(Minghui.org) Jiang Ziya is a famous character in the novel Investiture of the Gods. In the story, Jiang was a disciple of the Master of the Kunlun Mountains, Yuanshi Tianzun (which means Primeval Lord of Heaven), a Taoist deity. At 72, he left his master and helped King Wu of Zhou (Ji Fa) to overthrow the ruthless King Zhou, the last ruler of the Shang dynasty.
Various supernatural beings participated in the battles between King Zhou and King Wu, including deities, immortals, demons, spirits, and humans with magical abilities. Many of them were later conferred titles of gods by Jiang.
While reading the novel, I really admired Jiang’s loyalty to his master, which was highlighted when he was a high-ranking commander and when he was on the verge of death following a secret attack. However, he made a mistake, which seemed trivial but caused endless trouble.
In the book, when his master gave him the Fengshen Bang (Gods List), Jiang was told, “After you leave here, no matter who calls (to) you, you cannot respond. … If you respond, 36 enemy forces will be waiting for you.” This order sounds simple but could be difficult to follow.
When Jiang went down the mountain with the Gods List, he heard someone calling him but did not respond. That person continued calling to him and he turned and saw that it was Shen Gongbao, a younger disciple of Jiang’s master. After Shen verbally ridiculed him, Jiang became muddleheaded and almost burnedthe Gods List. Fortunately, Nanji Xianweng (Old Man of the South Pole), a senior disciple of the same master, arrived and saved him.
This is an interesting episode. Nanji Xianweng was the symbol of longevity in Chinese history and he was also the most senior disciple of Jiang’s master. Seeing Jiang misled by Shen, he was worried and even nudged Jiang. Still, Jiang was very naive and begged Nanji Xianweng to save Shen’s life, which he reluctantly did. Shen ended up turning to the dark side and causing many troubles for Jiang in the future.
Jiang was an intelligent person, but at that time he did not fully realize the price of disobeying his master’s warning of “don’t look back if someone calls.” Had he burned the Gods List when Shen fooled him, there would be no way for him to make up for the loss. On the other hand, it was Jiang’s misstep of looking back and forgiving Shen that brought enormous difficulties to him later on.
In the following years, Jiang and King Wu were attacked many times. Jiang almost died, and many soldiers lost their lives. The army stayed at Xiqi a place where they were almost slaughtered. Even King Wu himself almost died in the Red Sand Array. Jiang could not settle these events even if he tried his best. Many of his master’s disciples also came one after another to help. Chi Jingzhi also died in the Falling Soul Array. Especially in the Yellow River Array, most major disciples of Jiang’s master were captured. Although they were later saved by the master Yuanshi Tianzun, they were changed from immortals to normal people.
The most important thing is that these troubles could have been avoided if Jiang had listened to his master and hadn’t looked back. In other words, listening to one’s master’s advice is very important; otherwise, unnecessary obstacles will occur in one’s cultivation journey.
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