(Clearwisdom.net) This is a story about a person that, because he took other people's property, became a slave in his next life in order to pay back what he had stolen. The retribution that followed is very touching.

During the Sui Dynasty, Zhao Liangxiang lived in Daizhou. Zhao Linangxiang was a wealthy man and had two sons. The older son, Zhao Meng, was an honest and kind man, while his younger son, Zhao Ying, was mean and tough. In his later years, the ailing Zhao Liangxiang wanted to avoid a family dispute over his properties, so he divided his property in his will. But soon after Zhao Liangxiang passed away, Zhao Ying, the younger son, took all of his older brother's property except for one garden house. Zhao Meng had to work as a servant to make ends meet.

When the younger Zhao Ying died a few years later, he reincarnated as Zhao Han, the son of his older brother. Years later, the elder Zhao Meng also died and reincarnated as Zhao Xian, his younger brother's grandson. As Zhao Huan and Zhao Xian grew up, the living standard of Zhao Huan's family got worse while Zhao Xian's family became wealthier. Zhao Huan was Zhao Xian's uncle, but he was so desperate that he became a servant to his nephew. People did not know the story of their past lives and therefore felt sorry for Zhao Huan. They said, "Heaven is not fair, the rich become richer."

One day Zhao Huan's mother told him, "Your uncle Zhao Ying stole our family properties, causing our lives to be miserable. Now you have even ended up becoming his servant. What shame this has brought to our family!" After hearing this, Zhao Huan was so furious that he wanted to kill his nephew, Zhao Xian. He always carried a knife with him and waited for his chance.

In the First Year of the Kai Huang Era, Zhao Xian planned to visit Wutai Mountain. He asked his uncle Zhao Huan to join him. When both men were in the mountain and no one was around, Zhao Huan took out his knife and tried to kill his nephew, saying that he wanted revenge for the injustice of three generations. Zhao Xian ran into the woods to a temple made from hay. As Zhao Huan followed, an old monk stopped him and asked him what he wanted. Zhao Huan declared, "I want to kill my enemy." The old monk laughed out loud, "What enemy? You are your own enemy. Wait a minute, I will let you know your past life stories. After that you will be able to see who the bad guy really is."

The monk made them recall their past lives: Zhao Huan was Zhao Ying, who had bullied his brother and robbed him of his properties; Zhao Xian was the humiliated Zhao Meng. After they realized these facts, both men felt very sad and regretful.

The monk said, "Zhao Ying brought from his past life wealth and good fortune. Even if he hadn't robbed his brother, he would still have been rich. But he bullied his brother and robbed him of his property and was not interested in charity. So after Zhao Ying died, he was punished and had to repay all his brother's property, along with his own property, and give it all to his brother, now his nephew Zhao Xian. He himself also became a poor servant. All of this was to pay back for all the bad things he had done. Zhao Meng made donations, but not willingly. Therefore, although he had money, he could not use it. On the other hand, he tolerated his brother's bullying and stayed poor without complaining. Therefore, he incarnated into a wealthy family and enjoyed being wealthy. In general, the causal effect is fair and reliable. Whoever causes others to suffer eventually suffers. Zhao Huan did not need to blame others for his misfortune, let alone killing for revenge. That only added more hatred into the complicated chain of retribution, thus making his life even more miserable."

After the two men understood the story, they realized that no matter how hard people try, they cannot change the lives of others. Those who harm will be harmed; those who help others will help themselves. It is indeed a universal principle that has been proven over and over again. There and then, the two men decided to abandon their families and became monks in the Wutai Mountain temple.

October 11, 2005