Chinese Official Remembers Past Reincarnation

Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, from an 18th century album of portraits of 86 emperors of China. (Image:  wikimedia  /  CC0 1.0)
Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, from an 18th century album of portraits of 86 emperors of China. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Tang Shao was a Tang Dynasty official who was clever and could remember things that had happened in his previous life. He never disclosed it to anyone, not even his wife or his children.

Tang had a neighbor, Li Miao, who was an executioner. Tang and Li got on well, and Tang would invite Li to dinner or for a chat. As Tang was a higher ranking official than Li, Tang’s wife couldn’t help but to ask:

Tang replied after a long lapse of silence: “You are right. But there is something that is very important in our relationship that I can only explain to you later.”

While I was concentrating on my work, suddenly a dog rushed in and knocked down the oil lamp and splashed the oil onto the skirt. (Image: Steven Lilley via flicker / CC BY-SA 2.0)

While I was concentrating on my work, suddenly a dog rushed in and knocked down the oil lamp, and splashed oil onto the skirt. (Image: Steven Lilley via flicker / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Several years later, Tang suddenly talked to his wife solemnly one day: “My dear wife, I shall now tell you the reason for my way of treating Li Miao. I have good reasons to treat him well that I can only divulge prior to my death, and now is the time.”

He continued:

The next day, while preaching the art of military to all the high officials in Li Mountain, Emperor Tang Xuanzong began to beat a drum. In the middle of his third round of drumming, the Defence Minister, Guo Yuanzhen, suddenly ordered: “The preaching of the emperor is finished.”

This annoyed the Emperor as he was amused by his own drumming. He ordered the execution of Guo. Tang immediately knelt down and appealed for Guo. Even though agreeing to spare Guo, the angry emperor decided to execute the acting Minister of Rites, Tang Shao, instead.

(Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Emperor Tang Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

It took Li Miao twice to kill Tang. The knife was broken at the first try and he was killed by a second knife. It was said that Emperor Tang regretted his ruthless decision afterwards. He complained that Li executed Tang too fast and never used him again.

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