T’u Ch’inyang, the County Chief of Ch’ient’ang in Chekiang became very sick, and his doctor gave him the wrong medicine by accident, which almost finished him off.
T’u realized how precious, but how fragile, life is. He made a vow. “I swear that I will devote my life to helping others and saving the world. The most important duty is to repent and to save all in the world. Nothing else is worth bothering about.”
One day, Kuanyin, the merciful deliverer, came to him in a dream, and said, “In your past life, you were an official in Ch’u. Although you were honest, you were too strict, so you caused great harm to others, which could have been avoided. You were not selfish or greedy, but your actions have caused you to lose your rank. Also, you ate many animals, so of course the result is that your life should be shortened.
“Fortunately, this sickness has awakened your conscience and you have sworn a very good oath. You have made up your mind to help others, and have no wrath in your heart. This is very good. If you want to live longer, the greatest hidden virtue of all is to save lives. Release animals trapped in cages or raised for the slaughter. This will also earn you higher rank.
“Take care. Do a good job.”
After he woke up, T’u told his family never to kill another animal. He began donating money to free doomed animals.
Sure enough, that winter he was promoted to take charge of Chiochiang county, and the next spring, his illness was cured entirely. T’u was very grateful to Kuanyin and the Buddhas. He always remembered his vow to help others. The best way to do that is to tell them not to kill, but to release living creatures. T’u was always honest, and carried out his duties carefully. He lived a long life and died at home of old age.