The retribution of the drought ghost of the wind is finished when the wind subsides, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of uncanny creature which gives inauspicious prognostications.
The retribution of the drought ghost of the wind is finished when the wind subsides, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of uncanny creature which gives inauspicious prognostications. Wherever drought ghosts happen to be, there will be no rain. Wherever they go, the land is arid. On the cause-ground they were greedy for lustful experiences. Through lust they created karma, and eventually they became drought ghosts when they met with the wind. When they are finished with that retribution, they are reborn in the world, but they cannot become people. Instead they become uncanny beings are fierce and bode evil. Why do they have to go through this? On the cause-ground their habits of lust created karma that made them become drought ghosts. After their retribution as ghosts was finished they are born in this world, but their residual habits are still not completely severed, and so they become such strange creatures such as these. They may be reborn as birds that are extremely colorful, but have the habit of excessive lust, or they may be reborn as beasts that are fond of lust.
The retribution of the mei ghost of an animal is finished when the animal dies, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of fox.
The retribution of the mei ghost of an animal is finished when the animal dies, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of fox. For the most part, these mei ghosts are reborn as foxes after they have finished their karma as ghosts.
The retribution of the hex ghost in the form of worms and insects is finished when the hex is exhausted, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of venomous creature.
The retribution of the hex ghost in the form of worms and insects is finished when the hex is exhausted, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of venomous creature. A hex poison ghost takes its shape when it encounters worms. When the hex poison finally wears out and the ghost's retribution is ended, it is reborn in the world as a venomous creature--as a poisonous snake, a scorpion, cobra, or the like.
The retribution of a pestilence ghost found in degeneration is finished when the degeneration is complete, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of tapeworm.
The retribution of a pestilence ghost found in degeneration is finished when the degeneration is complete, and it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of tapeworm. Whoever encounters this kind of ghost will waste away. These ghosts are really terrible; their demonic power is tremendous. When its retribution is ended, it is reborn in the world, usually as a species of tapeworm. These are the bugs in your intestines. I don't know if this kind of sickness exists in the West, but in China, these tapeworms can communicate; they can talk. They can talk to the person whose stomach they are occupying. There's no way to cure this kind of sickness with medicine, unless the person who has the sickness does not know that he is being given medicine. If the sick person knows it is medicine designed to eliminate the tapeworm, the tapeworm also knows. From this comes the expression, "You're not a tapeworm in my stomach, so how do you know what I'm thinking?"
Not only can tapeworms do this, but other kinds of weird beings can get into one's stomach and then carry on conversations. I've told you about the elder disciple I had in Hong Kong; she's probably more than eighty years old by now. She was about sixty when she took refuge with me. At that time she was deaf. Regardless of the fact that she couldn't hear, she came faithfully every time I gave a Sutra lecture. She only understood Cantonese to begin with, and I was lecturing in Mandarin, and though there was a translator, she couldn't hear the translation. But she came anyway. It was more than three hundred steps up to the temple. I lectured from seven to nine at night, and she would come up and go down all those stairs. There was no light on the path. Despite her age, she was not afraid of falling. She was very sincere. One day she heard the recitation of "Homage to the Lotus Pool Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas," and thereafter her deafness was cured. She could hear again. That made her even more sincere, of course. Whenever I lectured and whatever Sutra was being explained, she would come to hear. Wind and rain did not keep her away. But when you cultivate, if you are sincere, then there will be demonic obstacles. As I've said before, if you want to cultivate well, your offenses will catch up with you. Karmic debts from your past lives will come to get you. If you want to become a Buddha, you have to endure the demons that come to test you.
One night, then, this woman had a dream, or what seemed to be a dream and yet appeared not to be one. In it she saw three plump children between the ages of two and three. After the dream she got sick. What was the nature of her illness? She had to eat all day long. She had to eat a meal every hour. She ate more than ten meals a day. Thinking it was a disease, she went to Western and Chinese doctors, but they told her she was not sick. This went on for two or three years. Finally one evening, on the seventh day of the second lunar month, the day before the celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha's Accomplishment of the Way, when I'd come back from Cixing Monastery on Dayu Mountain, she said to me, "Master, how can there be something in my stomach talking to me?"
"What did it say?" I asked her.
She said, "Today I made some cakes with coarse rice. When I ate them, something in my stomach said to me, 'I don't like to eat that stuff.'"
"What did you say?" I asked.
She replied, "I said, 'You get full; that's good enough. If you don't eat that, what are you going to eat?'" She talked back to her stomach like that.
I said, "Don't worry, tonight I'll make you well. Go back home, and light a stick of incense at your altar at midnight and recite the Buddha's name."
She went back and did as I said. As she did it, she saw three children come out of her stomach. They were the three plump ones she had seen in the dream. Then she saw Weitou Bodhisattva set down two bowls of noodles, and the three children fought over the food. When they finished eating, Weitou Bodhisattva pinched the three of them by the ear and dragged them away. After they were gone, she felt that her stomach was totally empty. From then on her sickness of liking to eat was cured.
Tapeworms, too, can talk in a person's stomach. But what the old woman had were not tapeworms. They were three strange ghosts; two were frogs, and one was a lizard. These lizards are very common in Asia. They come out and make sounds at night. There are many of them in Thailand. These beings can also be classed in the category of hungry ghosts. Why did she have to endure this sickness? When I looked into her causes and conditions, it became clear later that in a former life she was a Buddhist, and she knew someone who had this very same kind of sickness. He was already over the illness when she met him, but he told her about it, her reaction was, "I don't believe that. Who ever heard of someone having a hungry ghost in his stomach that could talk to him? I don't believe it." Because she said she didn't believe it, she had to personally go through the experience in this life of having that same kind of illness. When she had it, there were a lot of people in Hong Kong who didn't believe it either. They said, "Whoever heard of such a thing? It's ridiculous." Not only do Westerners find this hard to believe; Chinese people didn't believe it either. However, it's to be feared those people in Hong Kong who expressed disbelief will also have to undergo this kind of illness in some future life. The cycle of cause and effect is relentless!
To be continued