The Most Serious Retribution
by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
All wise teachers, the most serious retribution in the world comes from killing. This morning some Vietnamese people brought two children to see me. They said that they are not well and asked me to help them, making everything smooth and go lucky for them. These two kids are both abnormal psychologically. I took a look and asked if they had taken any lives. Their mother said that she did not kill, but she went on and mentioned that they had chopped down the large tree in front of their house. They saw two snakes go into the hole underneath the tree.
The two kids then tried to burn those two snakes to death by pouring hot water into the hole. Henceforth, one of her sons locked himself in the room and was insane when he came out several days later. That was her older son. The younger son experienced the same. Both went insane. They had hoped that I could take care of this matter. This is due to killing. See how cruel they are! They're so vicious, with not a bit of compassion. They saw the snakes go inside the hole and actually tried to burn them to death with boiling water. These two snakes were two brothers. Since the two snakes were burned to death, these two brothers also went mad. The greatest power of karma comes from killing; the retribution from killing is more serious than any other. The tragedy is that beings kill each other and seek revenge.
The result of killing is vengeance, which causes war between nations. They seek revenge and create more and more karma by killing; they more karma they create, the more they continue to kill.
In Los Angeles, I saw a kid approximately six or seven. This kid couldn't talk or do much. His father has to hold him often. This is because he hunted so often in his past life, including shooting a white mouse spirit to death once. This is why as a human being in this life, this mouse spirit nibbles on his throat everyday so that he cannot talk and cannot understand. This is the kind of consequence he faces. This is happening now in Los Angeles.
In Hong Kong there is man named Xie. His mother enjoys eating shrimp, lobsters and crab, so she gave birth to a son who walks horizontally, like a crab. He is already a teenager now. This is retribution that happens in this lifetime, which clearly illustrates the retribution from having taken the lives of others.
I had also met a mute in Malaysia who was a black bear in a past life. He is really smart and bows to the Buddhas and studies Buddhism. He cannot speak though because he was a black bear in a past life. These real cases illustrate the Dharma for us. Despite them, people still do not believe in karma and continue to kill. They do not know that they should refrain from killing and should liberate life, that they should avoid violating the five precepts. If we want world peace, we want everyone to keep the Five Precepts. If everyone can refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants, then the world would be at peace.
Here is something that happened in Hong Kong. I was lecturing on the Earth Store Sutra at Zhiliang Hermitage. At that time, the manager, Dharma Master Kuanhui was a disciple of Elder Hsu Yun. She was a manual laborer before she became a nun. She was illiterate and did chores and cooked for people. She often bought chickens and ducks to kill. Once she bought some crabs and was preparing them for her employer, but one crab clamped to her middle finger with its claws and did not let go. She was vicious then and chopped off the crab's claws with a knife. She then killed the crab and cooked it. After eating the crab, guess what happened? Kuanhui's middle finger, the place where that crab had clamped grew a crab. Her middle finger hurt terribly all day, she couldn't stand it. Later she went to Mt. Furong to bow the Water Repentance. After seven days of Water Repentance, that crab became smaller, but she was still in pain. When I was there lecturing on the Earth Store Sutra, she asked me to think of a solution. In the end I had the crab take refuge. After taking the Three Refuge, the crab on her hand disappeared, and the pain too.
Cause and effect does not err in the slightest. We must remember not to kill. You kill him and he'll kill you. The killing goes on ruthlessly, so there is no end.
The above is retribution that appears immediately. Everyone can tell. We should not deny cause and effect though we can see with our own eyes. If you do not believe in cause and effect, you will face the consequences of that, by then you cannot escape it even if you want to.
The most important issue now is that there are who knows how many little ghosts in the world. Why are there so many little ghosts? It is because people have had too many abortions. They were killed before they even grow into the shape of human beings. Little ghosts are intent on revenge, so refraining from killing and liberating life also includes not having abortions. These little ghosts are not easy to get rid of. "King Yama is easy to see; little ghosts are difficult to deal with." All of you should pay attention to this. Around the globe, there are more little ghosts than big ghosts, more big ghosts than old ghosts. This is a serious problem.
We all know that all beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas. You should also know that all beings have the Bodhisattva nature and can become Bodhisattvas. All beings have the arahat nature and can become arhats. All beings have the nature of those enlightened to conditions and can become those enlightened to conditions. All beings have the nature of gods and can enter heaven. All beings have the nature of humans and can become humans. All beings have the nature of asuras and can become asuras. All beings have the nature of ghosts and can become ghosts. By doing ghostly things, you are a ghost. All beings have the nature of animals, if all you do are animal-like things, then you are an animal. All beings have the nature of hell beings. If you create causes for going to the hells, you will fall into the hells in the future. Therefore you reap the fruits of the causes that you sow. Whatever causes you plant, you will undoubtedly reap that fruit.