Good and Evil Comes from One's Spontaneous Thought; Karmic Retribution is Always Just
(Clearwisdom.net) Yuan Zishi of Shandong Province was born in the Zhizheng Era (1341 ¡V 1368 A.D.) during Emperor Huizhong's reign in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 ¡V 1368 A.D.). He had a close friend named Miu Qianhu. Miu needed a large amount of money to travel south to Fujian Province to land a supervisory position in the local government. Yuan kindly lent him 300 pieces of silver. They had been good friends since childhood, so Yuan Zishi did not even ask Miu for a certificate of indebtedness.
A few years later, a war broke out in Shandong Province. Bandits robbed Yuan Zishi's home and left him with nothing. Yuan and his family hurried to Fujian Province to flee the flighting. He counted on his good friend, Miu Qianhu, to help him out. Little did he expect that Miu did not even want to see him. Finally he managed to have a meeting with Miu, but Miu snubbed him.Yuan was at the end of his rope, so he had no choice but to ask for the 300 pieces of silver that Miu had borrowed. Yuan was devastated when Miu denied the loan completely. Moreover, Miu demanded that Yuan produce the IOU to prove his claim.
Yuan gave up on the thought of getting the 300 pieces of silver back. It was close to the Chinese New Year. He begged Miu to loan him some money so that he could get through the Chinese New Year. In order to get rid of Yuan, Miu promised to deliver some money to his home on New Year's Eve. The day before the Chinese New Year, Yuan waited at home from dawn to evening, but Miu did not show up. All the neighbors lit their lanterns and were excitedly preparing for the New Year. But Yuan's family had nothing. His wife wept. They were in misery.
That night, temper boiling, Yuan Zishi couldn't sleep. He took a knife and sharpened it. At dawn, he took the knife with him and walked towards Miu Qianhu's home. As he passed a Taoist temple he saw an elderly Taoist named Xuanyuan Weng sitting at the entrance. The old Taoist was a cultivator with an open Third Eye. He could see things in other dimensions. When Yuan Zishi passed by, the Taoist saw that Yuan was being followed by a large group of vicious demons. The demons, each brandishing a sword or knife, were naked with unkempt hair. They looked menacing and ferocious.
In a short while, Yuan Zishi passed by the Taoist temple again. But this time the old Taoist saw that Yuan was followed by a large group of divine beings with gold crowns, jade accessories, and flags. They looked very congenial and kind.
The abrupt transformation dumbfounded the Taoist. He approached Yuan and inquired where Yuan had been. Yuan Zishi confessed to the Taoist. It turned out that Yuan had planned to kill the ungrateful and treacherous Miu Qinahu. However, he had a change of heart when he reached Miu's door. He thought, "Miu Qianhu, too, has an elderly mother and a wife. If I should kill him, his family would suffer the same miserable fate as my family. My family and I have already tasted the toils and turmoil of being turned out of our home. How could I subject his family to the same misery?" He gave up the thought of vengeance and headed home.
When he heard this story, the old Taoist congratulated Yuan Zishi and said, "You are bound to be blessed with good fortune. Divine beings know your change of heart. When you left for Miu Qianhu's home, I saw many ferocious demons following you. But when you returned, they were replaced by a group of divine beings in charge of good fortune. Now that I have heard your story, I am convinced that a man's bad thoughts will attract wicked demons and that a man's kind thoughts will attract divine beings of good fortune. The Heavenly Laws are always just. Even when one is alone in the dark, one must not have any bad thoughts, because divine beings are omnipresent, and wicked thoughts will mitigate one's virtue! With a kind, forgiving thought, you will be protected and blessed by divine beings. You need not complain about your ill fortune any longer." The Taoist gave Yuan Zishi some money and rice to help him survive for the time being.
Soon, Yuan Zishi entered a divine being's cave by accident and met the divine being. He asked about the root cause of his misery in this lifetime. The divine being granted Yuan a vision of the karma he had committed in his previous life. Yuan realized that he had been an arrogant and narrow-minded Imperial Scholar that refused to recommend or promote younger scholars. It was karmic retribution that Yuan became an illiterate man with mundane intelligence. Because Yuan was a snob that refused to make friends and snubbed everyone, it was his karmic retribution that he was turned out of his comfortable home and had no one to help him. Heaven is just in punishing people for what they have done. Yet Yuan earned the good fortune of meeting a divine being and learning about his previous life because he had a good thought.
Yuan realized that every bad deed will be ultimately punished, no exceptions. The divine being also instructed Yuan Zishi to move to a place in the Funing area and told him that Miu Qianhu would suffer from his karmic retribution in three years.
Yuan moved to Funing as instructed. While he was clearing out a house that had been abandoned for a long time, he discovered 300 pieces of silver underneath the piles of bricks and debris. It was the exact amount of money that Miu Qianhu had owed him. Now that Yuan Zishi knew the law of cause and effect, he became a very charitable man. As a result, his financial situation gradually improved. As for Miu Qianhu and his family, they died in a war three years later and all of their money and belongings were stolen. Everything that the divine being had predicted came true.
The above story illustrates that one bad thought can cause a terrible mistake and bring karmic retribution, and one kind thought results in virtue and good fortune. Good and evil come from one's spontaneous thought. Divine beings are the witnesses of each and every thought of man. There is a Chinese saying: "Man's history is an accounting book." Who is the bookkeeper? It must be Heaven. Heaven sees and knows everything. Heavenly Laws govern everyone and everything. Everyone's fate is the result of cause and effect. Karmic retribution is always just.