Marriages Are Arranged in Heaven
(Minghui.org) In ancient China, marriages were arranged by parents and matchmakers, whereas in modern times, one is supposed to marry for love.
The following stories were recorded in the histories of ancient China. At that time, people believed that marriage was a fate determined by heaven.
Foreseeing His Wife in a Dream
Zheng Huangu, a scholar in the Imperial College during the reign of Emperor Wenzong in the Tang Dynasty, was engaged to the daughter of Liu, the Minister of Justice.
Before the wedding, Zheng and the Taoist Kou Zhang went to Zhaoying County, where he had a strange dream. He was in a carriage that passed three small bridges before stopping at a house behind a temple, where he married a young woman. The host of the wedding was surnamed Fang.
After Zheng awoke, he told Kou Zhang about his dream and also recorded it on paper.
Zheng married his betrothed, but his wife passed away shortly afterward. A few years later, he married a woman from a Li family in Dongluo. The wedding took place in a house behind a temple in Zhaoying County. That day Zheng Huangu indeed passed three small bridges.
Fang Zhiwen was the deputy head of Dongluo, but he was also an old friend of Zheng Huangu's late wife's family. So Fang was the host of the wedding ceremony. It was not until then that Zheng Huangu realized that the woman he saw in his dream was his future wife.
Reunited by Fate
Zhu Xian, an archive officer in Shehong County, was officially engaged to marry the daughter of Du Ji, the head of Pi County.
However, Wang Jian in the Former Shu period proclaimed himself emperor and Zhu Xian's fiancee was chosen to be a maid in the palace. Later, Wang Yan's son surrendered to a rival.
By then Zhu had been appointed to be an official in Pengzhou, and he asked his friends to help him find a wife. At their recommendation, he married the granddaughter of a Wang family. After they married, Zhu learned that she was once a palace maid.
Zhu told her, “I was meant to marry the daughter of a Du family. In the engagement document, I mentioned feeling guilty that I came from a poor family.”
His wife sighed and said, “I am that daughter of the Du family. Wang was a surname I assumed later. After I left the palace, I had nowhere to go, and the Wang family took me in.” The couple loved each other deeply and lived together in harmony.
A Message on a Leaf
Hou Jitu, a minister in the Former Shu period, was from a family of scholars. He always had a book in his hand and recited poetry. He often traveled to Chengdu to visit Daci Temple.
One autumn day, he went to the Daci Temple pavilion to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery, when a leaf floated by, on which someone had written a poem: “With knitted brow, my heart is troubled. An autumn tree leaf fell in my yard, and I wrote a poem on it. This poem is not written on stone, nor on paper. It is written on a leaf, which I hope will float away in the autumn wind. Whoever sets his mind to it will understand what it means, while a heartless one will not get it at all. I don't know where this leaf will fly or what kind of person will pick it up.”
Hou saved the leaf with his treasured belongings. Several years later, he married the daughter of a respectable Ren family.
One day, Hou recited the poem on the leaf. His wife heard it and said, “That was a poem written on a leaf. I wrote it when I was in Zuomian (currently Mianyang). How do you know it?”
Surprised, Hou asked his wife to write down the poem, which she did. It was exactly the same as the one on the leaf he had kept.
According to traditional Chinese culture, a marriage must conform to arrangements made by Heaven and Earth. That is why newlyweds in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony must first bow to Heaven and Earth and then bow to their parents before bowing to each other. Should one betray the other, he or she would be punished by the divine.
Yi Shi by Lu Zhao in the Tang Dynasty
Taiping Guangji by Li Fang in the Song Dynasty