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Lust Destroys Cultivators and Ordinary People Alike

April 9, 2021 |   By Gan Lu

(Minghui.org) Xuanzang, an inspiration for the character of Monk Tang in Journey to the West, once traveled for 19 years to India in search of Buddhist scriptures. This adventure has inspired Chinese people for over 1,000 years on the importance of faith. 

Xuanzang’s adventure was documented in The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, narrated by Xuanzang and written by his favorite disciple Bianji. After a royal pillow was identified in his place – which turned out to be a gift from Princess Gaoyang, Bianji was executed in public for the improper relationship. 

This tragedy of a promising monk is a serious lesson. There is a Chinese saying that one should “avoid lust like avoiding arrows” This is because any obsession with lust could be fatal. 

The Sin of Obscene Works

Gao, a scholar in the Qing Dynasty, was good at drawings. During a Qingming Festival (also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day), many people were flying kites. Gao drew various lewd pictures on his kites. 

Somehow, fire came down from the sky. Although Gao ran around to escape, the fire directly went after him. In the end, Gao was burnt and disfigured. People in the region said this was a consequence of obscene pictures.

Living in the modern era, we may have seen all kinds of improper images and contents in publications as well as on the internet. Especially in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has nearly eliminated thousands of years of traditional culture and replaced it with greed for money, power, and lust. The consequences are very serious. 

Literary works are no exception. Huang Tingjian, a renowned poet in the Song Dynasty, used to produce works depicting affairs between men and women. Once he and painting artist Li Boshi went to visit monk Yuantong Xiu. Xiu advised Li to stop drawing horses all the time, “If you think about horses and draw horses all the time, wouldn’t you end up reincarnating as a horse?”

Huang found that amusing and laughed. Xiu said the same thing would apply to him too. “Li’s painting of horses and reincarnation as a horse only affects himself. But if your poems stir up lust in many people making them unable to behave properly, such a sin would lead to one of the lowest levels of hell,” replied the monk. 

Hearing those words, Huang stopped producing the works ever since. 

Jin Ping Mei, a notorious Chinese novel on sexuality in the Ming Dynasty, was banned across dynasties. The author, Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng, had three generations of offspring who were all mute. The family members were all mediocre and ended in five generations when no more children were born. 

Retribution Across Life Cycles

Yuewei Caotang Biji, a collection of short novels in the Qing Dynasty, recorded a story of retribution across two life cycles.

A young man in Jining City, Shandong Province, was often bothered by a fox spirit. Even when he was over 20, the fox still came every night to sleep with him. Someone suggested he grow a beard. After a while, the fox would shave it when the man was asleep. It also applied makeup on him for fun. The family had invited monks and Taoists for help, but they could not do anything about it. 

Once a renowned Taoist passed the region and the man begged for help. The Taoist issued an order to Chenghuan (a deity in charge of local affairs). The fox then came to explain what happened. 

In one life cycle, the young man was a monk and the fox was a girl. Once when passing the temple, the girl was kidnapped by the monk. Kept in a secret chamber, she endured humiliation and rape for 17 years before dying in sadness. 

After she appealed it in the underworld, the monk was sentenced to repay the debt after suffering torture in hell. During that time, the girl was reincarnated as a fox due to other crimes. Right now, she was able to meet the monk – a young man in this life cycle to clear up debts. “I will leave on my own after 17 years and you do not need to worry about it,” said the fox. 

Hearing about this story, the Taoist did not do anything. Karmic debts are real and retributions happen for a reason. 

Thousand-Year Long Cultivation Ruined by Lust

Wu, a county magistrate, in the Tang Dynasty at Tanzhou (today’s Miyun County in Beijing), had a 16-year-old daughter. The girl was extremely beautiful. 

One time the girl was ill in bed and fell into a coma. Wu contacted many doctors and tried all kinds of medicines, but they did not help. Later on, he invited a Taoist in a nearby mountain for help. The Taoist prescribed some medicine and the girl got well in two days. 

Wu was very thankful and offered lots of money, but the Taoist refused immediately. To express his gratitude, Wu invited the Taoist to stay for a month. 

Several days later, the girl felt as if someone entered her room and hugged her in bed at night. This continued for more than 10 days. So she told her mother about this. 

To find out about what happened, Wu asked to move his daughter’s bed next to his room. He also dug a small hole in the wall to check. On the third night, he suddenly noticed the curtain of her daughter’s bed being lifted. He sent someone to catch the intruder, who turned out to be the Taoist. 

The Taoist was very regretful. He had cultivated for nearly 1,000 years and had not entered the secular world for more than 600 years. This time, although he passed the test of money, he failed the test of lust. His invisibility power was limited and it was probably his fate to be caught. 

Wu was furious and had the Taoist executed. 

Avoiding Lust Like Avoiding Arrows

Lu Qing from the Ming Dynasty was fond of talking about sexual stories and peeked at women. By 30, he was extremely poor with two sons dead. 

One day, Lu suddenly died. It turned out that his grandfather, who had passed away already, begged the underworld king to temporarily take Lu to the underworld for a lesson. The grandfather said the two generations before Lu had accumulated lots of virtue. As a result, Lu had the fate of being wealthy. Because he was fond of lust – thinking about it, looking at it, and talking about it, the blessing would end and his offspring could be jeopardized. 

Lu defended himself saying he only talked about it and peeked at women. He did not have improper conduct with women. 

“When a person has a thought of lust, it is a major fault. The divine records such incidents truthfully and not a single thought would be missed,” replied an underworld officer, “ethics code in the human world is too loose,” he said, “but it is very strict in the underworld.”

Lu was then shown some who had committed wrongdoing related to lust. Some became mute beggars, some became prostitutes, some became an ox for two life cycles, and some were reincarnated as a pig for 10 generations. The officer said some people suffered even more and warned him to “avoid lust like avoiding arrows.”

After Lu came to life, he wrote down such experiences to warn others. He also did his best accumulating good deeds. His fate was again changed in 10 years. He had two sons and became very wealthy. 

Seeking earthly pleasure is not the goal of life. Assimilating ourselves to traditional values and maintaining appropriate conduct will benefit ourselves and society.