Karmic Consequences: Exploring Tales of Destiny, Justice, and Redemption

The word 'karma' spelled out in wooden blocks.
In the world, the auspices and misfortunes of life all have their causes, without the slightest error. (Image: Sinart Creative via Shutterstock)

In the world, the karmic consequences of life all have their causes, without the slightest error, though it is difficult for those involved to see them clearly.

Cheng Bolin’s destined path

In the late Ming Dynasty, Cheng Bolin, a merchant from Huizhou, lived with his family in Yangzhou. He was a devout Buddhist and often worshiped Guanyin Bodhisattva. In the summer of 1645, the Qing army breached the city of Yangzhou, leading to the 10-day Yangzhou Massacre.

At that time, Cheng prayed to Guanyin for help and had a dream at night. In the dream, Guanyin told him: “Among the seventeen members of your family, sixteen are not fated for disaster; only you cannot escape your destiny.” When he awoke, the vision from the dream was still vivid. He earnestly prayed again for Guanyin’s blessing, and had another dream that night. Guanyin told him: “In a previous life, you killed a man named Wang Mazi, striking him twenty-six times with a knife. Now, you must repay that debt and cannot escape it.”

Close up portrait of Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy.
At that time, Cheng prayed to Guanyin for help and had a dream at night. (Image: Reggie Lee via Shutterstock)

Guanyin then instructed him: “Command the sixteen members of your family to stay in the east wing, and you alone wait in the main house so as not to implicate your family.” Cheng Bolin agreed and took Guanyin’s warning to heart.

Five days later, a Qing soldier heading south stopped his horse at the courtyard and knocked on the door. Cheng Bolin asked him: “Are you Wang Mazi? If so, come in and strike me twenty-six times. If not, continue on your way, as we have no grievances.” The soldier outside said: “I am Wang Mazi.” Thus, Mr. Cheng opened the door and let him in. After dismounting, the soldier, surprised, asked Cheng Bolin: “How did you know my name?”

Cheng Bolin explained about his dream of Guanyin. After hearing it, Wang Mazi told Cheng Bolin to blindfold himself. Cheng Bolin calmly covered his eyes with a cloth, knelt, and turned his back to the soldier. Wang Mazi swiftly raised his knife and struck his back 26 times — but with the back of the knife!

After finishing, Wang Mazi said: “If I struck you twenty-six times with the blade today, you would seek revenge against me in your next life. When will the cycle of vengeance end? Today, I strike you twenty-six times with the back of the knife, and we are even.” With this, their longstanding grudges were resolved, and the soldier escorted Cheng Bolin and his family to safety in Nanjing.

Fatal negligence, inescapable karmic consequences

Dr. Zhang, a famous physician from Jiading during the Qing Dynasty, once mistakenly prescribed gypsum for medication, leading to a patient’s death. He regretted it, but told no one, not even his wife, and the patient’s family remained unaware.

Wrongly prescribing gypsum to a patient led to karmic consequences.
The doctor mistakenly prescribed gypsum for medication, leading to a patient’s death. (Image: Billion Photos via Shutterstock)

A year later, Dr. Zhang contracted a strange illness he could not diagnose, so he called a doctor named Xu to treat him. After prescribing a treatment, Xu left. While preparing the medicine, Dr. Zhang suddenly looked at the prescription and added “one ounce of gypsum” himself, ignoring a student’s warning against it.

After taking the medicine the following day, Dr. Zhang looked at the prescription again and was shocked, asking: “Who added this ounce of gypsum?” The student replied: “Master, you wrote it yourself; do you not remember?” Realizing the truth, Dr. Zhang exclaimed: “Prepare for my funeral; I understand what has happened now.”

Subsequently, Dr. Zhang wrote a poem: “Gypsum, gypsum, two lives with one cut, a mediocre doctor kills, and karma is inescapable.” By noon, Dr. Zhang had died.

Translated by Joseph Wu

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  • Mikel Davis

    Mikel serves as editor and sometime writer for Nspirement. He loves foreign cultures and foreign places. They have taught him many lessons. He hopes his work can impact others so they have a better life, or at least a better day.