Perspectives in History: What Kind of People Survived Plagues?

In the thousands of years of human civilization, people have always struggled to find cures to plagues, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

Thucydides, a witness of the Plague of Athens (430-426 BC), wrote, “Nor was there any to say certain medicine that applied must have helped them; for if it did good to one, it did harm to another. Nor any difference of body, for strength or weakness, that was able to resist it; but it carried all away, what physic soever was administered.”

The Plague of Justinian (541-549 AD), a pandemic that killed about one-fifth of the population of the Roman imperial capital and claimed 25 million lives in total, also seemed to have avoided certain people. Then Church historian Evagrius found that some people simply were not infected despite their close proximity to the patients. Some who lost family members hugged the dead, hoping to end their own life, but somehow they remained healthy all along.

In Chinese history, the following few types of people were often found to have escaped the curse of plagues. This pattern may help us face the pandemic today.


Being Kind and Virtuous

Guan Shiren, a senior official in the Song Dynasty, once got up early on New Year’s Day for a short trip. during which he ran into several tall ghosts.

When Guan asked why they were there, one ghost replied that they came to spread disease on behalf of the Plague God. The ghost also added that Guan’s family would be fine.

When asked why, the ghost said they avoided three types of families when spreading diseases. The first type were families that had been virtuous and done good deeds in the past three generations. The second type were families that were predestined to enjoy prosperity. The third type were families that had never eaten beef (some Taoists in China view beef as taboo). Guan’s family had been upright and belonged to the first category.

Later that year, plague spread in Zhejiang Province where Guan lived, but his family was spared.


Repenting Wrongdoings

When a plague broke out in the Han Dynasty, renowned Taoist Zhang Daoling asked those infected with the disease to write down the wrongdoings in their life one by one. After writing their bad deeds down on a piece of paper, the patients put the paper in water and vowed to stop doing wrong. They also promised that, were they to break their vow, they would rather their life be ended.

Many people’s illnesses disappeared after they did this. Residents in other regions heard about it and followed suit. Hundreds of thousands survived the plague through this method.

There was a Chinese saying that “there are deities [watching us] three feet above.” When one repents sincerely, the divine will bless us with health.


Heeding the Divine’s Advice

Meng Xi Bi Tan (Dream Pool Essays) from the Song Dynasty tells the story of a Taoist named Tongzhao. While visiting Yandang Mountain in Zhejiang Province, he saw a person who had gray hair and beard but looked like a young man. That person, who moved swiftly on leaves, turned out to be a deity.

The deity told Tongzhao two things. One was that Emperor of Shenzong would be ill nine years later and would need a special medicine. He then asked Tongzhao to keep and pass a special pill to the emperor when the time came.

The second was that a plague would break out the following year and this area would be heavily infected. “Your name is already on the death register. But if you take my medicine and work hard to be good, you can survive,” the deity said. He then took an arborvitae leaf from his bag and had Tongzhao swallow it.

Tongzhao indeed cultivated himself well to be good. The next year, a plague killed nearly half of the population, but he lived. Following the deity’s words, Tongzhao also gave the special medicine to the emperor. But the emperor thought it was nonsense and declined the medicine, and he died at 36.

Tongzhao and the emperor interpreted the deity’s advice differently and met with different fates.


Reciting Incantations

Yi Jian Zhi tells the story of Hong Yang from the Song Dynasty. Once he returned home from Leping County (in today’s Jiangxi Province) with three servants. It was already dark, and the moonlight was weak. Suddenly, a loud sound came from the mountain. The four of them stopped to find shelter. At that moment, a 32-foot-tall glittering monster appeared. Two of the servants were so scared that they passed out, and the third hid while holding his breath.

Hong Yang recited Buddhist incantations every day. At this moment, he began to recite the mantra, and he did it hundreds of times. The monster still stood there. Hong Yang was scared too, but he did not stop reciting the incantations. After a while, the monster backed off and called out, “I am leaving!” It headed towards a villager’s residence and disappeared.

Hong Yang got sick after returning home, and it took him about one year to recover. The two servants who passed out later died, and the third was sick for a year. Later on, Hong Yang went to check on the villager and found that the entire family of five died of the plague. By then, he knew the monster was a plague ghost.


Reciting the Nine-Word Auspicious Phrase

By the end of January 2021, over 100 million people around the world had been infected by the coronavirus, and more than two million had died. That means one in 70 people globally had caught the disease, and 2-3 out of every 100 confirmed cases died. In addition to the concerns over side effects of vaccines, the newly emerged variants were found to be more contagious and deadly, calling into question the vaccines’ effect.

Many scientists and experts have also questioned the effectiveness of lockdown measures. The Chinese Communist Party’s draconian lockdown, such as sealing off residents’ doors and not allowing them to go out at all, has caused tremendous harm.

Many people have applied ancient wisdom to the modern-day challenge and heeded Falun Dafa practitioners’ advice to recite the auspicious phrases, “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” This in turn has brought them blessings and miracles.

In one story received by Minghui, 80-year-old Mr. Li in Wuhan was diagnosed with coronavirus infection in January 2020. By the time he was hospitalised, his lungs had been confirmed to have ground-glass opacity and his life was in danger.

Some of his relatives who practiced Falun Dafa urged him to recite the two phrases. He accepted the advice. He recovered quickly and was discharged in 7 days. While a survey showed that 73% of coronavirus patients have complications after treatment and recovery, Mr. Li has none, as if he had never had the disease before.

Ah-Xia, a Falun Gong practitioner in Indonesia, had a friend who had a similar experience. In a Minghui article published in January 2021, her friend stayed in the hospital for 10 days without any improvement. Hearing about this, especially her friend’s bad headache, Ah-Xia suggested that he keep reciting the two auspicious phrases. The friend followed her advice. His next test result turned out to be negative, and he was soon discharged from the hospital.

Traditional Chinese culture emphasises valuing virtue and being good. When one truly acts in accordance with his or her conscience and supports upright principles, one will be blessed. Those who identify with Falun Dafa will also be protected by the divine and thus will be able to ward off the virus with righteous energy.


Saying No to the CCP

Traditional Chinese culture has been nearly wiped out by the CCP in the past few decades. After suppressing people economically, culturally, and politically, the regime expanded quickly, pushing communist ideology globally.

Enticed by business deals, many leaders around the world have bent their knees to the CCP. This is akin to the Book of Revelations’ description of the Whore of Babylon, “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Patterns of the pandemic show that the disease traces wherever the CCP’s influence goes. On an internal list of coronavirus fatalities in China from March 2020, among the 327 individuals on the list who died of the coronavirus, 217 (66%) were CCP members.

Statistics have also shown that officials, celebrities, and regions that advocate communism or socialism tend to have a higher chance of infection. In the United States, for example, the coronavirus death rate in the Blue States is at least twice that in the Red States.

With the newly discovered variants and uncertainty of vaccines, it remains unknown how long or badly this disaster will go. In any case, cherishing virtue and remaining loyal to our faith will help us in this chaotic era. Facing the CCP’s globalist agenda, recognizing the harm communism has brought to mankind and staying away from the regime will also bring us blessings.

There is a saying that plagues have eyes and do not target people or regions at random. If that is the case, whatever we learn from history can help keep us and our families safe.