PureInsight | November 14, 2005
[PureInsight.org] Aunty Ming Zhu loves to tell stories. She also has many stories to tell. Ever since I was small, I loved to listen to her stories. When I was a young child, during the hot summer nights, everyone went out to the courtyard to cool down. All the kids laid on sleeping mats outside. Two or three elders would fan themselves with their rush-leaf fans and tell the kids story after story. Now I am an adult. Unexpectedly I ran into Aunty Ming Zhu again and was able to satisfy my longing to hear her stories again.
"Aunty, you had told me before that your family were Buddhists, I think you must have some stories about how good is rewarded with good and evil is met with evil…" I love listening to those kinds of stories.
She said, "Of course, do you want to listen to stories that happened in the past, or stories that happened recently?"
"Tell me a story that happened in the past." I said. It was as though I had pressed a key on the computer keyboard to make a selection from the menu. "That's good. I'll just start from my parents."
My mother and father believe in Buddhism. They don't cultivate in the temple, but they truly believe in the existence of Gods and Buddhas in their hearts. They treat people with extraordinary kindness.
When I was small I also liked listening to them telling me the stories. When I was sick, my Mom and Dad would sit next to me telling me stories, more than half of which were real life stories that they had lived through. Their purpose of telling these stories was to make me understand the law of 'good is rewarded with good and evil is met with evil.' Their real-life stories were the ones that left the deepest impression on me.
When they were first married, the family was very poor. My uncle (my father's older brother) and his wife were addicted to marijuana. Because of their drug habit, they owed people a lot of money. When my grandparents passed away, the so-called "family property" was divided. My parents received a share of the debts that my uncle and his wife had owed. It took my parents 18 years to pay off the debts. In order to make money, my father had to leave home and work in a place far from home as a laborer in a farm. My mother stayed at home to take care of their two daughters. My parents knew a couple who were well-to-do and very kind. They were in their late 40s but still didn't have children. They allowed my Mom and her two daughters to live in their guesthouse without rent. They had big empty yards in the front and back of the house that they were not using. So they allowed my mother to cultivate plants in the front and raise livestock in the back. You can imagine how grateful my parents were toward them. They were constantly ashamed because they didn't know how they would ever repay the debt.
My mother became pregnant again. In that part of China, during the first month after a woman gives birth, she is supposed to drink soup made of millet to help her recover sooner. But my parents were very poor and didn't have any millet. My father remembered that they had two pillows filled with very old millet with shells still on. He tore open the pillows. My parents took the millet from the pillows and used a stoneroller to grind up the millet in the yard. The well-to-do landlord saw them and angrily told my father, 'How could you be bashful to such an extreme level? How could you let your woman suffer like this? You don't know how to ask me for a small favor? Okay, just go home and wait for me!' My father hadn't wanted to ask for millet from the landlord. He felt that he had already owed the landlord too much. A short time later, the kind landlord brought over a huge bag of millet. He also told my parents, 'In the future if you need anything, just ask me. You mustn't behave like this again.' My parents were extremely thankful.
Not two days later, my mother went into labor. It was another daughter. My father was devastated. In the countryside, if one couldn't have a son, one would be looked down upon. In addition, he also needed to have a son to take over the farming work when he was too old to do it himself. Two days after my mother gave birth, my father had to go back to his job as a laborer. He took his two daughters and picked some vegetables from the yard. He also filled the family's water container. That was all the help that he could give to my mother. After he left, my mother had to raise three young daughters on her own. She constantly thought of ways to repay the debts she owed to the compassionate landlord and his wife.
The opportunity soon came. The wife of the kind landlord finally became pregnant. At that time she was already 50 years old. It was really a miracle. It was a gracious gift from heaven. When my parents' youngest daughter was a year old, the wife of the kind landlord gave birth to a beautiful boy. The landlord and his wife were extremely happy. It was such a joy to be given a son so late in their lives. But because the wife was very old, she didn't have any breast milk. Back then, if the mother didn't have breast milk, it would be very difficult for the baby to survive. There was no other way to feed the baby. They thought of my mother. So they came over and asked my mother if she could give some of her breast milk to the new baby. My mother said, "I have been waiting for you to come over. I've already thought about it. My third daughter is already one year old. She can survive on rice soup. I will use my breast milk to feed your baby. Quickly bring him over." So my mother stopped feeding my third sister with her own breast milk, and instead started to feed the kind landlord's son. She felt really happy for having been given the chance to do something for the kind couple.
When the kind landlord's son was a year old, he no longer needed my mother to feed him. My mother became pregnant again. Guess what happened? To my father's great relief, she finally gave birth to a boy after the New Year. Both families were extremely happy. My mother told us, "The kind landlord was given a son late in life because he and his wife had done many good deeds and moved heaven. Heaven also knew that your father and I were trying to figure out how to pay the landlord back so it arranged for me to feed the landlord's baby son. After the heaven saw that we were good people who were eager to pay back our own debt, it rewarded us too by giving us a son!"
Before I was born, my parents had almost paid off the debt they owed. Their life got better and better. They moved into the city and bought a house and a horse carriage. Although we left the kind landlord's house, the friendship between the two families continued. The two families stayed in close contact throughout the years and visited each other constantly. I remember the kind landlord and his wife often came into the city to visit us. By then, they were already very old.
My parents continued to do good deeds. Even when they were experiencing difficult times, they always had compassion in their hearts. When their situation got a little better, my parents never let anyone who came to beg for food leave with an empty bowl. They frequently asked the beggars to join our family at our dinner table and eat the meal together. Not only did my parents let the beggars eat until they were full, my mother often gave my father's clothes to them. Because of that, my father was always looking for slightly old clothes that unbeknownst to him had been given away. My mother often said, "When a person comes to our home to beg for food, we must let him leave with a full stomach and warm clothes."
Because I was raised in such a good family environment, I also wanted to lead my life as a good person. A good moral character has brought me benefits throughout my life. I treat everybody with respect, regardless of whether she is a poor villager or an illiterate, elderly person. I respect them all the same. People can feel my respect toward them. My mother used to often tell us, "When other people are in difficulty, you should always extend a helping hand. You should never watch others suffer and not do anything about it."
After I fortunately obtained the Fa, I have come to further understand the deep meanings behind cultivating compassion. Teacher wants us to become totally selfless. It means that we should do good deeds unintentionally without any thought. I obtained the Fa late, and haven't cultivated myself that well. But I try my best to follow Teacher's teachings. Back when I lived in China, I lived in a dormitory building provided by my employer. I thought that the young employees were all busy. So I swept the hallway every day from the top floor to the bottom floor. I did it every day. I also planted flowers in front of the building. I also did everything I could to help others. That's why when Jiang Zemin started to persecute Falun Gong, do you know how many people were secretly protecting me? Thinking of them, I feel gratitude in my heart. When police asked my neighbors whether I was meeting other Falun Gong practitioners in my apartment, guess what my neighbours said? "You don't know? She's a painter in her spare time. She's a part-time artist. She has some painter friends over from time to time to discuss art. There has never been any gathering of Falun Gong practitioners in her apartment. Stop wasting your time." Because of my nice neighbours, fellow practitioners always felt safe when they came to my house to exchange experiences and watch Teacher's lectures."
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/10/2/34068.html