Several years ago, a friend ahead of me in school was crazy about getting her fortune told. She looked for fortune tellers who were “very accurate,” and enjoyed listening to predictions about her life so much that she never got tired, regardless of how far she had to go or how long she had to wait in line. At that time, I was not satisfied with my life, my job and even with myself. So I hoped to meet a “superior person” who could direct me onto a new path, where I can fully develop and use my skills. My friend was wishing wholeheartedly to marry a wealthy man, so as soon as she heard about someone whose predictions were accurate, she would take a break from work and asked me to go with her.
The last time I went with my friend for fortune telling, we visited a fortune-teller who looked really strange. As long as you gave her your name and zodiac sign, she was able to tell you about your past in great detail. I heard that one of my schoolmates visited this fortune teller. When my schoolmate didn’t believe her, she described the surroundings of the schoolmate's home, and scared the schoolmate into nodding nonstop at whatever she said. I thought this story was quite interesting, therefore when my friend mentioned her wish to visit this fortune teller, I was very happy to go with her. Actually, I still don’t know why none of the fortune tellers we visited really answered my questions. No matter what I asked, they all replied, “You don’t have any problems,” then ignored me. To be honest, these visits were really a waste of time and money. In contrast, every time we went to a fortune teller, my friend kept on asking questions until I fell asleep. However, when it was my turn, the fortune telling consisted of only two or three sentences.
In this last visit, just like other visits to fortune tellers, I was dismissed by “You are fine, you don’t have any problems.” Then my friend started to ask all sorts of questions about her boyfriend, such as whether her boyfriend is good, whether he is faithful, whether he can earn a lot of money, whether he will let her use the money, when will he marry her . . . blah, blah, blah. I felt so sleepy just listening to her questions. Suddenly, the fortune teller told my friend to stop because she had something to ask my friend. She said, “Who are those three following you?” Good Heavens, what kind of question was that?! In an instant, my sleepiness was all gone.
I bumped my friend’s leg under the table, but she signaled me to be quiet. The atmosphere in the room was suddenly very tense. The fortune teller stood up to fetch a piece of yellow paper, and wrote something on it that I couldn’t read. My friend started to cry, and asked whether they were boys or girls, what did they want, and whether they would hurt her? I suddenly understood -- the “they” being referred to were infant spirits! This would mean my friend had an abortion . . . three times!!! I totally forgot what the fortune-teller said after that. I just remembered that my friend kept on crying, and the fortune teller instructing us to burn paper money (as “offerings” to the infant spirits) and to bow to Guan Shr Yin Bodhisattva.
After this experience, I never went with my friend for fortune telling again, but she continued to go occasionally. I knew that she sponsored ways to cross over the infant spirits many times, and she also asked me to help her by finding out how to “make offerings” to infant spirits. It occurred to me that she had told me: “When I lived off-campus I was scared. Sometimes I could see ‘something’ resembling a child under my desk and played hide-and-seek with me.” I remembered telling her that there probably was something wrong with her apartment, and told her to recite the Buddha’s name. As it turned out, she had secrets that I didn’t know.
A few days ago, a Dharma Master asked me whether I could draw some illustrations for a book about abortion that DRBA plans to publish. When I was reading the manuscript that the Dharma Master sent me, I felt tense all over and my blood was rushing to my head. I couldn’t shake this feeling for a long time. I have to be honest. I was having such a reaction because I have given some pregnant friends advice such as “If there is no other way, you are better off with an abortion,” and “You didn’t do this on purpose, so everything will be all right.”
After I read the Venerable Master Hua's Dharma talks and what other Dharma Masters said about abortion, I was really frightened. I realized that a fetus is a life, it really is a life! A life that was brought into this world due to momentary pleasure, and then the very same life was extinguished because the pregnancy was unplanned, or having a child would cause problems, or for some other reasons. I wanted to weep, because I had said the wrong things to my friends! How could I have advised my friends without distinguishing between right and wrong, and told them not to worry so they could commit such terrible offenses again and again? After finishing reading the manuscript of this book, I tried very hard to compose myself. I wished to come up with some drawings quickly, because the Dharma Masters are waiting for them. I was trembling as I drew, because what I did really scared me. If I had learned the Buddhadharma earlier, if I had sincerely and diligently studied the Buddhadharma with the Venerable Master, I would not have become an accomplice to an abortion. In addition, my friend ahead of me in school and my other friends would have realized and admitted to their mistakes earlier, and repent and reform with sincerity. Although none of my friends have said so, I know they really regret having their abortions. What they did seemed to be always on their minds, for they keep on searching for “superior people” who can help them to cross over the spirits of their aborted children. An unforgettable sense of remorse follows them for the rest of their lives.
My friend ahead of me in school got married last year, and she had a baby. I haven't visited her and met her baby due to my work schedule. Over the phone, she told me it was really difficult to take care of her baby, because he kept on crying in the evenings and he had to be held in order to fall asleep and stay asleep. She had no choice but to resign from her job so she could take care of her baby. Since she barely had time to rest during the day and couldn’t sleep at night due to the baby, she was so exhausted that she was at the verge of collapse. I don't know whether these difficulties with her baby, who cries through the night, have anything to do with her past. However, I hope I can give her this book in person, so she and I can repent together and re-examine our attitude toward a life. Although a fetus may be just a piece of flesh in a mother’s womb, it is a life; a life that can’t be treated lightly or as we wish, a life that can’t be brought into being or be terminated as we please!