A legend that dates back to the beginning of the Tang Dynasty narrates the story of a young scholar named Lu Sheng, who, by having a prophetic dream after falling asleep on the dining table, took matters into his own hands and completely changed his life.
One day Sheng entered a tavern and sat at a table next to a kind old man. The elderly man graciously lent the scholar his ear, and compassionately listened to his bitter words and anguished cries for repeatedly failing his imperial exams.
The old man – who was none other than Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Daoist Immortals – advised the young man to abandon his ambitions and start cultivating his skills and mind, but Sheng brusquely dismissed the idea.
While they were waiting for the innkeeper to prepare their meals, the young man fell asleep.
In a very vivid dream, Lu Sheng saw himself passing the imperial exams. Then, he observed as he became a scholar-official and married a beautiful lady. At the peak of his career, he witnessed as his dream-self was suddenly incriminated for corruption and sentenced to death. His life was spared thanks to the Emperor’s intercession. Over the years, he became a recognized scholar-official who enjoyed great fame and security. Then, at 81 years of age, a serious illness took his life.
Lu Sheng woke up startled. He confusedly took a look around and saw that the innkeeper hadn’t brought his dinner yet. Then, Lu Dongbin smiled at him saying: “A person’s life is like a dream, is not it?”
Finally, Sheng abandoned his worldly pursuits, and Lu Dongbin took him as a disciple. Quite a thought-provoking story, isn’t it?