Wang Syang Fan related this story in "The Record of Mass Murders": In the past, there were many gangs of thieves and bandits who traveled the countryside, setting fires and killing people. In their wake, wherever they went there were corpses strewn about, and piled up in heaps.
At that time, a distinguished scholar named Lee Peide (Developing Virtue ) saw this distressing spectacle and felt very grieved. He decided to travel deep into the mountains to visit the two Immortals named "Contemplating Forest" and "Eternal Path (Tao)". He bowed and asked them this questions. "What offenses have living beings done that bring them such great calamities?"
Eternal Path sighed and said, "Worldly people are habitually cruel, and they enjoy taking life. Thus their offenses are deep and heavy, and they provoke a great deal of resentment that seriously disturbs the harmony of heaven. Therefore, heaven lets famines and disasters occur on earth, and wars arise as a consequence. Victims of the mass murders that you mentioned have killed many beings in the past, so they now have to repay with their own lives the debts that they have incurred."
Kindness Prevents a Disaster
Upasaka Yan Shau Ting said that "During the Ming Dynasty, there was an Upasaka named Wang. He paid a visit to the One Honored by Devas from the Heaven of Smaller Grottoes. He bowed to the Honored One, and asked the following question : "Every corner of the country is now infested with bandits and thieves. If a war were to break out, millions of people would be endangered. For the sake of the myriad living beings, I hope that the Master will extend his golden-hued arm, and utilize his kindness and compassion to extricate us from this great calamity".
The Honored One replied, "The only way for the world to avoid this disaster would be to teach the people to refrain from killing and to practice liberating lives instead."
Commentary: For so many years, the whole world has been suffering from wars, famine, calamities, sickness, robbery and disasters of fire and flood, coming one after the other. If we investigate it deeply, we find that we experience this retribution as a result of living beings' own killing karma. Heaven and earth are not to blame, and neither are ghosts and spirits in control of this process. It has nothing to do with them.
Therefore, we want to relate these two true stories to alert people in this world to the truth that if one person can stop killing, then he or she can avoid accidents. If one family can refrain from killing, then that family can also be free of calamities. Moreover, if we could propagate this true story to a village, a county, a prefecture, a province, or even to a nation, so that they can avoid causing harm, then those villages, countries, prefectures, those provinces and even those countries can avoid catastrophes.
Many people make the claim that "Heaven is fond of sending disasters", but this is not true. Actually, it is the minds of people themselves that are fond of disasters. If you really understand this principle and want to avoid calamities, you should decide to stop killing and instead, to liberate lives. In this way, you can be saved from the slightest harm and any danger, during periods of war, famine, disaster or epidemic.
If we have deep faith and put our faith into practice, our response will follow very soon, the way a shadow follows a form, and the way an echo follows a sound. From days past until the present, the retributions for doing good and bad deeds are quite clear, without any mistakes; the true response and real evidence are right before our eyes. So what makes us still doubt, and hesitate before we begin to cherish life?