When the wife of a man, who was very attached to him became very sick, she threatened him on her deathbed, 'If you ever remarry, I will haunt you!' So serious was she that she got him to swear he would never remarry. Also because she sounded so serious, the man promised. For some months after his bereavement, he struggled to avoid other women, though he still fell in love. On his engagement night, his ex-wife's ghost appeared to torment him, blaming him for failing to keep his word. To his shock, she would repeat everything he said to his fiancée, suggesting that she was watching him all the time. This would happen night after night.
Scared out of his wits, he begged a Zen master for help. Making sure that the ghost could not hear, the master whispered his secret tip into his ear. It was the solution to vanquish the ghost. As usual, the ghost returned that very night. Mustering his guts, the man gave an ultimatum, 'Since there is nothing I can hide, do answer a question. If you answer correctly, I will never remarry for life!' The ghost nodded. He then dipped his hand into a bag and grabbed a fistful of beans, 'How many beans there are in my hand?' At the very moment, the ghost disappeared for good. Even the man did not understand how his question worked - till he asked the master!
Well, how was the ghost 'magically' banished? The ghost was really a manifestation of the man's own mind - which was why 'she' knew everything that he knew! He was haunted by his own guilt, which became more apparent every night, while being fretful of his wife's 'curse'. It was only the 'ghost' of his guilty conscience at work. Just as he could never know how many beans there were in his hand (without counting), his conscience could not tell! The conscience only knows the wrong from the right - not matters like how many beans there are in a hand! There is then some truth to it, that those with clear consciences fear no ghosts! - Shen Shi'anYour conscience knows what is right and wrong, but do you know your conscience? - Stonepeace