindhearted And to Reject Immoral Customs
(Clearwisdom.net) Ji Yun was a scholar from the Qing Dynasty. He was from Xian County, the present day Hebei Province. His "courtesy name" (assigned in place of one's given name as a symbol of adulthood and respect) was Xiaolan. He was a "jinshi" (a successful candidate of the national civil service examination held at the imperial capital in ancient times) during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. He was Secretary of the Minister of Rites and Education and was one of the chief editors in charge of compiling the library of the "Emperor's Four Treasuries" (the largest collection of books in Chinese history, and presumably the most ambitious editorial enterprise in the history of the world). He compiled the "Comprehensive Table of Content Summary of the Emperor's Four Treasuries" which searched and explored abstract information, gathered the essence, expounded the hidden meanings, and uncovered the details of more than 10,000 manuscripts from the imperial collection and other libraries. This demonstrated that he read extensively and had a broad knowledge, was hard working and diligent, and was truly a master in the editorial field. With his profound knowledge and remarkable views, he chose to believe in gods and Buddhas. He firmly believed and carried this belief throughout his life and work. His book "Caotang Review Notes" (by translator), is a sharp weapon to invalidate the atheist view. In the book, he cited numerous facts and proved the existence of the divine. He believed that proclaiming their existence was beneficial to people's moral values.
Because the articles are not titled, the author of this article labeled them in the following manner. In the seventh Chapter, Article 61 of the "Caotang Review Notes," Ji Xiaolan cited the following incidents:
Han Shouli's wife, Ms. Yu, was very pious, respectful, and had been taking care of her great-aunt. During the Geng-Chen Year of Emperor Qianlong's reign, the great-aunt lost her eyesight. Ms. Yu sought everywhere for medical treatment but could not find a cure. She also sincerely prayed to the gods but to no avail. Upon learning about this situation, a sly fellow lied to Ms. Yu and said, "If you cut off a piece of your flesh, and light a candle for the gods and pray to them, your great-aunt's blindness will be cured." Ms. Yu was an honest and kind person, and did not know that the fellow was lying to her intentionally and making fun of her. She actually cut off a piece of her flesh, lit a candle, and prayed to the gods. The sly fellow laughed at what she did. Surprisingly, ten days later, the great-aunt was able to see again!
Ji Xiaolan analyzed and critiqued this incident, "Ms. Yu was deceived, thus, she cut off a piece of her flesh and prayed to the gods. This is ignorant behavior." (Author's note: Since Ji Xiaolan pointed out the above ignorant behavior, therefore, no one should emulate this kind of act) "However, in her ignorance, there was devotion for the divinity, and filial piety for the elderly. Her devotion and filial piety moved the gods; therefore, the gods helped her and made her wish come true. The story seems unreasonable and unscientific, but it manifests an important principle. According to the atheist theory, such things don't exist and should not happen. But the fact is that it actually occurred. Think about it carefully. There is a reason why things like these occur. It is because the gods have supernormal abilities. It's just that some people stubbornly hold on to their views."
There was a beggar named Wang Xisheng. He could not walk since both his legs were disabled, and he moved around by placing both hands on the floor. One day, he found a bag on the road, and it contained two hundred gold pieces (ancient monetary unit). He moved it to the side of the road and hid it in a patch of grass. He sat there and waited for the owner of the gold. After waiting for a while, a businessman named Zhang Jifei arrived anxiously looking for the bag. Wang Xisheng asked him what he was searching for. After asking a few questions and finding that the description matched the items in the bag, Wang Xisheng returned the bag to the owner. Zhang Jifei wanted to reward him with half of the gold, but Wang Xisheng declined his offer. Then Zhang Jifei took him home and offered to take care of him for the rest of his life.
Wang Xisheng said, "Because I made mistakes in my previous life, heaven punished me by making me unable to walk this lifetime. If I do things against heaven's will, and enjoy my life here at your home, then I will receive more punishment." And he was determined to leave.
Later, one day, Wang Xisheng fell asleep in a temple. In his dream, he saw a drunk man pulling his legs, and it hurt very much. After the drunk left, his legs recovered and he was able to walk. Wang Xisheng lived until the Ji-Mao Year of Emperor Qianlong's reign. Ji Xiaolan wrote a comment about this incident, "Zhang Jifei is a friend of my elder relative, and I have met him as well. Zhang Jifei personally told me this story in great detail."
Here Ji Xiaolan writes his comments, "Wang Xisheng's kind act should have been rewarded. However, he accepted his fate and declined the reward. The gods treasured his kindness and rewarded him by having a drunk man pull his legs to cure him. Stories # 1 and #2 both seem unreasonable, however, they manifest the highest principle of the universe." Ji Xiaolan also explained that, "Some people don't believe in miracles, and they consider them unbelievable and unreasonable. In fact, the miraculous stories were all factual and showed the most righteous principle. That is, good acts are rewarded and evil acts are met with karmic retribution. This is the most righteous principle."
Ji Xiaolan also made the following commentary:
"There was a man named Ge Jiezhou who criticized the editors of the local County Chronicles. He claimed that it was ludicrous to publish the above stories in the County Chronicles and it was against the rules historical documentation." Ji Xiaolan indicated the County Chronicles published events that happened in the local community. It strictly records actual events, and it serves as a historical document. The reason for publishing the two stories is because the man and the woman experienced the presence of the gods. This is to encourage people to be kind and to reject degenerated social conventions and customs. It did not publish fictitious stories, but real events that are educational and meaningful."
Ji Xiaolan used narrative and rational formats to write the article, and thoroughly refuted the argument presented by atheists who wanted to prevent miraculous stories from being published. Ge Jiezhou was senior to Ji Xiaolan. But Ji Xiaolan, faced with major moral issues, righteously argued for his firm belief in the gods and his intention to save sentient beings. Ji Xiaolan's wish to "encourage people to be kind and to relinquish degenerate social conventions and customs" is shared by theists who believe in propagating the principle that heaven will ultimately reward good deeds and punish bad deeds and in encouraging people to be good and not commit bad deeds. Think about it, is it wrong to "make vigorous efforts to stop the moral decline and to hold high moral standards for oneself amidst degenerated moral values?" Furthermore, the two examples stated in the County Chronicles showed the extraordinary events that happened to ordinary people when they believed in gods, therefore proving the existence of gods. The articles were truly penetrative and powerful.
I'd like to summarize Ji Xiaolan's article and its main theme in today's language - "It is an article based on facts. To believe in the gods and to spread the Buddha Fa are both righteous acts!"