According to my doctor’s advice, I should get a massage treatment daily.
As we see each other every day, the masseur and I have become well acquainted. He is quite deft in his profession and is also a good conversationalist.
Soon after I lay down, he let out a flood of words: “You Buddhists always talk about karmic retribution. I could see it indeed is infallible through my many years’ observation. Look at the United States, bullying others and its World Trade Center towers were blown to ashes. The Taliban of Afghanistan, destroying the Buddhist religion a year ago and smashing many holy statuses, now they end up meeting revenge. Apparently, karma is something we’d better believe in. My next-door neighbor has been impious to his parents, and he sees his wife run off with someone else. For myself, I must have committed some evil actions in my past lives and as a result, I was born blind this life. On the other hand, I must also have done unknown good deeds so that I could learn my trade and support myself….”
His words left me pondering for a while. It’s a shame that many able-bodied people often cannot do better than a blind person. They are ignorant of the principle of cause and effect and indulge in negative actions; when encountering misfortune, they only resent fate and blame others. They reckon not the following adage:
If you want to know what you have done in your past lives,
Just observe what this life of yours has been like.
If you want to know how your future lives are likely to be,
Just observe what you have been doing in this life.
All of our fate, good or bad, results from our own deeds. If everyone could have faith in causality as my masseur does, I believe the world will have one measure more of decency and one measure less of hostility.
While deep in thought, all of a sudden I felt a heavy blow on my back that made me cry out with pain: “Ouch! Do spare your brute force!” The masseur apologized quickly: “I am sorry, I am very sorry; somehow I was imagining you as an American. Anyway, the world is already in chaos, why is it that I cannot fumble about at will? Why can’t I speak at liberty, or indulge in fancies?” I chuckled heartily and said: “In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a great master called Mipham Rinpoche. He once said, ‘Even if the whole world is filled with evil beings, one should still maintain one’s noble conduct’; although you are not a Buddhist, I believe this saying will benefit you. You should always be like the lotus flower which emerges out of mud without being sullied.” He replied: “Thank you so much for your advice, I shall follow it faithfully.”
Well, the heavy pounding landing on me today may well be the result of my own karma. But if this episode can bring my masseur some understanding of the truth, my pain is all-worthwhile.
13th of March, Year of RenWu
April 25, 2002