There was a scholar at Jiangxi, Nan Fung, in the Qing Dynasty whose literary talent was outstanding. He wrote extremely well and authored thousands of essays in a short period of time. However, in order to earn more money, he assisted criminals by adding lies in their defense to reduce their crimes. As a result, many criminals escaped their penalties.
After passing the highest imperial examination, he spent time at home waiting to fill an official vacancy. During this period, he read stories that made him realize that people were rewarded for being good and punished for doing bad.
He knew that what he had done was wrong, and was afraid that he also might be punished. He made a decision that he would try his best to be a good person. After that, he tried only to do what was right and beneficial to others.
One year later, he was blinded, which mentally tortured him. He came to be suspicious of those stories that he had read, and said in grief: “I was able to pass the highest imperial examination despite doing so many bad things. But after I tried to be a good person, I was blinded. Does this mean all those teachings were lies, and it would be all right if I were my old self?”
From then on, he went back to being the same devious person he was before. His eye disease was cured by a doctor, which allowed him to see again. He was always proud of his literary talent, but could not use it when he was blind.
Now that he could see again, he racked his brains writing articles for money that would help criminals escape punishment. Soon afterwards, because of a defamatory article he wrote, he was unexpectedly sentenced to death.
When a wise man heard this story, he said:
“What a lesson it is! You see, it is just like the old Chinese saying: ‘Misfortune underlies the fortune and the blessing relies on the misfortune.’ When he passed the highest imperial examination, it was actually the beginning of his scourge.
“However, when he was blinded, he was actually blessed, for he was given a chance to repay for his wrongdoings before the advent of his good fortune. However, he was stubborn, and made an unwise decision to keep on doing his evil deeds. In the end, he sacrificed his life for his eyes.”