There is a millennial belief that goodness is rewarded with kindness, and wickedness with wickedness. It is said that the gods are righteous and do not reward or punish, because the way one behaving out of his own free-will will lead to respective retribution.

In ancient times, an official named Wang lived in what is now Hebei Province. He misused the law to fill his pockets instead of defending justice. Every time he accumulated ill-gotten gains, things happened that took them away.

One night, a young servant practicing Taoism was at the local temple, and heard an argument between two officials who were in the underworld. “He had a considerable income this year,” said one. “How are we going to take away his earnings?”

“With Cuiyun it will be more than enough to carry out our plan. It’s no big deal,” the other replied.

The servant often saw or heard ghosts in the temple, and was not afraid. However, he wondered, the income of whom would be taken, and who Cuiyun was. >

Soon a prostitute named Cuiyun appeared in the area where Wang lived. Wang was unable to control his lust and spent much of his savings by turning himself into the prostitute’s charms. He also developed skin lesions, which consumed his spare money.

When he died, he hadn’t had enough money left to pay for a coffin.

We don’t always see the connection

During the reign of Yongzheng (from 1722 to 1735 A.D.) in the Qing dynasty, a knight named Su Dounan met a friend in a bar near the Baigou River. The friend drank and complained, “Heavenly principles no longer exist,” he said. “No one is rewarded for his good deeds, and no one is retaliated against for his evils.”

Suddenly a man riding a horse stopped and walked into the bar. He went straight to where Su’s friend was and said, “Are you complaining that retribution no longer exists? Think about this: He who indulges in lust ends with sexually transmitted diseases. A player ends up losing to his shirt, and a thief doesn’t end up getting caught? And doesn’t a murderer have to pay for his crime with his own life? These are examples of yeli (karmic) retribution.

“When it comes to lust, some have more desires, while others have less,” he added. “In addition, some players deceive. Among the gangs of thieves, there are bosses and accomplices. And when it comes to killing, there are premeditated acts and accidental homicides.

“Remuneration is imposed according to the degree of the violation. Even when one is punished, some people have accumulated merits to make up for their faults, and that is why sometimes the causes and effects are not seen.”

“Some people will not face retribution until the good fortune they gained in previous situations runs out. All this is very mysterious, complex and precise.”

“You’re complaining about the uncertainty of heavenly principles based on your own narrow perspective, which puts you in a vulnerable position. Now let’s talk about you.” “You were destined to gain a higher rank in the imperial government. However, because you planned to win favors from whoever was in power, you never reached that position.

You sabotaged your own predestined status because you did not meet the requirements of that level in the eyes of the divine.”

This mysterious person approached Su’s friend and spoke to his ear for a good while. Then the stranger asked him something that everyone could hear:

“These things you did, have you forgotten them all?”

Drops of sweat ran down the friend’s face. He murmured, “How do you know everything about me?”

The mysterious person smiled: “Whatever one does, all divine beings know.” After saying that, he went out, rode his horse and disappeared as fast as he had appeared.

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