He Zhizhang lived in Xuanping Square in Xijing. He often saw an old man riding a donkey in and out of his house. After five or six years, he saw the old man’s face and clothes remained the same, without any change. He did not see any family members either. Asking the neighbors in the alley, they said he was the old man who sold the rope to wear money in the west market, and there was no other occupation.
Further observation, found that he is an extraordinary person, He Zhizhang often in the free days to visit the old man.
The old man greeted him respectfully and cautiously, and there was only one servant boy beside him. He Zhizhang asked him about his occupation, and the old man answered him very casually.
As they exchanged more and more words, they gradually became more respectful and talked more and more, and the old man told him that he was good at the art of monasticism and alchemy. He Zhizhang had always respected monasticism, so he was willing to take the old man as his teacher.
Later, He Zhizhang and his wife took a pearl and said they had gotten it in their hometown and had treasured it for many years, so they presented it to the old man and asked him to teach them the Tao. After receiving the pearl, the old man gave it to the boy and asked him to go to the market to buy cakes. The boy exchanged the pearl for more than thirty cakes and invited He Zhizhang with the cakes.
He thought to himself, “The pearl was given to the old man on purpose, but the old man used it so lightly, so he was very unhappy. The old man said, “The Dao can only be learned, how can you fight for it? It is impossible to attain the Way without being stingy with possessions. You should go to the deep mountains and poor valleys, and practice diligently and attentively; living in the city is difficult to obtain.” He Zhizhang was enlightened, and after thanking the old man, he left.
After a few days, there was no sign of the old man. He then asked to resign from his official position and returned to his hometown.
Note: He Zhizhang (He Zhizhang) was a native of Yongxing, Huiji. He was famous for his literary works. He was promoted to the post of scholar, and was repeatedly promoted to the post of doctor of tai chang. Zhizhang was liberal in nature, and in his later years, he was especially indulgent. When he was drunk, his words became scrolls. He was also good at cursive writing, and was a common treasure. At the beginning of Tianbao, asked to return to his hometown as a Taoist priest, the imperial edict gave the mirror lake Heping River a song, the imperial poem to give line, the crown prince has been under the salty on the executive farewell. He died at the age of eighty-six. Su Zong gave the Minister of Rites. A volume of poems. His poems “Return to the hometown even letter” and “Wing willow” were widely praised.
(Source: Taiping Guangji)