Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty ordered its people to pay more taxes in order to cover its military expenses after liberating the area of Yanjing.
Liu Shi was the wife of a wealthy man from Huairen County. After her husband’s death, Liu lived together with their son. After she heard the government had raised taxes on the people, she donated 100,000 strings of coins to pay for the poorer people in the county who couldn’t afford the tax on their own.
When the county magistrate heard of this, he thought it was an incredible thing, so he dispatched a man to the Liu family residence to pick up the 100,000 strings of coins. It took him a few days to empty Liu Shi’s seven warehouses and transport that much money. Liu Shi then cleaned the warehouses and prepared the space to worship the Buddha for three consecutive days.
The next morning after completing her worship, Liu Shi looked at the warehouses and found they were full of money, totaling 100,000 strings. And all the money was tied together with a red rope. Every five strings were tied together with a small wooden sign that said “Ma Qing.” Everyone was shocked, and no one knew how this could have happened. One person said: “I heard that in Qingzhou, there is a Ma family nicknamed ‘a hundred thousand family.’ Liu quietly sent people to Qingzhou to inquire about the Ma family. Sure enough, there was a Ma family that had been a wealthy family for three generations. And it just so happened that their 100,000 strings of coins in a warehouse disappeared overnight without explanation.
Liu hired a person to write a letter and ask the Ma family to pick up their missing fortune. But the Ma family was so shocked to hear the news that they just sighed for a long time. The master of the Ma family said: “The blessings of our Ma family have subsided, and the money belongs to those who have virtue. This is God’s will. I will not bring the money back.”
Liu knew that she could not force others to accept the money, so she said: “Since I sincerely donated my own money to help the country, how can I have other thoughts about what to do with this bounty?” Thus, she gave all the wealth from the Ma family to help the poor and to assist in building temples. Despite Liu Shi giving all her money away, God seemed to favor her because, within a few years, she became wealthy again. Liu Shi believed that money is supplied by God. In the end, her generosity and consideration for others brought her even greater wealth and more favorable returns.
Translated by Yi Ming and edited by Derek Padula