三生有幸The Story behind the Chinese Saying, "Predestined Beyond Three Lives"
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), there was a highly-enlightened monk by the name of Yuanze who had a good friend by the name of Li Yuanshan. One day they went for a walk, enjoying the beautiful scenery as they laughed and talked. In the afternoon they passed by a place where a woman was washing clothes by the riverbank. She was pregnant, and her belly was very large. Monk Yuanze saw her, sighed, and shook his head. Li Yuanshan asked, "Why did you sigh?"
Monk Yuanze answered, "She has been pregnant for three years, waiting for me to reincarnate her son. I have avoided meeting her, but now I can no longer evade her." Li Yuanshan doubted him, "Really?"
Monk Yuanze said, "It sounds like you do not believe me. I will reach nirvana tonight. After three days, come to this lady's house, because she must give birth to a chubby boy. If that baby smiles at you, then that must be me smiling at you." After a pause, Monk Yuanze also told Li Yuanshan, "You are a good friend, and I want to be friends with you in my next life. Let us have a plan that after 13 years, on the Mid-Fall Festival, I will wait for you at Tiantu Temple in Hangzhou City, where we will meet again!"
Li Yuanshan replied doubtfully, "Okay, I will definitely be there according to your instructions."
Monk Yuanze did reach nirvana that night, and that lady did give birth to a boy.
On the third day, Li Yuangshan arrived at the woman's house. The baby boy did smile at him as soon as he saw him. Li Yuanshan had to believe what Monk Yuanze had said was true.
On the thirteenth Mid-Fall Festival (the lunar full moon day on August 15th), Li Yuanshan went to Tiantu Temple in Hangzhou City to meet Monk Yuanze as promised. Upon reaching the gate, he saw a boy sitting on the back of a water buffalo, singing:
"I am an old spirit sitting atop the Three Lives rock,
but I am not here to admire the Moon or chant poems
I am shy about my old friend visiting me from far away,
I am still the same old me, except my body has changed."
The saying, "Predestined beyond three lives," is derived from this story. Chinese culture, which has a rich historical foundation, has been passed down by gods. The words we often use may have profound meanings. Modern day usage of this saying usually refers to a very lucky event or person. Actually the "three lives" mentioned here refer to one's previous life, this life, and the next life. This saying refers to people who have special predestined relationships.