Stories of How People in Ancient Times Repented and Started Anew, Part 4
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Stories of How People in Ancient Times Repented and Started Anew, Part 3 )
4. Wang Zhongcheng: Being Virtuous Changes the Course of a Life
Wang Zhongcheng lived in Yangzhou City during the Qing Dynasty (from 1644 to 1912) in ancient China. His father passed away when he was young. His family was very poor. Wang made a living and supported his mother by writing complaints for others. When he was 20, he undertook exams to try to secure a government position. He failed several attempts.
A Sobering Dream
One Chinese New Year's Eve, Wang had a dream in which he was taken to a magnificent-looking office. An imposing emperor sat in the middle. A couple of assistants held a long list of names for the emperor to mark. When he was done, his assistants told Wang to approach. The emperor threw a pamphlet at Wang. It had Wang's name on it.
The pamphlet said he should have passed one of the exams, thereby securing a high position. However, this arrangement was revoked because he had written false complaints for others that had made life miserable for innocent people. His fortune was cancelled.
The emperor asked him, “Do you understand?” Wang kept kowtowing and begged to be pardoned. The emperor said, “I will give you another opportunity, because you have shown filial piety to your mother. If you correct yourself immediately, I will return the blessings to you. If you don't, you will pay with your life.” The emperor's assistant pushed Wang away, and Wang woke up from his dream.
The dream was very vivid. Wang kept thinking about it and was determined to make up for his wrongdoing. He didn't have any money to help the poor, but he thought about using his writing ability to do good deeds. He tried to mediate between arguing parties and refused to write any legal documents for the wrong side. He would write most persuasively to help those who had good reasons but couldn't argue for themselves very well.
Helping The Less Fortunate
One of Wang's neighbors, a widow, was expecting a baby. A man in her extended family slandered the widow, saying the baby she was expecting wasn't her husband's. The widow was sent back to her parents and not allowed to inherit her husband's property. Feeling terribly wronged, the widow was very sad and wanted to commit suicide. Her parents were too afraid to file a lawsuit on her behalf.
Wang Zhongcheng visited her parents, wrote a complaint for them, and encouraged them to seek justice. He also gathered the woman's siblings and respected older relatives and told them that he planned to present the case to the county magistrate.
Some of them were uneasy about getting involved because it wasn't their business. Wang said, “It is the right and compassionate thing to do to protect a woman of chastity and her baby. It's my responsibility to help, since I am skilled in this area. I'm not taking on this lawsuit out of self interest.” Others were touched by his honorable intention and agreed to help the widow.
The county magistrate accepted the case and made an investigation. The man admitted he had accused the widow unjustly. The widow's reputation was restored. Her parents offered Wang gold to thank him, but he refused to accept it.
A Reversal of Fortune
Wang had another dream soon after. The same emperor told him kindly, “I recognize your efforts to quickly correct your wrong behavior. Your blessing has been returned to you. My original plan was for you to pass the exam next year. But the heavens are so moved by your compassion that the blessing will come this year. Keep up your compassionate deeds. Your future blessings will be abundant.”
Wang thanked him. As the emperor's assistants ushered Wang out of the office, an elderly man and a young man greeted him. They were the widow's deceased father-in-law and husband. They thanked Wang for saving the mother and baby and for keeping their property within the family. The elderly man knew Wang didn't have any children. He pointed to his son and said, “I plan to ask the official in charge of the dead to reincarnate this young man as your son.”
As the dream had predicted, Wang passed the exam and became a government official. His wife gave birth to a son in the same year. His son grew up and became an official who aced the government exams and was awarded the first prize.
One's writing ability, as well as other skills, can be used to save people. Whatever one's profession, one can use his skills to stand up for what is right and help people in need.