Stories from Ancient China: Everyone's Fortune Is Predestined; One Must Not Acquire Money Through Dishonest Means

He Ruchong, a man from Tongcheng, lived during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.) of ancient China. He had an older brother named He Rushen. In 1573, the second year of Emperor Wanli's rule, they both won first place in the provincial level of the civil service examination. Later He Ruchong became a high-level royal court official while his older brother, He Rushen, became a treasury official for Zhejiang Province.

It was alleged that the He family suffered from poverty. He Ruchong and He Rushen used to study in the Shiwu Buddhist Temple on Qing Mountain in Tongcheng when they were young. One Chinese New Year's Eve while all the families in town were celebrating the New Year and playing with fireworks, the two looked at each other and sighed because they lived in such abject poverty that they were unable to go home and celebrate the New Year. Suddenly, they heard a noise outside as loud as thunder. They hurried out of the temple only to find a giant rock had split open, revealing a treasure within. He Rushen was overjoyed beyond belief. He decided it must be a gift from Heaven out of pity for their poverty. He wanted to ship the treasure home.

He Ruchong stopped him and said, "No, we mustn't take it! A gentleman must be content with what he has. It is not a good thing to win money for no valid reason. Besides, it may be a test from Heaven. You must not take the treasure."

He Rushen said, "Fine. Fine. But we are destitute. There is nothing wrong with borrowing a small amount of money." He took 50 taels of platinum and threw a written IOU into the split rock. The opening closed up by itself, and the giant rock returned to its original appearance.

Many years passed. He Rushen won the provincial level of the civil service examination and later became the treasury official. Once when he was auditing the government treasury he discovered that 50 taels of platinum were missing. He threw a fit trying to find who the culprit was when a government employee found a note in the corner that said, "On a certain month, day, and year He Rushen borrowed 50 taels from Heaven."

The employee presented the note to He Rushen. He was shocked by the note. On closer inspection, he verified that it was the exact same IOU that he had written and thrown inside the opening of the giant rock. Next he told everyone the story of what had happened in the temple when he was young and replaced the missing money out of his own pocket.

Perhaps Heaven saw that the two destitute brothers were virtuous, so It showed them a miracle to encourage them. He Ruchong was impervious to the temptation and was content with the life Heaven had arranged for him. He was indeed a virtuous gentleman to guard his morality even when he was alone. His older brother, He Rushen, took the money out of selfishness, but he returned the money he borrowed in the end. Those who heard the story were very moved and became all the more convinced that everyone's fortune in life is predestined and no one must obtain money through deceit.

This is a truth in the cultivation community. Every person's good fortune, wealth, and longevity is predetermined based on the virtue he has accumulated in previous lives. Even if a person becomes rich through dishonest means, he will have to pay it back sooner or later, in one way or another, or in one life or the next.

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