(Minghui.org) There is an ancient Chinese saying, “Every thought of man is known to Heaven and Earth; they will make sure that good is rewarded with good, and evil met with evil.”

As the author understands it, this saying shows that this heavenly principle cannot be hidden nor altered, that the Divine knows everything and differentiates good from evil at all times.

In ancient China it was thought that people were duly rewarded for kind thoughts, and punished for evil ones. In fact, everything came down to the moment of that thought. In Chinese traditional culture, there were many references in the writings of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism that all sages and people of virtue since ancient times regarded honesty and uprightness as the main virtues of conduct.

The author believes that the ancient Chinese had it right all along, and that the principles described herein apply as much today as they did then.

The ancients respected Heaven and Earth and treated other people's scrutiny seriously in case they would fall short and offend Heaven and Earth by conducting themselves improperly, even unknowingly. They were always careful and maintained a pure and calm mind even when no one else was around, to make sure that they would never do anything against their conscience.

However, there were also people who thought that if they did bad things in secrecy, nobody would know. However, they would never be able to escape punishment for their wrongdoing.

There were many such stories in ancient books. The following is just one of them.

Swindling People of their Money; Experiencing Life in Hell

During the Reign of Shunzhi (1644-1661) in the Qing Dynasty, a man named Wu Zhanqi made a living by selling cloth.

He was greedy and crafty. While selling his cloth, he always showed buyers the top-quality sample roll to gain their confidence, but then sold them a substandard product in the end by swapping them unbeknownst to the buyer. This way, he always kept his sample roll while all the substandard products were sold. He was very skillful in this deception.

Once, a western merchant sent a friend in the same business to buy some cloth for him. As usual, his friend was cheated and bought a substandard product.

The merchant was unhappy and blamed his friend. His friend replied angrily, “You won't do any better even if you go yourself!” The merchant said, “What are you talking about? If I can't get the genuine product, I won't come back to see you.” The next day, the merchant went to buy the cloth himself. He picked out the sample roll straight away and sat on the roll so that Wu Zhanqi had no way to replace it.

Wu thought of a way. He came around from the counter, adjusted his clothes and hat, and greeted the merchant courteously, as if they were old friends. The merchant had no choice, and stood up to greet him in return. At that moment, a shop assistant replaced the sample roll with something else. The merchant didn't notice it, paid for the cloth and went back.

He showed his friend his purchase as soon as he got back. His friend unrolled the cloth and saw that it was shoddy and cheap, dotted with dirty marks. It was too thin to be used for anything, no different to what he'd bought earlier. His friend mocked him, “You went there yourself, but what's the difference?”

The merchant felt so ashamed and anguished that he hanged himself.

This is one example that demonstrates how treacherous and greedy Wu was. Later, Wu got seriously sick on a trip. He was lying in bed and often saw demon ghosts coming to get him for punishment. Day and night he experienced all kinds of punishment and screamed out in pain.

Once, he was yelling out in bed: “Please help me! Help me! They are putting me on a bed of fire!” People around couldn't do anything, but then found burn marks on his back. He also yelled out, “Oh, God! They are putting a hook in my back to weigh me!”

Everyone felt it strange and bizarre, but couldn't do anything. They then found one part of his back red and swollen as if he had indeed been lifted by a hook. Wu kept crying out from the hellish and painful punishment he was suffering.

He died a few days later.

This story teaches that no matter how crafty and shifty one's evil deeds may be, they have planted the seeds of consequences, and retribution will come sooner or later.