A Story About Escaping the Rain
When I was little, my mother told me many stories. One of them is still vivid in my memory even after more than fifty years. I have benefited greatly from the story, and I would like to share it with my fellow practitioners.
One summer day, heavy rain suddenly started to pour down. People who were unable to get home in time ran to a shed to escape the rain. A child who was soaking wet also came into the shed to escape the rain. Something strange happened as soon as the child walked into the shed. Loud, earsplitting thunder and lightning approached from far away. Then, it kept sounding right above the shed. The adults were trembling with fear. One of them suspected that the child had brought the thunder and lightning with him, so he asked the child to leave.
It rained even harder and the noise of the thunder became even louder. The child would not leave. The man became more suspicious that the child had something to do with the thunder, and thought that the only way that they could be spared from the danger was for the child to leave. So he shouted at the child and asked him to leave. Other people also joined him to drive the child out. With tears in his eyes, the helpless child had no choice but to walk out into the pouring rain. When the child was not very far away from the shed, a lightning bolt struck the shed and flattened it to the ground. The rain stopped and the thunder ceased. The child returned home unharmed.
People's minds are wicked, whereas Gods and Buddhas are compassionate. If those people had let the child escape the rain with them, with that kind thought, perhaps they would have escaped the punishment of death and survived like the child. Nevertheless, they gave up the opportunity given to them by Gods and Buddhas, and lost their lives as a result. Indeed, good and bad are rewarded and punished accordingly. The difference between life and death depends on just one thought.