(Clearwisdom.net) Editors' Note: All the literary works mentioned in this article are now conventionally revered as masterpieces of Chinese literature and the authors are revered as literary giants of classical Chinese literature. This article is published to remind readers that regardless of the trends of popular culture, people should follow a higher moral standard. The heavenly law that good is rewarded with good and evil meets with karmic retribution is one that should not and cannot be ignored.

The West Chamber is a famous drama written by Wang Shifu from the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 A.D.) Wang was very skilled in describing the details of romantic rendezvous between lovers. Many people developed lustful ideas after reading this drama. It has been alleged that Wang Shifu met with karmic retribution for writing the book. Before he finished it, he suddenly passed out, bit off his own tongue and died.

An Encounter with an Immortal is a famous novel written by Yuan Zhen from the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.) Because Yuan Zhen was unable to marry his cousin Cui Yingying, he held a grudge against her and wrote an immoral romance using his cousin's name as the main character in the novel. In the novel, his cousin Cui Yingying was portrayed as a young lady who had a scandalous affair before marriage. As a result, Cui Yingying's reputation was ruined and she was forever remembered as an unchaste woman. In addition, young men and women started imitating the conduct in the novel and started to have affairs before marriage. It was alleged that Yuan Zhen died a painful death. After his death, his body was hit by lightning and burned to charcoal.

Outlaws of the Marsh is a famous novel by Shi Nai'an from the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.). Shi included a lot of stories that promoted lust, sex, theft, robbery and killing. It is not far-fetched to say it teaches people to pursue sex and robbery. Shi Nai'an's sons, grandsons and grand grandsons were born mute.

Jin Shengtan was a highly learned man from the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1636 - 1912 A.D.). He wrote commentaries on Outlaws of the Marsh, The West Chamber, and The Plum in the Golden Vase and, thus, promoted the sex and violence that are dominant elements of those books. Jin Shengtan was an extremely smart and talented man, but instead of writing articles to promote morality, he was partial to writing commentaries on romances and immoral books. Later, he was imprisoned for the things he wrote and he suffered the horrible punishment of being cut in half at the waist with the top of his body grilled over a fire. His family and relatives were also executed.

First published in English at http://www.pureinsight.org/pi/index.php?news=3258