THE POWER OF MERCY
Dashan Temple is one of the biggestin Guizhi， Zhejiang. Worshipers flock there， and so do many tourists and sightseers. One day two scholars came to the ， Tao Shiliang and Zhang Zhiting. We told earlier how the Wise Master began the tradition of having Free Life ponds in . Of course Tashan Temple had a big Free Life Pond， and when these two scholars saw the thousands of eels and fish swimming happily in the pond， they were touched. They wanted to do something， too.
“I’d like to buy these eels and take them to the big river where they have more space to swim around. That river flows into the Yangtze River， so they’ll have all the space they need. They’ll be free for the rest of their lives. What do you think？” Tao Shiliang asked.
Zhang Zhiting said， “That’s a good idea. Let me help.”
“I don’t have much money. Let’s see if we can get some more people to pitch in so we can set more eels free.”
“Great！ I’ll do my best，” Zhang answered. Zhang had an ounce of silver， so he donated that， and then he went to all the nice people he knew and asked them to help. All together， they collected eight ounces of silver that way.
Tao and Zhang were happy. They hired some workmen and made arrangements with the monks in the. Then they took thousands of eels from the pond and released them in the river. Later， they forgot all about freeing those eels，but one night in the fall， Tao had an odd dream. He dreamed that a god strode up and announced very formally， “You two gentlemen may be scholars， but you were originally fated to fail all of the imperial examinations. Let it be known that because you have released thousands of animals and returned to them their natural freedom， you have earned great merit. You have earned enough merit to pass the imperial examinations. I have come to congratulate you on your coming good fortune.”
陶和郑都很高兴。他们雇了一些雇工，还和寺庙里的和尚约好。他们把放生池里数千条鳝鱼放到江里。不久后，他们就忘了放鳝鱼的事情。秋天的一个夜里，陶做了一个奇怪的梦。他梦到一个神大步走来，很庄重地 说， “你们两位也算是学者，但是你们本来命中注定通不过所有的科举考试。因为你们放了许多动物，绐它们回归自然的自由，你们将得到大福报。你们的福报足以使你们通过科举考试。我是特地来恭喜你们将来的好运的。”
When he woke up， Tao went to tell Zhang about his dream.
“That’s amazing！” Zhang said. “I had exactly the same dream last night， too！”
Sure enough， when they took the imperial examinations that year， both Tao and Zhang passed. They became important government officials， and they always remembered that their fortune came because they had been kind to dumb animals.