A Story from the Ming Dynasty - All Debts Must be Repaid
(Clearwisdom.net) This is a story that shook the nation of China in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Mao Ji (around 1426-1465) was recognized as a scholar. He was in charge of the Guangdong division of the Department of Justice and part of the Royal Guard. Mao Ji was noble and fair, never feared the authorities, and brought criminals in the Royal Guard to justice without any clemency.
One year, when the enemy was attacking, the Royal Guards were defeated badly. At this critical moment, Mao Ji stood out bravely and stopped the soldiers from fleeing. His subordinates persuaded him to hide and avoid being killed himself, but Mao Ji resolutely refused. He fought courageously and died in the battle. After eight days, people found his body, and he wore a fearless expression on his face.
Mao Ji had his helper, Yu Wen, take care of a sum of money that was to be used as rewards for the troops. Only ten percent of the amount had been spent. Yu Wen thought of how Mao Ji's family was very poor, so he gave the leftover money to Mao Ji's family servant for use on his funeral and other expenses.
One night, Mao Ji's family servant's wife sat in the main hall and began to speak with Mao Ji's voice. She gestured and ordered those around her, "Go invite Mr. Xia here!" The whole family was shocked, but quickly reported to Xia, the emperor's official in Guandong Province. Xia rushed to the Mao's House and the servant's wife stood and bowed with her hands clasped, just like Mao Ji did when he greeted his guests. Xia was shocked to see her like this. She said to Xia, "I, Mai Ji, was blessed by the State's grace, but unfortunately died by the enemy's hands. Yu Wen gave all the leftover reward money to my family and stained my record, even though there is no book-keeping in the human world. I do not want to use the State's money even though I am dead and in the underworld now. Please help me return this money quickly, so that it does not soil my name!" As soon she finished talking, she passed out on the floor.
Mr. Xia was shocked, but also admired Mao's virtue. He quickly returned the money for Mao Ji. This story was recorded in Ming History (1).
Mao Ji died for his country and lived a simple, noble life. He urged people to give back the money that he should not have taken, even after his death. That proved that even in the underworld, beings still feel proud when they are dignified, and are ashamed for corruption. Good will be rewarded with good, and evil will meet with karmic retribution. All must pay what they owe.
(1) Ming History is one of the twenty four history book series, mainly consisting of biographies which were recorded for the 276 years of the Ming dynasty.