Retribution for Killing and Breaking a Vow
During the Southern Song Dynasty, there was an older man named Zhang in Nanhantou Village, Pingyu County, Henan Province. He used to make a living by catching birds and had only one young son. One day his son died unexpectedly. Zhang thought he had nobody to rely on and cried by the grave every day. On the third day after the burial, while Zhang was crying, he heard groans in the tomb. Zhang was shocked and said: My son is back! When he opened the grave, his son was resurrected.
After the resurrection, Zhang's son said that after his death, somebody led him to Hell. He begged Hell's official, saying that his parents were old, asking for going back to the human world to conduct filial piety to his parents, and he would die with no regret after completing their funerals.
The Hell official pitied him and said:” I will let you go back today. You must tell your father that if he can stop hunting and killing birds, I would prolong your life!” On hearing this, Zhang immediately burned all his hunting gear, such as bird netting, and took his son to the temple to worship the Buddha.
There was a monk named Lu in the monastery, who was less than forty years old and had a great presence. On seeing the monk, Zhang's son stepped forward and asked him: “Were you also resurrected?” The monk said: “How did I ever die?”
The young man said: “In the underworld, I saw you were tied to a bronze pillar on the corner of the palace, with iron chains around your feet, and the jailer struck your armpits so they were bleeding. When the underworld officer released me, I asked the jailer why you suffer here. The jailer said that you promised to recite the scriptures for the benefactor, but there were many omissions, so you suffered evil retribution in this form.”
The monk was shocked when hearing that. It turned out that he had a leaky sore under his arm. It had been for three years, and the young man couldn't possibly know about his illness. So, the monk cleaned up one room, reciting the scriptures every day, and three years later, the sore under his arm disappeared.
From these two stories, we can see that the act of killing causes karma, and there will be retribution if karma exists, retribution may come through shortening the relative's life or in other forms. At the same time, the underworld also stresses filial piety toward parents.
Zhang's little son got the Hell officer's mercy because he demonstrated filial piety towards his parents.
As a Buddhist disciple, the monk named Lu promised to recite the scriptures for others but failed to fulfil his vow, and thus he received punishment. Fortunately, he corrected the matter later on.
Translated by Joseph Wu
Edited by Helen