(Clearwisdom.net) During the Tang Dynasty, there lived a monk named Wu Tatsu Kokushi, who was awarded the Kokushi title (an honorary title given to Buddhist masters).

One day before being awarded the Kokushi title, Wu Tatsu Kokushi met up with a monk who was ill. The monk had boils all over his body. He was filthy and emitted an awful body odor. Everyone avoided him except for Wu Tatsu Kokushi. He took pity on the sick monk and took care of him. Gradually, the monk returned to health. Before they parted, the monk thanked Wu Tatsu Kokushi and said, "If you ever run into any tribulation, please look for me at Jiu Long Mountain, in Peng Zhou, Sichuan Province. You need to look for two pine trees next to each other."

Because Wu Tatsu Kokushi had high moral values and conducted himself virtuously, Emperor Tang Yi Zhong respected him greatly. He awarded him the title of Kokushi, and treated him very well. But one day a boil with the shape of a human face grew on Wu Tatsu Kokushi's knee. It had facial features including a mouth and teeth. It could even swallow food when fed. Famous physicians from all over the country came to treat Wu Tatsu Kokushi's illness, but to no effect.

One day, Wu Tatsu Kokushi remembered the sick monk he had nursed back to health, and he went to the mountain to find him. By early evening, he found two pine trees next to each other. They were so tall that they seemed to reach the sky. The monk was already waiting for him outside a grand palace. The monk asked Wu Tatsu Kokushi to stay.

Wu Tatsu Kokushi told the monk about his strange and painful illness. The monk replied, "Don't worry about it. There is pristine spring water below the mountain cliff. Why don't you wait till tomorrow morning. Use the spring water to wash your knee, and you will be healed."

On the second day, Wu Tatsu Kokushi went to the spring early in the morning. Just when he was about to scoop up some water, the boil with the human face shouted loudly, "Wait a minute! Don't wash yourself yet. You are knowledgeable and well-read. Have you read the story of "Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo" in the Western Han Dynasty books?"

Wu Tatsu Kokushi replied, "Yes, I have read the story."

The boil said, "Since you know the story, how could you not remember that Yuan Ang killed Chao Cuo? You were Yuan Ang in your past life, and I was Chao Cuo. You denigrated me before the Emperor and I was killed. I've been trying to seek revenge life after life. But, because you were a monk of high morality and conducted yourself well I have not been able to take revenge. In this lifetime, however, because you are much favored by the Emperor, your moral character has not been up to par. You were seeking fame and profit. Therefore, I'm able to take revenge. Now that venerable Jia Ruo Jia (who transformed himself into the sick monk) is offering me the Samadhi water to set me free, let us dissolve our old grudges as well!"

Wu Tatsu Kokushi was frightened after hearing the story. He quickly scooped some water to clean the boil. The pain was so excruciating that he fainted. After he woke up, the boil on his knee was gone. And when he turned around to look for the grand palace, it had disappeared without a trace. Wu Tatsu Kokushi later settled in that area to practice cultivation and never left. This is the story of the famous "Samadhi Water Repentance," and it was passed down by Wu Tatsu Kokushi to future generations.

Although Wu Tatsu Kokushi had been a monk with high morality for ten lifetimes, he could not avoid the karmic retribution from an enmity formed ten lifetimes prior, simply because his moral character was not up to par and he was yearning for fame and profit.

This true story certainly serves as a warning not to disregard a single thought. And who can doubt the fairness of the law of karmic retribution?

January 21, 2009