Virtue Brings Prosperity to One's Family 积德家昌
Virtue Brings Prosperity to One's Family
Zhang Ying of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD) was from Tongcheng City, Anhui Province. His father, in his early adulthood, dreamed of a deity dressed in gold armor. The deity claimed to be Wang Dun of the Jin Dynasty (265 – 420 AD), and he was hoping to be born into the Zhang family. Zhang Ying's father disagreed because of the fact that Wang Dun was a minister that brought about disorder. The deity explained, "It wasn't so. When the Jin Dynasty was about to decline, I was born to be a minister of disobedience in accordance with the change of fortune. Now it's an era of clarity and brightness, and I'm to arrive and become a minister of virtue." Zhang Ying's father woke up in shock. Soon afterwards, he had a son. But the son died in just a few years.
A few years later, Zhang Ying's father again dreamed of Wang Dun who was to be born into his family. He scolded Wang, "You're indeed a minister of dishonesty. You want to fool me again. I won't have you." Wang Dun answered, "I looked around each of the major families south of the Yangtze River. No single family matches yours in terms of blissfulness and virtue. I'm not going to leave this time."
Soon, a son was born into the Zhang family. It was Zhang Ying himself, and he was also called Dunfu (in Chinese it means the "return of Dun"). In the sixth year of the Emperor Kangxi (reigned from 1662 – 1722 AD) of the Qing Dynasty, Zhang Ying ranked as a Jinshi (or advanced scholar) in the Palace Examination. He became the Grand Scholar of the Wenhua Palace and was in charge of royal rituals at the same time. He was a famous minister and renowned writer of that era. Zhang Ying's son, Zhang Tingyu, served three emperors of the Qing dynasty as a key minister.
Why did Wang Dun claim that the blissfulness and virtue of the Zhang's family was unmatched? Those who knew passed down the story that in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD) Zhang's family was very poor. The ancestor Zhang had two sons and both studied traditional teachings and cultivated virtue. One day when he was working in the field, he found a huge amount of silver buried in the land he was farming, and it was estimated to be over 1,000,000 ounces. The elderly Zhang buried the silver the same way it was hidden and planned to use it for charity. He did not tell his two sons until the moment he was about to die. He ordered his two sons to wait until a year of natural disaster to dig out the silver to help victims. A few years after the elderly Zhang passed away, a famine hit. The two sons followed their father's instruction and dug out the silver, which turned out to truly be over 1,000,000 ounces. They donated the entire treasure to help people who suffered from the disaster. Countless people survived as a result of the Zhang family's generosity. The county commissioner was going to file a report afterwards to request the imperial court to reward the Zhang family. The two sons firmly declined.
By the time the Qing Dynasty was established, Zhang's family became prosperous. Their descendants Zhang Ying and Zhang Tingyu both took the position of Grand Scholar, and so did their brothers and cousins. People have all attributed the accumulation of kindness and virtue to their ancestors.