Yuan Liuchuang was an expert fortune teller. He could tell a person’s fate from the lines on his palm or the shape of her nose. Once a very powerful government official brought his son to Yuan to have his fortune told. Yuan knew immediately that a few years later, the little boy would die. He told the official.
Of course the official was heartbroken. On his way home, he ran into a monk, who asked, “Why do you look so sad?” The official explained that he had just had bad news from a fortune teller. The monk examined the little boy and looked into his fate. He told the boy’s father, “The only way to save your little boy is through hidden virtue, but there are not always chances to do good. If you wish to build hidden virtue, the most convenient way is through releasing animals. That way you can build hidden virtue, which will protect your son.”
Right away, the official made up his mind never to kill again and to release trapped animals. He worked hard for several years, but when he saw the monk again, the monk said, “Not enough! You have not created enough good karma, so you still can’t save your son.”
The father worked even harder to save animals. Whenever there was an opportunity to do something for others, man or beast, he was the first to donate time and money. In this way, he saved innumerable lives, and when his son reached the year in which he was fated to die, he lived and grew into a fine young man.
Yuan Liuchuang heard about this. From then on, whenever he saw that someone’s fortune was bad, he told that person to do good and to save lives. In this way, many people who should have died miserably lived long lives, and many people who should have been poor became rich instead.