02 Sep Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 123
(Last week we ended with, “In the event that you have deep-rooted wholesomeness and do not want to carry-on this way anymore in the next life, you will want to go to the Amitabha Pure Land to recover the essence of tranquil radiance, then this is accomplishment.”)
During the Qing Dynasty, the chief compilation official, Ji Xiao-Lan, of the Complete Books of the (Imperial) Repositories (四庫全書)and who wrote the Notes on a Minutely Observed Thatched Hut (閱微草堂筆記), a collection of allegedly true supernatural stories. This book recorded many interesting stories mainly about retribution. He wrote down what he personally saw and heard at the time.
Here he wrote: One day there was a family, and a young man was extremely disappointed in life and brought two jugs of wine to a graveyard.
The young man said: “Well, people of the world are scary, so I invite these ghosts to drink.” After he said so, a dozen ghosts came at night. He saw crowds of black smoke and spirit fires coming.
Have you seen spirit fires before? We have seen them before, especially Chinese and Western cemeteries all have it and there are indeed spirit fires at night. They float, it is chemically changed.
There were ghosts too and we have seen lots. What were these ghosts doing here? They have nothing to do and saw him bring wine. He poured the wine into a bowl. In the ghost world, they cannot drink through mouths, they inhale the fumes of wine. He put the bowl down and over a dozen came. After they inhaled, he asked these ghosts.
He said: “How come you guys became a ghost?”
The ghost said: “I cannot not help it. I do not know where to go in the next life. I am waiting for reincarnation here now.”
He asked: “How long have you waited?”
Ghost said: “I do not know.”
The young man then talked: “Since you are a ghost, why do you not repent?”
The ghost then explained: “No use to repent, it is too late to repent once you enter the ghost world. In the ghost world, repentance is useless. One only receives retribution. Repentance, repent when you are a human.”
Later, everyone left and there was one ghost telling this young man: “Thank you very much for the wine, I have not smelled the wine in thousands of years. I would advise you in one sentence since I have nothing else to give you. To repent is when you are in human form, even just repenting before your last breath.”
When the story finished, I told my friend and my friend then said: “Why do I need to repent? As a human, I need to repent for what? To reform what? “
He has no idea about it. Talking about repenting to modern people:
1. They immediately feel ill-at-ease.
2. They think you insult them because they did nothing wrong now they are told to repent.
3. Give you an attitude right away.
Why? They have a guilty conscience.
It is too difficult for modern people to follow Tolerance under Insult. This is not what I said, you say that you must bear the insult, how is it possible. One cannot even figure out repentance, on top of the Tolerance under Insult.
“Repentance” means that the wrongdoing will never happen again. “Reform” means that this matter is wrong and will turn it around. In ancient times people’s minds were relatively simple, and most people had the concept of repentance; however, modern people have none. Our generation remains with a little bit more of the repentance concept, I do not see this in the next generation. I think the next generation is about the same, completely without the human concept, and only the animal concept. We currently still have the human concept or mixed concepts as human and animal combined. The generation after us will have less human concept. Going further to the next generation will only exist with the animal concept, the next generation after that will only have the ghost concept which is trouble. Furthermore, the next generation will only exist with the hell world’s concept.
卷 (八) 忍辱波羅蜜
後來大家散了，有個鬼就跟這年輕人講：「非常謝謝你，請我們 喝酒，幾千年來沒有聞過酒味。奉勸你一句話送給你，我沒有別 的東西送給你，就這句話，懺悔要在做人的時候，那怕最後一口氣沒有斷以前，懺悔。」