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Yuan Liao Fan, whose original name was Huang Kun Yi,
grew up in China during the Ming Dynasty. He was a young boy when his
father passed away. He was raised by his widowed mother. Since Mr. Yuan
was very precocious as a young boy, his mother encouraged him to become
a doctor. His mother believed that as a doctor, he would be in a profession
that would allow him to be both financially secure and able to help
people at the same time. To fulfill his mother's wishes, Mr. Yuan gave
up his efforts to take the examinations for government positions and
began to study medicine.
Mr. Yuan became firmly convinced in Mr. Kong's fortune telling abilities. He asked Mr. Kong to tell him the fortune for the rest of his life. Mr. Kong predicted the results of the remainder of his exams and when he would become a county officer. However, he would only serve in that position for three years before he decided to return home. When he reached 53 years of age, on August 14, he would pass away early in the morning. He would not have any children in his lifetime. As each year passed, one by one, Mr. Kong's predictions came true. Mr. Yuan was really convinced that a human being's life was completely controlled by his or her destiny. One day, Mr. Yuan went to a temple on the Mountain of Chi Shia near Nanking. The master of the temple was named Master Yun Gu. Mr. Yuan and Master Yun Gu sat in a room for three days without sleep to meditate. Master Yun Gu was impressed with Mr. Yuan's concentration and his ability to meditate for three days. Master Yun Gu had given up all his worldly possessions and family, so he had no worries on his mind. Meditation was part of his profession; therefore, it was normal for him to meditate continuously for three days. In contrast, Mr. Yuan was a government officer and was an active member of his community so one would think it would be difficult for a person like him to have a peaceful mind that could
remain calm for three days. So Master Yun Gu said to Mr. Yuan that most people were not able to become perfect spirits because they were
motivated by material belongings and fame. He asked Mr. Yuan how he was able to meditate straight for three entire days. Mr. Yuan told the master that he already knew what would happen to him in life, that regardless of his efforts, his destiny was already fixed. Master Yun Gu laughed at Mr. Yuan and said, "I had thought you were a special person who establishes his own future. However, you are not at all extraordinary. You are just another ordinary person who is controlled by his destiny"
Mr. Yuan was surprised by Master Yun Gu's response. He then asked Master Yun Gu, "Are our fates avoidable or changeable?" Master Yun Gu replied, "Fate is what you make of it. You can pray for good fortune and obtain it at a cost. If you ask for children, you will have children. If you ask for longevity, you will have longevity. As long as you are sincere in your prayers and do good in your life, your prayers will be answered. When we are born, we carry the burdens of our previous lives to this current life. This carry over is our fortune, our destiny. If you don't do anything extraordinary with your life, your fortune will not change for the better. If you decide to do good in your life, then you can change your fortune for the better. You can then alter your fate. This is the theory of establishing your own fate by Mun Zi, one of the saints in China. On the other hand, if you do not do any good in life but instead do bad, your fate will change for the worse." Mr. Yuan listened carefully and asked how he could alter his fate. Master Yun Gu replied, "From now on, record every good deed and every bad deed that you do. If your good deeds surpass your bad, then your fate will change."
Mr. Yuan returned home and, after talking with his wife, decided that they would both start recording their deeds. It is only natural that when we watch our behaviors, we will do more good things than bad . From then on, his life started to change, and it no longer matched Mr. Kong's predictions.
After one year, Mr. Yuan took his next exam. Mr. Kong had predicted he would be in 3rd place. However, he came in first with the highest score. That same year in Autumn, he passed his second to last governmental test. His belief in Master Yun Gu's teaching were confirmed. For the rest of his life, he continued to do good and tried to avoid bad things. At the age of 53, he did not pass away. In addition, he and his wife had three sons.
From this true story, we learned that Mr. Yuan was able to change his destiny. The good that Mr. Yuan did in his life was basically in material deeds and not spiritual deeds. Even so, his efforts changed his fate for the better. If we can practice Tao, we can purify our spirits so that whatever we think, say, and do are all on the right track. Meanwhile, we shall influence the people surrounding us so our spirits can all be saved; then our lives will also be changed. After we understand this concept, we must practice Tao with dedication.