(Minghui.org) People often face choices in life, and the choice between good and evil often lies in a single thought, just as the saying goes, “When one's Buddha- natures emerges, it will shake ‘the world of ten directions’.” “A kind thought may take one to Heaven, while an evil thought may condemn one to hell.” 

When disasters and deaths strike unexpectedly, a single thought that one holds could be a decisive factor on life and death. Here are two short stories to share.

The Spider Thread

There is a story in Buddhist classics: There was a bad guy named Kandata. One day, while he was walking through the forest he saw a spider, which he was about to crush to death.

Just at that moment, a kind thought appeared in his mind: “Even though a spider is so tiny, why should I trample it to death?” So he took a long step and spared the spider's life.

Because Kandata was a very vicious person and did all kinds of bad things, he was condemned to hell after he died.

While he was suffering in hell, suddenly a silvery spider thread, as thin as a needle, drifted down from the sky. It felt like a life-saving boat in the endless sea. So he quickly grabbed the spider thread and climbed up with all his might, hoping to escape the endless suffering in hell.

When he was halfway through, he took a rest and looked down. He saw that many other sinners had started to climb the thread behind him. He thought: “How can such a thin spider thread bear the weight of so many? If the thread breaks, I will fall back down and never be able to rid myself of the suffering.”

So he kicked down those below him, claiming that the thread was his alone. Just at that moment, the spider thread broke, and Kandata and all the others below him dropped into the dark, bottomless hell, and started to suffer the endless misery in hell again.

Kandata's kind thought earlier offered him a chance to escape from the bitter sea of hell and have a new life, but the evil thought he held later caused him to again suffer the pain of hell.

It seems that life and death is often decided by a thought one holds.

Stone Lions with Red Eyes

Once upon a time, the morality of people in a certain village had become so bad that the gods decided to destroy the village.

However, a kindhearted Bodhisattva wanted to give the people one more chance, so he descended to the human world and transformed himself into a beggar. He came to the village and begged for food, house to house, but no one offered him anything to eat.

When he came to the end the village, he saw an old lady burning incense in front of the Buddha statue, so he went up to her and begged for food.

The old lady hesitated and said, “I only have one bowl of rice. I can only give you half of it as I need to keep the other half to make offerings to the Buddha.”

As the Bodhisattva-transformed-beggar was leaving, he pointed to the pair of stone lions at the entrance of the village and said to the old lady, “When the lions' eyes turn red, there will be a big flood coming. Run to the hilltop as quickly as you can. Remember what I said.”

The kindhearted lady immediately spread the words of the beggar to everyone in the village, but no one believed her, and they even mocked her, saying how could the eyes of the stone lions possibly turn red?!

One day, a few mischievous men in the village decided to make fun of the old lady, so they painted the eyes of the lions with red dye.

Seeing that the stone lions' eyes had indeed turned red, the old lady shouted to the villagers anxiously, “Run! Hurry up and run! A big flood is coming!”

Thinking that the old lady had been fooled, the villagers laughed so much that they could hardly keep their backs straight.

The old lady kept shouting and urging people to run, but nobody took her seriously and no one listened to her.

In the end, the old lady ran up the hill alone.

A big flood indeed came. While running, the old lady kept looking back and saw the water level increasing rapidly. Before long, the entire village was submerged under the water. She could no longer hear any laughter and felt very sad.

A kind thought gave the old lady a chance to hear an admonition from a Bodhisattva, but the villagers held bad thoughts and didn't believe what the old lady told them. They even made fun of her by painting the eyes of the stone lions with red dye.

In the end, the one who held a kind thought was saved while those who developed bad thoughts lost their lives.