A Kind Heart is Rewarded for Saving an Abandoned Baby

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Wenchang Statue (Wiki media)

Do you believe the ancient saying that good will be rewarded and evil will be punished?

Retribution and Heavenly Principles

Perhaps some people reject the idea of karmic retribution, having seen some evil-doers accumulate wealth and some genuinely good people live impoverished lives or pass away early. However, the principle of retribution as taught by many spiritual ways may have deeper roots, going hand in hand with the idea of reincarnation.

A person’s good fortune, comfort, or wealth can be understood as a manifestation of good karma—virtue accumulated from doing good deeds in previous lives. You could compare it to a savings account, where the benefits are enjoyed at a future date.

On the other hand, if a person lives for momentary pleasures, while not treasuring virtue or one’s conscience, this person may commit all kinds of evils and accumulate bad karma; much like spending hard-earned savings recklessly, future rewards are diminished.

At a future date, or if there would be a 「judgement day」, such lack of virtue would spell bad news for the person ruined with bad karma, as such a being is believed to be doomed to hell—whether one would believe this to be a physical place below, or looking at it in terms of experiencing a lot of suffering.

Karmic Reward for Saving a Baby

In a city called Ningbo, in east China’s Zhejiang province, there once was a man called Yuan Daoji, who lived in poverty. In his youth, he received a gift of several pieces of silver, to give him a chance to take the provincial exams.

As Yuan Daoji set off for his exams, he encountered an abandoned baby on the road, who was crying loudly from hunger—it appeared desperately thin and near its death. Yuan Daoji took pity on the baby and carried it to a nearby tofu shop. He gave the owners his pieces of silver, asking them to raise the child, and then continued his journey to the provincial capital.

Arriving in the capitol, Yuan Daoji found that everybody avoided him, because he looked so impoverished. One Buddhist monk, whom he had known from before, reluctantly accommodated him.

That night, the monk had a dream. The gods overlooking all of the towns that were participating in the provincial exams had gathered together to provide the God of Literature (Wang Wenchang) with the list of participants.

Some names on the list had already been crossed out, and they were discussing the remaining candidates.

Only the God of Ningbo Town could report positively to the God of Literature, saying, 「Yuan Daoji has a good heart and saved an abandoned baby; he is allowed to pass.」

The God of Literature was about to order Yuan Daoji to be presented before him, yet hesitated, seeing that he was so impoverished and his appearance so ugly.

「We can let him borrow the facial hair of the town judge,」 suggested the God of Ningbo.

At which point, the Buddhist monk awoke from his dream.

The next morning, the monk discovered that Yuan Daoji, who had never grown facial hair, had grown a full moustache overnight.

Shocked, Yuan Daoji asked the monk what was happening, and the monk told him about his mysterious dream.

Sure enough, when the exam results were published, they confirmed that Yuan Daoji had passed with flying colors.

This story of Yuan Daoji has been passed down as an example of karmic retribution and immediate reward for virtue. Through the monk’s dream, both parties had come to deeply understand such a principle of good being rewarded by the heavens.

Translated by Fu Ming
Edited by Emiko Kingswell

好心拯救棄嬰 城隍爺送他一份厚禮

你相信善惡有報之說嗎?

因果報應為天理

現代人受西方文化、現代科技的影響,對鬼神、禍福之說嗤之以鼻,以天道賞罰為渺茫無稽,視因果報應為迷信愚昧。殊不知,因果法則乃是宇宙萬物運行的根本法則。「善惡到頭終有報,只爭來早與來遲。」因緣果報,絲毫不爽。《易經》雲:「積善之家,必有餘慶;積不善之家,必有餘殃。」佛經講:「善有善報,惡有惡報。莫言不報,時刻未到。」古語云:「人心生一念,天地盡皆知。善惡若無報,乾坤必有私。」

人們對於因果報應之理會不予相信的原因,大概是看到有人作惡卻榮華富貴,有人善良卻貧窮短命。您有無想過,這是何道理?其實,因果輪迴之理甚深,非一般人可以揣測。

《涅槃經》即對世人道:「業有三報,一現報,現作善惡之報,現受苦樂之報;二生報,或前生作業今生報,或今生作業來生報;三速報,眼前作業,目下受報」。所以,因果報應被稱為三世業報。我們看到有人享福,乃是他前生行善修來的福報,今生如果更加勉力修善,就像在銀行存款一樣,利息越來越多,福報越來越多,則下一生依然富貴;反之如果不知珍惜福報,作惡多端,仗勢欺人,福報必然被折除,等到惡貫滿盈,必然破敗,死後墮入地獄,或轉生惡道受苦。

救棄嬰得福報

小編在這裡說一個紀錄在古籍《北東園筆錄續編》中的小故事,讓大家知道做了好事之人,究竟會獲得甚麼樣的善福。

寧波有個人名叫袁道濟,他的家境貧困,沒有辦法去參加鄉試。有人勸告他還是去考看看,還贈送給他三兩銀子。於是,袁道濟就出發去參加鄉試了。

當時年景不好,糧食歉收,袁道濟在路上遇到了一個棄嬰。他見到棄嬰因為飢餓嚎啕大哭,眼看就要死了。袁道濟心生憐憫,就把友人贈送給他的三兩銀子交給豆腐店老闆夫婦,託他們撫養這名棄嬰。袁道濟囑託完後,就又繼續上路了。

袁道濟到了省城之後,同鄉們都嫌棄他窮,不肯收容他,留他一塊居住。只有一個袁道濟過去認識的僧人勉強留他住下。當天夜裡,僧人夢見各府的城隍都聚集在一起,說是要把鄉試錄取的名冊進呈給文昌帝君。名冊裡有被削除的名字,還需要覈查補齊。

只見寧波城隍稟告文昌帝君說:「袁道濟救護嬰兒心切,可以讓他考中。」

文昌帝君命令召他前來,可是在見到他貧寒醜陋之後,說道:「此人貌醜,該怎麼辦呢?」

城隍建議:「可以把判官的鬍鬚借給他。」僧人驚醒,對這個夢境感到非常奇怪,他決定把這個奇異的夢境告訴袁道濟。可是第二天一早,僧人正要去告訴袁道濟時,卻突然被長出鬍子的袁道濟給逗地笑了出來。原來,向來沒留鬍子的袁道濟,居然在一夜之間長了鬍子,這才使得僧人吃吃笑個不止。

茫然的袁道濟連忙詢問原因,和尚就將自己做的夢告訴了他,倆人都很驚訝。後來放榜後,袁道濟果然高中。

這就是「現作善惡之報,現受苦樂之報」的例子吧!只是,在這一個故事中,上天還特地讓僧人做了一個夢,讓他們兩人更加深知做善事得福報之理。只是,我們要知道,這世間上還有許許多多,數不清,難以一時將其中的因果報應解析透徹的案例。所以,真的切莫說善惡無報、天地有私心啊!

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