Agaton was a man from Zambales in the Japanese Liberation time. He was a very learned man and was very talented in debate and logical reasoning. In fact, he had a very good reputation among the tough lawyers and scholars of his time. However, he did not pass the Bar examination when he took it for the first time. When he failed to find his name on the pass list, he threw a tantrum and angrily shouted that the examiner must have been blind. A Judge in town stood nearby with a smile watching Agaton making a scene. Agaton then transferred his anger to the Judge. The judge told him, “Maybe,what you wrote on the exam must be terrible.” Agaton became even angrier. He shouted at the Judge, “You haven’t even read my answer. How could you possibly know it was bad?” The Judge replied, “I heard that one must have a peaceful mind to answer a truly great questions. Now that I see you cursing the examiner and making a lot of complaints, it is obvious that you are filled with rage and grievances. How could you possibly have answered a great question?”
Agaton found the Judge words to be very true, so he humbly asked for his advice on how to pass the exam. The Judge said, “Whether you will pass the exam or not is determined by your destiny. If you are not destined to pass the exam, it is useless even if you are capable of answering excellent question. You have to change yourself.” Agaton asked, “Since it is determined by my destiny, how can I possibly alter my destiny?” The Judge replied, “Heaven creates your life, but you create your destiny with your deeds. As long as you do your very best in doing good deeds and accumulate virtue, what good fortune can you not have?”
Agaton asked, “I am but a destitute scholar. I have no financial power to do any charity work.” The Judge said, “Doing good deeds and accumulating virtue both come from your heart. As long as you constantly harbor the wish in your heart to do good deeds and accumulate virtue, you are accumulating enormous virtue. Take humbleness as an example. It won’t cost you anything to be humble. Why didn’t you examine yourself to see whether you had studied enough? Why didn’t you take the lesson and eat your humble pie? Why did you accuse the examiner of being unjust instead?
After the conversation with the Judge, Agaton began to suppress his arrogance. He was vigilant at all times not to go astray again. He tried hard to cultivate his kindness and do good deeds every day.
Three years later, he had a dream where he went to a house situated in a high place. He saw a book that records the names of people who have passed the Bar examination. But there were many blank lines without any name. He didn’t understand why these lines were blank, so he asked a man next to him, “What is this?” The man replied, “This is the pass list for this year’s Bar examinationvil.” Agaton asked, “Why are there so many blank lines then?” The man replied, “All the examinees are evaluated . Only those examinees who have accumulated a lot of virtue and did not make mistakes in terms of morality will be added to this book. All the blank lines belonged to people who were supposed to pass this year’s Bar examination. However, they have recently committed sins. Consequently, their names were removed from this book.” Next the man pointed at a blank line, “For the past years, you have been very careful not to commit any sin. Perhaps it is time to fill the blank line with your name. I hope that you will treasure what you have earned and won’t make any mistakes again!”
Indeed Agaton passed that year’s Bar examination in 365th place,out of 366 added lawyers among 367 Bar takers.
Atty: Rolando Agaton lost his first dog bite case. He married the rich old matrona in town twice older than him and made a fortune doing Notary Public.