(Clearwisdom.net) In the mountainous western area of Zhejiang Province, the following true story has been passed down for centuries.

A long time ago, there lived a young man who was lazy and loved to eat. He harassed the women in his village constantly. He never did a day of honest work in his whole life, and survived by stealing things from his family and neighbors. Everyone in the village said that he wouldn't have an easy death since he had committed so many sins.

Finally the day came when he was fated to die. That day thunder and lightning filled the sky, dark clouds boiled with turmoil, and ferocious claps of thunder roared, one after another, toward the mountainous areas. The clouds were so huge and black that it appeared as if it were the end of the world.

On that day, the lazy man who had never done any honest work before suddenly had an impulse to do something. When everyone ran back home from the field, he did the opposite. He took a hoe and told everyone that he wanted to see the field. His family thought that his action was very strange. His family urged him to stay at home, saying it was too dangerous. He didn't listen, so his family cursed at him, saying, "Go! Let the lightning kill you then!"

The young man had heard such cursing so much from the others over the years that he didn't pay any attention to it. When he got to the wheat fields he saw that they were flooded. He knew that the wheat would rot very quickly in the water; if it did the villagers' whole year of hard labor would be for nothing. Everyone in the village would starve if that happened. When he thought about that, he didn't think about the lightning or the tremendous rain. Instead he rolled up his pant legs, picked up the hoe and started supporting the wheat stalks, one row at a time. At that moment, heaven saw that the young man still had some vestiges of compassionate thought, so it extinguished the thunder and lightning above his head and stopped the huge downpour of rain. Just as he had finished supporting every grain in the field, the clouds in the sky scattered and the sun came out.

Although he was soaked physically, somehow he felt that he had become a new man spiritually. He had been angry before and had given up on himself. That day, he suddenly felt his own worth. He realized that he still had a lot of life in front of him. He started to work hard and do good things. Soon his family and neighbors started to respect him and became friendlier toward him. From that day forward, he was diligent and kind-hearted, and pursued virtue to become a new man.

Master Li said in Zhuan Falun,

"Good or evil comes from a person's spontaneous thought, and the thought at that moment can bring about different consequences" (Lecture Four, "Upgrading Xinxing")

For those people who have walked a dead end road up till now, compassionate thoughts can guide you back to life.

First published in English at http://www.pureinsight.org/pi/articles/2005/6/27/3100p.html