Liaofan was born into an average family and destined to have an ordinary life. One day, he met a fortune teller who told him about his future life in detail, from when he would graduate, what marks he would receive, his job promotions, to what time and at what age he would pass away.
Liaofan wrote down everything the fortune teller said, but being an academic and a well-educated man, he viewed this experience with great skepticism. He did not believe or think much of the meeting until his life started to pan out as it was foretold by the fortune teller for five consecutive years, from what marks he received on his examinations to when he received his royal appointment.
Years later, Liaofan met with a zen master with whom he meditated for days. The zen master turned to Liaofan and commented on his extraordinary ability to sit without any wandering thoughts or attachments. Liaofan then told the zen master about the fortune teller he had met and that he knew how his life would unfold; therefore, he had no worries.
The zen master told Liaofan: “I thought you were someone who was extraordinary, but you are no more than a common person.” He then explained about the teachings of Buddhism and Liaofan used what he learned to change his pre-set destiny.
The zen master stated: “You can live life as though everything is predestined, using what you have in your karma bank until your bank is empty at the end of your life, or you can cultivate good thoughts and do good deeds. By doing so, you will accumulate karma and this will result in magnifying your life and the lives of those around you with love, good fortune, and longevity.”
Liaofan was living proof of these words. According to his fortune teller, Liaofan’s life was to end in his forties. However, he wrote his four lessons in his seventies. His family is prominent and well-respected in China.
1- Learning to Create Destiny: the Law of Cause and Effect
2- The Ways to Reform: Understanding Cause and Effect
3- The Ways to Cultivate Goodness
4- The Benefits of the Virtue of Humility
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Changing Destiny: Liaofan’s Four Lessons, with commentary by Master Chin Kung
To read the four lessons without the commentaries, go to page 311 (Appendix: Liaofan’s four lessons).