Good Deeds are Rewarded While Evil Deeds Meet with Evil

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The following are two stories that illustrate the principle of “good is rewarded with good and evil is rewarded with evil.”

The following are two stories that illustrate the principle of “good is rewarded with good and evil is rewarded with evil.”

Swindling People of their Money; Experiencing Life in Hell

During the Reign of Emperor Shunzhi (1644 – 1661 AD) in the Qing Dynasty, a man named Wu Zhanqi made a living by selling cloth.

Wu was greedy and crafty. While selling his cloth, he always showed buyers the top-quality roll as a sample to gain their confidence, but then sold them a substandard product in the end by swapping them unbeknownst to the buyer. This way, he always kept his sample roll while all the substandard products were sold. He was very skillful in this deception.

Once, a western merchant sent a friend in the same business to buy some cloth for him. As usual, his friend was cheated and bought a substandard product.

The merchant was unhappy and blamed his friend. His friend replied angrily, “You won’t do any better even if you go yourself!” The merchant said, “No way! If I can’t get the genuine product, I won’t come back to see you.” The next day, the merchant went to buy the cloth himself. He picked out the sample roll straight away and sat on the roll so that Wu Zhanqi had no way to replace it.

Being desperate, Wu came up with an idea. He came around from the counter, adjusted his clothes and hat, and greeted the merchant courteously, as if they were old friends. The merchant had no choice, and stood up to greet him in return. At that moment, a shop assistant replaced the sample roll with something else. The merchant did not notice it, paid for the cloth and went back.

He showed his friend his purchase as soon as he got back. His friend unrolled the cloth and saw that it was shoddy and cheap, dotted with dirty marks. It was too thin to be used for anything, no different to what he had bought earlier. His friend mocked him, “You went there yourself, but what’s the difference?” Thinking of his earlier claim, the merchant felt so ashamed and anguished that he hanged himself.

This is one example that demonstrated how treacherous and greedy Wu was. Later, Wu got seriously sick on a trip. He was lying in the hotel bed and often saw demon ghosts coming to get him for punishment. Day and night, he experienced all kinds of punishment and screamed out in pain.

Once, he was yelling out in bed, “Please help me! Help me! They are putting me on a bed of fire!” People around him could not do anything, but then found burn marks on his back. He also yelled out, “Oh, God! They are putting a hook in my back to weigh me!”

Everyone felt it strange and bizarre, but could not do anything. They then found one part of his back red and swollen as if he had indeed been lifted by a hook. Wu kept crying out from the hellish and painful punishment he was suffering. He died a few days later.

This story teaches that no matter how crafty and shifty one’s evil deeds may be, they have planted the seeds of consequences, and retribution will come sooner or later.

Struck by Lightning for Ill-gotten Money

An old widow lived during the Qing Dynasty. She brought up her son by doing embroidery work for others. Her son grew up and got a job in a traditional bank with a salary that was enough to take care of the old woman. The elderly woman kept working and saved several dozen silver coins to prepare for her son’s marriage in the future. Being poor, they lived in a shabby home that had very little privacy and security. She always carried the money around her waist when going out, for fear of losing it.

Once, she went to burn incense at the Yuanmiao temple. She heard that there were a lot of pickpockets in the temple area so she asked the owner of a grain store (an acquaintance) to take care of her money while she went to the temple. However, when she came back to ask for her money, the store owner replied angrily, “Who took your money!”

The elderly woman was shocked and argued with him tearfully. Pointing his finger to heaven, the owner swore that he was being wronged by her. The onlookers could not tell who was in the right or wrong. In fact, when she left her money with the store owner, a neighbor next door was present.

As they argued, the old woman saw that the neighbor was next door. The woman asked the neighbor to offer evidence about what happened, but he laughed and said, “Utter nonsense! I’ve just arrived and never saw you before. How can I tell which one of you is telling the truth!” Hearing his words, people started to make comments, saying that she was in the wrong. She was suffering a gross injustice, but found it very hard to defend herself. She went home depressed, and in great despair, hanged herself.

Her son came home to find his mother dead. He could not understand why she had committed suicide and was extremely sad. All he could do was bury her. The unexpected tragedy dealt him a heavy blow and he fell ill. One day when he was half-conscious, he saw his mother coming to him and said, “My son, two people will be struck to death by lightning in Yuanmiao Temple tomorrow, and the injustice I suffered will be rectified. We’ll get the money back. You should go there to take a look even though you are sick.”

The next day, her son went to the temple as requested. The weather was nice and clear at first, but not long after, dark clouds built up, lightning flashed and thunder roared. With a loud cracking sound, a bolt of lightning struck and killed the store owner and his neighbor.

They were kneeling down face to face, each with a bag of silver dollars in hand. A little while later, the neighbor came back to life and told everyone, “That day after the elderly woman left her money with the store owner, he had a wicked idea to swindle the money and promised to split it with me 30/70. Who would have thought that we offended Heaven by doing so. The magistrate in the underworld judged that the store owner was the main culprit and I was thus spared the death penalty. I was ordered to make a public announcement about this and return the money to her son. I do not know his name. What should I do?”

Someone in the crowd recognized the son and pointed him out. The son accepted the silver with the crows watching. After he got home, he held a memorial ceremony for his mother and cried sadly in memory of her. He completely recovered from his illness. The store owner’s neighbor was bedridden for half a year before he could walk. However, he became permanently crippled with a broken hand and a foot.

舉念有神知 善惡各有報

詐財害命,活見地獄

清代順治年間,江西人吳湛七以賣布為業。他個性貪心詭詐,居心難測,在賣布的時候,總是把質料好的布作樣品,先取得買主的信任,一旦買主選定布料,他就用劣布更換好布,使人買到的卻是劣等的貨色。布已賣完,而樣品仍在,他替換的似乎很巧妙。

有位西洋貨商派一位同行的朋友來買布,被吳湛七所耍弄,買了劣等的回去。貨商責罵其友,他的朋友很生氣地說:「就是你親自去,也不免會受騙!」貨商說:「哪有此道理?假如這次去買不到真貨的話,我絕不會再來見你。」第二天,貨商親自去。從吳湛七的貨倉中,一找就找到那一束樣品布,貨商就蹲坐在布上,使吳湛七無法換布。吳湛七見狀著急,於是心生一計,急忙從櫃台裏迎出來,齊整衣帽,恭恭敬敬地給貨商行了個禮,好像老朋友一般。貨商不得已,只好連忙起身回禮,趕快又回去蹲坐好。然而就在這個空檔裏,吳湛七已暗地派人更換了那匹好布,貨商也未發覺,算好錢,帶了劣布匆匆地趕回家。見到朋友,立即展示給他看,朋友取出布,仔細地查看,原來還是非常粗劣污朽、單薄不堪無法使用的布。拿出上次買回的布一比,沒甚麼兩樣。朋友回過來數說他:「你親自去買,又怎麼樣?……」貨商買回劣布已是懊惱,又遭朋友數說;更想到以前說過的大話,心中羞憤莫名,就上吊自盡了。

吳湛七的陰謀詭詐、唯利是圖,由此可見一斑。到了天啟年間,他在旅途上得了重病,躺在旅舍裏,時常見到鬼卒來驅迫他去受刑,受盡各種刑獄,所以時常發出猛厲的哀號聲,日夜不絕。曾經躺在床席上大叫:「救我啊!救我啊!把我綁在火床上了!」旁觀的人手足無措,再看他的背後果然出現像熱鐵烙過的紅印。他還高叫道:「天呀!怎麼用鉤子鉤我的背來稱我啊!」眾人更覺得怪異,只能任他叫號,再看他的脊柱,紅腫寸許,好像真的有人在拿著鉤子稱量他。他不停地叫著諸地獄痛苦毒刑的情形,真是如同活地獄一般,如此折磨持續了幾天後,就死了。其實不管人的惡行有多麼奸巧和詭秘,已經埋下了惡果,報應只是早晚的事。

昧銀被殛,報應分明

清代時有一位老婦人,一直守寡,靠為人刺繡挑花掙錢撫養兒子。兒子長大,在錢莊做事,所得薪俸足以贍養老母。但這位老婦人仍然不停地刺繡,所以頗有餘資,積攢了有幾十塊銀元,準備為兒子娶媳婦。窮家小戶,房屋淺隘,與鄰居只有一板之隔。她每次出門,怕把錢丟了,總是纏在腰裏。

有一天她要去圓妙觀進香,聽說觀中扒手多,就把腰裏纏的錢解下來,托請米店中素來熟識的某甲代為收藏。等她燒完香,前去某甲處取錢,甲變了臉說:「誰收了你的錢!」老婦人大驚,哭著與他申辯,甲指天誓日,以表明自己遭了冤枉。兩人爭論不下,圍觀的人很多,但無法決斷是非。當老婦人交錢給某甲時,有一位該店的鄰人某乙在場,是親眼目睹者,爭論之時,他仍在店中。老婦人就請某乙為證。乙笑著說:「你真是活見鬼了!我剛才從閶門來,連你的面都沒有見到,怎麼能知道你兩人誰真誰假!」大家聽了某乙的話,都七嘴八舌議論開了,認為老婦人不對。老婦人有口難辯,抑鬱而歸,竟自縊死。

兒子回來,見母親已自縊身亡,又不知是何原因,悲痛無比,只好將母殮葬。遭此突然意外,又無處找到緣由,痛極而病。昏沉之中,夢見母親前來告訴他說:「兒啊,明天圓妙觀前,天雷要擊死兩個人,我的冤屈就可大白。我們的錢,可以得以歸還,你應該抱病到那裏去看!」第二天,兒子果然帶病前去,到了觀前,只見天氣一片晴好。不多久,突然烏雲湧起,雷電大作,一聲巨響,閃電下擊,甲和乙各自手持一包銀子,相對跪在地上,已被擊斃了。過了一會兒,乙甦醒過來,對圍觀眾人詳細說了情況:「那天老婦人把銀子托放給甲某後,甲就生了歹意企圖誣吞銀子,與我三七分贓。不料我兩人冒犯天怒。冥司因起意之罪在甲,特免我死罪,命我對眾人宣說,並要我把銀子交還老婦之子。我又不知他的姓名,該怎麼辦呢?」在場的人中有知道這件事的人,指著她兒子說:「這不是那位失主嗎!」兒子當眾收取了銀子,回到家裏,祭奠母親,大哭了一場,身體也就完全恢復了健康。乙臥床半年,才能走動,但是一隻手和一隻腳已經折斷,成了終身殘廢。有詩曰:「勤工針黹苦傷心,積久遂逾數十金。爾可昧他朋比用,蒼天豈負苦心人。」

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