Venerable Master and all Good Knowing Advisors:
I’d like to talk about the retributions my family has experienced, both evil retributions derived from killing and good retributions derived from blessings and virtue accumulated in the past. Some of you have heard about these things before, but you can listen to them once again.
When I was still a laywoman, both my husband and my father-in-law were in the restaurant business, which involved slaughtering animals. Before taking refuge with the Venerable Master, they'd never listened to any exhortations to change and reform themselves. My daughter had tried hard to persuade them to give up their occupations and was disappointed by their stubbornness. When she contracted a serious illness, she was reluctant to use the money her father had earned from killing to cure herself; she also refused to take any medicine or food. Her health deteriorated day by day, and she passed away before long.
At that time I was at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB), having just left home a little over a year ago. Since I was not in Taiwan, I was not immediately informed about her death. Out of compassion, my fellow cultivators didn’t dare tell me about it. When Shr Fu heard about this, he wanted my fellow cultivators to tell me and hold a three-day Earth Store Session for the sake of my daughter. He also set up a permanent memorial plaque. I was very grateful, not for the three-day session, but for the Master's kindness.
Afterwards, I returned to Taiwan with Shr Fu and the Dharma-propagating delegation and saw my ex-husband. At that moment I was very angry about my daughter. For some reason, my ex-husband had decided to change his job. After obtaining permission from the Master, he had the chance to live at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, cultivating with the whole assembly, and this really helped him a lot. Without this, he probably would have incurred more karmic debts. My son was also saved by this. Why do I say so?
Well, while I was still staying at a place called Liuguei in Taiwan, and my ex-husband was at CTTB, my youngest son fell from the eighth floor while his four elder brothers were at work. Fortunately, upon hearing the sound of his fall my neighbors rushed out and found him. They called an ambulance and had him sent to the hospital. My son was terribly injured by his fall. His mouth was split open wide as a pig's, both his legs were broken, he had a big wound in his waist, his eyes bled, and he was totally paralyzed.
Seeing this, people thought his case was hopeless, and no hospital would accept him.
My other sons called me at Liuguei, and I rushed there the next day, arriving at the hospital after three o'clock. Upon seeing my son, I burst into tears and recited the Great Compassion Mantra, praying that Guanyin Bodhisattva and the Master would compassionately aid my son. Doctors refused to receive him and wanted us to leave. I didn't argue or say anything, but just kept reciting the Great Compassion Mantra in my mind.
The next morning, my son's eyes moved a little and he seemed to be thirsty. I gave him water over which the Great Compassion Mantra had been recited. When the doctors returned, they were extremely astonished by his recovery and no longer tried to make us leave.
My son stayed in the hospital for three weeks and checked out when he was able to move about in a wheelchair. But for the next two months after he had left the hospital, he would stare idiotically at people and not say a word. During that time, the Master was at Baojie Temple in Taiwan, and my other son brought him to see me. When Heng Ch'ih Shr and Heng Yun Shr knew about this, they wanted to take my son to see the Master. When he was moved in by some laypeople, Shr Fu was resting upstairs. After reporting to Shr Fu, they lifted him upstairs. The Master looked at him for a while and said, "He hasn't completely recovered yet. When he gets well, he will be able to speak.” Then he used one hand to support the top of my son's head and the other to hold his hands, and recited something-perhaps the Great Compassion Mantra or the Forty-Two Hands and Eyes-for over twenty minutes.
That night my son regained consciousness, and we rushed to attend the Master's lecture. After returning home, he told his brothers that when he was in a coma, he dreamed of Shr Fu supporting the top of his head with one hand and holding his hands with his other hand, telling him not to let go of his hand. My son kept yelling, "Shr Fu, I don't want to die! Save me! Shakymuni Buddha, please save me!”
After that the Venerable Master returned to CTTB, and I returned to Liuguei. I have not seen my son since. Once I heard on the phone that he was able to sing songs the very night we said farewell to the Master.
These are my experiences about losing a daughter and keeping a son. If we who study Buddhadharma already know the principles of cause and effect but still act in confused ways, our offenses will be even more serious. We have to keep in mind what Shr Fu has taught us.
After changing his job and especially after taking refuge with the Master, my father-in-law was gradually able to become a vegetarian. Although he was illiterate and couldn't recite sutras, he single-mindedly recited the Buddha's name for several years. Then when he got sick and was hospitalized, it seemed that he was too ill to be cured, but he continued to recite with perseverance. Two days before he died, he suddenly murmured, "Reciting Buddha's names is really good; you are good and I am good, and Amitabha Buddha is also good.” He also said,” Amitabha Buddha wants me to go back.”
I was then at CTTB and did not know about this. One day the Master suddenly wanted me to go back to Taiwan, and also ordered two other Dharma brothers to go along with me. Shr Fu's state is inconceivable.
I rushed home in a hurry. When I reached my father-in-law's bed he was about to die. Right at that moment, the wife of one of his colleagues came to see him, and according to custom, she put a “red envelope” (containing a gift of money) under my father-in-law's pillow. Unexpectedly Father was suddenly terrified and called out, “It's bad! It's bad! It can bite people.” It was quite obvious that the money had been obtained by improper means; it was stained with blood and grievance. When the woman left, we took out the red envelope, and my father-in-law stopped calling out.
Early the next morning, as my father-in-law's death approached, we recited Earth Store Bodhisattva's name on his behalf. Three hours later, he passed away quietly and peacefully. His body was soft, and we began to recite Amitabha Buddha's name for him.
I wanted to tell these two personal stories to encourage all of you to cultivate diligently and also to deeply reflect upon cause and effect. If you see people commit killing, please skillfully exhort them to stop, because the retribution of killing is just too terrible.