A Wonderful Dream while Cooking the Millet
"A Wonderful Dream while Cooking the Millet" is Daoist anecdote, an allusion found in the Record of Imperial Sovereign Chunyang's Mysterious Salvation and Sublime Communion ( 純陽帝君神化妙通紀 Chunyang Dijun Shenhua Miaotong Ji ). It is recorded in the book that after failing in an imperial examination, the scholar Lü Yan (i.e., Lü Dongbin) came across Zhong Liquan and went to Mt. Zhongnan with him. He once had a dream while he napped. In the dream, Lü Yan became the Number One Scholar. He was promoted from the rank of lower county official to that of a higher court official, and considered himself unexcelled in the world. He twice married girls from rich and powerful families, and enjoyed untold wealth and high honor. Unexpectedly, however, forty years later he committed a serious crime and so he was dismissed from office, and his property was confiscated. In a twinkling his family broke up. He became a loner in the world, penniless and frustrated. In a snowstorm, seeing troops hotly pursuing him, he was frightened to a sweat and woke up with a start. At that time Zhong Liquan was cooking millet rice. This is the origin of "A Wonderful Dream while Cooking the Millet". The story tells people that seeking fame and wealth is illusionary, and only thr respectful and cautious seeking of Dao is the real way out in life. This idea permeated the whole process of Lü Dongbin's studying and transmitting Dao, benefiting mankind and saving people. In his anthology there are quite a lot works about diversion from desire and abandonment of honor and rank.