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Retribution For Those Who Kill

The people of Run-zhou of Jiangsu were mostly fishermen who earned their living by catching fish, frogs and spiral shells. They enjoyed killing. If they were to give birth to daughters, they would drown or leave them out in the wild to die. Everyday, they would gather spiral shells and catch frogs. The elders would then teach the children how to use a knife to cut up the frogs. As such, they had developed a habit of killing and felt that it was great to learn how to kill.

In the village, there was an old lady named Kong-po who always abstained from killing. Although she was already seventy years old, she still earned her living weaving cloth. She would use her money to liberate lives. Besides, she also encouraged others to liberate lives. She would advise: "Sweeping spiral shells into the river and saving ants are ways to accumulate hidden virtues. Do not say that any goodness is too small to perform. A man must always be kind and compassionate and show concern towards all living beings. Look at the villagers, they took lives every-day. Oh! I really don't know what kind of retribution they will face in future."

On the morning of the ninth day of the ninth month in the year of Yi-mao, Qian-long, the embankment of the river in Runzhou collapsed and the river water flooded the village. The whole of Run-zhou was submerged by flood water and many houses were swept away. Countless people died in this disaster. A few nights before the disaster, some fishermen reportedly saw a man in black attire retrieving a black record book from the river. The fishermen then asked him the reason and he answered: "This is the retribution for taking lives. You must all quickly stop killing and practice liberation." After saying that, he threw the book into the river and disappeared.

In the afternoon of the day before the disaster, Kong-po brought her youngest grandson to make obeisance to the Buddha in a monastery. They stayed in a nunnery on the hill and so they were safe from the disaster. Because Kong-po was humane and kind, she and her family were blessed.

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