When I was in Manchuria, I went to stay with Great Master Chang Ren (Filial Son Wang) at Three Conditions Monastery. Once when the temple was under construction, I went to a nearby village to borrow some carts for transporting construction materials. About five miles from the temple, there was a village called Daba. It was spring, tilling time. The farmers were very busy, and I couldn’t come up with any carts. I went to the village leader’s house. He said, “We’re really busy now. How can we find time to transport materials for a temple?”
Then his sister-in-law came to see me. She said, “Old cultivator, my child is sick and the doctors can do nothing. Can you be merciful and cure my child’s illness?”
I told her, “Your child is ill because you’ve been unfilial to your parents-in-law. If you want him to get well, you must repent. Kneel and bow in front of the ancestral tablets and pray. From now on, be filial and respectful to your parents-in-law, and be amicable with your sisters-in-law. Kneel before your parents-in-law and confess your faults, and vow not to distress them again. If you do that with a sincere heart, your child will get well.”
She immediately did as she was told. But the child did not get better, so she came to see me again and described the situation. I told her, “Bring your child here and let me take a look at him.” She brought her child over at once. The child was a boy of about three or four years of age. His eyes were shut, but his mouth was open. I tapped the little boy three times on the head. After a while he opened his eyes and looked around. About five minutes later, he jumped down from his mother’s arms and ran around as if he had never been sick.
The village leader then said to me happily, “Old cultivator, you cured my nephew’s sickness. Tomorrow, all carts from the village will go to the temple to help you transport materials.” The next morning, nine large carts showed up. But that evening, as the carts were being returned, a mule pulling one of the carts hurt its leg, which caused it to limp. The owner couldn’t understand it. He thought, “Working for the temple should have created a lot of merit and virtue. How come this accident occurred instead?” He couldn’t understand the cause and effect, so he came and asked, “Old cultivator, what’s the reason for this?”
I told him, “Don’t worry. Even though your mule hurt its leg, it will get well soon. But the life of your family was saved.” When he heard that, he was moved and decided to come and help again the next day.
After that incident, no matter what village I approached to borrow carts for transporting materials, the people there were all willing to help. Knowing that there was boundless merit and virtue in working for the temple, people were eager to lend their carts and men.
A talk given on August 26, 1983