The Mansion of Three Pagoda Trees

Su, Dong-Po (1036 A.D.-1101 A.D.)

Are God's principles true? Wise men do not necessarily live long. Can God's principles be false? Good men certainly have good offspring. How do we make these two seemingly contradictory statements compatible? I heard that Mr. S said, "A large group with evil intention may prevail temporarily, but God will defeat them in due time." Those who study the consequences of God's principles are often not patient enough to wait until things have settled down, and thereby, conclude that God's principles are unpredictable. Consequently, good people become apathetic and evil people gain free rein to do what they wish. The longevity of Great Robber J and the difficulty encountered by Confucius and virtuous Yen were due to God's principles not having enough time to unfold. Pine trees and cypress trees grow in a forest. In the beginning, they are besieged by weeds and ravaged by cattle and sheep. However, after they grow up, they are green all year long. They can live up to one thousand years and still look young. This example clearly reveals the verity of God's principles. Whether one's deeds are good or evil surely affect his offspring. This statement has been proven over and over again. Based on the things that I have seen and heard, and what I have heard from other people, the validity of God's principles is quite obvious.

When a country starts to flourish, there must be some officials with a hereditary position that allows to give out a lot without taking in return. Then their offspring can share the fortune of our nation with a emperor who loves proper behavior and peace. Here is an example. The Minister of Defense, Wang, an important person in the previous dynasty, also worked for Emperors T1 and T2 in the present dynasty. He was loyal and showed respect for his parents. He was also good at literature and military affairs, so the nation wished that he could have become the Prime Minister. However, he could not be accepted by his contemporaries in power because he spoke too forthrightly. Wang once planted three pagoda trees in his yard and said that one of his children would become the Prime Minister. Indeed, his son Wey later served Emperor J as the Prime Minister. During that time, the government was efficient and our nation was in peace. Thus people enjoyed the benefit of his good fortune and great reputation for 18 years.

If one has an object and entrusts it to another, and the next day he wants it back, he may or may not get it. In contrast, Wang worked hard to be a virtuous man and was certain that he would receive rewards from God a generation later as if he had had a contract to receive merchandise in due time. Consequently, I realize that God's principles are true. I could not see Wey, but I saw his son, Yih, serve Emperor R by waiting at his side and giving straightforward advice. Yih had been appointed as a marshal for more than thirty years. Such a high position could not yet give a full measure of his virtue. It seems that God still keeps rewarding Wang's family because their offspring are very successful. People often compare Wang with Lee. Their great talents and virtues were the same. Lee's son G and grandson D had the same high-ranking positions as Wang's, but they were not as kind and trustworthy as Wang's son and grandson. In view of this, Wang's fortune will not end soon. Yih's son, Goong, is my friend. Goong's kindness and his talent in literature spread the reputation of his family. Consequently, I wrote this essay on the tablet of the Mansion of Three Pagoda Trees. It says,

"It is wonderful that the achievement of Wang's family has grown with the pagoda trees. Their constant effort in pursuing virtue and in caring for the pagoda trees surely resulted in their success. While Wey served the Emperor J as the Prime Minister, China was as stable as a huge stone. When he went back home, he found that the shade of the pagoda trees covered all his yard. Most of us only focus on searching for opportunity to gain profit and fail to worry about our virtue. In such a case, it would require a miracle to harvest without planting seeds. Without a virtuous leader like Wey, China cannot be prosperous and peaceful. Wang built his house to the east of the Capital. Only the great virtue of Wang's family is entitled to be symbolized by these abundant pagoda trees. It is wonderful!"