After she graduated from college, Ms. Jou Chin-li of Shanghai married the son of Mr. Lyou Pin-san, the manager of Chywan-gung Bank in Ning-bwo. Her life was one of wealth and comfort. One time, she accompanied two of my friends, Jan Tswei-pin and Jang Bing-chu, to worship at Mount Tyan Tai. After paying homage at National Purity Monastery, they went to Gan Min Monastery, the temple of Great Master You-syi, on the next mountain. As soon as they entered the gate, she found that everything--the whole layout of the temple--was as familiar to her as her own home.
She deeply felt that she had been a cultivator there in her previous life. However, unlike old Mr. Bau, she did not know her exact identity in her past life. Thereupon, she inquired if the temple needed anything. They replied that they lacked a large bell. She generously offered to donate one, and paid several tens of thousands of Chinese dollars to have a bell cast for Gan Min Monastery. Although she performed this deed of great merit and virtue, she never studied or cultivated the teachings of Buddhism! She is now a renowned pianist in Paris, leading a comfortable life.
The above cases suffice to show that the law of cause and effect truly operates in the world. Moreover, we should be warned about the confusion and forgetfulness which occur to us when we are reborn. How many people have cultivated in past lives, only to enjoy their blessings in this life? In the midst of wealth and honor, they forget their inherent nature, create karma, and thus cannot continue their cultivation to end birth and death. In this way, we cultivate in one life, lose it in the next life, and never escape the Six Paths! A Sutra says, "In the Dharma-Ending Age, a billion people cultivate, but hardly anyone becomes enlightened. Only by reciting the Buddha's name can we cross over the sea of birth and death." Cultivators in the Dharma-Ending Age should rely on the Dharma-door of reciting the Buddha's name and seek rebirth in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss to end birth and death!