At Mount Wutai in Shanxi Province there lived a Buddhist monk who was known by the title of Cool Old Man. During his life he took it upon himself to spread Buddhist teachings, particularly the Zen school. He was quite famous and even Premier E had studied under him. In 1726, during the Yongzheng emperor's reign, the monk passed away.
At the exact moment of his death, a child was born in Tibet. The child didn't say a word until he was eight years old. Just as his head was being shaved the boy suddenly shouted, "I am the Cool Old Man. Go quickly and tell Premier E that I am here!"
The premier summoned the boy and questioned him to verify his identity. Everything the boy said was just as the Cool Old Man would have said. The boy recognized all the premier's attendants and, addressing them by name, chatted with them as if he had never been away.
Premier E then decided to give him one last test. He presented the boy with a set of rosary beads. The boy took the beads, bowed lowly, and said, "I can't accept these beads. They are the very beads that I presented to you in my previous incarnation."
The startled premier immediately ordered that the boy be taken to Mount Wutai to resume his position as abbot.
On the way to the monastery, the party passed through Hejian Village. While there the boy sent word of his arrival to a Mr. Yuan, a Hejian local, who had been a great friend of the Cool Old Man during his previous life. When Yuan received the letter he saddled the black horse that the monk had given him, and galloped off to welcome his friend back to the region. Needless to say, Yuan was all the while in a state of considerable surprise.
When the boy saw his friend on the black horse he immediately stepped out of the carriage and embraced him, saying, "We've been apart for eight years now. Do you still remember me?" Then he