Wei Boyang Uses Immortality Pills to Test His Disciples' Faith
(Minghui.org) Wei Boyang, a noted alchemist of the East Han Dynasty (25 A.D. – 220 A.D.), was of noble lineage. He was interested in the pursuit of Taoist magic arts. He decided to take three of his disciples with him to the mountains to finalize the immortality pills he had been working on.
Wei was aware that some of his disciples were not of strong faith. Once the pills were completed, he told them, “We better try the pills on on a dog first. If the dog flies up to the heaven, then we can take it too.”
He fed the dog a pill. The dog died on the spot. Wei turned to the disciples, “I was worried that the pills might not work. They were made correctly, but the dog died after eating them. It must be that my making the pills was against the will of heaven. If we take the pills, we too will die. Now what should we do?”
A disciple asked, “Master, are you going to take the pill?” Wei said, “By leaving my family behind when I went into the mountains, I violated society's tradition. Now, that I have not attained the Tao, I am too ashamed to go back. Whether I live or die, I have to take the pill.” He took the pill and dropped dead.
The disciples looked at each other and didn't know what to do. Only one disciple said, “To me, Master isn't someone ordinary. What has died may not be his true self.” He took the pill, and also dropped dead.
The other two disciples discussed, “We came to seek immortality. Now that the pill will kill us, what good is it? If we don't take the pill, we have a few more decades to live.” So the two disciples did not take the pill. Instead, they left the mountains to look for coffins for Wei and the deceased disciple.
After they left, Wei stood up and coughed up the pill. He placed it in the mouth of the disciple and then in the mouth of the dog. Both returned to life. This disciple, whose last name was Yu, flew up in broad daylight with Wei to the heaven. Before they flew up, they saw a man passing by. Wei wrote a letter and asked the man to deliver it to the two disciples who had left. Upon receiving the letter, the two disciples were immersed in regret.