Zen Master Baimei patiently explained to me.
In Chinese history, the founder of the Liao dynasty was called Yelu Abaoji.  One day, he was hunting in the meadow with three-hundred horsemen when they saw a giant monster fly above their heads.
Yelu Abaoji ordered his army to shoot the beast with thousands of arrows. When the giant beast got hit, they recognized it was a massive black dragon!
The black dragon lost its balance and eventually fell around five hundred meters away from the army. Yelu Abaoji ordered his men to tie the dying dragon down with iron chains.
However, Yelu Abaoji’s actions caused panic among the people as they thought that the black dragon was a messenger from the heavens. Since Yelu Abaoji had killed the dragon, he had offended the heavens and would be thus punished.
However, Yelu Abaoji didn’t believe in superstitions. He thought that as the emperor, he could do whatever he wanted.
Yet, not long afterward, the invincible Yelu Abaoji was defeated in a battle. During his defeat, Yelu Abaoji had a bizarre death. The people all agreed that this was retribution.
After Yelu Abaoji’s death, the first thing his wife, Empress Shulu, did wasn’t to enthrone the Crown Prince. Instead, she summoned all the generals who had been fighting side-by-side with Yelu Abaoji in his last battle. She told them, “I really miss the late Emperor. What about you?”
The generals all agreed with her and said that they also missed the late Emperor. Empress Dowager Shulu said in agony, “If you also miss the late Emperor, you should go and serve him!”
The generals were bewildered because they didn’t understand what the Empress Dowager meant.
Then, on the day of Yelu Abaoji’s funeral, Empress Dowager Shulu ordered the arrangement of many decapitation platforms. The generals finally understood what she meant. However, it was too late. All the generals who had been with Yelu Abaoji during the battle were killed so that they could serve him in the other world.
Yet, not even this could ease Empress Dowager Shulu’s grief. She wanted to send someone to deliver her message to Yelu Abaoji. Then, she remembered a close friend of his. His name was Zhao Siwen.
When Yelu Abaoji was still alive, Zhao Siwen was the general he appreciated the most. Empress Dowager Shulu thought that sending Zhao Siwen was the best choice.
However, she miscalculated something. Zhao Siwen was of Han ethnicity, and Han people didn’t care about these old beliefs. When Empress Dowager Shulu asked Zhao Siwen to kill himself and send her message to the late Emperor, he denied resolutely. “I’m not going!”
“Why? You were His late Majesty’s best friend. You must go.”
Zhao Siwen was a smart guy. He snapped back, “If there’s anyone who has the best relationship with the late Emperor, that would be you, Your Majesty. Why don’t you go and serve our former Emperor yourself?”
He made Empress Dowager Shulu speechless. Eventually, her rage burst out. “The Crown Prince is still young. I need to stay and assist him until he grows up.”
Zhao Siwen answered coldly, “Empress Dowager Shulu, do you know why His Majesty hasn’t come to talk to you in your dreams?”
Shulu had wanted to send Zhao Siwen to the other world precisely because Yelu Abaoji hadn’t appeared in her dreams despite being dead for quite a long time. She wanted to send someone to ask him about it.
Empress Dowager Shulu blurted, “Why?”
Zhao Siwen answered, “It’s because he shot dead a black dragon. The Heavens punished him. I’m afraid that even if he’s dead, he won’t be able to rest. If we don’t atone for his sin, his punishment will never end…”
Empress Dowager Shulu was anxious. “What should we do? How do we atone for his sins?”
At the time, society was focused on acts of cutting wrists. Sometimes, women would chop off their wrists under certain circumstances to show their loyalty to their husbands.
Zhao Siwen casually said that the Empress Dowager should cut her wrist to beg for heavens’ mercy.
Zhao Siwen just wanted to find an excuse to make the Empress Dowager give up on her intention of sending him to the other world. He did not want her to trouble him or the other officials any longer.
Otherwise, whenever she missed her late husband, she would kill someone to deliver her message!
However, he didn’t know that Empress Dowager Shulu was a brave woman with great dignity. She didn’t hesitate and snatched the saber from a nearby guard, chopping off her left hand.
Zhao Siwen gawked in shock. However, he couldn’t change what he had said. He picked up Empress Dowager Shulu’s cut hand and placed it under the dark dragon’s body to beg for forgiveness.
No one had expected that the black dragon would actually show its ‘spirit.’ Although the dragon had been dead for a while, its mouth began to produce a strange mucus that slowly covered the cut hand. After several days, the mucus became solid and created a ball-like object. At the same time, the cut hand was dissolved by the mucus, giving birth to the item known as Night Dragon Bait.
Of course, the Night Dragon Bait didn’t still have today’s shape back then.
Empress Dowager Shulu thought that it was the ‘redemption token’ the heavens had bestowed to the late Emperor. Thus, she buried the Night Dragon Bait in Yelu Abaoji’s tomb.
Afterward, Empress Dowager Shulu dreamt about the late emperor every night, and Zhao Siwen kept his life.
However, the Empress started to lose her mind. She stayed in her bed all day just to dream about the late emperor. Her body quickly deteriorated, and after a sudden sickness, she left the mortal world.
Before she died, Empress Dowager Shulu told her maid that the late emperor was so lonely down there and that he had summoned her to serve him. She ordered that after she was gone, they had to bury her together with him.
The story about the brave woman who cut her wrist was spread from there. Everybody admired and respected Empress Dowager Shulu for her loyalty, but I didn’t feel the same.
Yelu Abaoji had slaughtered countless people while he was in power. His sudden death was a consequence of his brutal deeds.
His wife, Empress Dowager Shulu, was also very cruel. She beheaded excellent generals who had earned merit for the country just to send some messages to her late husband. Moreover, she chopped her hand out of selfishness and not because she regretted her actions.
After listening to Zen Master Baimei, I was still puzzled. “Why did a Nukekubi come to my door after several thousand years? What did she have to do with Empress Dowager Shulu?”
Zen Master Baimei smiled and said, “Yelu Abaoji’s tomb is in Japan. According to legend, the Nukekubis were Yelu Abaoji’s tomb keeper. Since the Night Dragon Bait appeared in the world again, of course, it’s only natural for the Nukekubi to come…”
I realized now.
Persisting in evil brought about one’s destruction. Even if you were the emperor of a country, you wouldn’t have it better than an ordinary citizen.
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