Receiving Retribution in This Life,
He Starves to Death in the Palace
In this life, he was an emperor, and the monkey
was reborn to be Hou Jing. Hou Jing led soldiers to attack Nanjing.
After Nanjing was taken, he kept Emperor Wu in captivity in the palace
and did not provide him with any food. He took all food away, and left
the Emperor there to starve to death. In a previous life, the Emperor
starved the monkey to death, and in this life the monkey starved him
to death. He had to undergo that retribution.
Now before that
Bodhidharma saw that the Emperor had done so many
good deeds that he could have
redeemed his offense with the merit and virtue created. However, to do so there must be some
conditions. That's why the Patriarch was not polite to him. But the
Emperor thought to himself, "I am an emperor, a great emperor, and
you are only a poor monk. You come to my country and are utterly
rude to me." So he alienated himself from the Patriarch. Though
Patriarch Bodhidharma wanted to save him and brought forth a
compassionate mind toward him, the Emperor could not accept him.
Because the Emperor made no move to seek help from the Patriarch,
there was nothing the Patriarch could do to help him. Thus, the
Patriarch left and paid no more attention to the Emperor.
What happened as a result was that after a
period of time, Emperor Wu was captured and starved to death in the
palace by Hou Jing and his people. Such was the cause and effect.
You all think about it. If the Emperor actually had merit and
virtue, how could he have starved to death? It was because he did
not have merit and virtue that he died of hunger. Patriarch
Bodhidharma wanted to save him from his fate by helping him reach an
awakening. What a pity that Emperor Wu of Liang's ego was so big
that even Patriarch Bodhidharma could not save him.