Just now Yang Guo Xin related a story. It is possible that such things could happen. Pigs and dogs have been our parents and children. Living beings keep swapping places in their relationships to one another. The process is similar to immigration or moving house. Our souls keep looking for new houses to stay in. As the saying goes:
Out of the horse's belly into the donkey's womb,
You pass back and forth before King Yama's Court.
Having just gone through Lord Shakra's palace,
You now enter King Yama's pot of boiling oil.
Just as we people like to travel, our souls also like to travel. We think it is fun to play around. Sometimes when we reach a peaceful place, it is like staying in a hotel room with its own toilet, bath and a comfortable spring bed to sleep. We think: "Ah, this is so much more comfortable than my house." We are greedy to enjoy our blessings, eating all the delicious food and dwelling in high class luxury. However, we will go down the wrong road if we continue to be greedy and enjoy our blessings. We are greedy for delicious food, eating chickens, ducks, and fish cooked in various ways. Once you eat them, you owe a debt. When you owe people money, you have to pay back the money; when you eat the flesh of creatures, you have to pay back in flesh. There is no way you can escape; you have to become a pig, cow, or goat to pay back your debt.
Previously in America there was a Great Chicken King who sold fried chicken. If you take a close look at him, you will find that he looked like an old rooster. In a single day, he was responsible for the slaughtering of tens of thousands of chickens, an uncountable number of chickens. Why? In his previous life, he and his relatives were eaten by people, so in this life he became a person and those people who ate him and his relatives became chickens for him to slaughter. He gave people a chance to become chickens by feeding them fried chickens. This is planting the karma for them to become chickens.
So if you take a look, those who sell goat meat bear a striking resemblance to goats. In this life they want to take revenge because they were eaten by people before. Those who eat goat meat will have to pay back the debt by becoming goats. Also, if you look at people who sell beef, their eyes usually resemble those of a cow. Those who sell goat's meat look like goats; those who sell beef look like cows; those who sell turkey meat look like turkeys. Take a good look around: even those who sell fish look like fish. Although I don't eat those creatures, by looking at people I can tell what their occupation is, since their features resemble those of the creatures they have killed. Everything in the world is interwoven in a net of karma, within which we keep on transmigrating in the paths of rebirth.
Today I am going to talk about cause and effect since we have come to this part of the essay. This is about how people and animals keep trading places in the cycle of birth and death. This is about a person who loved his dog very much. This dog became a handsome man in his next life and then sought out the person who ate its flesh to become his wife.
There was a person in Lalin County, Manchuria, who is my sworn brother. I have all types of people as my sworn brothers. This person had been an actor and a movie star in his past life. He used to play the part of a refined gentleman, so in this life he is refined and elegant, but he married a rather plump wife. When he had been an actor, he had a beloved female dog that always followed him around. He was reborn as a man, and the dog was reborn as a fat lady who became his wife. Guess what happened? Every day the wife would nag at him, like a little dog nipping at him, quarrelling with him day and night. He tried to get rid of her but couldn't. He was distressed day and night, saying: "What am I to do? What am I to do!" So, the actor and his beloved dog became husband and wife in the next life. If it had been a woman who loved a dog, the dog would become her husband in next life and would bicker with her day and night. If her husband in his previous life as a male dog had loved another female dog, in this life he might go and look for another woman. Then there will be jealousy and fighting all the time. How pathetic! Today I will just talk about this in general.
Luo Guo Li said today that he wanted to cut off desire and love. I asked him if he really meant it. He dared not say so. He just hemmed and hawed and uttered some nonsense. That's why people keep on revolving in the six paths, behaving as if they were acting in the play. So soon after birth you have no worry; you feel that after all being a human is nothing so great; therefore you just run around in all directions in confusion.
"We whip the mule until it bleeds: Who could know that it is our mother in anguish?" The word "who" tells us to investigate; does the person know that the mule is actually his own mother in the past life? The mother cries so piteously, yet he does not recognize her.
To be continued