In a person’s lifetime, although things are predestined in terms of lifespan or whether one is rich or poor, one is bound to be rewarded with good if he does good deeds and is kind, and meet with disaster if he does evil things. One’s fate can change at any time, depending on if his heart is good or evil. Heaven and earth, and gods and deities can judge things clearly without the slightest discrepancy. If one’s heart always focuses on goodness, he will accumulate extensive good fortune and virtue, and even when he encounters dangerous situations, gods would be able to turn misfortune into blessings. In contrast, if one keeps doing bad things at will, one will plant evil seeds, and even if he should have good fortune in the first place, he will end up suffering. This is what we know as the natural rule of cause and effect. Therefore, one’s heart is in control of his total self. With a kind heart, one will have a good fate, and with an evil heart, one will have an evil fate. There were many such cases documented in ancient books. The following are a few from the book The Tract of the Most Exalted on Action and Response.
Twin Brothers Arrived at Different Destinations Even Though They Originally Shared the Same Fate
In the Song Dynasty, there was a pair of twin brothers named Gao Xiaobiao and Gao Xiaoji, who were like one person in terms of their speech and conduct as well as in their intellect and ways of thinking. At the age of 16, they both passed the county examination. Later in the same year, they got married. After they married, their parents asked them to wear different clothes and shoes so that their wives could tell the two apart.
One day they met Taoist Chen Xiyi, who said after reading the faces of the two brothers, “You both are very good-looking, with a straight nose ridge, and both of you have a red spot on your lips. Your ears are pure with a rosy helix, you show fine bearing and demeanor, and you are both grade candidates in the imperial exams. Furthermore, you both have radiance in your eyes, and will be very successful in the same imperial examination!”
When examination time came in the autumn, the two brothers went to the capital city to take the exam, and stayed with a relative. A beautiful widow lived next door. Gao Xiaobiao focused on his studies and took no notice of the widow. However, Gao Xiaoji could not control himself and had an affair with the widow. Someone found out and told the widow’s clan members. The widow, out of guilt and fear, then committed suicide by throwing herself into a river.
After the exam, the two brothers went to visit the Taoist again. When Taoist Chen Xiyi saw them, he was quite shocked and said, “There is already a big change in your appearance. One has become even better while the other has become very bad. Xiaobiao shows some purple radiance in his eyebrows, and his eyes shine like stars. He will definitely pass the exam with a high grade. Xiaoji’s eyebrows have also changed. His eyes are puffy, his nose ridge is red and black, and his spirit has withered and is disappearing. This change must have resulted from a deterioration in his morals. He will not only fail the exam, but is also showing signs of an early death.” After the exam results were published, Gao Xiaoji indeed failed and died from depression.
Later, Gao Xiaobiao became a high-ranking official and a man of mark. His children and grandchildren were also very capable and talented. When he was celebrating his 70th birthday, Taoist Chen Xiyi also came to extend his congratulations. In his speech he said, “It’s quite easy to do face reading for ordinary people. However, it is not easy to tell precisely what one will end up with, because fate is decided by heaven, while appearance is decided by one’s deeds. If one can follow the heavenly principles and is in harmony with things in human society, then one will definitely enjoy prosperity. Heaven is fair and unselfish, so one’s fortunes can decline due to evil conduct, and one's sins can be atoned for by doing good things. What develops in a person’s heart appears on his face, and nothing can escape the eyes of others. This is why we say that there is no door to fortune or misfortune, as it comes and goes according to one’s conduct.”
Ding Shi Earned Sixth Place
In the Qing Dynasty, there was a scholar named Ding Shi. He was a quick thinker and very talented, with a straightforward personality. Because he liked gambling, he was often criticized by his father, but he never listened or mended his ways. His father became very angry with him and drove him out of the house. Ding Shi drifted to the capital city, and through various means, he got into the Imperial College.
One day Ding Shi walked past Xiangguo Temple, where a fortuneteller surprised him by saying, “You look really good! I have done face reading for many people, and I can see the best in your appearance.” After the fortuneteller asked his name, he wrote it down and put it up on the wall, “Ding Shi will be the No. 1 Scholar this year.” Afterwards, Ding Shi was very happy and became more arrogant, and he gambled even more. When he heard that there were two wealthy candidates from Sichuan, he invited the two to gamble. Ding Shi kept winning, and in the end he won six million in cash.
A few days later, Ding Shi went to Xiangguo Temple again. The fortuneteller was surprised to see him and asked, “Why do you look so awful? You have no hope of passing the examination, let alone being the No. 1 Scholar.” As he was talking, he removed the piece of paper with what he had written last time on it from the wall. He said with a sigh, “This is simply tarnishing my name. I got it wrong this time.” Ding Shi anxiously asked him why he said what he did. The fortuneteller said, “In face reading, we look at one’s forehead first. If the colour is yellow and moist with radiance, it is a sign of auspiciousness. Now your forehead looks dry and dark. You must have had bad thoughts and ill-gotten gains. You have angered the heavenly gods.” Ding Shi became very frightened and told the fortuneteller what had happened. He asked in bafflement, “We only had a bit of fun. Was it that serious?” The fortuneteller took issue with him and said, “Don’t tell me you were only having a bit of fun. Anything that involves money is supervised by heavenly gods. When one has received ill-gotten wealth, he will naturally reduce his good rewards.” Ding Shi deeply regretted what he had done and asked anxiously, “Can I return the money?” The fortuneteller said, “If you want to mend your ways from your heart, the heavenly gods will certainly know it. If you can truly mend your ways and change for the better, you can still get sixth place in the examination.” Ding Shi rushed to return the money to the two wealthy candidates, and he vowed that he would never gamble again.
Indeed, when the list of successful candidates was published, a person named Xu Duo was listed as the No. 1 Scholar and Ding Shi was in sixth place.
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