If Your Life Is Predestined, Can You Change Your Fate?

Colored clouds in the sky.

Do miracles exist? Our world is governed by logic and science; extraordinary events often spark awe and amazement. (Image: Nuttawut Parasert via Dreamstime)

There is a saying: “Everything that happens is predestined. There are things that we as human beings cannot change.” How accurate is this saying, and can you change your fate?

Lin Gengbei, a legendary politician, poet, and fortune teller who lived in China during the early 20th century, confirmed the truth of this saying. Author Liu Xiao wrote a biography about the infamous Lin of China and how he moved to Hong Kong and died there at a relatively young age. The following description is extracted from Liu’s writing. 

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‘The Waterfall Watcher’

Lin Gengbei was born in Fujian Province, China, in 1897. He nicknamed himself ‘The Waterfall Watcher.’ He went abroad on a study tour of France, and upon returning to China, he served as Secretary General in the House of Representatives.

Later he joined the Kuomin Party and served as a consultant in the Foreign Ministry of the Nationalist Government and counselor of the Nanjing City Government after 1928.

He was a poet and studied Chinese fortune telling when free, especially the divination by the Eight Diagrams. He analyzed the birth date and hours of many celebrities at that time and predicted their fates. He also established an academy of divination in Shanghai to study the Five Elements system using a scientific approach.

A fortune teller in a painting in the Summer Palace’s long corridor. (Image: via Public Domain)

A dire warning about Yuan Shikai’s fate

Lin was a versatile person who specialized in fortune-telling, but how did he suddenly become so famous? In 1915 Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China intended to restore the monarchy system. Lin told his friend that if Yuan did not want to be the emperor, he would be safe. Otherwise, he would undoubtedly die.

He said: “If you do not believe me now, I will write his death date on the wall; you may look at it later if it happens.” But unfortunately, none of Lin’s friends took his prediction seriously; instead, they viewed it as a joke. 

On December 13, 1915, Yuan established his throne and was opposed by the nation. The enthronement ceremony was postponed time after time until the monarchy system was abandoned. On June 6, 1916, he died of uremia; the exact date Lin had written on the wall. As a result, overnight, Lin became famous.

‘Fortunes Told and to Be Verified’

Many high-ranking officials and celebrities came to ask him for fortune-telling. Several years later, he wrote a book entitled Fortunes Told and to Be Verified. This book included Lin’s predictions of 118 celebrities. It was said that he controlled the fate of half of the people in the country.

These celebrities were all important figures in history. Names such as Li Yuanhong, Wu Peifu, Zhang Zuolin, Wang Jingwei, Hu Shi, Liao Zhongkai, Liang Qichao, Gu Weijun, Zhang Shizhao, Kang Youwei, and Mei Lanfang were included.

Lin predicted that the famous poet Xu Zhimo would suffer an unnatural death. In November 1931, Xu died in an air crash. Lin also correctly predicted the following events: Kang Youwei’s revolution in 1898 failed, and he died at 71.

Zhang Shizhao joined the cabinet; Sun Chuanfang went to Zhejiang Province, Liao Zhongkai died in an accident, and Zhang Zuolin was defeated in the Zhifeng battle.

Unfortunately, the Pacific War broke out upon his arrival, and the Japanese army soon occupied Hong Kong, thus fulfilling the fate of Liu Gengbei..
Unfortunately, the Pacific War broke out upon his arrival, and the Japanese army soon occupied Hong Kong. The Japanese army wanted him. (Image: via Public Domain)

Lin Gengbei’s prediction of his fate

What was the fate of this fortune teller himself? Liu checked his birth date and hours and found that he would not live beyond 50. He kept trying to find a way to escape his fate. Then, in December 1937, Nanjing was occupied by the Japanese army.

In 1941 he moved to Sichuan and served as a legislator in the government. Tao Ban, another famous fortune teller, predicted that he could only live to 45 and suffer an unnatural death. But if he moved to the countryside, he might be able to escape it.

Where should he go? Lin moved his family to war-free Hong Kong, governed by English troops. Unfortunately, the Pacific War broke out upon his arrival, and the Japanese army soon occupied Hong Kong. The Japanese army wanted him.

On December 19, 1941, he went out to buy food and was spotted by a Japanese soldier. Lin turned away to escape but was shot in the heart. He died aged 45, which matched his and Tao Ban’s predictions.

At the end of his article Liu Xiao acknowledged that although the genius fortune teller knew his fate, he could not escape it. So this account provides some proof that destiny is predetermined and cannot be changed.

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