(Minghui.org) Ji Xiaolan, a famous writer in the Qing Dynasty, recorded many, stories in one of his books to illustrate that a person is responsible for his/her words and conduct, because gods know everyone's thoughts and behavior. The following are two stories from his collection.

Hypocrisy in a Past Life Leads to Poverty in the Next

There were once a man named Fen Shunan from Hejian. He was very intelligent and a good writer. However, he had not had much good fortune in his life. He lived in poverty and was depressed.

One day he went to a temple and prayed to the gods, asking why his life was so miserable. He had a dream that night. In his dream, someone said to him, “You should not complain about society or your misfortune. Your life is what it is because of you.

“In your past life, you gained a reputation for being loyal and honest using flattery: you encouraged others to attempt things that you knew would be impossible so that people would thank you for your affirmation; you repeatedly found excuses for a bad person so that he would be grateful to you, although you knew his crime was unforgivable; you pretended to be the good guy and let others take the blame; you were crafty and wicked!

“You avoided at all cost anything that might have affected your personal interests. When you could have saved people's lives with little effort, you watched from the sidelines and avoided any trouble. You appeared to be friendly, but, in fact, you were distant; you appeared to care for others, while, in fact, you were indifferent.

“When a person makes a mistake, he can make up for it by doing good deeds. But if a person's heart is wicked, that is out of line with the law of heaven. Think about it. Isn't it fitting that you suffer in this lifetime?”

Fen was filled with regret to hear this, but his fate did not change in his lifetime as he passed away shortly thereafter.

A Teacher Must Instill Morality and Good Character

There once was a person who was a very talented writer, but he kept failing the exam to apply for a government job.

One day he was sick and had a dream that he was in the underworld. He saw someone he knew and asked if he was going to die from his illness. The person said, “Your life will not end, but you are about to lose your livelihood. I am afraid you will end up here very soon.”

The person said, “I made a living as a teacher. I have not done anything against the law of heaven or rules of society. Why am I going to lose my livelihood?”

“It is precisely because you made a living by teaching. You are a teacher, yet you failed to teach children good morals or build their character. You made money, but didn't do the work. That is the same as stealing or being wasteful, so you have less good fortune.

“As a teacher, you are entrusted with teaching children virtue and guiding them to be kind and upright. The parents paid you, but you didn't teach their children what you should have. People like you are punished severely: those who were supposed to be high-ranking officials will lose their positions; those who were not officials will lose their livelihood.

“You see many learned scholars in the world, but some are destitute and some die young. When this happens, people complain that the law of heaven is not fair, while, in fact, it was due to their own wrongdoing.”