英文版《寿命是自己一点一滴努力来的》

菩提子 2021年4月2日17:38:48
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My Life is Extended Little by Little through my Efforts

Written By Ms. Chen

 

Translated by Guo-xiang

 

About the Author

Ms. Chen, now 62 years of age (translator's note: as of 2001), was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1939. Because her bone marrow cannot generate blood cells, she was pronounced by her doctor to be a hopeless baby. She would need blood transfusion for life. Her dad had her little body disposed of at a garbage site, but her maternal grandmother refused to let her go and retrieved her body. She and her mom held her ice cold body for weeks, and she somehow survived. At the age of six, her belly began to grow like a pregnant woman, and she had to undergo a major surgery. Again and again, her doctors said that she wouldn’t live long and advised her family to give up instead of dragging the whole family to bankruptcy. She beats the odds; she was 62 years old when this book was first published in 2001. She has advanced degrees, a beautiful family with five successful children, and a great career (including the position of the former Presiding Judge in Taiwan).

 

Preface by the Author

This booklet is published thanks to the help of many friends. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have any financial means to expend nearly a million dollars (Taiwan currency) on the publication of a book because my monthly donations have reached the full capacity of my income. Therefore. This booklet was the fruit of collective work. In the past three months, my friends and I had to resort to manual image printing in the hope to pass my survival stories to those who are combating the same battle. My special thanks go to Lu Bang Company for its donation of a state-of-the-art printer. With this printer, we are able to print nearly 8 thousand copies. (Translator’s note: The booklet has been reprinted 8 times by the time of translation in 2021). All of us worked until three of four in the morning before we dragged our tired feet home.

This booklet is not of much value. Therefore, try and see if it is worth reading. If it is not, feel free to pass it to a friend or trash it.

This booklet is only useful to those who believe it; to those who don’t, it is scrap paper. For some, it may be hard to believe in Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus, the holiness of Buddhist scriptures, or illiterate people writing a book in the Quran; the mundane judgement can’t apply to such; it is the same with this booklet.

Many thanks to you for taking time away from your busy schedule and reading this booklet. You may have many skeptical thoughts; if so, feel free to skip it because you don’t need to bother yourself. No matter how skeptical you might be, you can never find answers. Even I myself can’t find answers. I only know what happened to me, but I don’t know why.

What is most important is whether a principle can bring you happiness, help you meet one challenge after another, and change your bad fate. It is just like taking medication; what is important is whether it can cure your ailments; you don’t need to care whether the medication factory is in decent shape. Likewise, whether this booklet can be of help to you is way more important than the study of the author’s background or the truthfulness of the content.

This world is full of people who gossip; this booklet will also face pros and cons. However, real gold fears no fire. We humbly accept and welcome any criticism and suggestions.

Many thanks to you. May this booklet bring you a bright future and a new happy  life.

 

Humbly yours,

 

Ms. Chen

 

PS: This booklet was composed during my hospitalization. Done in a rush, it is bound to have errors. Gratitude goes to any reader for proofreading corrections. Send your mail to Ms. Chen, 407 Tai Zhong, PO Box 119, Eastern Ocean University

 

        

My Life is Extended Little by Little Through my Efforts

If I want to survive, I have to listen to my doctors and have a thorough understanding of thalassemia. So, I brought lots of periodicals on the disease and read the articles again and again. To my surprise, the periodicals cover a lot of sad news of many young patients’ death. I was heartbroken at the news because they were too young to die. I often think, “Aren’t they also my kids?” I often cry for them, until  tears wet my skirt.

I am also a patient of the disease. From my very birth, I was pronounced by my Japanese doctor to be dead. Nonetheless, my mom carried me on her back and went all over the province in search of miracles or a panacea for my terminal illness. There is an old saying, “Life and death is not only in the hands of humans but also in the hands of Heaven.” Another saying goes, “There is always a way out”, “When one door is closed, another door opens.” My mom strongly believed “deities will come to the rescue when humans are stuck in despair.” For all this, I struggled and survived.

I have never heard of thalassemia. Only recently when my anemia deteriorated so badly and so quickly as to causing festering necrosis in my legs that I was diagnosed with the disease and I began to have some understanding. As a matter of fact, I have been living on transfusion and removal of blood iron, which has been leaving my family at the brink of bankruptcy, but I had never known the culprit was thalassemia.

Recently, I happened to come in contact with an expert of the disease; he told me, “Your case is mild. It’s no big deal.”

I was very thankful to hear that and I felt at ease 100 percent. But then I thought that I had lived such an arduous and miserable life even with such a mild case; what about those with serious cases? Wasn’t that too cruel? Wasn’t that too pitiful?

During my elementary school, grade school, and college, I always had to have someone accompany me in class and on the commute. I was not eligible to attend PE class; I was not allowed to go out by myself. It was all because I may faint anytime and lose consciousness. Every time I awoke in the ER, my doctors were certain that I wouldn’t live long; I myself was clear that I did not have tomorrow or future. For this, every time I had the fortune to escape a narrow death, I would vow again and again: if I could live to be married and have a career, I would donate all my wealth and my time to establish a philanthropy center to help those who have the same disease. Surprisingly, I really got married; I really had a career; I also really founded a decent-size philanthropy center,

Because I am a patient of moderate thalassemia which is one notch away from a serious case, I am always sad to hear of young patients passing away so prematurely; I couldn’t sleep or eat well. I am thus determined to do what I can to help; I decide to write my stories of combating the disease for the past 62 years for the benefit of those young patients and anyone who may need such help, in the hope that they can each live to be a hundred years old and out of the shadow of death.

I know I am still living in the danger of thalassemia and I must have the constant care of a nurse and I am a 100% patient of anemia with no cure; nonetheless, I am living day after day, and it is not an easy venture. This journey has its survival lessons filled with tears and blood. Such ought to have some reference value. Maybe people read about patients of serious cases from publications and assume that no other patients of such disease need attention and that mild cases are no big deals.

As a matter of fact, there is no big difference between serious cases and moderate cases; only patients themselves can tell. In particular, my grandma, my parents, and my whole family have lived in fear day and night for the past 62 years. How can it be dismissed as a mild case? It is nothing less than a grave disaster! It takes one to know one. I offer this booklet with my hard-earned well-being throughout 62 years to all the suffering patients.

Many people have asked me, who has stayed at hospitals like home and who has gone in and out of hospitals like a kitchen: “Is a terminally ill patient bound to die? Is one’s life span predetermined?”

My answers are always no. When I was little, I heard my mom say that even if one was terminally ill, he wouldn’t die as long as he was not a virtue-less person. One’s life span is determined by oneself. How long one wants to live is one's own business, with nothing to do with illness. Nonetheless, to lengthen one’s life span, efforts must be made to earn it; a tug war must be upheld with Death King; no pain, no gain.

My growth was too slow and too pathetic. My grandma was pitiful of my pathetic look which did not match my age, so she would hold me in her arms every night, until my college graduation. She left me behind and departed at the age of 92. On her deathbed, she exhorted, “Don’t be a virtue-less person. Don’t do anything merciless, and you won’t get stuck in a dead end.”

Once, General Anqi Liu was at a golf course and he commented on the way of Minister Dawei Yu. He mentioned the three things Minister Yu would never do:

  1. Unfriendly things
  2. Merciless things
  3. Inhumane things

I was very touched and I have held them up as my motto. I am determined to keep my motto till my old age and my death. Someone giving a Dharma talk once asked me the following questions:

  1. How do we gain our longevity? How do we earn it?
  2. How does someone with thalassemia keep up the tug war with Death King?

Let me talk about my mom first. In the midst of the powerful air raid bombings of the Second World War, she carried me on her back and went to famous temples in the deep mountains with the hope to run across reclusive Dharma masters who might save her precious dying daughter. Once, she was trying to take shelter from American bombings and she scurried to a dilapidated temple. The master there asked her in surprise why she was risking the bombings and running around with her baby. My mom cried and said, “My baby is terminally ill. She is dying!”

The master brought us inside the temple and told my mom patiently, “No one’s life span is determined by Heaven; rather, it is built little by little through efforts. Also, everyone’s body is one’s perfect medication factory and can make all sorts of medication to treat all of one’s ailments. Therefore, everyone’s body has the miraculous potential to treat one’s ailments. The master also said, “If one is not a virtue-less person, he won’t be on a dead end even if he is terminally ill. We live in the sentient world, and we must be compassionate, not only to humans, but to anything else. We can’t hurt them, not even a drop of water, a piece of paper, or a penny. We must be compassionate and cherish them.”

At the age of 11, I was very ill for a whole year. My grandma and my mom said to me seriously, “You are big enough to earn your own life span. Never do anything that may shorten your life or reduce your fortune. No matter whether it is a person or a tiny animal, you must cherish him and love him like your own kid. When You give others a chance to live to be a hundred, then they will give you a chance to live to be a hundred. If you want to live long, you can’t do anything that will shorten it. Also, everything has its life span of use; you must try to lengthen its life rather than shorten its life or cause its end. Lengthening others’ life is lengthening your life. Also you must remember this: when fortunes are not depleted, one will surely not die early.”

Today, I have surprisingly lived to be 62. This can’t be the result of medicine or science only. Maybe what has impacted my life is my grandma and mom’s words.

From my birth up until now, I have never harmed an ant, a mosquito, a bug, or a cockroach; neither have I snipped a flower, grass or a twig. In 1975, I was in a coma for 11 months due to delayed transfusion; I was in a vegetative state. Nonetheless, I miraculously came to again. At the time, a renowned dharma master promised my mom firmly, “This child radiates kindness; she is full of compassion. She will definitely come to.” You see, what determines our life and death is not a terminal sickness; rather, it is whether we have a beautiful heart, a compassionate heart. Do you believe this? A beautiful heart will surely have a beautiful life.

These are the words to my patient friends from the bottom of my heart. Why not practice them? I pray that you live to be a hundred, have a good family with children, and have a good career.

 

Wishing you a Hundred Years of Age as Well

From the very first day of my birth, my doctor gave me a death sentence. He said to my mom who was living a miserable life in the midst of wars, “This baby is definitely bound to die because she suffers from extreme lack of blood cells and oxygen.”

I was my mom’s first daughter. It was the time of the Second World War. On her way of fleeing from mishaps, she was starving herself to save my fragile life and she brought me to this world. However, the doctor was so cruel and gave me the death sentence on my first day. I clung on my mom's back on the way to all places in the hope of finding a remedy, Chinese herbs or panacea. By the time I was four, five years old, I still couldn’t speak; when I was nine, I still couldn't add one, two, three. The doctor said, “This kid’s brain lacks blood cells and oxygen. She will live to be eleven at most, and then she will deteriorate. She surely can’t survive. It is useless to bring her up. You may as well put her out of misery now and forget about it.” However, my grandma and my mom insisted on living or dying together with me, the short-lived devil. They told the doctors and nurses that they wouldn’t be able to live on if I died.

From my birth up till now, I have constantly passed out from serious anemia, as constant as daily meals. ER expenses are high; particularly, transfusions are costly. Sometimes, we had to plead our relatives for a loan; sometimes we pleaded blood brokers to have mercy. During transfusion, I would be allergic, tremble, or have a spasm until fainting, as a result of body rejection. Therefore, I often had to break an transfusion into several IV drip sessions, never really replenishing fully at once. Without a doubt, I have constantly fainted day after day; I have never had the heart to think of another day’s life. Surprisingly, I survived the 11-year-old death sentence, and then the 18-year-old threshold. Now, I am 62 years old. In recent years, again I have often been in a coma from sudden fainting. My family is terrified. Luckily, each time I was rushed to ER by Good Samaritans. After numerous tests, they found that I lacked blood cells and oxygen to an extreme extent, and my red cells were seriously problematic; I needed constant transfusion to keep this fragile life alive.

It all finally dawned on me why I had taken more blood than food ever since my birth, and I finally learned that there is such a thing as thalassemia. Now I am really much at ease. Before I knew this truth, I had spent 62 years getting injections and transfusions and  removing blood iron. All was done by my whole family fumbling and stumbling along without any help because we had never heard of thalassemia. A doctor asked me in surprise ,”How did you survive such a long, arduous journey?” I burst into tears and said, “My grandma, my mom, as well as my whole family, we lived a miserable life and paid a hefty price to keep me alive. It’s very sorrowful and very exhausting!”

Today, when I read the periodicals on thalassemia at the hospitalI was so sad. I was crying all the way home. When I got home, I couldn’t help crying out loud. I stayed in my room by myself and cried until dawn; I couldn’t go to bed. All my five kids were scared. They wouldn’t step away from me. I was just wondering why the patients mentioned in the periodicals died before they turned of age, or had a family, or had a career; why did they die one after another? Why?

I was born during the Second World War, a time when medical supplies and daily necessities were scarce; it was the most difficult time for Taiwan. Nearly all life-saving medication, nutrition, and transfusion blood were impossible to get. We could do nothing but resort to the black market; everything was priced like robbery, which was a huge burden for us struggling in the midst of American air raid bombings. Still, we always relied on ourselves, until this day; we have never accepted any government subsidies; each drop of blood transfusion was paid for with our own money; my parents and my whole family cut down on food for the savings. Because medication and transfusion blood were scarce and because we were very financially tight, I was rarely able to get timely transfusion when I needed it, and I was never able to fully replenish the needed blood; oftentimes, we would have no more money after getting only 70 or 80 percent of the needed amount. Nonetheless, I miraculously survived, and I have lived to be 62, safe and sound. In contrast, why did these innocent young patients live such a short life? After all, they were born to this abundant society, with all the supplies from the government, with no shortage of anything; maybe there is something else, apart from transfusion and iron removal, that is beyond the reach of medicine and science. I sincerely hope to know more of these patients. I really hope to help them; I hope to help them to live on, have their kids; I hope everyone can live to be a hundred.

Even though I am working in laws and I am charged with imports and exports of international companies, I am still a terminal ill person without tomorrow. I obey my parents’ command to never handle any prosecution cases to avoid an early death. In particular, in my 62 years of life and death, my grandma and my mom time and again resorted to many religions and prayed for the survival of my fragile life. For this, they time and again urged me not to forget the miraculous power of religions; they urged me to study hard scriptures of each religion so as to serve the religions and save lives as a payback. Now, I often help local religious groups preach Quran, Hebrew Old Testament, Greek New Testament, Sanskrit,Tibetan Buddhism, esoteric Buddhism, and exoteric Buddhism. I also teach some rare languages during my free time such as World Language. (I took lessons from teachers and studied the languages hard.)

During this long time of hardships, my grandma and my mom attested the saving power of deities and the blessings. They firmly believed that each religion has its magic, no matter what religion; they treated all religions equally. Because each religion has saved me, I owe my life to each of them. I sincerely hope to pass the peaceful blessings from religions to my patient friends; I want to bring them good fortunes, good careers and good health; I want to help them step out of the shadow of darkness, out of the grip of death; I want them to embrace brightness.

The scriptures teach us, “Heaven won’t take your life unless you really don’t want to live.” “Everyone’s life span is in his own hands, with nothing to do with an illness!”

In 1975, I delayed blood transfusion because of urgent business; it led to lack of blood cells and oxygen and then lasting coma; I became vegetative. My mom went to all sorts of places to pray; she touched the heart of a renowned Buddhist master who came to visit my dying body. Unexpectedly, the master promised my mom, “ This child is very kind. She will definitely come to. She definitely will not die!”

My mom told the master, “My child has never hurt any living beings ever since her birth, not even an ant, a cockroach, or a mouse. She cares for a small animal the same way she cares for her own kids.”

11 months later, I finally miraculously awoke. I have survived then died; I have died and then survived. I can’t count how many times I have gone between life and then death. Living, I don’t know when I may die; dead, I somehow survive again and again. Maybe, this is a living testimony of life after death.

 

A Beautiful Heart Will Live a Beautiful Life

- Your life span is in your own hand.

I was born with thalassemia (a deadly blood disease categorized by inability to produce red blood cells). My doctor said that it would break out in a hundred days and I would die within three years. At the time of my birth (1939, Taiwan), medicine was backward; it was just very hard to keep my little body alive. Also, the doctors said that I would live to be eight or eleven years at most; it was pointless to struggle to stay alive.

When I reached the age for the first grade, I was an idiotic retard. The school reluctantly admitted me after my family pleaded again and again; however, the school insisted that a family member accompany me at all times, both in class and on the commute.

At the time, Taiwan just won independence, and the government took over schools nation-wide. We still did not have Chinese teachers, so Japanese teachers were asked to remain. My maternal grandmother and my mom asked the Japanese teacher, “Is our child worth bringing up? Will she have a miserable life?” The Japanese teacher said, “We Japanese value calligraphy, tea ceremony, Bushido, and meditation. The core of all this is our unshakable faith, which is “A beautiful heart will surely live a beautiful life.”

Later, when I turned 11, I was gravely ill and I stopped breathing. Then I awoke; miraculously and I gained intelligence.

My grandmother and my mom saw that I could comprehend their words, so they told me the Japanese teacher’s unshakable faith; they exhorted that I must keep a beautiful heart.

 

“What’s a beautiful heart?” I asked them.

“A beautiful heart is a biological mom’s heart. For example, if you are a teacher, you must treat each student as your own child; you must be a real mother to each student, more of a mother than their biological mothers. Think how the student’s biological mother treats him/her, you must love the student from your heart in the exact way, not any less. This way, your heart is a beautiful heart. Otherwise, it is a despicable heart of a lesser person,” replied Grandma.

“What if the ants in our kitchen eat our sugar?” I asked again.

“This is simple. Think about it. Aren’t these ants your kids? Aren’t you their mom? If the answers are yes, the. How does a mom love her kids? Do you need to ask?” Grandma replied again.

I nodded, even though I did not fully understand it. Still, I made a promise: I will be Mom to all the sentient beings my whole life. I kept my promise; I fulfilled my promise.

Now I am 62 years old. Many people are surprised about this. During the 62 years, I was still sick with no way of getting better, but I am still alive; I have advanced degrees and a good career, a beautiful family and sweet children. I am living a very full, peaceful, happy life.

My motto is what my grandma and my mom transmitted from the Japanese teacher, “A person with a beautiful heart will surely have a beautiful life, including a beautiful degree, a beautiful career, a beautiful marriage, and beautiful children.”

I attested this philosophy in the past 62 years.

When we can’t change our health, we can change our hearts and make our hearts more and more beautiful, and then we can change our fate and destiny. Therefore, even if we have a terminal illness, we don’t need to drive ourselves to despair. What really determines our life or death is whether we have a beautiful heart. Even with the worst illness, we must never give up. Striving to make our hearts beautiful is much more worthwhile than waiting to die a worthless death. Don’t you think so?

 

A Few Words from the Bottom of my Heart

The Bible says, “Believers get the believers; skeptics get the skeptics.

Buddhism Scriptures say, “Reap what you sow.”

The Quran says, “You believe what you believe; I believe what I believe. I believe this: you won’t believe what I believe. You must believe this: I won’t believe what you believe.”

Believing others is hard, and hoping others to believe you is even harder.

Whether this booklet is worth believing depends on whether you want to get the “believers” or “skeptics”.

Thank you!

 

This Kind of People Have This Kind of Disease

Because my illness was so serious, my grandma and my mom could do nothing but walk far and beyond to find Buddhist masters retreating in deep mountains.

The master said, “Dear benefactors, only this kind of people get this kind of children. If the child is not born to such people, he won’t get this kind is disease. Let bygones be bygones; let today start anew. Why don’t you ask yourself questions. Why are you such people and get such children? Why are you such people and torture your own children with such a disease?”

When my grandma and my mom got home, they told my dad everything. My grandma wouldn’t want to see me die, so she bluntly reprimanded my dad, “Are you such a person? Why do you want to be such a person?”

My dad had no clue, since he did not know what “such a person” meant.

My mom asked my dad to take time and reflect. After all, it was my life still on the line; anything that might save me was worth trying, wasn’t it?

My dad reflected for ten whole days. He apologized and apologized.

Finally, he got the idea. He began to take the first step from his printing firm. I heard from my grandma that he stopped drinking and frequenting brothels; he canceled all printing orders of pornographic materials; he switched to printing textbooks.

My mom said that my dad’s income took a nosedive from that, and his circle of friends became much smaller, to the extent of counting them on one hand. Compared to the friends’ hustling and bustling in front of our house in the old days, it became a totally different world. However, to save my life, my dad transformed into a completely different person at all costs. He said he did not regret it a bit.

The master said, “When you are no longer that kind of people, you won’t get that kind of disease, and you won’t have that kind of children.”

My illness was still the illness. Nonetheless, it was different. Take, for instance, a traffic accident. If it was bound to happen, it would happen; however, the consequences would be totally different between being hit by a truck trailer of a bike. Even though two people may both have thalassemia, their cases are not the same, in the same way no two faces or two fingerprints are the same. Each disease varies from person to person. There is a saying in medicine, “There have never been two patients with the exact same illness, not even between parents and children.”

Now, I have survived, even though I am terminally ill. Therefore, our diseases are just an illusive appearance; what really matters is our hearts. Certain hearts make certain people; certain people get certain children and certain diseases. This is the nature of Buddhism.

 

Blessings Come from Actions, not from Prayers

Many people pray for fortunes, careers, and longevity. However, such things can not come from prayers.

Many pray for children, wealth, and fame; neither can any come from prayers.

This is all produces; you can only get them by sweat and tears and hard work on your heart farm; you must water them, fertilize them, ridding pests, and weeding. I was born with the generic anemia. The master retreating in the deep mountain told my grandma and my mom, “Do you really want this kid to live? Waste no time and cultivate your heart farm; this way you can quickly grow the life missing from this child.”

 

Life span is a produce; children are produces; they are all crops in our hearts. Fortunes are produces; good doctors and medicines are produces. Only when you sow can you reap. No sowing, no reaping. We are destined to be self sufficient farmers, relying on ourselves, working on our heart crops every day; no one can help us. After all, you must sow seeds; otherwise, you can pray until you die and it is still useless.

 

Words and Actions

If there is a distance between your words and your actions, it means there is a distance between you and success and happiness; the latter distance equals the former distance; this is rarely off, with no exceptions.

 

Gratitude

Some people live happily their whole life while some others can barely find enough to eat and they are afflicted with hardships and disasters and endless illnesses. Scriptures say, “A grateful heart will get everything; an ungrateful heart will get nothing.”

 

In the past twenty years, I have traveled all over the province and given timely help to those in need. This costs almost all our savings and over 90% of our business profits every year; until this day, my whole family still try to stretch every dollar in order to help more people. We have visited many families in great need. We have found that the poorer someone is, the less grateful. The more you give, the more they crave. They even feel they deserve it. Such people are discouraging. The most pathetic people are such ungrateful people, unrighteous virtue-less people. Many people have come to the consensus that those who need compassion the most turn out to be the least deserving. This is called virtue-less people taking the bleak road and getting stuck in dead ends.

 

No religion hopes to get benefactors' acknowledgement, gratitude, or payback; however, to someone who does not acknowledge a favor, is ungrateful, and does not return a favor, all salvation work goes down a drain because such people are forever those tragic people who don’t know how to turn their life around.

 

We can only rescue people from a crisis, educate poor people how to break away from poverty grip, and how to stand on their own feet to break through. All this must be able to open these people’s hearts, and develop a heart that is grateful, appreciative and reciprocal. After all, Nature has a golden rule: Only when someone is grateful can he get the happiness he wishes for; someone who does acknowledge a favor, appreciate a favor and return a favor will have nothing left and will never get anything.

 

People can be categorized into four classes:

  1. They are grateful even when there is nothing to be grateful for.
  2. They are grateful when there is something to be grateful for.
  3. They are not grateful when there is nothing to be grateful for.
  4. They are not grateful even when there is something to be grateful for.

 

In other words, some people are grateful when there seems to be nothing to be grateful for. Such people won’t die even in a death situation; they will live even in a no-life situation. Such are the first class of people.; they are practitioners. He can see Heaven when no one else can; he can be safe and blessed even when no one else is  safe and blessed.

 

Those who are grateful when there is something to be grateful for are commoners; still, there are not many. They are the second class. Such people will live only in a life situation; they won’t die only in a no-death situation.

 

Those who don’t feel grateful when there is nothing to be grateful will surely die in a no-life situation; they will surely die in a death situation. There won’t be any miracles. These are the third class of people.

 

Those who are ungrateful even when there is something to be grateful for are the most lowly class. They are the same as animals, no better than a dog. Such people can’t live even in life situations, and they will die even in no-death situations.

 

I don’t know which class you belong to. However, Heaven is not discriminatory. Your class decides your level, your rank, your illness and your life; there is no mistake. All people want advanced degrees, but advanced degrees don’t guarantee happiness or health. Even if you have money or prestige, it does not mean you are happy or healthy. What Heaven guarantees is only one thing: only when you are grateful, appreciative, and reciprocal can you get what you want; if you are ungrateful and nonreciprocating, you will have nothing left and you will get nothing.

 

Love, Heaven, and Light

Where there is love, there is Heaven, and there is light. Where there is Heaven, there is no Satan, no darkness, no death. Therefore, someone with no love lives a life full of darkness; in the darkness lurks grave danger, Satan, and death. Do you want light? Hurry up and light the lamp in your heart; light it with love. This way, you won’t live in the shadow of failures and death; you will be be able to transform grief into joy and step up to success.

 

Kindness and Attractiveness

Scriptures say, “What really makes a person is not his calculation but his kindness.”

Kindness means a compassionate heart. A compassionate person cares about whether all the sentient beings in the life-and-death wheel of six ranks can live happily and free from pain without caring for one’s own joy or sorrow, life or death.”

 

I don’t know about big philosophical ideas; I only followed my dharma master and learned from him how to treat others and how to conduct my daily tasks. I respect my master’s kindness, gentleness, and compassion very much, as well as his generosity, tolerance, and forgiveness. Many people came to worship my master and asked for his wisdom; my master time and again transmitted the golden rules. Year after year, he never got tired of such.

 

My master told me this: just as what the scriptures tell us, what really makes a person is his kindness; only kindness can be attractive. I etch my master’s lessons in my mind; I feel I have benefited from such lessons and I should share such unique lessons with everyone so that the muddleheaded folks won’t run around seeking answers from fortune tellers like headless flies. Our society is full of such people, with no wealth, no status, no fame, no benefits, no careers, no family, and no friends. These people have no kindness, so they are not attractive. They don’t have the attractive power like a magnet, they can’t attract anything, and they can’t attract anything close to them. For example, if one is not attractive, he can’t attract the other person, so he can’t get anyone to marry. How can he raise a family? Another case is having a business. If he is not attractive enough, he can not have employees or clients; he then can’t have money or business. How can he start a business? Look around at people, businesses, and objects. Anyone who has successful business must be a focal magnet, a principal figure of great attraction; such a person will definitely have everything and lack nothing; if he really wants something, he will get one thing after another due to his attraction.

 

I have a friend who was married for years but no children. He saw many pregnancy doctors, all to no avail. He came to see me, and he looked very sad. I said, “Only compassion can be attractive. Attraction has energy and can attract kids to you. Otherwise, nothing will work.”

 

For real, he changed; he changed completely. The following year, he had a bay boy; the next year, he had a baby girl. The boy grew up and went to Jian High School, and girl went to Northern Girls’ High School. They are both very smart,

 

I have another friend who runs a store but he has no business. I said, “You don’t have attraction. How do you attract customers? Only kindness can be attractive and can attract customers.”

 

In the past thirty years, I have saved many businesses from bankruptcy and many families from falling apart. I find the bottom line is the lack of kindness. As long as they have kindness, they will be attractive and they can attract. This is the key to revival.

 

My master exhorted again and again: You must have compassion and regard all sentient beings equally with compassionate eyes and a compassionate heart. The equal treatment means no discrimination. Only this way can you have everything and lack nothing.

 

How much kindness do you have? Do you have the attraction to attract beautiful people, beautiful things and beautiful objects around you?

 

What do you See in the Other Person? 

“What you see in the other person, so is that person.”

If you see the deities in a temple as pieces of wood, then they are wood. If you see them as images of deities, then the images are deities. If you see your children as jewels, they will turn out to be jewels in your heart. If you see your children as trash, then they will turn out to be trash in your eyes. It is all because whatever you see in your children, so will they turn out to be.

 

I go in and out of hospitals day after day. Many patients look at their diseases pessimistically, and their diseases turn out to be pessimistic. In contrast, some patients are tough and look at their diseases as no big deals; as a result, it is no big deal, and they recover soon.

 

The terminal diseases are not terminal themselves; they turn out to be terminal mainly because the patients themselves look at the diseases as terminal diseases; so they turn out to be. Therefore, terminal diseases turn out to be such from our own perception.

Many people say they children don’t behave. I tell them that their children misbehave because they always look at them as such; then they become such; if you look at your children as behaving, then they will behave.

 

A preacher did a field investigation in Bei-gang Ma Zu Temple. He wanted to see if the local believers worshiped deities or wood. He studied and studied, and he found the figures on the tables were nothing but pieces of wood.

 

When one sees others as wood, then they are just wood.

 

Whenever I go see doctors, I see them as the best and they can cure me and I will recover; I never alter my “seeing” a bit. As a result, I survive one crisis after another; a major illness changes to a mild case, and mild case changes into nothing, and I have a speedy recovery. Whenever you have mishaps, you should check your eyes. What you are seeing is the source of fortunes or misfortunes.

 

Jesus’ Holy Spirit

The Bible teaches us, “Don’t look down upon others. Don’t belittle the weak and small. You never know upon whom Jesus’ spirit is.

 

Don’t bully the poor. Don’t disrespect little animals. In the eyes of Jesus, maybe you are no more valuable than the others who are worthless in your eyes; maybe you are even more worthless than them.

 

These are the lessons I got from the German priest, from whom I learned Latin for years.

 

  1. Whoever has the spirit of Jesus on him is the most blessed, and he is the one who can bless us.

 

“I Want to Die. It Pleases me. Leave me Alone.”

In 1950, I just got back on my feet after a major illness. My school gave me exceptional green light for me to move to the fifth grade. At the time, the political situation In Mid Taiwan was tumultuous; everyone was on the edge, afraid they might be entangled in a political conflict; if they were labeled a political category, they would be condemned with no hope of light. Therefore, everyone minded their own business, and no one dared to care about others’ business. This was called the clean remaining clean and the stained remaining stained.

 

One day after school, a family member was walking me home. Suddenly, four big male students walked towards us and they were playing with a dormant grenade; they were grabbing it between themselves, tossing it in the air, passing it to one another, completely ignoring passersby. My family member was afraid I might be knocked down and have big trouble, so he yelled at them to stop. To our dismay, they were annoyed and purposely tossed the grenade towards me. Because I had been very sick and still very weak, some pedestrians took pity on me and picked up the grenade, but they did not reprimand the boys. The boys did not care and kept playing the grenade like a toy, snatching it from each other.

 

I felt the grenade was dangerous. I was worried that it might explode; then what? I asked my family member to follow me and talk to the boys; I insisted that they turn in the grenade to a police station. My family member kept telling me not to intervene, but I felt I should; what was there to fear?

 

Eventually, the boys got more and more impatient. They stood there and posed like big shots with their hands on their waists, “I want to die. It pleases me. What does it have to do with you?”

 

My family member worried that they might hit me, so he dragged me away in a hurry.

 

The next day, I read in the newspaper, “Three Mischievous Youngsters Playing with a Dormant Grenade: Three Dead and One Seriously Injured”.

I cried.

 

As a matter of fact, such dormant grenades were everywhere, some American ones, some Japanese ones, and some National Militants’.

We went through the Second World War; the American army combated the Japanese army, leaving our beautiful homeland with scars all over the place. Because the wars lasted a long time, anyone could pick up various sizes of bullets and dormant explosives if they stopped and bent over.

 

We girls did not dare to touch such bloody killing weapons, but some brave boys we knew copied each other. They played with their life and died. I couldn’t help remember the audacious big boy,”I want to die. It pleases me. What does it have to do with you?”

 

This world is full of such people, so some often advises me, “If he pleases, if he wants to die, then let him!” However, “he” isn’t also your beloved? Doesn’t saving “him” also save you?

 

No Permitting, No Taking

One summer, my kids had the assignments of collecting the specimen of plants and insects; it was required. My husband and I had to take three days off and take the kids to Ken Ding Park.

 

We went to register at the park rangers’ office; we told the kids to explain themselves to the rangers the kinds of plant specimen and insect specimen they needed to collect; without their permission, we were not to touch anything, take anything, pick anything, select anything, or catch anything.

 

The kids were obedient, but they felt other parents did not have so many rules and they wondered why our family was so strict. We told them that it was “no permitting, no taking”; with anything not in our possession, we were not to look, listen, move, touch or take without the owners’ permission. Otherwise, it was theft and robbery. It would be a stain the whole life, and it reduce our fortunes and life.

 

We walked along the tree-lined path, enjoying the beautiful nature views, picking up the abandoned plant leaves left by other visitors; we also looked for dead insects in the grass. My husband and I are both devoutly religious people, and firmly opposed harming grass or a tree or animals, big or small.

 

We required our kids never to harm any living flowers or grass unless we absolutely had no choice; after all, they would die once they were picked or snapped; they would leave their moms and die, and no one could appreciate their beauty anymore, wouldn’t this be too cruel and too selfish?

 

In particular, an insect has a home, parents, and kids as well as siblings. When it is accidentally captured, it will have no chance to live and no chance to reunite with its family. How pitiful this is! Put ourselves in their shoes; it is a sentient being with flesh and bones just like us. Isn’t it a person? We collect specimens just for temporary fun, but it is a life-and-death matter to these insect brothers and sisters. Don’t you think so?

 

The plant specimens our kids needed to collect were required assignments. When we really couldn’t pick up any from the ground, we asked Grandpa Tree for a few leaves. We taught our kids to kneel before Grandpa Tree and flip coins to see if Grandpa permitted.

 

I always respectfully introduced myself to Grandpa on behalf of our kids; I also introduced my kids, and I patiently explained to Grandpa what we needed and what we would do with them.

 

When leaving,we returned to the park rangers’ office and showed them all we picked and collected for their inspection; we asked for their permission and carefully packed them up in our backpacks.

 

These years, our kids are more and more thoughtful, and their protests to our requests are less and less. They know the far-reaching significance of the precept of “No permitting, no taking”. Now they reflect on their own words and acts anytime anywhere; without the owners’ permission, they would never touch or move anything, let alone take anything. Without the owners’ permission, they would not dare to look, eavesdrop, or inquire. Our kids know the boundaries, and they know about respecting others.

 

Many of our relatives and friends find it amazing that our family has been so auspicious, lucky, and happy in the scores of years. I tell them repeatedly that you won’t be offended if you don’t offend others. Even bacteria and any sort of diseases can’t enter your body and harm your body without your permission. Just for this, your principle of no taking unless permitted is worthwhile.

 

I often travel all over places on business to crack down on crime; my family and friends all worry about my fragile health combating thalassemia. My supervisor and my employees couldn’t rest at ease about the safety of a fragile, stumbling woman going around to unfamiliar, remote, backward places. However, I reassure them that for someone who strictly follows the principle of no taking unless permitted, others won’t take anything from her unless permitted; she wouldn’t have sudden incidents or disasters.

 

From the beginning to my retirement, everyone respected me no matter where I was; they all took good care of of, regarding small tasks or big tasks. With my disease, I would have long been vegetative if my disease broke out at a time or place far away from ER. From my childhood until now as a 63-year-old senior, the breakout had never happened at a remote place far away from ER or at a place where it would be impossible for anyone to spot me, even though the breakouts have happened constantly for numerous times. My life is extended little by little through “no permitting, no taking.”

 

My master said, “For someone who does not take anything unless permitted, no one can take his/her life.” I have been teaching this to my kids and my students, but the biggest benefactor is me myself.

 

I hope each of you will not take anything unless permitted from now on; I hope all of you will become a righteous person. This way, no more hardships, no more disasters, no more illness will be inflicted upon you without your permission.

 

No Hatred of Each Other 

When I was little, there was a neighbor on the second floor to our right, whose family believed in Catholicity generation and after generation. We all considered them as “rare species”, and we would stare at them with curious eyes.

 

My dad was an extreme advocate of traditional rituals; he held very negative views of such people who wouldn’t commemorate the ancestors. He was dismissive of them, and he would never interact with them.

 

Because I was diagnosed with a rare, terminal disease shortly after birth, my mom resorted to western medicine, eastern medicine, temples, immortals, and so on, all to no avail. My grandma said, “”Why don’t we let the strange neighbor take a look?” That strange neighbor socialized with foreigners every day; maybe they knew some foreign exotic remedies.”

 

So my mom went over. How she hoped that the foreign religion could give her a foreign miracle and power and save her dying baby. My mom went upstairs; the old neighbor aunt was very sincere and caring. There were two foreigners; they were a priest and a preacher. My mom told them why she was there. The priest kindly and patiently said, “Every baby is the most precious gift from God; every baby is worth cherishing; we must be appreciative and grateful.”

 

My mom nodded; she couldn’t hold back here tears. The priest said again,”Without hatred, a baby is free from hatred, no matter what kind of baby it is; only hatred begets hatred.”

 

What the priest meant was that hatred during pregnancy begot hatred; without hatred, one wouldn’t beget a pitiable baby. Whether such a baby was a blessing or a curse all depended on one’s heart, not on a disease.

 

At the time after my first brother’s birth, my dad’s whole business was taken over fraudulently by his so-called-brother partner. My mom was crying every day helplessly. It so happened that she got pregnant with me just at this time of the extreme scarcity.

 

The priest told my mom,”Judgments are made by God; so are punishments. Humans don’t judge each other; nor do humans hate each other.”

 

My mom understood somewhat. She returned home and told my grandma everything. Unexpectedly, my grandma believed everything. From then on, my grandma and mom no longer hated anything or anyone; instead, they became grateful of God for the blessings and such a gift of a precious baby to them two ordinary women, they began to understand how to treasure this godsend blessing; for real. They were grateful to God.

 

No matter what kind of baby you are pregnant with, it is a bountiful gift from God. We are only humans; we don’t understand God’s intentions and kindness. What we can do is nothing but acknowledge the gift, appreciate it, and pay back; we must respectfully accept this blessing.

 

My mom changed from being full of hatred to being full of gratitude. According to my grandma, this single mind change made my mom much more cheerful and much healthier. As for me the dying baby, my conditions improved completely.

 

My mom used to hate that man who robbed my dad of his business; she used to hate herself for begetting me the shameful sick baby. But what good was there from hatred? After all, only Heaven can judge humans’ right or wrong, debts or credits; only Heaven can judge bad guys and punish them. Why not leave such business to Heaven? Even when you get a very pathetic baby, only Heaven knows that kind of jewel the baby is, why the baby was born, and what will become of the baby in the future? Isn’t it so?

 

Where there is no hatred, there won’t be any hatred in the end. Many serious and terminal illnesses have only one cause: hatred. When the hatred is gone, so will the illness. The most difficult thing in this world is the indissoluble hatred. Because of the indissoluble hatred, there are incurable illnesses.

 

For a long time, I used to hate the fact that I was a lifelong disabled person with thalassemia; I wondered why I couldn’t live a normal life like a normal person. As for my mom, how could she not hate the fact that she got such a baby, who tortured her like hell? Luckily, my hatred transformed, so did my mom’s hatred. This was a heart transcendence, and it enabled us to survive the terrifying ups and downs of life and death without succumbing to them.

 

Many people are unfortunate enough to have terminal illness. There must have been lasting unspeakable hatred. Why not exercise great wisdom and wipe away the hatred? Harboring the hatred will leave the illness rooted; is it worth dying from withholding hatred?

 

I thank God, who gives me incurable thalassemia; to this, I owe my hard-earned achievements; to this, I owe my good fortune to really know God, bathe in the splendid blessings from God; I am filled with incredible joy, tranquility, peace, harmony, and happiness.

 

I thank God. For real, my whole family thank God. In closing, let me give you a word of advice: “Death only goes where there is hatred. Someone without hatred is forever in a disinfected room no matter where.”

 

Every night before going to bed, my grandma and my mom taught me to pray:”My dear God, may your name be heard far and beyond. May your Kingdom come to us. May your wish come true in our world just like in Heaven. Please bless us with the spirit that nourishes our precious bodies. Please protect us from imminent death. Please forgive us forgive our sins and seek no punishments thereafter in the same way we apply your teachings and forgive others and stay hatred free from now on.

Please protect us from temptations; please protect us from falling victim to schemes and sin. Please save us from cold-hearted killings of each other and revenges. Thank you God. Amen!”

 

Do Nobody Wrong

For a research presentation ceremony, my third daughter searched her wardrobe for  her formal outfit; it was her formal attire for such ceremonies. She looked and looked; finally, she found it, but it had several holes and was useless.

 

“Damn Mice! Why skip all the rest and just chew my outfit? Damn mice! Damn mice!” My daughter couldn’t help herself and repeated again and again. She couldn’t put aside her grudges.

 

I said, “My sweetheart, did you see with your own eyes that was the mice? If you didn’t, we shouldn’t do wrong to mice.”

 

My daughter was stunned.

 

I said again, “Even a mouse has the dignity that we can’t humiliate. Unless we have solid evidence, we don’t have the right to press charges. Scriptures tell us to follow eight right ways; such are the basics we need to follow. We shouldn’t chew up someone just because he/she is smaller than us or have no voice of their own!”

 

My daughter seemed to agree. She said, “Mom, I am wrong. I apologize to the mice,”

 

After this incident, all our kids understood my values and desires; they all knew what was the proper thing to say. After all, not all things are true if you don’t see them with your own eyes. How can we press charges merely on the basis of our imaginations when we are not at the scene?

 

We held hands and pledged to follow the eight right ways: we won’t bully them merely because they are weaker and smaller; we won’t press charges merely because they don’t have a voice. This is the mouth virtue and bottom line as a human.

 

 

 

 

Cancer 

Cancer is not a disease; nor is it a matter of bacteria. It is a nothing but a misbehaving cell in your body. A misbehaving cell comes from a misbehaving person, so cancer is a matter of one’s traits and personalities. My third sister-in-law was very arrogant; she was the daughter of the richest man in the local area; she was very rough. I said, “Sister-in-law, if you keep being so rough, you will develop breast cancer. Why not change?” She wouldn’t listen to me. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she passed away in less than three years.

 

No Bullying of Those Less Fortunate 

During my elementary school days, there was a classmate who couldn’t walk due to polio. We all wanted to take care of her and help her.

 

There were some male classes, and they often made fun of us girls. It made us mad, but we couldn’t do anything. One of the boys was from a rich family, and his parents enjoyed prestige; he had his own study and several private tutors, so his academic scores were high and enviable. Every time he went to the bathroom, he would pass our classroom and run across the classmate with polio who would be crawling on her hands. He was very contemptuous of her and he would make disrespectful jokes, laughing at her as an awkward, stupid crocodile. Sometimes, st the spur of the moment, he would step his expensive leather shoes on her shriveled feet, causing her excruciating pain; she couldn't struggle his fee off; it was very cruel. However, no one could do anything about it because his father bribed almost all the teachers at the school; no one dared to say anything.

 

This classmate eventually couldn’t put up with the male classmate’s insults and bullying anymore; she took her own life taking mice poison.

 

The male classmate’s family was very wealthy; he completed elementary school, high school, and then an ideal college; later on, he obtained a doctorate degree abroad and then took over his family business. He became a prestigious man in business. All his wishes were granted.

 

Of course, he became president or our high school alumni club.

 

One year, he was driving his expensive car on the highway when a drunk driver drove a big sand-grinding truck across the median and hit his car head on. The hood of his car was mangled and both his feet were stuck in the driver seat and his lower body was covered in blood. When the police tried everything to open his car door and the mangled metal in front of his driver’s seat, he had lost consciousness.

 

After a long time, he came to, but his legs had to be amputated and he was stitched  and sewed up in his head to amend the deformation; however, he became half vegetative and permanently dazed. When he uttered words,  no one understood him. Just like this, his bright life came to a stop.

 

Because he was the general president of the alumni club, lots of us classmates went to visit him, we all felt sorry for him. For us girl classmates, we all had flashbacks of him bullying that girl in our class, acting so arrogant and domineering, being so awe-inspiring and full of himself. We couldn’t help shivering; where was that guy now?

 

We good friends walked out of the hospital hand in hand; tears were running down our faces, not for him but for that disrespected classmate. Did she also come to visit him?

 

It took more than thirty years for gods to show the answer to us immature girls.

 

 

One year, I was asked by a friend to teach at a well known all-girl high school in the eastern part of Taiwan. The new principal wanted to change the school’s image as the bride school and hunted top college admission tutors as teachers for the graduating class.

 

I was hired as the teacher of one class. One of my students was very exceptional, with high IQ, ans she was considered as good in our school. My teaching philosophy was every student could be educated to be first class as long as we wholeheartedly  taught them; therefore, I grouped some smart students to act as teachers’ assistants in charge of tutoring slow students.

 

Then, this exceptional student got mad. She came to my office and disdainfully protested, “Teacher, theses students should be left alone. I don’t know how their parents brought them to this world. They are just useless scrap metals. If one wants to have a child, he should have a decent child; otherwise, don’t bear a child. I just can’t understand what their parents were thinking of.”

 

I told her that we shouldn’t sound so sure and we shouldn’t hurt those weaker than us or bully those less fortunate, but she would have none of these. I could do nothing but let go.

 

Twenty years later, a young couple came to my office. I did not know the man, but the woman looked a little familiar.

“Teacher, it’s me, OOO”.

I paused a minute and then remembered. “You were the golden student at the all-girl high school?”

She nodded. She had graduated from a top American university and she was the wife of a famous international businessman.

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

She began to cry, very heartbroken. She said, “Teacher, I only have one daughter, but I don’t know why she has Chondrosis and her whole body is like jelly. Now she can’t move and she can’t smile. She is going to lie in bed like that all her life till old age and death!”

I was sad to hear this, but what could I do?

Every word she had said when she protested in my office was ringing in my ears now. I cried helplessly. Was this the real answer to her words at the time?

The question was this: why does it have to have answers? Without any answers, then people can’t grow up?

I saw the answer, but it was not the answer I wanted. She was like my daughter, and her daughter was my precious granddaughter. For this precious granddaughter, I feel my student’s sufferings. I don’t know if this was payback for me not adamantly correcting her at the time.

 

No Expensive Food; No Expensive Clothes

When I was at a social gathering, oftentimes some people would ask me out of curiosity, “Why not try this?” I would smile and say nothing. Our principles of life are to regulate ourselves rather than to reprimand others.

 

My reasoning was simple: such things were too expensive and valuable. I don’t have many fortunes or a long life, so I don’t deserve it and I don’t dare try it. I only eat foods that a frugal person eats. If the foods on a table were luxuries for rich people or typical expensive restaurant foods, I dared not touch or eat. I knew clearly that someone like me did not have such an abundance fortune. It was the same with clothing. If it was too expensive, I would never buy it or wear it. And I would never touch any gaudy clothes. I only wore what poor people could afford or the hand-me-downs from rich people. I felt it was my duty and it fit my life, a beggar’s life. I only had a few clothes. Every time I went out, it was a rotation of those same clothes. Many people laughed at me behind my back and said that I did not know how to dress myself and I was a bumpkin. I was afraid of reducing my fortunes and life span, so I would rather look outdated than breaking a precept.

 

Scriptures say, “If you eat up all the foods you deserve this life, you will be a beggar roaming in the streets next life. If you wear all the clothes you deserve this life, you will become a bird or a beast with no clothes next life.” I keep this to my heart, not spearing to forget it. I don’t have many fortunes or a long life. If I did not cherish my fortunes and life at all times, I believe I would have long been dead and reduced to being an animal in the six-rank wheel of karma.

 

This world is full of people who compete to look good, to show off, or to covet fame and profits. For someone like me without tomorrow, I can only keep backing off; I can only remain a humble, ordinary person accepting my fate; I can only steady my steps and stay on the simple, humble track. I was born timid; it was already a huge blessing that I did not starve to death. Many of my acquaintances were surprised and wondered why someone like me with good income led such a frugal life; wasn’t it too hard on oneself? Wasn’t it a mental torment?

 

If I hadn’t done all this, could I have lived this long?

 

There is a saying, “Extraordinary people live an extraordinary life, have extraordinary illness, and get into extraordinary trouble.”

 

I am a terminally ill patient with no cure. I must try my best to simplify my life. This way, my illness will become simpler and simpler; it won’t go back and forth, up and down, leaving doctors at the end of their wits. If so, then I won’t have to worry about tomorrow, right?

 

Right Treatment of Heaven, Others, Parents, and Teachers 

From my childhood to adulthood, I often faint in the street and Good Samaritans will rush me to ER. Each time, my doctors are very quiet for a long time because they are amazed that I am still alive with such a terminal disease.

They ask me, “Why are you able to live this long?”

I smile bitterly and don’t know what to say.

 

On my very first day in this world, I was a terminally ill patient. My bones don’t generate blood cells, and there is no cure. At the time, Taiwan was under the rule of Japan; all the doctors and nurses were Japanese. My parents pleaded to them to save my pathetic life.

The doctor said, “With this kind of disease, she will live to be three at most. Even if she could live to be three, she would never survive beyond eleven years of age!”

I was my parents’ first daughter. My dad would always remain foolishly quiet, but my grandma and my mom would cry and hold me tightly, which put the doctors in a bind.

Of course, my grandma and my mom would never accept the doctors’ prognosis, “You may as well give up.” Everyone had their own troubles and no one could care about others’ life or death. However, my mom’s love for me touched some doctors and together they carried on the impossible task.

 

Now I am 62 years old. I have seriously contemplated, “Why can I live this long with such a terminal illness?

 

Once, I decided to drown myself in Bi Tang River. After all, I was living a sad and miserable life. I thought that ending my life would end everything.

 

By the roadside of Xindian, there was a fortune teller with sunglasses. He waved to me and called out, “Miss, do you really want to die? Let me tell you. Don’t do it. You won’t die even if you jump into the river again and again because your ancestors have virtues. You have lots of virtues, too!”

 

I never believed such fortune tellers. I did not look back, went straight to the bridge, closed my eyes, and jumped. Strangely, I really couldn’t die; I was rescued in no time.

 

What are ancestors’ virtues? What is virtue?

The fortune teller said, “Your parents are very filial. Your mom is particularly good to her parents in law. It is praiseworthy. You have also built lots of virtues and there are heavenly soldiers and guards protecting you.”

He told me to show him my palm. He stood a bamboo stick on my palm and then said, “Your deeds are more praiseworthy than those of your mom’s. You have been saving others. But you had a terminal illness from early on, and there is no cure. Nonetheless, don’t lose heart. You will definitely live a normal life like anyone else. You will live happily and enjoy a long life.”

 

Just as what the fortune teller said, I had never talked back to my parents or teachers my whole life, and I had never done anything that my parents or teachers disapproved of. As a daughter, I never mistreated my parents; as a student, I never mistreated my teachers. I never did anything that angers Heaven; I never did anything that breaks the law. I did not break Heaven’s law or our society law.

 

These past years, I have often wondered what exactly keeps me alive; was it injections, medication, transfusion, or iron removal? Or is it my heart? Or is it my ancestors’ virtues? Or is it my own virtues accumulated little by little day in and day out?

 

My dear readers, can you help me find the answers?

 

My patient friends have died one after another. Didn’t they also get injections, transfusions, and iron removal every day?  If there is anything different between us, maybe it includes the following trivia:

  1. No talking back to my parents and teachers. No conducts that disappoint my parents and teachers.
  2. No mistreating my parents and teachers. Acting the way a daughter should act and acting the way a student should act.
  3. No conducts that angers Heaven. No disobeying Heaven.
  4. No pretentious deeds and no false talks.
  5. No taking advantage of others, and no causing loss of anyone to me.
  6. No killing and no bargaining.
  7. No hurtful words and no hurtful conducts.

 

I think this is all.

 

It Can Remove All Sufferings, Without a Doubt.

The Buddhist Heart Sutra says, “It can remove all sufferings, without a doubt.”

My master exhorted, “In your interactions with others, you must be honest. Only this way can you achieve things and you won’t be disappointed, and your hard work won’t turn out to be fruitless. The Heart Sutra reminded us in particular that the only thing that can remove all our sufferings is truthfulness, which means being absolutely truthful about anything anywhere, with no trace of pretension.”

 

From my childhood to my adulthood, I always mean my words. I never pretend or lie. I have often paid a high price for telling the truth; however, every time, it has turned out to be good  and misfortunes have turned out to be fortunes.

 

Filial Piety

When my master was still in this world, he would always come to my hospital bed and accompany me whenever I was seriously ill or dying; he would never walk away.

 

Because thalassemia patients all lack red blood cells and proficient function of  spleen, the treatments often ran into unexpected difficulties and left doctors in lots of challenges. Many times, my doctors wanted to try a new treatments and they would ask my master’s “Do you think the new treatment and the new medicine will work? Will it be effective?”

My master would answer without hesitation, “It will definitely work. It will definitely be effective.”

My master would also say, “This little granddaughter of mine is filial to her grandma, to us Buddhist teachers, to her parents and to all elders. Everyone who knows her is moved by her. Her filiality will get her the best results; her obedience will get her the effectiveness. This is the Law of Heaven.”

 

When I was at the temple in the mountain, my Dharma brothers there would be concerned about me and ask the master, “Our little Dharma sister is so fragile, and she is terminally ill. Will she really be able to marry? Will she live a happy life?”

My master would say firmly, “She will surely marry. She will surely live a happy life.”

My master told the Dharma brothers, “Filial piety can elevate nine lowly fates and dissolve a hundred obstacles. Your little sister is very filial, so filiality will bring her joy and obedience will bring her success in everything. Her future family will be full of joyous laughter day and night  and be blessed with all successes.”

 

I am thankful to my master for the golden words of blessings to me such a immature granddaughter. Just as what my master predicted, I got everything. Even though my filial piety was far from enough, my family life in the past thirty something years has been happy and full thanks to my master’s deep love and constant encouragement; we are joyful every day and we achieve everything we want anytime anywhere. Where there is filial piety, there is laughter. obedience gets success. In my quiet time, I ask myself, “Are you filial? Do you really dare not to be filial?”

 

My master said, “Filial Piety is for one’s own benefit rather than for one’s parents’ benefit. Lack of filial piety hurts and harms oneself rather than one’s parents.”

 

Notes

  1. Does your medicine work when you are sick? If you are filial, it will.
  2. Is it easy for you to undergo all sorts of operations or treatments when you are hospitalized or in ER? Filiality to your parents will surely have an easy time.
  3. You may cry when being hospitalized; do you cry or smile when leaving? Only when you are filial can your whole family smile upon leaving a hospital.

 

Obedience Gets Obedience 

Many doctors told me firmly, “Little sister, you will not live beyond 18 years of age because of your illness”; therefore, I was afraid that I would not be able to finish my high school before I died with great regrets. They say that the age of 18 was a big threshold of body growth; however, I don’t have the ability to grow as a patient of thalassemia. As a result, it was certain that I would not be able to jump through the hoops but wait for death with tears.

 

When I was about to graduate from my high school, I knew my life was coming to the end. However, I was not ready for it and wouldn’t take it. I had never done bad things or hurt anyone. I was obedient from early on, getting my medication and injections and doing my homework dutifully; I really did not do wrongs. Why did I have the death sentence? From my fifth grade all the way to my high school graduation year, I had been attending the best schools in Taiwan; I was in the smart classes, I had been in the top three ranking in my classes, and I had won certificates of honor each year. No wonder that even my trenchers each felt it unfair for me, “A student like her who follows the rules and has excellent grades and great morals will definitely serve our country and benefit people. Why doesn’t Heaven give her a chance to Live?”

 

My schoolwork load was heavy. Oftentimes, I was preparing for all sorts of tests and practice tests late into night. Oftentimes, I looked out of the window and stared st the moon; I felt like I was looking at my mom and I would weep. I so wanted to ask the stars and the moon, “Why do I have to die this year? Why am I able to attend such good schools and earn such good grades? What is the point of all this to me a dying person? Does someone like me need to study so hard?”

 

The temple nearby started its morning prayer session around three in the morning. I often walked over to the main praying hall, found myself kneeling on the prayer cushion, holding my hands together for praying, lowering my head, and listening to the masters chanting Buddhist prayers and the rhythms of wooden fish beats. Every time, my skirt on the prayer cushion would be wet from my tears at the end of the morning session. How could I hold back my tears when I thought that my birthday would be my last day?

I prayed to Buddha and Bodhisattvas that I could live until graduation and then go to an ideal college; then I would spend my summer vacation visiting famous mountains and temples in search of enlightened Buddhist masters so that I could know my karmic affinities. Also,  I would end my life there; I believed that when I died in a temple, I would be picked up by Buddha and Bodhisattvas and I would never fall into Hell.

 

The master at the temple comforted me, “Little sister, you are an obedient kid. Obedient people attract obedient deities. Don’t worry. Buddha and Bodhisattvas will listen to you and your wishes will come true.”

 

I was worried about my schoolwork and my life, so I asked my teacher whether someone like me with numbered days to live needed to study so hard and whether I would continue. My teacher said, “Even if you are to die tomorrow, you must finish today’s homework, with nothing left undone. No matter how long someone lives, he or she must carry one the school work or work every day until the last second. This is one’s duty.”

 

When I graduated, I got admissions from three colleges; however, I was dying; what was the point of me wasting our school’s guaranteed admission slots? I only wanted to hurry to a mountain and find a peaceful place that would ensure my peaceful death. In particular, it should be a temple where there would be people burning incense, paying respect, reading scriptures and reciting the name of Buddha every day; this way, I would not become a lonely ghost. According to our local beliefs, an unmarried woman can not die; if she dies single, her sufferings in the netherworld will be extreme.

 

I finished all the tests; I packed a small bag and went by myself to an isolated mountain; this way I might run across extraordinary hermits.

 

I walked on the trail in the morning and afternoon; it was really hard to walk further, but nothing showed up. I ducked into some dense woods to take a break. To my surprise, there stood a magnificent temple, with strange yellow words on the walls. I thought, “Since I am here, I may just as well make myself at home.” I may as well barge in and ask them to put me up for the night. It was getting dark anyway; how could a frail woman like me find strength to go any further?

 

All the practitioners there at the big temple were male, and the abbot was not a local; nor was he a Han nationality, and his mandarin was not fluent. When I was brought to him, I was frightened and I couldn’t help trembling. He asked me why a little girl like me wandered into the deep mountain by myself at night? I explained to him and I respectfully kowtowed three times to him, silently kneeling there and praying for his pity and compassion.

 

I showed him all my transcripts, honor certificates and my teachers’ recommendations to show him that I was not a bad girl. You may laugh at my immaturity, the reason for me to bring all this with me was that I wanted to burn all of it and bring it to Heaven with me when I died. Besides, I also brought my favorite toys and dolls. The master looked surprised. I said that I had been lonely all my life and I was afraid that would be all alone again in the netherworld. These toys and dolls had become part of me, so they would go with me to Heaven, my eternal home; we would hold each other tightly and never separate.

 

The abbot was a big man and he couldn’t understand the heart of a little girl. He listened attentively to all my explanations of toys and dolls, but he still did not seem to understand and his face showed no expression; his coldness was a little intimidating, but his eyes were very kind. He nodded and said, “My child, your face shows so much kindness. You won’t die so young. You are an obedient child. Obedience gets obedience. As long as you want to live, your body will be obedient and let you live a good life. As a matter of fact, a good child like you will not be abandoned by deities. Make yourself at home here. As for your toys and dolls, your dharma brother will get you a small quiet room as their home.” In closing, the master added, “Be obedient!”

I nodded.

 

From that night on, my toys and my dolls and I, i.e. my small family, all stayed there and it became our safe haven. I went to college and worked, helping my dharma brothers with some Buddhist ceremonies, chores, or cleaning. Everyone was fond of me, their little dharma sister, and they extended their fondness to my toys and dolls. My master was over forty years my senior; he was like my grandpa. My dharma brothers were little my young uncles. It was a big, warm family,

 

My personality was very timid, and I had autism. From morning till night, I always followed my principle: obedience anytime and anywhere, obeying anyone without complaints or regrets. Year after year, I finally graduated, and I passed the national test and started working full time. During this time, I would spend all my free time being with my master, like a bird attached to its nest and a wanderer returning home.

 

18 years passed before I knew it.

 

One night, my master called me to his room and told me to kneel. He spoke to me slowly, as if he was leaving me his last words. I saw his eyes swollen and bloodshot, and I couldn’t help crying myself. He said, “Women generally don’t get to be designated to carry on the torch of a Buddhist school. However, you are very obedient, not only to my requests, but also to the deities’ requests. As a result, your personality and morals have been cultivated to perfection. You have earned enough to be my disciple and my heir. The most valuable dharma jewel of my whole life to you is obedience. You are a very obedient good child. When you take the place of my heir, all your disciples and worshippers will obey you; even Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and all deities will obey you. Obedience gets obedience. In the future, you will have an easy time and a happy life because you will have obedient children and grandchildren, obedient bosses and colleagues, obedient students and disciples, obedient ships and planes, obedient body…”

I nodded and nodded, and I thanked my master for the blessing.

 

My master underwent nirvana. I left the temple. I still have not gone back to be his heir because I only wanted to be a common, obedient small potato. For a woman, nothing is more important than the happiness of her family, including her parents, her husband and her children. I believed that my home and my kitchen were the best temple for my cultivation.

 

Time flies. Now I am 62 years old. All these years, deities have obeyed me and my health has obeyed me, thus enabling me to survive one day after another. All this is the blessings from my master. I am very content because my marriage, my family, and my children are all having it easy; my life is so complete, happy, quiet, peaceful, and auspicious.

 

As for the role of my master’s heir, I respectfully requested the senior dharma brother to carry the torch while I was on call to serve. After all, the heir of a left-home Buddhist should go to a left-home monk; this is the law of Heaven as well as our ancestors’ law. I have always believed that the truthful inheritance of my master should not be confined to the temple in the mountain; rather it should be with the main street folks. For years, I had waited on my master and observed his words and acts every day; I can say that my master was not only a left-home monk but he also had flesh, tears, emotions, and righteousness. He looked at every being in the six-rank wheel of life and death as his own kinship. I came to his bosom before I was 18 years old; he nurtured me like a baby in the cradle; he doted one me. He was dearer to me than my grandpa; he was more loving than my parents. I can vow that my master was not someone merely devoted to his own cultivation. Therefore, I decided to leave the temple and spread dharma; only this way could I stand by the side of all the struggling sentient beings. What my mastered wished for was for me to live a normal life; he wanted to see me getting married and raise a family. I would leave home life and become a nun if thalassemia prevented me from getting married. I will be obedient, but I won’t blindly return to the temple in the mountain. What I know was only scratching the surface of Buddhism; if I stayed there at the temple, I would definitely become a permanent sinner in Buddhism, and I was be shameful. Therefore, I chose to be obedient in the real sense and spread my master’s legacy among the folks; I will work hard my whole life to push my master’s teachings, love, light, and warmth to everyone in every corner of the world.

 

I used to practice quite a few esoteric methods to treat my illness, and I used to read the scriptures and rituals of Shamanism as well as Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist scriptures. However, the most valuable, unforgettable teachings from my master were only two words: be obedient.

 

Many people who are not obedient themselves want others to be obedient to them. This is barking up the wrong tree. Many people took disobedient planes, trains, buses, other vehicles; unfortunately, they died. Many people’s bodies were disobedient and their limbs were disobedient; they ended up in hospitals. Their bodies were disobedient to the doctors and their limbs were disobedient, too; therefore, no treatments or medication worked. Moreover, many  people got disobedient employees, disobedient partners, disobedient clients, even disobedient wife and children; nothing was good; everything was bad. They lived a miserable life their whole life.

 

My master said, “Obedience gets obedience. Disobedience gets disobedience.”

 

If you want a long life, a good career, good health, a happy family, good children, and success, the only key is this: “You must be obedient yourself.”

What do you think?

 

Hands Clean Enough for Incense and A Mouth Clean Enough for Prayers 

When I was little, my belly somehow began to grow. It grew and grew, just like a pregnant woman. The Japanese doctor insisted on an operation to remove the tumor. Some other doctors said that this growing lump might be the liver swelling or spleen swelling.

 

My dad was captured by the ruling Japanese government and put behind bars for his anti-Japanese activities. Only my grandma and my mom were home supporting the family. Could this operation be done? Could such a little child survive such a big operation? My grandma and my mom went all around to plead deities for messages and blessings. Later on, I had the operation because the doctor said, “With the operation, she may die or she may live; without the operation, she will surely die.” My grandma and my mom finally faced it. It was becoming urgent, and they had no other choice.

 

Shortly after my birth, I had an extreme shortage of blood and oxygen. Therefore, I have been sick. My doctor told my grandma and my mom, “Such a frail child is bound to die prematurely. Despite struggles, she won’t grow to adulthood. Even if she grows to adulthood, she will be nothing but a useless medication pot.”

 

My grandma, my mom, and my dad persisted in long term vegetarian diets, took refuge with Buddhism, burnt incense and prayed every day.

 

When I was attending the fourth grade, I somehow became bedridden for the whole year, completely lethargic. My grandma and my mom helped me get off bed every day; they taught me how to kowtow, how to gather myself and hold incense, and how to read scriptures and s. However, I constantly developed high fever and talked nonsense, and I was not able to command my hands. My grandma and my mom took turns and watched over me by the bed. My grandma had a habit of murmuring short scriptures along with some short mantras to pray for deities’ blessings for me.

 

Maybe the high fever damaged my brains. I was a disappointment to my teachers; I still couldn’t do the basics of one, two, three.

 

My grandma comforted my mom, “It is good enough for this kid to be alive. Leave everything else to chances.” My grandma believed that as long as I could keep my hands clean for incense and my mouth clean for prayers, my life will be peaceful. It did not matter whether I knew anything else or not.

 

Every day, I lay in bed quietly, listening to my grandma explaining slowly about the incense-holding hands and a prayer-saying mouth; I didn't quite understand.

My grandma said, “Incense-holding hands must be clean. They must be clean from stealing; killing; hurting of any sentient beings; snapping of flowers; grass, and trees; hitting of another person; slamming of a table; or bad deeds that put your parents to shame.” She then said, “A prayer-saying mouth must be clean; it must be clean from dirty words and false words, angry words and swear words, pot-stirring words, and cheating words; it must be honest and truthful. “

 

I listened to her every day. I absorbed words and sentences in my groggy state again and again, until my grandpa passed at the age of 92. Her exhortations of these golden rules have been ringing in my ears for all these years.

 

Because I was too frail, my grandma always shared the bed with me at home until my college graduation. Every night, she was worried that I might stop breathing suddenly in the middle of the night, so she always held me tightly.

 

On her deathbed, my grandma told my mom, “This child will definitely live on because she has clean hands worthy of holding incense and a clean mouth worthy of saying prayers.”

 

As a matter of fact, my illness did not get better. I still have to take transfusions, medications, and injections.

When I was moving from my second year to the third year at high school, my body development was stalled due to lack of blood and oxygen; I was sick the whole year.

When I was thirty six years old, I was in a coma due to delayed transfusion; I was vegetative.

When I was forty four, I had relentless high fever for the whole year for no reason; I couldn’t get out of bed for ten months.

Between the age of fifty four and fifty eight, I had one surgery after another and stayed in hospitals like home.

At the age of sixty one, the deficiency of blood and oxygen caused serious festering and putrescence in the lower limbs; I had surgeries after surgeries. I was treated at the hospital for sixteen months and I just got back home today, but I still cannot walk.

 

This is my thalassemia “transcript”.

 

My doctors say, “Is such a body worth keeping alive?”

No one believes that I can live to this age, hanging by a thread, despite the cycles of life and death; that I can have a career and raise a family.

My grandma said, “Everyone is ordained with assignments and a mission. Also, everyone was born for a reason, and no one can replace him or her. So, one must courageously live on no matter what.”

 

Many people ask me the key to surviving to the age of 62, and I say, “Nothing but clean hands worthy of holding incense and a clean mouth worthy of saying prayers.”

 

Do you believe this? For real, there is no other magic but this!

 

New Year

A new year should have a new face. Scriptures say, “A Buddhist heart will have a Buddhist face.” This is to say that whatever heart you have, you will have that kind of  face; you will encounter that kind of things and that kind of fate.”

 

The American President Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s your face, and you must be responsible.” For sure, your fortunes and misfortunes, richness and poverty, success and failure, or adversity and prosperity are all products of your own making; you must also be responsible for them.

 

You should make an effort to grow a new face in a new year. It should be a round face of joy rather than a bitter cucumber face with frowns; it should be a face of happiness, good luck, and kindness. This way,you change yourself, including health, wealth, fame, and status as well as the world around you.

 

Why We Should Wear Buddhist Beads

The original meaning of Buddhist beads is no killing. When we wear them, they remind us not to kill any sentient beings, including humans, animals, and plants; rather, we should do everything we can to protect them, and let them live on peacefully.

 

Someone was originally supposed to have a long life span, but he killed so many little lives; he shortened their life, so deities noted down the time taken away from the little lives and removed the equal amount of time from his life, shortening his life accordingly.

 

Someone originally had a short life, but he not only appreciated the life of little animals and plants but also took good care of them; he lengthened their life span. Deities noted down exactly all the life span he helped to lengthen and gave it to him, lengthening his life accordingly.

 

People do not die from terminal illnesses; they die because their life span is used up. Some people did not get any terminal illness, but they still died from car accidents, plane crashes or other accidents.

 

People should make efforts to expand their life, and the best way is never to kill lives but release lives.

 

When you don’t kill, King of Death won’t kill you. When you release lives, King of Death will release you and let you live on.

 

I am a terminally ill patient with thalasemia; my doctor gave a death sentence at my birth. My bones can’t produce blood, so I had to get transfusions before I turned one year old in order to stay alive. My grandma and my mom combed the whole country in search of good doctors and remedies for my treatment. Nothing works; until this day, I am still relying on nothing but transfusions. My grandma and my mom told me again and again that I should never hurt any sentient beings, that I should do my best to protect them and let them live on peacefully; this is life for life. They had me wear Buddhist beads to remind me never to break the no-killing precept.

 

From early on, I have been constantly unconscious and the doctors would always warn my mom, “This child does not have a future. It’s useless to raise her and bring her up. Why bother spending so much money on her? You’d better give up so you won’t drag down the whole family,”

 

Against all odds, I survived, even though it was difficult and sorrowful. Many people ask me, “What helps you to live on till today? “ I answer, “Buddhist beads, the vow of no killing and lifelong precepts”

 

I hope you will wear Buddhist beads and keep the precept of no killing. This is your vow to yourself. If you can do this, you will definitely increase your fortunes and life, have a good career and a good family, have plenty of children and grandchildren; you will live to be a hundred years old.

 

Thank you!

 

Notes on the Meaning of Killing

  1. Taking the life of sentient beings, both animals and plants
  2. Taking the livelihood of someone
  3. Causing desperate circumstances, resulting in the dead end of a person or an animal; for example, stuffing ants’ nest or bargaining to the extent of causing others to bleed through the nose and lose the ability to support their families
  4. Causing someone suicide either through hurtful language or acts
  5. Robbing someone’s business through unethical means
  6. Embezzling relief funds and depriving those in grave need of their relief

 

Reciting the Name of Buddha

I had never believed that reciting the name of Buddha was of any use.

 

When I was little, my grandma would recite Buddha’s name for my sake, so did my mom. However, I always felt it was foolish old people’s superstition; what was the use of it? I still had to get transfusions and remove iron from my blood; their prayers did nothing. Therefore, when they recited, they asked me to recite along with them; I was obedient and would follow them but in my heart I thought it was useless. After all, repeating the same word all day long was so simple; if it could really cure my illness, wouldn’t it be too simple?

 

This July and August, my thalassemia caused serious festering in the lower limbs and eventual necrosis. After getting diagnosis at three hospitals, they all told us I had to be amputated. Because I believed that “my body is from my parents and I dared not harming it”, I asked the doctors to allow me to go home and ask my parents for their permission. They said, “If they don’t give you permission, then you will skip the surgery?”

 

To my surprise, my parents were open-minded; they believed that my lower limbs were in such a bad shape that there was nothing else but let the doctors do the surgery.

 

I was scheduled to have the surgery at 7:00 the next morning. I thought that I would have no more feet the next day; how could I make the adjustment? I asked my family to wheel me downstairs and get some sunlight because I would be bedridden for twenty-five days after the surgery. We got to the sunlit spot; I watched people coming and going; everyone had feet. How distressed I was. The more I looked, the more self pity I felt. I decided to go back to my ward. Just then, someone threw away a tape; it was a tape of Buddhist prayers for his family to send off their dying beloved family member; the family member had passed, so he was throwing the tape away. I picked up the tape. I remembered how my grandma murmured prayers in my ears all the time; now she had passed; I couldn’t help sighing for myself. I would be amputated the next morning; I wanted to remember my grandma, and I missed her, who loved me dearly like her life. I put the tape in a recorder and started to recite Buddha’s name along with it, feeling as if my grandma was right beside me.

 

Just like this, I recited Buddha’s name helplessly again and again. Thinking of my grandma and thinking that I would have no more feet the next day, how helpless and frustrated I was!

 

Later that night, several doctors came to inspect my festered wounds. They studied the spots to cut and the details of cleaning rotten flesh; a doctor in residence wrapped my feet with several layers of bandages; they said that this way the feet wouldn’t be stained by cleaning disinfectant solution.

 

Early the next morning, I was wheeled into the operation room at a little past six. They hung up my feet to clean them, again and again until my ski was almost peeling off. After the brushing and cleaning, all of them quietly waited for the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other assistants. By this time, I was so terrified that I was beside myself; dazed and with tears in my eyes, I saw my hanging feet just like a slaughtered animal on a slaughterhouse rack or meat store rack. I couldn’t help weeping. I thought, I had never hurt anyone or any sentient beings; what did I do to deserve this miserable situation?

 

Finally, the surgeon came, along with five assistants. He unwrapped the bandage on my feet; all of a sudden, he let out a cry and it woke me up from my stupor. It was the surgeon’s voice, “Can these be rotten feet? How come they look fine?” A crowd came up, saying this and that, “They were obviously rotten. How come they are not anymore?”

 

Surprising as it was, the surgeon decided to wheel me out of the operation room intact. Afterwards, the surgeon and many other doctors in my case had many meetings and inspected my feet again and again; they reached the consensus that I did not need a survey anymore. So, they notified me the following day that I could check out.

 

Now I still don’t have mobility and I still can’t walk by myself because the internal festering in the muscles prevented new growth due to extreme deficiencies of blood and oxygen from thalassemia. Nonetheless, the exterior wounds have healed completely. I really can’t figure out, perhaps no one can, where the completely rotten wounds went? Did my prayers create miracles? If prayers by such a “modern person” who had never prayed before could be so effective, then the prayers by my grandma and my mom who were devout a thousand percent more their whole life must undoubtedly be effective. I think, this must be one of the main reasons why I am still alive.

 

Have you recited the name of Buddha? Is it really this useful? Is this scientific? Is this medically sound?

 

I have no clue. I have no idea. I have asked my religious masters, but I still can’t figure it out and I can’t find answers. I hear some Buddhist practitioners say, “Prayers from the bottom of your heart will be answered. This is no surprise.” Some friends say, “This Is called subconscious praying and subconscious practicing. Surely you can move Heaven and turn hopelessness into miracles.” However, such reasons seem to be too sophisticated. For me, I did nothing but follow the tape.

 

Notes

  1. The surgery I mention above is based on my memory of the process. If there is anything that is not in line with medical knowledge, it is beyond me. Maybe every doctor has his/her own methods of treatments, and every patient’s case varies from person to person. Therefore there is “no one size fits all.”
  2. I recited the name of Buddha for the sake of reciting, without any thoughts. I did not know what use praying had. I recited without a goal in mind. I recited all the way without anything in my mind.

 

Becoming a Human and Becoming a Buddha

Recently many readers and philanthropists came to visit me. They were very friendly and they encouraged me to cultivate and recite the name of Buddha. It puts me to shame because I have never cultivated and I have never thought of becoming a Buddha, so I have never recited the name of Buddha.

 

Some very kind monk masters also told me that as long as I make an effort and cultivate, I will become a very beautiful woman next life and enjoy bountiful wealth and status; if I am lucky enough, perhaps I will be reborn a man. I reply, "Thank you, master, but I'm very content in this life, and I don't crave for anything else. Next life I still want to be a woman and play the same role. In particular, I still want to be the apple of the eye for my grandma and I still want to be my parents’ daughter, I want to be the lifelong partner of my significant other, and I want to be mom to my five kids. For real, I'm very content this life because I feel I'm so fortunate and so happy every minute. "

 

At this my master shook his head; he felt I didn't have aspirations and I was beyond salvation.

 

There's an old saying, "Whether it is a bell or a tripod, mountains or woods, everything has its nature; we must let it be. " Maybe I can only be a human and not a Buddha. I remember before my master departed, he used to ask me, "What do you want to be? "

"I want to be a human. If possible, I want to be a true human. "I answered without any hesitation.

 

From Part 23 to 32 of Chapter 18, the Bible reads, "Anywhere there is a true human, God will not destroy this place; also for the sake of this true human, God will protect this place and bless all the people with peace, tranquility, fulfillment and happiness.”

 

I firmly promised my master, "I will devote my whole life to becoming a true human in the eyes of God, and Taiwan will be saved. God is the one of real words, true words, no false words; God will never lie. If I can keep my promise, God will keep his promise and protect Taiwan, protecting it from war destruction. This way, all the people in Taiwan will be happy. "

 

At this, my master patted me on my head and said, "My little nun! Try your best! It is harder to become a human than to become a Buddha! "

 

Releasing Life and Helping Others Out

Because our cases are often assigned by Japanese clients, German clients, or American clients, we have to maintain a high standard; therefore, the international  department of my firm bought a very expensive  state-of-the-art CAD machine, and we paid a high insurance premium for it. One day, we found our new automatic computer CAD machine missing; to clear everybody of the suspicion, the colleagues all proposed to report the case to the police so that we could catch the thief and get back the machine before it could be disposed of. However, I wouldn't want one of my colleagues to be put in prison and carry the stigma for life; I believed my colleague’s reputation was more important than the expensive CAD machine. I did not have the heart to call the police, and we did not seek insurance compensation. I had some hunch of  who might be the greedy people. In particular, here was a Vietnamese Refugee that I took in;  he fled from Vietnam to Taiwan, he had  no family, he was homeless, and he was very sick. I got him a passable dorm and a job that could sustain him, but it seemed he was not satisfied. His life improved and his needs grew; it is true that desires never end.

 

The machine was missing and this Vietnamese colleague resigned. How could this be a coincidence?

 

When others came to ask for the reference of this colleague, I wouldn't allow my personnel staff to say anything bad about him; I wanted to give him a chance, a chance to transform himself. My whole life, I don't hurt anybody, and I don't want to betray my colleagues.

 

About a month later, a competitor in the same field was introduced to me by a friend because a man was trying to sell them an expensive automatic computer CAD machine but they didn't know how to use it and they didn't know if the price was right. This competitor said that very few people were so extravagant to use such an expensive machine, but he knew that I had imported one. Listening to this competitor, I knew all along; I knew the person trying to sell the machine must be in a very tight financial position. I really didn't have the heart to take his livelihood away, and I had no heart to defame him; I really didn't have the heart to do any of that. So I told the competitor, "This is a good price; it's worth it. If there's anything you don't know about how to use it, you can come to us and I will send people over to help you. Please buy this machine. "

 

Later on, this competitor really took my advice and bought the machine, but nobody knew how to use it; neither did the seller. I sent people over to help out, and I brought them a lot of very important parts of the machine; these parts were the core of the machine; I had secretly locked them up in a safe; without these parts, the whole machine was nothing but a pile of useless scrap metal. I said, "I imported this machine, but I have switched to another brand, so all these parts are no more useful to me. You can have them. " The competitor was very pleased; so was I because I wouldn't have to look at the parts that made me sad.

 

The colleague that went along with me to the competitor told me when we got back to our firm, " It’s clear that the machine is just the one we lost, and the serial number is exactly the same. Why not call the police and catch the thief and get back what belongs to us? "

I replied "Losing a machine is no big deal, but losing face is a lifelong big deal. you can buy a machine again, but what about your face and your morals? They cannot be repaired to old age or death. Don't expose that person. Don't cause anyone any stigma just for the sake of a few thousand dollars. Leave him a way out. Let him live on peacefully. "

 

This Vietnamese colleague of mine now lives in America, and he is working for the Vietnamese refugees; he enjoys good social status and achievements; he has a happy family with good kids. He has come to me several times and asked for a chance to pay me back the money from stealing that machine. He said at the time he really had no other choice; he had no other way out, so he did that shameful thing. For me, the word stealing was from his mouth; how could I be so sure that he really stole it? I had never seen it with my own eyes, nor did I have any evidence; how could I ever convict him?

 

Someone who committed an offense may admit committing an offense, but we could not use it as evidence for convictions, unless we could find solid evidence. For years, I tried to forget that person, and I really managed to forget that person. However, 20 years later, he came back to Taiwan with his whole family to see me. They worshiped me as Grace Deity; It embarrassed me and I didn't know what to do. I said, "You say you stole it, but I cannot say you stole it. If you really want to pay me back the money, please donate all of it to the Vietnamese refugees. " I told my colleagues that suspicion was just suspicion, and there was a big difference between suspicion and reality. I hope we won't judge our colleagues or convict them; as for what this person did, only he himself knows. Why not let him judge himself and convict himself?

 

I sincerely told my Vietnamese colleague that I hoped he would become a proud man that could stand up straight no matter what he did before.There is a saying, "Let bygones be bygones. Let today start anew.” Don't hold onto the past. No one can avoid making a mistake, but we should not let a mistake become a lifelong burden.  Let’s work together and forget who he was in the past; let him forget who he was in the past. When everything is transformed anew, we are all reborn. When we help others out, isn't that helping ourselves out, too? God always decides whether to forgive us depending on whether we forgive others. After all, everyone may have a time when they need others’ forgiveness.

 

Don't you think so?

 

A Skeleton in the Closet

When I first founded my firm, it was located  in front of the Taipei Trains Station. There were 21 of us; most of us had college degrees related to the business of my farm; everyone was very good academically and morally.

 

In the first 10 months, we did not get any case. Things were hard, and we didn't know where the next day's food would come from. I thought of laying some of the people off to reduce the expenses, but everybody was so dutiful; how could I have the heart to lay them off? So I brought my family’s valuables to pawn stores, and everything that could be pawned was pawned.

 

One day, I just got back to the firm from a business trip; The accountant woman said to me frantically “The drawer with our operation funds was prized open! All the money was taken." She also told me that she had got a locksmith to repair the lock and added another more advanced lock.

I said, "Please get back that locksmith. " I asked the locksmith to remove all the locks; I wouldn't want any lock. The accountant woman was displeased; she asked, "Why do you want to remove the repaired lock and the new lock? "

 

Because of this, the accountant woman resigned the next day; she said angrily that I was crazy.

 

The next day, our operation funds were stolen again. My hands had been tied before; now my hands were tied even more. I had no choice but to go back to my mom and ask for a loan.

 

The third day, the large sum of operation funds was stolen again. I was so heartbroken, and I almost cried. After all, we had run out of all the means. Because I had no one else to borrow money from, I had to painfully pawn my gold watch, which was our wedding memorabilia.

 

On the 4th day, we only lost $10,000; nothing else was taken. On the 5th day, I opened the drawer and found all the operation fans intact; all was there. I didn't know why, but I burst into tears. In the past five days, my colleagues were disdainful  of  my foolishness; everyday somebody resigned. Just think about it. How could there be any future if your boss had no bottom line? When my mom learned the money from her was on display for a thief to take, she had been so mad at me that she wouldn't speak with me for a long time. My significant other and my children saw me pawn a lot of valuable things to get the money to be on display in the office for the thief to take, they had been very angry, too. Finally, the thief seamed to have taken enough and had never come back for more. Because I had lost such a large sum of operation funds, my firm bled a lot; and I could barely pay the employees. therefore, some colleagues resigned without saying bye.

 

When my father-in-law learned about the theft and the difficulty of paying my employees, he called me over to have a talk, "Was it true that you put money out for the thief to take? "

I nodded silently.

"You are a wife, and you are a mom. How can you be so foolish? "

I said, "I'm afraid that the other person had some unspeakable hardships and he couldn't share it. I'm worried that if I didn't try to help the person out, there might be a life-and-death tragedy; therefore, I put out more money for him to take; I hoped to help him out secretly. "

 

My father-in-law took out a bag of big bills and gave it to me. He said, "This is your nature. Any talk is useless. Take this money to tide it over. “

 

About 10 years later, I received a money order in the amount of $350,000 with an unsigned note. The note says "Dear ma'am, here is the 300 $10,000 that was stolen from the office that year, with an extra $40,000 as interest. Please accept it. Thank you. "

 

Another 10 years or so passed. My thalassemia broke out, and I was hospitalized in Taibei General Hospital for a few weeks. Then a woman in her 50s came to see me along with her three kids. She said, "Come. Greet Grandm,” she pointed to me and asked her kids to greet me. I could not remember who she was, not a bit. This unfamiliar lady sat by my bed and kept weeping without saying a word. Just like this she patiently kept me company and took good care of me until 6:30. Then she left. The next day, she came again and did the same thing. The third day, she came again. The fourth day, she came at the same time, but this time she said, "May I call you mom? Today is Mother's Day." She held a Happy Mother's Day card in both her hands and handed it to me respectfully. I asked, "Who on earth are you? "

"I was the accountant woman in your office. My husband and I now live in America. I heard from my colleagues that you are sick. So my family took time off to come back here to visit you and take care of you. Can you tell me if you received the $350,000 that I sent 10 years ago? "

 

It finally dawned on me; I understood now. I said, "I got that. Thank you for that. You sent an extra $40,000; I want to know who was the sender and I want to return it in person.”

"There is no need for that; that is interest payment; otherwise, I cannot have a clear conscience. " She explained; she couldn't hold back her tears.

" Let bygones be bygones, "I comforted her.

"You are my mom of my rebirth; you are my real mom in this life. I must be good to you and pay you back. "

 

From her crying and explaining, I learned the gist  of what happened at the time:

She had just graduated from a research institute and got hired at my firm. Unfortunately, she was dragged to a mountain by a cabdriver and raped. Her secret part was all torn; so was her skirt.

She had just started working, with no savings, and her family was poor. She did not know what to do. Who could she turn to with such an unspeakable misfortune? Helplessly, she put it off day after day, until her wounds were festering and she was bleeding. Her life was in jeopardy, so she had to go the hospital. Very unfortunately, the cab driver had infectious disease, and she was infected. What was even more unfortunate was that she was pregnant. It never rains but pours. At the time, abortion was against the law, so no legal Gynecology Clinics would perform the abortion; people had to resort to underground clinics, but such clinics always charged an exorbitant price. For this she tried several times to take her own life, but even dying was not easy.

She asked me, "Why did you remove all the locks and purposefully put out money for me to take? Why did you leave more and more money? "

I couldn't say a word; I cried. For real, what could I say?

 

A week later, she and her husband and their kids were going back to America. Both she and her husband have doctorate degrees, and both of them were working at their local academic institutions; they couldn't take too much time off. She knelt on her knees and held my hands, "Mom, please come to stay with us in America, okay? we all miss you, and we all need you. I owe you what I have today. "

I shook my head, and I cried louder. I helped her up. For real, I cannot remember at all who she was. I found a good daughter and a good son-in-law as well as three grandchildren. Both she and her husband have doctoral degrees; isn’t the little pain at the time worthwhile?

 

Notes

  1. Whether you believe this or not, please don't try to verify it for the sake of protecting the face of anyone involved.
  2. At the time when my operation funds were taken, I would walk in and out of my office with my head lowered. I was afraid that I might recognize the thief; I was afraid the thief may feel sad when looking at my face.
  3. At the peak, there were over 200 people at my firm; each group was running its own business; apart from a few leading managers, I didn't know many employees.
  4. Because of my thalassemia, I was often rushed to ER at hospitals; those who came to visit me are from all walks of life; therefore, there are many people that I can’t remember who they were, but I don't want to be rude and ask, "Who are you?"  Think about it. The others remember you very well, but you forget who they are; is it fair to them?

 

Blood-stained Bridal Dress 

In my family, our parents commands are like Emperor's decrees. We children can never disobey or question or protest. At the time, I was living by myself because of my work, in a small village in Taishan near Taibei County. I was not in a lot of contact with my parents; I even could not afford time to go visit my grandmother.

 

One early morning, I got a call from my father. he told me he was marrying me off; he told me to get dressed quickly; he told me the groom's family would send a wedding car to my place and pick me up; he told me the bridal gown would be delivered by the car as well. I asked, "What about my job? "

My father replied angrily, “ You are getting married. Why do you want to work anymore? "

I asked again: "Who is the man?" My father was even more angry on the other end of the phone, reprimanding me loudly: "If I want you to marry, do I need you to agree? In this world, which parents don't want to their children to be happy? You have your parents making all the arrangements. It's really a great blessing for you. You have all the reasons to be happy. What else is there to worry about?"

 

I sensed my father was really angry, and I did not dare to say anything anymore, so I accepted it obediently. After all, as a child, you should not make your parents angry or annoy them, let alone going against your parents. Still, I really wanted to know, "Which Prince Charming is marrying me? Is he fat or thin? Why does he want to marry me? Which department does he belong to? What does he do for a living? Who is he?"

 

There was a basket of question marks in my mind. Of course, there was also a great fear of ignorance about the unknown future. My heart had always been worrisome. However, "I tell you to get married, and you get married" was, after all, my father's order; it was also the imperial decree of "violators will be killed without mercy". What else could I do?

 

I  was plunged into a wave of contemplation and I sat in front of the dressing table. Tears were dripping, and my face was wet. I was crying so much that I couldn't put on makeup!

Then, the sound of horns and firecrackers from a long line of convoys awakened the tearful wandering soul from my daze. I opened my eyes suddenly. Ah! It was time for me to step out.

I hurriedly put on the wedding dress sent by the man, put on gloves, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry. I thought these outfits should be enough, so I closed my eyes and lowered my head, followed the man sent by the groom to the car; a few more firecrackers, and we took off.

I was quiet, seemingly peaceful. However, the waves in my mind were surging. I really didn’t know where I was being married to. Was it far away?

Our motorcade, six cars in a long line, headed towards the Zhongxing Bridge. This was the only way from Taipei County to Taipei City that year. We set off firecrackers along the way, and it was a very rejoicing procession.

 

Soon, the car reached the head of Zhongxing Bridge. Suddenly, a large crowd of people blocked the entire road. The driver had to stop the car and walk to the front to check. The matchmaker kept yelling: "The bridal car cannot stop halfway!" But the front was jammed, and there was nothing to do!

 

At this time, two or three people rushed to our car and kept beating the window of the car with their hands, pleading us urgently for help.

"What's the matter?"

"There is a car accident ahead, and there is a child lying in a pool of blood; his life is hanging by a thread!"

 

I had my head lowered, my face was covered with a veil, and I was wearing a heavy white wedding gown. Still, how could I turn to the other way? The man next to me sat there without any reaction. Spontaneously, I pulled my feet in high heels up from the five-liter bucket, throwing the taboos out of the window; I jumped out of the car and rushed to the accident site. "Ah! What a poor kid!" It was a primary school student who was hit by a big car and he was bleeding. I immediately bent down and picked up the child. The wedding dress was dragged on the ground in a pool of blood, wet, sticky and heavy. I turned around, ran back and got into the car. I immediately asked the driver to reverse the car and take the child as quickly as possible to the hospital for emergency treatment.

 

The man beside me still didn't react at all.

 

When the child was all set, I was summoned by the traffic police to make a lot of notes. That auspicious day, with its good wishes and hopes, was down the drain. As the bride's wedding dress cannot be taken off or replaced once it is put on, I had to go to the man's house in the bloody dress.

 

In fact, when the child woke up in the ER, my head had become sober as well. I knew that I was in trouble. I had violated the serious local taboo of marriage customs. I was destined to take the return trip. But it was a life or death matter. How could I turn a blind eye? Suppose the clock could be rewound and I could start again, I would still go all out to save him. Therefore, I am very aware that no matter what my future would be and no mater how miserable, these were the calamities that I was destined to encounter and I couldn’t escape; I would definitely do it again.

 

When we got to the groom’s house, someone opened the car door, held a plate of oranges, and welcomed me out of the car. However, when I got out of the car, everyone screamed: "Why is she all covered in blood?"

"Why did the white wedding dress become a blood coat?"

I lowered my head and stood there awkwardly. The hem of the wedding dress was full of blood, making the flower girl afraid to hold it. All the men from the groom’s family ran into the house and left me outside. They seemed to have an urgent meeting.

 

After a long time, someone yelled: "Let the bride in first, lest a crowd gathers and everyone loses face!"

 

I was placed in a separate room upstairs; it did not seem to the bridal chamber. I sat on the bench, cold and all alone.

 

The matchmaker said: "Wedding banquets, visits, visits to in-laws, etc. are all canceled. How can you go out anymore in this bloody wedding dress and bring shame to the family?"

 

Late that night, I was still sitting there, cold and all alone. The more I cried, the more sad I became. But no one could save me from my destiny. The matchmaker said, "When all the guests are gone, we will get a car to take you back. We have decided not to keep you!" When I heard that, I immediately grabbed the matchmaker, knelt down and pleaded, but the matchmaker was completely indifferent:" Don’t you like to save people? Why don’t you save yourself now? Do you think that wearing a white wedding dress, you are the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva in white? You are full of yourself!”

I told the matchmaker if I was sent back, I would have no choice but to throw myself into the river. The matchmaker seemed to be taken aback, but she went out without saying a word.

 

The night was getting later and later, but I still sat on the bench, all cold, without seeing the groom or any relatives.

 

Gradually, I was tired from crying and couldn't help but leaned against the wall and fell into a groggy sleep groggy. In the daze, I vaguely visualized our family's dire economic situation because of my death. I knew that I would never die. If I died, our family would not survive.

 

A woman can only marry once in her life and can only wear a wedding dress once. This is the ancestral family law passed down from generation to generation in our family, and now I have worn it, and I have no more chance.

 

I finally brought up the greatest courage and told the matchmaker that I was willing to take the return trip as the groom’s family requested. I was also willing to return the money my father had taken.

 

Soon, the window by the side of the road seemed to start to light up slightly. The man’s family was still quiet. But I was no longer struggling. I was willing to become a dancer in a ballroom or a waitress in a lounge. I did not care, as long as I could pay off the large debt owed by my parents as soon as possible.

 

At this time, a man appeared. Could he be the bridegroom? He didn’t say anything, but only said to me gently: "Early in the morning, when the day breaks, we will move out. You’re covered in blood; you scared the whole family, so we have to leave this house!"

I nodded. After all, it’s a woman’s destiny to marry a man and follow the man. Do I have another option?

 

Just like that, I followed this man who I had never met and we quietly walked out of this house where I had sat on a cold bench all night;  no one had said hello to me, and no one had paid any attention.

 

Our new home was a small place that would barely house two people. That night, we completed the husband-and-wife ceremony on the spot. I was so grateful that the bridegroom did not reject me, and the bridegroom was full of praise to me for saving a life at the expense of my own interest. He said my compassion was really touching, and such rare acts would touch the hearts of Heaven and deities. He also said that with such a beautiful heart, I would surely have a beautiful life; he had 100% confidence.

I had thought that I was at the end of the world. I didn't expect it to turn around like a miracle. I was so thankful for such a big turnaround!

 

One year later, our first daughter was born. To register her birth according to law, we had to show our marriage certificate. He took out his ID card and also told me to take out my ID card. I suddenly realized something was wrong. How could his name be completely different from the one printed on the wedding invitation? It was not the name my dad told me back then!

 

He laughed. He said: "Mom, you have no idea who you are marred to. You don't know anything at all!"

I said, "Dad, how can I know your name?" I only know a woman’s traditional virtue of three obediences and four duties. Attending to this home wholeheartedly, how could a little woman like me think so much!

He said: "On the day of your wedding, it was my cousin who was supposed to marry you. But, you were wearing a white wedding dress stained with blood. My cousin was terrified, and of course my cousin’s parents were terrified. So, that night, everyone agreed to return you immediately. But the matchmaker said that you would hang yourself and that was only one way, even though I firmly opposed their cruel decision. I repeatedly emphasized that the bride’s heart was kind and beautiful, and I also asked them: "Is it guilty to save people?” Anyway, I had tried my best to change their minds. Under the prerequisite of saving people first, a light went on in my head and I got an idea; I entered the bridal chamber and picked up the marriage deal. You didn’t know the bridegroom anyway; what difference does it make whoever you married? Otherwise, if you save someone’s life but you will not be able to live and you will lose your own precious life, is there justice in this world?"

I listened. I was really angry and grateful at the same time. How could he do such a thing? I didn't say a word to him for several days, and he was so nervous that he apologized again and again.

 

Two years later, he asked me to go to the cancer ward at the National Taiwan University to visit a patient who had been sick for many years. He seemed to be a relative of the same family. At first glance, he seemed a little familiar. My husband introduced me: "This is my cousin, the only child of my uncle and my aunt.”

Turning around, he introduced me to the two elderly couple who were almost blind from shedding tears, "Please meet my uncle and my aunt.”

In my heart, I felt that these two old people were so pitiable; they had only one child, but he had liver cancer, and it was in the final stage.

 

Out of the ward, I asked: "Have I seen this person? I have seen him. Is he from this family?"

My husband said, "This is the real bridegroom who were supposed to marry you back then, and those two old people would have been your parents-in-law back then!"

I said, "Can I take time to help these two old people take care of this patient? ?Can I be a daughter to them and support them for the rest of their lives?"

He nodded and said, "Only after a hundred years of cultivation can a man and a woman be reunited on the same boat; only after thousands of years of cultivation can they be reunited in the same bed. Although your affinity with my cousin was ruined by a blood-red wedding dress, the affinity was still precious even for one day. We need to be grateful to the well when drinking water, so I support your kindness and compassion. ”

 

I thought: Will this person be cursed by a blood-red wedding dress? Was I really a hapless bride that day? Doesn’t the old saying go: marriage is predestined and no humans can change it” Why did the cousin want to marry me then refuse to keep me?

 

For more than 30 years, our family has lived happily, with plenty of food and clothing, no worries about clothing, no worries about food, and I have five children. All of them are filial and obedient, and all strive for the top. They have graduated from first-class research institutes at home and abroad. I really don’t know why on earth a bride like this can’t be married, and why the man wanted to push me to despair so ruthlessly.

 

Our family has never quibbled or argued.  We all cherish everything, our fate and the blessings; we have been making our lifelong efforts to maintain the peace of our family, and make our home a pure land and paradise on earth. My husband and I have never been separated, holding each other’s hands forever in joy; in our simple ways, we spend our days peacefully. Both of us have a steady job and a very generous income; except for my thalassemia, our life is perfect. It can be seen that the blood-red wedding dress is a source of endless blessings. How could it be a curse?

 

Almost all of my relatives and friends were not optimistic about me the bloody bride; everyone was afraid that it meant bad luck which would cause catastrophes or tragedies, but the facts proved that the worldly superstition that almost put me to death was completely wrong. At that time, my husband dared to marry me because I was covered in blood from trying to save a life. How can a compassionate heart like this lack blessings and cause trouble? Time is the best proof. My husband is right.

 

Now, my children have grown up, and they are coming of age of marriage. The children said: "Mom, who can divorce a woman like you? If we were the groom, and you were bloody that day, the wedding dress was messy, in our minds, you would still be the most beautiful bride in the world because you have a beautiful heart! And the time you delayed for saving a life turned out to be the truly auspicious day blessed by God!"

The reassurance of my children often makes me cry like a bitter rain that won’t stop! The question is: the one who actually married did not enter the bridal chamber, but the one who entered the bridal chamber was not the real bridegroom. Am I really married? Who did I marry?

 

Notes

  1. A reader asks: "Why can't you cancel the wedding and return to your own home?" According to the local customs, when a daughter leaves home for marriage, it is the water that is poured out. Going back will bring down her natal family's entire life and cause her brothers and sisters to never stand up. As for my situation, it is worse than this; I was sold by my parents. My parents partnered with someone to open a large-scale printing factory to produce monthly calendars, newspapers, and magazines. However, due to bad luck, the clientele fell, and my parents couldn't support it. In the end, it was closed and auctioned off by the court. In order to survive the emergency, my parents had no choice but turned to the doomed money of loan sharks from the underground bank. When my parents had nothing, they fell into the hands of the underworld. Except me their daughter, they had nothing to sell for some money. It can be said that they had no other choice. For this marriage, my parents finally sold me for a large sum of money, and it also relieved the suffering of my parents and the whole family; they were saved from the underworld and the endless sufferings. I was not in a position to be divorced; if I were divorced, my parents would have to return the money. Wouldn’t my parents fall into miseries again? When a person dies, no one else in the family has to die. I am a terminally ill patient who might die at any time; why can't it be me myself? Why don’t I end it all? Because I was ignorant and impulsive, I stained a wedding dress in red to save someone, and I almost killed my parents again and caused them to fall into the underworld. Alas, the poor family has the sorrow of the poor family, which is beyond the comprehension of outsiders. (This debt, I paid it back ten years after my marriage. I didn’t expect the blood-red wedding dress to be so expensive.)

 

  1. This blood-stained wedding dress was in my 60th birthday celebration. With the blessings of the whole family, we dedicated it to Heaven and Mother Earth, and incinerated it on the spot. Back then, the rental bridal shop insisted on rejecting this wedding dress and asked me to pay for it. After two or three years of negotiations, I refused to give in, which almost brought the living expenses of my entire family on the verge of collapse. In fact, my life was already very tight back then, and even the money for my eldest daughter's milk powder was not available. It was a case of “It never rains but pours.” When a person has no luck, everything runs out of luck.

 

  1. Because part of the plot of this article involves personal privacy, it was deleted when the manuscript was proofread. Therefore, the context may be inconsistent, or even slightly out of touch with the real facts, and it cannot be completely consistent. Please pardon me.

 

 

 

Single Mom

At the end of September 1966, I was still raising money for traveling abroad and living expenses. Originally, the public funds provided by the West German government should be sufficient for international students. But my parents thought that I was too irresponsible to leave the burden of the family's life on their two elderly people. Therefore, I hoped I could save some money first before going to Frankfurt for further study.

 

I was a little girl. Every penny earned from my full-time work or part-time work had been given to mom and dad without any money left for myself. I had never opened a salary bag by myself, nor had I taken it from the salary bag, not even half a penny, I handed the salary bag to Mom and Dad intact with both hands. Even today, when I have my own children, it is still the same. Because of the tragic family situation, too poor and too hard, and I did not have the heart to reach out to my parents for any assistance. I was a self-defeating person, even less able to make friends or socialize with colleagues, so how could anyone help me out or lend me money? How could there be any acquaintances who could generously donate money? Although I had not been living with my parents, I could still sense the sorrow of a poor family in their tears. To be honest, blood is thicker than water. As the eldest daughter, how could I leave my parents? How could I leave my younger brothers and sisters?

 

So, I took the courage and went to beg an elder who had several children in his family. I was tutoring their children, especially the eldest, who was two years younger than me. I had started tutoring him when he was a third year high school student while I was in my freshman year. At that time, he had graduated from university and completed his military service, ready to go to the United States for graduate school. This family was very traditional, the father was very kind, they valued filial piety, and siblings were harmonious and respectful. It was a very educated scholarly family.

 

During my time as a tutor, the two elderly people had regarded me as their own daughter, and loved and cared for me all the time. However, for me, a Buddhist disciple who was ordained, the wealth and splendor of the prestigious family seemed to be too detrimental. What's more, I suffered from autism. I always stayed away from people and dared not get too close. Therefore, I had never dared to accept their love. Common people are always common people; why bother trying to climb high? This time, urged by my parents, I was really desperate. Deep down in my heart, I looked forward to a miraculous adventure and a savior. But standing on the streets of Taipei, the feeling of isolation and helplessness is really "No predecessors and no followers. The universe is vast, but I cry in my tiny corners." I thought, if I didn't bite the bullet and ask them for a favor, who else could I turn to?

 

Unexpectedly, the two elderly couple in this family gratified my request immediately. They immediately took a large sum of money and put it in my hands, and they kindly asked me: "Is this enough? If it's not enough, please don't hesitate to come back for more!" I counted it face-to-face, and I said: "Too much. I don’t need so much!"

Because I must repay the loan, the loan couldn’t be too big. However, the two elderly people kept asking me to accept it. They said, "When you get the JD and come back, this small amount of money will be no big deal."

 

That night, the two elderly couple mentioned very politely if I could be their daughter-in-law; for them, it would be a blessing for their ancestors. I told them that my parents would not allow me to marry someone from out of Taiwan because they were afraid that I would be taken back to the mainland and that I would not see them every day in the future. The two elders were very understanding after hearing this, and they didn't mention a word afterwards.

The fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month was the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the moon was full. I was in a mess. I didn’t even have the pleasure of appreciating the moon, because in a few days I would set out to wander at the end of the world thousands of miles away. I had a heavy heart.

 

On the 16th day of the eighth lunar month, the moon was rounder and brighter than the fifteenth. These two old people who were like mother and father to me, along with the children I taught, decided to have a going-away party for me. That enthusiasm made me appreciate their kindness, so I had to accept the invite. I had always been unable to take any alcohol. Especially since I took refuge with Buddhism at the age of eighteen, I had followed my master to take precepts, and I didn't even know what wine was. But these were the people who had always loved me very much, taken care of me, and helped me a lot this time. How could I push them away? Besides, we would be in separate land, at least for seven years. Could I really say no to half a drop of wine? I gently picked up the small wine glass and took a sip. It felt strange. At first, I felt dizzy, and soon I fell asleep.

 

When I first woke up from a big dream, I found that I was lying in a beautiful new house, decorated like a bridal chamber, and my clothes were changed from the inside to the outside, and I had been changed completely and my outwear was still neatly dressed, with a pink bridal gown and a white wedding dress. I knew I had made a life mistake. The man said: With the support of my family, I had burned the incense and paid my respects to the ancestors before entering the bridal chamber.

 

It was such a misstep that became an eternal hatred. In the confusion, I somehow became the eldest daughter-in-law of this family. I hated it! I really didn't expect this kind of decent and well-respected scholars to do this kind of thing!

 

I didn't dare to tell my parents, but my body was very uncooperative and I was fatigued. Mom and Dad seemed to feel that something was wrong with me and asked me questions. The more they asked, the angrier they became. They simply ordered me to take the medicine for abortion. The man also sent someone over to propose to my parents; they thought that it was a done deal, so why not get married? But parents yelled at them as villains and inferior animals. Of course, it was out of the question. The man pleaded, "Don’t go to West Germany. Since we have burned incense, bowed to my ancestors, and entered the bridal chamber, why don’t we get married first and then go to the United States to study together?" I said, "My parents don’t allow that. Forget about it. I will never do things that upset my parents in my life. "

 

I knew I got pregnant; I was a Buddhist disciple; I don't kill, so how cruel I would be to kill my fetus? And I couldn’t shamefully go to study in West Germany with my big belly. What's more, a female student wandering in a foreign country, how would she be able to raise her own child?

 

After more than three months, my belly was too big to be missed. My parents decided to kick me out of the house, not allowing me to step into their home. My grandmother was also afraid that my neighbors would gossip, so she asked me to find a quiet place to avoid the limelight. When the stomach got flat, I could go back home.

 

I wrote to West Germany to explain the circumstances to my adviser because I had no way to go over that year. I also asked the professor to give me guidance. My adviser said: "First give birth to the baby safely, and then come to West Germany to study next year." I was a woman. It was natural for me to love my baby. Of course, in the dilemma, I chose to stay in Taipei and let my baby come to the world safely. After all, my baby was in my belly. This precious baby was my only relative in this world, and of course, it was my whole life.

 

When I was kicked out by my grandmother and parents, I wandered on the streets of Taipei in a dazed and helpless manner. I had never really left home. I really didn't know where to go. Someone told me that there was a home for unmarried mothers in Hualien, and there was also a home for unmarried mothers on Xinsheng South Road in Taipei City. However, this person said, in the home of unmarried mothers, you couldn’t take the baby you gave birth to. This was too embarrassing for me. Someone suggested that I go there to ask first, but I felt ashamed and I had a big belly How could I make a fool of myself showing up everywhere? I walked slowly, step by step, dragging my tired body like a lost soul and staring blankly. When the pedestrians and vehicles came and went, I tried to spot a face that might be a little familiar, so I stared and looked at them again, but by the time the night fell to pitch dark, I still hadn’t seen a single acquaintance or relative.

 

I thought: Why not go back to the mountain to find Master for help? But there was a little baby in my belly, and I had no strength to walk the long and rugged mountain road, nor could I climb the cliffs. Besides, the Master’s place was a state-level solemn,  sacred Buddhist place full of men. How could an unmarried girl who was pregnant show up inexplicably? If I showed up, how could Master still have the face to maintain his status in the Buddhist world? He was a well respected patriarch master of our time. How could I cause any shame to the master? I would rather live on the street and be a beggar than to seek refuge with the master and defile the master.

 

Where on earth should I go? I didn't have a penny, and I didn't bring a piece of clothing, and it was very dark in December. There was a blast of cold wind, chilling to the bones. I was so hungry and so cold; particularly as a result of my deficiency of blood and oxygen, I was trembling. Who was willing to give me a bowl of hot porridge to fill my empty stomach? I was so worried that such a cold climate would freeze the little life in my belly to death! Seriously, I was so hungry and so cold! But where could I go? Staffing agency? No one would be interested in a pregnant woman. Should I beg from from house to house? No one was willing to help. Someone told me: There were many factories in Sanchong, and there was a shortage of female operators and cooking maids. I felt I should be able to give it a try.

 

When I arrived at Luzhou, I looked at the poster on the wall of the park and asked for directions. Finally, after a few days, I found a job as a female worker sweeping the floor, pouring tea, and answering the phone. The pay was very low, but I was able to fill my stomach. The little baby inside was not hungry; it was enough. Of course, I needed money for blood transfusion and iron removal, and I needed to buy some nutritional supplements for the little baby in my belly so I could feel more at ease.

 

During the Dragon Boat Festival in 1967, the baby in my belly was nine months old. There was a dragon boat race under the Zhongxing Bridge, which was crowded with people. At this time, even if I was wearing flat shoes, it was already difficult to move. The lumbar spine was so sore that it was difficult for me to even stand on my feet. My doctor told me that severe pernicious anemia was life-threatening during childbirth and it would require a large amount of blood transfusion, which was very expensive. He asked me: "There is no financial difficulty, right?" How could I have no problem? I almost had no food.

 

"Just die with the little baby? Didn't Qu Yuan die when he dived? It's a coincidence that today is the Dragon Boat Festival. “If you become a water ghost, you don't have to worry about being hungry. You will be full just by eating rice dumplings, right?" I walked towards the crowds. In the middle of the bridge, there was a human wall of spectators. I pushed my way for an empty spot. When I went up there, I jumped down into the river.

 

When I woke up, I was lying on the beach on the shore, and a lifeguard was giving me CPR. The policeman asked why I didn’t take care and why I was pushed into the water like that. I was very tired and sleepy, and I didn't even have the strength to speak. As soon as I closed my eyes, I fell asleep again, unconscious.

 

Later, I was transferred to a nearby hospital for antenatal injections, cardiotonic injections and nutrition injections. I told the lifeguard that I did not have a penny. The lifeguard comforted me very kindly: "Miss, don't worry. You just have a good rest." I was lying on the hospital bed without any of my relatives and acquaintances. I quietly pondered: "When I was raped, it was sorrowful enough. Not only did the family refuse to comfort me and heal my pain, but they drove me out of the house and let me live on the streets regardless of my life and death. Wasn’t this be too unsympathetic? Too cruel? Is our society still a barbaric tribe?”

 

Many people have been persuading me to abort. But I think if a person can kill her innocent and weak children with her own hands, is this society still humane? Is it still civilized?

 

My master opposed abortion; he said: "Unless you and your baby die together, no one is allowed to deprive the baby in the womb of life no matter what."

 

Shortly after I was raped, within a few days, I realized that my monthly period had not come on time. At that time, I only had to take a dose of Chinese medicine to abort the pregnancy, but I firmly believed that life was priceless, and the future of this child was still unknown. Maybe everything would be fine later and she might become someone who can contribute the country and society, and this child would have its own children, one generation after another. Think about it; if I gave up this child, I would be giving up more than just one tender life!

 

I quit my work and cut all kinds of ties, just to keep this child, a tender life, and I was reduced to the countryside of Luzhou in Sanchong, where I worked as a lowly maid.  I was constantly starving, until the full pregnancy of ten months. In this tragic cold time, apart from tears, the only comfort was the bright moon that hung high in the sky in the dark night, and a group of small stars around her. If this child was a woman, she would be like the moon in the future, and she would be a good mother, right? If there were many children, they would be like little stars!

 

I had a severe anemia similar to blood cancer, and the doctor would do prenatal checkups. At that time, I was always worried that I would die due to dystocia, and I repeatedly doubted that the fetus was normal. I was really afraid that I might die, leaving the child in the world to be abused and bullied; if the child died, I would lose the courage and meaning to survive, so I chose to dive to end the lives and the sufferings of mother and baby in this world. Perhaps, in heaven, we would be very happy.

 

Fortunately, the baby in my belly and I were rescued safely, and I didn't have a miscarriage due to the pregnancy mishap. During the days when I was recuperating, I began to understand that no one had the right to kill; our skin and flesh from our parents were not to be harmed by anyone.

 

To be a woman, you must be stronger than a man in order to survive.

 

On an afternoon in June of the lunar calendar in 1967, my child came to the world in my wailing and screaming. Fortunately, it was a girl; she was not big. Otherwise, I would have collapsed and died. For nearly five days, I had been tormented with the pain of being torn apart, wailing and screaming, disturbing the entire delivery room. I had tried to grab with both hands, but I couldn't grab anything. I had tossed and turned; all sorts of weird words, swear words and inexplicable words had all found their way out; even though I was crying and screaming until I was hoarse, there hadn’t been even a single comforting relative beside me, not a single sympathetic soul.

 

The hospital asked me, "Will you pay for the delivery? Or..."

I asked, "Or what?" I told the hospital frankly that I really couldn't pay.

 

The hospital representative said: "Why not just leave the child to the hospital as payments? You can save a lot of burden as a a single mom."

At that time, I had no money in my possession, so I had to accept the hospital's terms and hand the child to the hospital without objection. I only begged the hospital to bring me the child once a day for three days to let me touch the child's face. I had tried to commit suicide by jumping into the river. Both the mother and the fetus had suffered serious internal and external injuries. I was also suffering from terminal disease of thalassemia. The doctor had worried that I would die due to dystocia, and even worried that the fetus would die in my belly. I cried and cried from morning till night, almost crying until I was blind. If I had really died in childbirth, how would the child live? And if the child died, how would I live!

 

How could I not bawl my eyes out?

I couldn’t see the child; I could only touch her with my hands. The nurse warned, "Cry more, and you will be blind all life!"

 

I was discharged from the hospital seven days later. I originally thought that without a big belly and no child, it would be okay to go abroad to study alone and restore my energy to what it was before all this. But I found that I missed my child day by day, and in less than a week, I was close to collapse. I went back to the factory and begged the boss to pay for my baby in order to redeem my baby. I told the boss that when I returned to my grandmother’s house, all the money paid on behalf of me would be paid back. I would take the baby back and show it to my grandmother. The little baby I gave birth to was so cute and adorable.

 

When I went back to the hospital, the people there told me that the child had already been swapped by a mom of a stillbirth in the hospital, the birth certificate was issued, and the birth registration was filed with the authorities. My information had been destroyed in order to avoid disputes.

 

It was like a thunderbolt on the spot; I started screaming frantically, and I fainted. From then on, I couldn't find any information about my child, I couldn't see my child.

 

For eight years, every day after work or on holidays, I stood at the door of the triple rooftop theater, looking at the pedestrians coming and going. I desperately wanted to look at my child again, even for just one look.

 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival in 1967, the man returned from the United States. He came to see me where I was working. He looked at me; I was haggard, thin and small, and he was very sorrowful. He said: "Teacher, I'm really sorry, I was wrong."

 

"Teacher, I didn't intend to cause all this sufferings to you. Please forgive me!" He also cried. But what could I say? Could we go back and change the past? He repeatedly begged me to go to the United States with him. In this life, he would do his best to take care of me and make it up for me. He didn’t understand where I had been hiding for the whole year. Why did he rush back from the United States several times and couldn’t find out my whereabouts? He asked, "Where is our baby?"

I couldn’t take it anymore. I burst into tears, and he dared not ask any more. I heard him sobbing. After a long silence, suddenly, he boldly took my hands and held them tightly; no matter how I tried to break away, he refused to let go. He begged: "Teacher, would you please agree to go with me to study in the United States?" I shook my head.

"Teacher, I will patiently wait for you to change your mind. I will come back next year on the Mid-Autumn Festival!"

 

At the end of June 1968, I was assigned to proctor the exam hall and I was not able to contact the outside world. As soon as the exam ended, we were released. The administrator told me that in the past few days, a gentleman in the United States had called me several times a day. Around the evening, the man called again from the United States: "Teacher, according to our custom, we must get married this year. Would you please agree to marry me?"

Again I shook my head and said, "No." Because I had asked and asked, crying and crying, kneeling and kneeling, but my father still wouldn’t budge.

 

A week later, the man told me on the phone that since he could not marry me, he had to marry a schoolmate. But in this life, he would always wait for me, and I was always welcome to live with him in the United States and have a family together.

 

On the day of his wedding, I answered the phone; I felt dizzy; I fell to the ground and was sent to the ER. Everyone said that I was too tired to proctor the joint exams. But who knows, my heart was already broken. I slept for seven days before waking up.

He was my student. When I tutored him with his homework, I had kept my distance and we had never talked to each other about anything other than homework. Had I unknowingly had my heart pierced by Jupiter’s love arrow then?

 

His other half was a woman who went to the same school as he, and I encouraged him to marry her. She told me: "The father-in-law and the mother-in-law only admit that you are their first daughter-in-law; they insisted that no one would replace me ever. The elders wanted her to respect me as a big sister, and everyone in the house would respect me as the princess daughter-in-law of the household!"

I cried loudly like the Yellow River bursting its banks, crying and crying. What should I do?

In our family, no child is allowed to talk back to our parents since we were young, and we are not allowed to disobey our parents. As children, we can only be obedient, and we can only do what pleases the parents; we are absolutely obedient all the time, and never dare to have any ideas or opinions of our own.

 

I knew that I could only choose a local man. As for people from out of Taiwan, it is impossible even if I cry to my death. But is it necessary to make a big fuss about the birthplace when getting married? As long as the character is of good quality and can be entrusted for a lifetime, isn't that enough?

 

My parents wee very stubborn. For this reason, I don’t know how much happiness has been destroyed for the next generation? But my parents never regretted it:"This is what you get for being our child!"

Parents are always right, so it must be the children who are wrong. "Do you really accept your fate like this?" "Of course, I do".

 

At the age of sixty-two, I still dare not counter my parents, dare not disobey my parents; everything is subject to my parents’ permission because in this life my parents are bullied and humiliated all the time; it’s hard enough. As children, how can we bear to make it worse? Everything is better than merely making ourselves happy; it is better to make parents happy even if we are unhappy, and we are willing. This is our family tradition from generation to generation. Isn’t it just as good?

 

In 1970, I obeyed my parents’ arrangement and married a man who I had never met. I  gave birth to two boys and two girls. But I did not forget my first child, not even a minute. I couldn’t sleep, I could eat, and I couldn’t enjoy my family life. So I went   to Sanchong every day to wait to see my child.

 

My husband said:"Don't you have four more children now?Why do you still cry every day and miss her every day?"

Only those who are mothers can experience the feeling of being a mother. No child can be replaced, each is different, and each has its own cuteness. I had never seen my eldest daughter. When I gave birth in the hospital, I cried and went blind, and I couldn't tell the child's true appearance. I could see it with both eyes now, but I didn't know where my little baby had been sold and resold.

 

I yearned for her day after day, year after year, regardless of spring, summer, autumn, and winter; I stared at the pedestrians that came and went. Still, there was no hope. Everyone in the family advised me to forget the past and work hard for the future. Why didn’t I cherish what I had now? So, I began to devote all my energy to this home. I had neglected housework for too long, I also ignored the four children in the family for too long.

 

Fourteen (after the baby’s birth) years later in 1981, because my master had been deceased for many years, in order to fulfill the Master’s compassionate wishes, I used my free time to voluntarily represent Master in Buddhist ceremonies to pray for peace and prosperity. For this reason, I was invited by local believers this year to accompany my Dharma brothers to the triple lecture. Buddhism values the appearance of a man, and women are not allowed to touch dharma instruments or perform rituals. All the Buddhists and monks at ceremonies, men and women, wear men's clothing and address each other as "brothers". Even women are not called "sisters", indicating that they have cultivated to the lofty state of manhood. Of course, I also follow Buddhism's tradition and dress like a man, not in women's clothing.

 

When I was presiding at the dharma congregation, a middle school girl suddenly pulled her mother to me and pointed at me and said, "She is my mother! She is my mother!"The little girl’s mother was embarrassed and hurriedly covered her mouth to stop her screaming. The mother scolded her daughter and said:"The master is a man. How could it be your mother? Besides, the master is a monk; how could he give birth to you?"

 

The little girl insisted repeatedly that she was not mistaken. She said:"I have seen it at my birth. She must be my mother!"

During meditation in Tantric Buddhism, we must not be distracted; if we lose our concentration, our life will be in danger. Therefore, I had not been able to see clearly what this little sister looked like, or which high school she was attending, let alone hear anything clearly. What was she muttering? I vaguely noticed that this little girl was dragged away by her mother, and she was protesting. After that, I didn't see this little girl again, and I forgot about her.

 

Fifteen years later, at the end of 1982, around October, the monks were invited by the local believers to once again go to Sanchong to perform a Buddhist prayer ceremony in order to pray for an auspicious environment and benevolent weather. Because a woman’s hands were relatively slender, they were soft and adept for Tantric hand-prints, and they were almost seamless. Therefore, my dharma brothers still wanted me to represent Master and preside at the altar. When I changed into the monk's robe of the Vajra Guru and put on the crown of five Buddhas, I looked like a majestic man. Suddenly, a high school girl brought her parents to me. She pointed at me and told her parents: "She is my mother! She is my mother! No mistake about it! " She seemed to be the same person as the little girl two years before. Her mother also reprimanded her for nonsense because the master was a male and a monk. But this high school girl ignored her parents' words and insisted that I was her mother. She cried and shouted:"Mom!Mom!I really am your daughter!"I was shocked and at a loss.

How strange it was to encounter this strange sudden occurrence!

 

The people around me were afraid that she would disturb the ceremony, so they firmly persuaded her to get out. Since I was completely preoccupied with Buddhist ceremonies, I couldn't get distracted, so I didn't meet or talk with this high school girl.

 

Three months later, in January of 1983, this high school girl suddenly came to my house with a large bag and a small bag. She sneaked out from her home by herself. She said that she couldn't stand the Taoist priests' exorcism fairs. There was no way that she was insane. She just wanted to find her own mother, recognize each other and live together forever from now on. Now in our modern age of science, why did adults still believe the nonsense of those Taoist priests?

 

I did not know what to tell her. I repeatedly advised her to go back to her parents’ home because she was still a young woman and couldn’t stay in other people’s homes at all. Besides, I still didn’t know how to give a reasonable explanation to my family! But she was very stubborn; she said:"You are my mother, and this is my mother's home. Why can't I come back to live in my own home? Why should I live in other people's homes?" Most people don't want any outsiders to break into their homes. In life, of course, no one is willing to do stupid things to raise other people’s children. For 16 years, I had become accustomed to this secure home. Today, a stranger came so abruptly. Our whole family was really rattled. I was really embarrassed.

 

I thought of my master. When Master passed away, he gave me three tips. I remember Master once said that in 1981 I would see my daughter; in 1982 I would again see the eldest daughter; in 1983, my daughter would come home and reunite with me. But after 16 years, I had re-established a new family and had four more children. I really didn’t know how to give a reasonable explanation to my current family. How could I let them accept my eldest daughter without harming anyone else in the family, without destroying the happiness, perfection and harmony of this family. I thought: "It's been sixteen years. Is this girl really my long-lost eldest daughter?"I was so hesitant, and it was so hard to decide! I used to cry a lot for a long time; I cried until I was blind in both eyes. At the time of childbirth, I touched the child's face, but I never saw the child's appearance. How could I confirm it?

 

Sure enough, I thought of Master again and thought of Master's prediction kit. I respectfully opened the kit in front of the Buddha: "The time is ripe to reunite with your daughter, and she is happy to be back in the arms of Mother."At the bottom, he had also written a small reminder:"Yellow uniform; student ID: OOOOOO."(Detailed notes)

 

I asked:"Sweetheart, what is your name? What is your student ID?"

This little girl told me that she was in the first grade of Jingmei's high school, and her student ID was OOOOOO. She opened her bag and took out her uniform and student ID. It was mind boggling; everything was exactly the same as what was written in Master's kit.

 

I hugged her and held her tightly. I cried and I couldn't say a word. I closed my eyes and touched her face. I couldn't stop crying. In this way, my eldest daughter found me by herself.

 

In the third year of high school, my eldest daughter chose to major in science, and her grades were very good. I saw the tips left by the master, but it said liberal arts major  and it was clearly written as "National Chengchi University; OO Department", with the small print of the the student number.

 

My eldest daughter saw my quizzical expression; she asked,"Mom, am I not the kid you used to know?"

 

My maser’s predictions had never missed. My daughter asked me to have a DNA test, but I firmly rejected it. Why should I doubt my daughter?

 

Jing Mei High School informed us parents one day that all students in the science group should be transferred to the liberal arts group as soon as possible because none had passed the college matriculation test. The eldest daughter still refused to change the group. As the school expected, she failed. She took the exam the next year and failed again. The school teacher/tutor discussed with me and hoped to persuade her to transfer to the liberal arts group, but she still refused.

 

One day, she had an argument with the teacher in the mock test, and they were mad with each other. She was very discouraged. She was angry and she transferred to the liberal arts group, but the test date was near. Was there enough time?

 

Because she was afraid that I would oppose her change of mind right before the exam, she worked hard.

The college admission list was posted, and she was lucky enough to be admitted. I said:"According to the teacher's guide, yu should major in OOO?"

She was very against it. For one thing, she hated language; secondly, the language was not popular.

When electing a major, she went to a lot of cram schools to help her make computer predictions, but the conclusion was: "National Chengchi University; OO Department.”

I said:"People refuse to give it up until the last minute. You should obey Master's arrangement!" She lay in my arms and cried and said:"Mom, I admit that I can't break away from your prediction. I'll take it according to Master’s prediction kit!

 

When the semester started, she registered; her student ID was the one written down in the Master’s prediction kit.

 

The eldest daughter has now returned from studying abroad and she has completed her doctorate study.

 

Notes

  1. My master’s words in the prediction kit were encrypted codes for the high school my daughter was attending.
  2. When my eldest daughter met me for the first time, she was judged by her family members and the believers at the ceremony as being lunatic of the evil spirits because she adamantly pointed out that the master in menswear was her biological mother. She was forced by her family to go to a famous temple many times for the monks to ward off evil spirits and collect demons, but all was in vain.

 

Although it had been more than two years since she saw me for the second time, she screamed again. His family members, relatives and friends all agreed that the old illness had relapsed, and she was sent to the Yaochi Golden Mother Temple again. The psychic master used his sword to drive away demons, but she still cried and called out for her mother every day.

 

Seeing me for the third time, she was sixteen years old, in the first year of high school. But I had built a happy family, and I was enjoying the stability and harmony of the family. It was impossible for us to acknowledge each other. No matter how I persuaded and urged her, she refused to leave, so I had to let her stay. It had been more than 18 years to this day. The saying goes:"Mother and daughter's bond comes from nature."It is absolutely true. In the past eighteen years, the flesh and blood have joined the hearts, and the joy of family relationship has made me sweep away the darkness and step into sunlight.

 

  1. I had cried day and night for eight years, which had a huge impact on my health and the happiness of my family. Therefore, I had turned around abruptly, determined not to look for my missing daughter, and resolutely gave up , So the first time and the second time, I was indifferent.

 

  1. When I was watching the Dragon Boat Race that day, there were many fortune tellers on the side of the road. They all pointed to the fetus in my stomach and said straightforwardly:"Your parents or grandparents will be cursed to death within a hundred days.” I didn't want this child to kill my parents; I would rather be killed myself. Therefore, I was very nervous and I panicked; I chose to die with my baby in my belly. In fact, less than three months after this child was born, my beloved Tainan father died suddenly. It was the eighteenth day of the lunar calendar in 1967. Fortune-telling may be accurate, but it must not be intimidating and fearful. This is a moral character. Give hope to the desperate and don't kill.

 

  1. When my eldest daughter came back, I was forty-four years old. A Taoist leader said that she would kill me. Sure enough, since she stepped into my house, I started to have a high fever and remained ill for more than ten months. I couldn’t get out of bed, but I couldn’t find out the reason. I would rather be cursed to death than let my eldest daughter leave me again. The Taoist said that it was stupid of me to want my daughter so much at the expense of my life.

 

  1. I majored in German law, and I could speak German. If I went to the United States to study for a doctorate degree., it would be difficult because English was English and German was German. There was nothing in common. Although I could speak some English, I was not fluent enough, so I couldn’t go to the United States at all.

 

  1. When my father saw that I had a big belly, he realized that I hadn't aborted the baby. He was very angry. He punished me and ordered me to kneel on the ground and he hit me with a wooden stick. Because the baby was in my belly, it was less than four months old and couldn't stand the beating, I dodged and dodged, letting my father let out his anger. In order to save the fetus, I had to flee for my life without time to bring anything, and my grandmother did not dare to save me.

 

  1. After giving birth, I returned to Taipei from Sanchong in tears. My grandmother said that I must calm down and stay home, but I still missed my child. I could barely take even a mouthful of chicken soup. The master came to my sick bed to comfort me. He said,"Your little baby is in the garbage dump!” I cried even more bitterly when I heard it. How could anyone be such a villain and throw other people's baby into the dump? The master smiled and said,"Don't be nervous. In the future, as long as you are enthusiastic about public welfare and clean the road every morning and evening, remove the rubbish thrown by pedestrians along the way, and wait for the amount of rubbish you handle to accumulate enough to redeem your little baby, she will appear in front of you, safe and sound. But you must remember that your little baby’s horoscope is very heavy; at least it is worth a lot of garbage. Don’t be discouraged!” After I regained my energy. I started to return to work and adopted four roads; every day before and after work, morning and evening, I would clean up the rubbish. I yearned for my baby for eight years, but there was no news of her. Master was very worried. One day, he hurried down from the mountain early in the morning. While watching me cleaning carefully, he smiled and said: "With your cleaning speed and cleaning method, how can you make a difference in eight years? I think it will take another eight years at least!" This was a project of conscience, and I did not dare to be sloppy at all. Therefore, I had to take another eight years. My family was very discouraged after hearing this, so they repeatedly persuaded me to skip it. In fact, I did not have any hope of finding my daughter anymore. It was just that over the past eight years, I had developed the habit of cleaning and I couldn’t stop, so I still carefully cleaned the four main roads every morning and evening, rain or shine, without a break, until today.
  2. My little baby was hard to recognize after I was a volunteer road cleaner for so long. She was too big for me to hold. My eldest daughter cleaned the roads with me every morning and night from the day of our reunion; she was joined at the hip with me her mother every minute and every second, until she completed her graduate school and went abroad to study for a doctorate degree. Only then did she reluctantly leave me, and we were no more a mom-and-daughter team.

 

  1. My eldest daughter and I hold hands each year during the Dragon Boat Festival on May 5th of the lunar calendar and walk across the Zhongxing Bridge from Taipei to the Sanchong side. We take the meat dumplings, alkali rice dumplings, rice dumplings, and three animal offerings to the beach. The mother and daughter respectfully kneel down and kowtow three times to pay respect to Qu Yuan and the gods of river, for mercifully having let go of mother and daughter that day. This is a routine event every year. Even when my eldest daughter has her own family in the future, she must continue to worship and urge one generation after another to continue.

 

  1. At school, my daughter feared swimming lessons the most. When she saw the swimming pool full of water, she would shake and go into shock, foaming at the mouth. I took her to see many doctors, but they couldn't find out the cause and could not cure it. I was invited to the school by the physical education teacher every time, but I really couldn't solve it. Then I suddenly thought: Could it be that when I jumped into the Danshui River on the Zhongxing Bridge with her, I had frightened the fetus? What a terrible prenatal education. I told the school's physical education teacher about this speculation and asked him to request the school for special accommodation.

 

  1. In addition to men, there are gods in this world. Man has one thousand calculations, and Heaven has only one, which is also called Heaven calculation. Human calculation is never as good as Heaven calculation.

Who Are you, My “Mom”?

On Moon Cake Day In 1967, I had just spent my maternity month at home. I asked my grandma to allow me to go out and look for my missing daughter. I felt it was a day of family reunion and families would come out to enjoy the full moon. I stood at the entrance to Tian Tai Theater, where it was a spot of big gatherings of crowds. I watched people come and go. Then, in the distance, I spotted a group of unruly kids following an old woman; they were poking fun at her and throwing roadside pebbles at her. The old woman kept chasing away the kids with a bamboo stick.

 

The old woman was walking towards me. I found her out of mind, talking to herself, screaming and yelling at times, bawling loudly sometimes. Her outfits were so worn out that they could barely cover her; she was stained black and smelled bad. Her stench was blown around by the autumn wind and all the passers-by covered their noses with handkerchiefs and they were hurrying away from her.

 

Suddenly, the old woman came up to me and burst into tears, “My daughter! It has taken me so long to find you!”

She threw herself and knelt. She tightly embraced my legs. She was afraid that I might run away; I almost lost balance, she looked hysteric, screaming now and yelling the way someone does when losing a beloved family member. By this time, more and more onlookers had gathered. I felt embarrassed, but my legs were locked by her and I could barely move. I said, “I don’t know you. Please let me go, ok?”

But she just ignored that. She said, “My daughter! It has taken me so much to find you! Please don’t run away again. You must promise to go home with me today. Otherwise, I won’t let you go. We can both die here!”

My feet were getting numb, but she wouldn’t let go of me. I thought, how could I reason with a lunatic woman?

 

The onlooker crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Everyone was saying that I was too cruel; how could a daughter refuse to acknowledge her mom? How could I wear beautiful clothes but have the heart to leave my mom in rags?

 

I saw it getting worse, so I agreed to the old woman. I asked her to let go of my feet so I could walk and go home with her. I walked side by side with her. Maybe she was afraid that I might run away, so she locked my hands in hers. Because she was holding my hands so tightly that it hurt, but I dared not let out a cry. Even though I almost threw up a couple of times on the way, I dared not let out a sound; I was afraid of hurting her because she was so pitiable.

 

About an hour later, we came to a big dump in San Chong. Her home was an illegal tiny shed wrapped in rags on the garbage. There were no beds, no chairs, no comforters, nothing in it. It was full of all sorts of stench, dead dogs, dead cats, dead pigs; they stunk so much that it was hard to tolerate; it was stifling. The old woman, with her dirty hands that rummaged garbage, tenderly hugged me and embraced me. She was crying and laughing. Her heartbroken whimpering sent chills down my spine. It was hard to see she was lunatic to that miserable extent. I knew I couldn’t stimulate her anymore. I carefully obeyed her, dared not shun her even though I wanted to, dared not keep a distance even though I wanted to. “Come here. Let Mom give you a hug! I haven’t seen you for a long time! Let mom stroke you!”

 

I thought it was a wonder that there were moms who missed their daughters so much as to lose their minds. How about me? Would I lose my mind if I couldn’t find my daughter? There is a saying, “We are all wanderers; we encounter each other without having known each other before.” In her excitement of stroking me all over, I realized that her heart had broken into pieces, and it could not stand another slight injury, even if it was an unintentional injury. For sure, she could no longer take the devastation of losing her precious daughter again. Therefore, unless I could turn a blind eye, I had to play the obligatory role of her precious daughter. I remembered my master’s kindness and his exhorting words of compassion and salvation, and I knew I had the obligation to this old woman. Therefore, I decided to be her daughter in her remaining years, do my best to comfort her and heal her broken heart. I let her have her way, hugging me and embracing me; I had no choice; I ran across her, and I willingly accepted her. That night, I didn’t leave until much later. I went out and ordered some noodles; I fed her. I told her that I had to go and bring my bedding and I would be back with her the following day.

 

When I got back to my grandma’s home, I was smelling very bad. She thought I had fallen into a fertilizing pond of human wastes. I just nodded without saying anything. That night, I kept throwing up the whole night until dawn; I threw up so much that it was just yellowish water in the end.

 

When I got to my office the next day, all my colleagues covered their noses and told me I smelled so bad that it was hard to take.

 

I got a loan from my work, rented a small apartment during my break, bought some necessities, including a comforter, clothes, a washing basin, soap, etc. After work, I asked a Good Samaritan colleague to help me and drive over to San Chong Dump and bring the old lady to the apartment. However, when she saw me, she seemed to have never met me and she wouldn’t acknowledge me; she didn’t know me at all. I was taken aback. When I got back home and asked my friends, none knew why she had forgotten all the hugging and embracing and all the love just overnight.

 

Later on, I went to stand at the entrance to the theatre again day after day to wait for my missing daughter. The old woman would pass me almost every day, but she would just look at me indifferently and then walk on. I thought the days were getting colder and couldn’t help worrying about her. However, a lunatic was a lunatic. What could I do?

 

One day, I was standing at the theater entrance and the woman was walking over as usual. Suddenly, she sprinted over, hugged me tightly and began to cry hysterically. I had known what to do from the last experience, so I accompanied her back to the dump.

 

That night, I again ordered some hot noodles, along with some ham and marinated boiled eggs; I fed her; then I was ready to leave. She said, “This time, you must come back. Don’t fool me again.” I nodded.

 

When I got back to my grandma’s home, I again smelled like I had just crawled out of a stinky pond of wastes; it was so stinky that they had to cover their noses. My grandma couldn’t understand why I smelled so bad every time.

 

The next day, I again asked my colleague to go with me to the dump. Just like the time before, the old lady didn’t know me at all. She wouldn’t change into the winter clothes I had brought; she was so stubborn. For the next few days, I would still stand at the theater entrance; again she would just look at me indifferently and then walk on. Wasn’t she afraid of the bitter autumn wind?

 

One day, I was at the entrance as usual when she suddenly ran to me, hugged me and embraced me. I could do nothing but go back to the dump with her. She hugged me and embraced me, all loving and affectionate; her tears made my winter coat wet. Again, I ordered hot noodles along with ham and eggs; I fed her and then left. It was autumn and she was wearing thin clothes. How could I leave her? The dump was deserted; could she take it when the cold wind blew?

 

When I got home, my grandma found me stinking again. She was mad, “”Don’t wear this coat again. Every time you wear it, you come back stinky.”

 

It dawned on me. The daughter the old woman remembered must have worn a coat like mine; only in this coat was I like her daughter. Aha! I got it. But the coat got stained with feces each time; after washing, it would take a few days to air-dry in the sun. How could I get by without changing it?

 

I learned the source of the problem. I was so happy because I could finally get her home.

 

A week later, that colleague and I went to San Chong Dump. Since I was wearing the coat she remembered, she recognized me immediately. She was so happy to see me, hugging and crying uncontrollably. I melted and couldn’t help but cling to her bosom and comfort her again and again. Finally, she agreed to go home with me. I got her to the apartment I rented. I gave her a bath, changed her clothes, ordered food and fed her. That night, she stayed there. I watched over her the whole night until dawn. She was sleeping so soundly and contentedly. I couldn’t move my eyes away from her, and I couldn’t hold back my tears. Alas! There were such pitiable people in the world!

 

That coat of mine was the only tool to save the old woman. Every time I washed it, I would iron it dry and keep it with me at all times in order to use it as a Déjà vu tool when going to see her.

 

I hired a full-time nanny to take care of her. I told her tenderly again and again, “Mom, I have to go to work. I can’t be with you all day. But I will be back with you every two days.”

 

She wouldn’t want anyone else but me, her daughter. She wanted me to bathe her, change her clothes, give her a massage, dress her wounds, and take her out for a walk. I thought I was her only daughter and her apple of the eye. Maybe she had lived at the dump too long and it was not sanitary; she had all kinds of illnesses and she had a very bad temper. Occasionally, she would act like a normal person, but most of the times, she couldn’t control herself. Often, I knelt and took her hard beatings, until she felt content. Every time after the beatings, she would scold me, “Don’t you dare to run away from your old mom and elope with men! Don’t you dare to leave me alone for a long time! How dare you! Do you dare to do it again?”

I knew she could no longer take any provocation, so I took her beating and swearing; I let her air it all out, as long as she felt good. I thought, maybe she was full of anger; the sooner it all came out, the sooner she might regain her mind. How I longed for it! For real, it was no bid deal for me to take some physical pain.

 

Every time she beat me or yelled at me, I just kept crying and apologizing again and again. Eventually, I found her smiling a little. She now seemed to know how to smile. These years, I was often black and blue from her beatings, but I was so relieved whenever I saw her getting better and better; I felt it was all worthwhile.

 

From my childhood, I had always depended on transfusion. But I forgot to get it on time once, and the lack of oxygen left me in a vegetative state; I did not awake until eleven months later. At the time, all my family thought I was dying, with no hope of revival.

 

During this time, the old woman lost the financial and daily support, and the nanny left after not hearing from me for a few months.

 

When I awoke from the coma, I went back to the little apartment only to find it was rented by someone else, and there was no whereabouts of the old woman. I went to the dump three times but couldn’t find her, I also went to the local police station but there was no clue. It was no use even after I reported someone missing. I did not know who the old woman was or who her daughter was. Before, I had asked the local police and shelters to help find her family, but there had been no progress after so many years. I had asked her, “Mom, what’s your name? Where are you from? What’s Dad’s name? What does he do for a living? “ But I couldn’t get any answer. She had lost her mind and whatever she said did not make sense; it was useless.

 

Luckily, where there is a will, there is a way. I finally found her in a remote dump in the suburb of Taipei. But the poor thing had fallen sick, very sick; she was thin and haggard and dying.

 

From far away, she saw me and she was delighted. She struggled to get up, grabbing hold of me and hugging me and embracing me. She cried so bitterly and miserably that I was shivering with chills. It seemed that she had been suffering all these days. I clung to her bosom as usual and comforted her. Right away, I rented an apartment at the foot of a hill and brought her there to take care of her. I tried everything to get her treatments of both traditional Chinese doctors and Western doctors. She had no name, no ID, and no insurance. The high expenses of medical treatments and care services pushed me to the brink of bankruptcy several times. But I could no longer tell whether she was someone else’ mom or my own biological mom.

 

For about five years, she was bedridden. She was paralyzed and could never get up. Plus, she had infections and high fever, resulting in several complications; none of the doctors knew how to treat her. I moved her from hospital to hospital and I did everything for a miracle, with the hope of finding a cure-it-all doctor. I took long term leaves and accompanied her by her bed all the time, taking good care of her. Still, I did not get my wish; nothing worked. In 1981, she collapsed in my arms, held my hands tightly, breathed her last breath, and left this world with all her attachment to me. I cried out to Heaven and Earth, with no answer. I could do nothing but give her a funeral with deep grief in the name of her biological daughter. I followed the local customs and observed the commemoration period for her. I set up a grave headstone with the inscription: “In Memory of my Nameless Sweet Mom”.

 

I kept crying every day for one seven-day period after another for one hundred days. I cried so much that I lost noticeable weight. For real, I missed her so much and I often dreamed of her; it seemed she had become an indispensable part of my life. But all was too late. It was no good. We mom and daughter couldn’t be separated anymore. During the prayer ceremony, I asked the presiding Buddhist master, “Will she be able to tell I am not her biological daughter? Will she know she has no name? Will a lonely ghost return to her family?” Maybe once her soul was in Heaven, she would gain her mind and learn everything; she would no longer need me. Then was it still useful for me to commemorate her one 7-day period after another and year after after year? In my life, apart from my grandma, she was the one who had loved me the most. Her hugs and kisses and caresses taught me what a mom’s hand was like and what a mom’s heart was.

 

In total, I took care of her for fourteen years. It was a pity that I was in a vegetative state for eleven months in between, causing her to live at a dump again and fall terminally ill. Otherwise, she could have enjoyed a happy old age and lived much longer. Even though I didn’t know her age, she ought to be at least thirty years my senior judging by the fact that her daughter and I were of the similar age and that she looked that old.

 

Many people had asked me who she was. I would firmly answer that she was my biological mom. But I knew nothing about who she was. During the ten years we were together, I was sure of one thing: she and I were connected by blood; she was my beloved mom and I was her long lost daughter who was not nice enough to her!

 

Notes

  1. When I was writing this part, my tears were dripping onto the paper. I held back my sadness and finished it.
  2. I took care of the old woman for fourteen years, with the first period from year one until year nine and then the last period from year ten to year fourteen. Because her insanity often broke out, the neighbors were disturbed and they would call the police on us. But we did not know where she came from and she did not have ID; there was no way to send her to a public shelter; even a psychiatric hospital refused to admit her. I told my neighbors that she would only listen to me, her daughter. If I was not with her, she would have more breakouts and she would become a threat; no one would be able to control her and she couldn't control herself, either. She had a bad, quick temper. She hated everyone and she was terrified of everyone. I often thought that I was her daughter and she was in great pain, so she seemed to hold herself when she had a breakout in my presence. Still, even I found it hard to put up with her breakouts; what could I expect from strangers, hospital and shelter staff? Who could put up with her whacks and completely nonsense dirty words and acts? I heard that psychiatric hospital staff would routinely use electric shocks to subdue the lunatic patients. But she was my mom. How in the world could a daughter send her mom away to the cruel electric shocks at strangers’ hands? Mom and daughter had their hearts connected; wouldn’t the daughter also feel the pain when her mom got the shocks? For this, I had a lot of disputes with the neighbors and the community managers; I wouldn’t allow my mom to be taken away. If she were your mom, would you have the heart to send her away to a shelter or a hospital and leave her all by herself to be bullied by strangers and to be hit with electric shocks? She was my mom, period. Even though she did not know who she was, she was still my mom. She could lose her mind, but could I lose my mind? She didn’t know anything, but could I also be like that?
  3. The Bible teaches us, “We must be tolerant, faithful, hopeful, and patient.” True love never stops and never changes. In this world, there are three things that keep help us live without being destroyed by Heaven and Earth: faith, hope, and love, among which, love is the greatest. God has repeatedly told us, “We are blind if we don’t have love in our hearts or eyes. Even if the whole world is full of light, a blind person still sees darkness and will fumble in misery all life.
  4. For a stranger, this old woman might have been a despicable trash at a dump. Between me and her, we had love for each other, so all was complete. Love is a deity, not a human, so love won’t go lunatic even though a human may. Her love to her daughter was real and deep; it shook me to the core. She was my lifelong sweet mom, and she was the embodiment of St. Mary. For years, I cried over her death almost every night to dawn.

 

Is Heaven Blind?

I remember it was a very hot day in May or June of 1981. My kids wanted to go out and take a walk and I wanted to look for some new knitting books at the Japanese bookstore.We were passing Heng Yang Bank when an old man came up to us and wanted to tell my fortune. I shook my head and repeatedly signaled no with my hand. However, the old man looked so sullen and he seemed to have some secrets to share. My first daughter melted and pulled my hand, “Mom, please let him tell your fortune. Give him some business and let him make some money, ok? This old uncle looks so pitiable.” I had always disliked fortune telling and I had held no good opinions of such migrant fortune tellers in the streets. But the kindness of my children stopped me from turning the other way, so I followed my kids to the old man’s stand. The fortune teller looked at for quite a while; he then looked at my palm and each kid’s palm. He said, “There is no need to look further. I won’t charge anything. All is predestined and can’t be changed a bit by humans.”

 

My kids wouldn’t want to be cheap and insisted that I pay him some money. I took three thousand dollars out of my purse and respectfully handed it to him, with both hands. But the old man was more stubborn than me, and he firmly refused to accept my money. Seeing the tug war, my kids were so anxious that they cried. At last, they all pleaded the old uncle that it was not the payment for his fortune telling but their gift to him. The old fortune teller finally took the money, patting the kids on the head while his eyes welled up; tears came down his cheeks. He murmured to himself, “Heaven is blind! Indeed, Heaven is blind!”

My kids waved him goodbye; he waved back, but he couldn’t say a word and he looked so sad.

 

Later, when we passed by the new park, we saw a large crowd of people watching at the gate. The children loved to join in the fun, so they rushed forward in one stride and squeezed through the wall of adults. Before long, my children ran back and dragged me in. I always think it's better not to go to places with a lot of people, but the children were pleading with me non stop, so I had to follow them to check what happened.

 

It turned out that an old woman was kneeling on the ground and asked everyone for help. Her child was in a car accident and needed a huge sum of money for ER treatment at the National Taiwan University Hospital. My dear sons and daughters couldn’t turn the other way and they asked me to lend a helping hand. They told the woman: "No need to kneel anymore. My mother is here; she will definitely help you."

They helped the old woman to her feet.

 

Not only did I empty all the money I had with me that day, I also borrowed a huge sum of money from the client who had the glasses shop nearby. We accompanied the woman to the National Taiwan University Hospital to pay off the huge medical expenses. After all was done, the children were happy; they said: "Mom, thank you! We won't bother you anymore. Let's go home!"

 

A month later, our house was suddenly full of ants everywhere; they were crawling everywhere. The team was crawling all the way to our house and covering every wall of our house. I was afraid of stepping on them, so I hurried to buy more than 20 small stools. I lined them up along the road, sprinkling sugar and other food all over. I sprinkled a little water to reward them for their hard work of marching all the way to my house. The children were so scared to see the ants densely covering the whole house; even the lady from my office was very scared. But the children were very obedient and dared not hurt them or disturb them. They knew "you are a guest" and how to treat guests. In this way, for about ten days, ants swarmed in and almost filled our home.

 

Summer was really here. The children would all have summer vacation and stay at home. I was busy with work and I couldn’t spare time to spend the holidays with the children, so I had to get an office lady to help take care of the children, their homework and daily life.

 

One day, I was at a meeting. The news was being broadcast on TV. It said that there was a big fire in the downtown area of Taipei, near Ren'ai Road. Since I was presiding over the meeting, there was no way to be distracted to hear exactly what was going on. It wasn't until about 4:30 in the afternoon that we ended the meeting and I went to the scene of the fire with my colleagues who loved to watch the excitement.

 

On the way, I asked my colleague who was driving, "I am not in a hurry to go home. Let’s go and see where the fire broke out. Why did you head towards my house?"

The colleague did not answer. Maybe it was not far from the fire scene, and we would be there soon.

The colleague sitting next to me woke me up; maybe I was too tired and I fell asleep while the car was moving.

 

I opened my eyes and suddenly screamed, "This is my house!!"

Ignoring the flames, I tried to rush to the third floor, but the firefighters and police officers stopped me and caught me. "Where are my Children? Where are my Children?"

 

Later, the firefighters sprayed water to open a small fire alley for me and urgently sent three men to accompany me to the third floor. The door of our house was so hot that it couldn't be touched, and it had expanded so much that it couldn't be opened. The firefighters slammed the door and kicked it down, and we cautiously stepped in. It was full of smoke, and I couldn't see anything. I shouted and called the children's names loudly, one by one, but there was no answer at all. At this time, I was numb in both feet and I was about to faint. I was really going out of my mind; I really couldn't hold up anymore.

 

Suddenly, the firefighters stepped on a bunch of people. It turned out that my children were huddling together and they had fainted on the pile of old books on the floor while the office lady was lying at the other end. The firefighters, the police, and I worked together to carry the children and the office lady downstairs for first aid. Fortunately, the choking injury was not serious; that night, they all turned out to be fine. The firefighters said that the floor had been so hot that even the books had been scorched. If they had fallen on the floor directly after being frightened, these children should all have been burnt into corpses and it would have been impossible to survive.

The firefighter said: "Your family must have good morals." The fire was extinguished;  the buildings next door had been completely destroyed. No one survived. Our building, from the first floor, to the second floor and all the floors from fifth and above, was also completely destroyed. But somehow, the fire skipped our house on the third floor. The firefighter said: “This floor was full of smoke. Even if you wanted to spray water, you couldn’t see it clearly. The house has a third floor, but it seemed to have disappeared.” Therefore, this floor did not get sprayed on with a single drop of water. I think there were more than one hundred thousand precious books in my house. If they had sprayed water onto my house, I would have nothing today, and the thousands of ants who came to my house from afar would all have died. That would a big pity. The adjacent buildings on the left and right were all scorched in flames and the walls of my house and the angle steel bookshelves next to the walls were hot and melted. All the books were also charred and smoked, but they did not burn. The firefighter said: "This is a miracle. How could it be possible?" However, if these books had really caught fire and then burnt, would we still have our house? It was full of books. Paper should be the easiest to catch fire!

Onlookers rushed to tell the reporter: "The third floor just disappeared in the thick smoke. In the thick smoke, people in white clothes could be seen sprinkling water in the air and putting the fire out.”

Our neighbors on the third floor came over. They had three large steel tanks of gas. During the fire, the large steel tanks had melted into balls in the high heat. But why didn’t they explode? If they had exploded, our four children and the office lady would all have been blown up into pieces! I listened to all this; I had chills down my spine; I had cold sweat. It had been extremely dangerous!

 

School started in September, and the kids wanted to buy piano lesson materials. We went to Hengyang Road together again.

We were walking by the Bank of Communications when an old gentleman rushed out to us. He reached out and hugged the children tightly. He was very excited and surprised; he asked: "How come you are still alive? How come all of you are okay?''

He bluntly said that I was destined to have no children, not a single one. After this summer, all the children were expected to be burned up in the fire. He had found my children very kind; so he had thought Heaven was blind. After we left that day, he had even cried, so much that he had to go home and rest. He had been very heartbroken when he foresaw that my children would die. But he was helpless because “If Heaven wants to take someone away at three o’clock, who dares to keep that person in this world until 5?” He was very guilty and he apologized.

 

I told the children that he should be called grandfather, not to mention that this old man had no relatives in Taiwan, so he should be regarded as their own grandfather! He loved you so much, and he was so affectionate. He loved you. Maybe because of his tears, you children have survived.

 

That year, the oldest of my children still hadn’t graduated from elementary school, and the youngest hadn’t entered kindergarten. I had two daughters and two boys, four in total.

 

It was worth pointing out that the piles of old books on the floor were what our children had hated the most. They often got in their way; it was really a hindrance. I had got the books to help an old book stand. The old bookseller was living a difficult life. He would pack up all the used books he could not sell; this old man would not want to throw them away, and no one wanted them. Every day, he had to bring them out in the morning and then take them in at the end of the day. This tired him out and it hurt his back. I had offered to buy them all from him to save him all the trouble. Miraculously, these books have just saved five lives for our family.

 

There are always unexpected incidents in life, which cannot be reasonably explained. Perhaps this is what we call Heaven! So, human’s plans often fail again and again because people always forget that Heaven has a plan. In my life, along the way, I have deeply realized the insignificance of people. I think people must not be too conceited and not too full of themselves. Also, don’t be too arrogant. After all, people can’t see Heaven, and Heaven sees people clearly all the time. What significance do people have?

 

Note

In 1981, my eldest daughter had not been found yet, so there were only two boys and two girls. The then-eldest-daughter is now my second daughter.

 

 

Bound feet

When the doctor announced that I had to amputate my limbs, the first thought that flashed into my mind was that I was too sorry for my grandma who loved me so much. My grandmother was born in a large family in the Qing Dynasty. Her feel was bound in the shape of a matchbox-like three-inch golden lotus since she was a child. Her elderly always insisted, “As a girl, she must wrap her feet to be considered a good woman and a lady.”

 

I was the only torch carrier of my grandmother; I was the only granddaughter in this generation. Therefore, in my grandmother’s mind, I must bind my two feet into the shape expected of a classic lady in accordance with the traditional rules and patriarchal family customs, so as to be worthy of the Chen family's status. I was suffering from a severe anemia similar to blood cancer. If I did not bind my feet, I would definitely violate the customs and wouldn’t survive. At that time, Japanese ruled Taiwan. The Japanese government strictly prohibited girls from binding their feet, and offenders were heavily punished. Grandma thought that wrapping her granddaughter's feet was her own business. So, against all odds, she prepared wrapping cloth and soaking potion for me, and tried her best to wrap my feet, it was tight. Because I had severe anemia, I needed to be taken to the hospital for blood transfusion on a regular basis. I had to go in and out of public places. Naturally, people who were curious soon discovered the ignorance of my grandmother's feet binding and filed a report with the police.

 

Grandma was often summoned by the police to the police station, but she didn't give up. She wrapped my feet up again and again, which almost angered the police officer. They warned her that if she committed another offence, she would be punished as a recidivist and she would be subject to a heavy sentence.

 

Grandma was so sad!

 

Taiwan gained independence; Grandma was very happy. The Japanese finally left, and she was free to bind her beloved granddaughter's feet again.

 

In 1945, I started to enter elementary school. I went to class every day. My feet were wrapped in a long foot wrap, and my toes were about to rot because of soaking in alum. The elementary school teacher saw that I couldn't move even an inch. He found it very strange that there were still people binding feet in this era. It was unthinkable. So he filed another lawsuit in the police station, accusing my grandmother of shamelessly torturing a sick and weak child.

 

Grandma's wish evaporated again, and she was even more sad.

 

After graduating from elementary school, I started junior high school. Grandma said: "You are almost an adult, so you can decide on your own. If you want to wrap it up, can others still have a say?"

 

Just in the summer vacation of the second year of the school, Grandma wrapped a long white cloth around my feet again, soaking my feet in the same way and then squeezing my feet into a ball, to the extent that, except the big toes, the other toes were bent together, twisted and pressed under the soles of the feet; then she arched my feet and fixed them with ancient coins to stunt the growth. Grandma was very attentive and spared no efforts. After all, her granddaughter was the only hope in her life. She really hoped that I would become a lady of good life, and I would be able to enjoy all the glory and wealth in the future. She tried very hard. As long as it was something that would guarantee her granddaughter a happy life, she would work hard to the end.

 

My feet were deformed day by day, and my grandmother felt very happy and very fulfilled. When my grandmother was very happy, I was also very happy, never minding all the excruciating pain from the binding.

 

After the summer vacation, we started school again. The instructor and the whole class thought that I had broken or sprained my feet and could hardly stand up on my own. I would still sway even though my family helped me walk. Later, the instructor was troubled to see me a good student suffer like that, so he asked me to go to the infirmary and asked the school doctor for a detailed examination. The school doctor unwrapped the bandages on my feet and found that it was actually a foot cloth around my feet. He was angry and said loudly: "What age is this that there is still this kind of old fashioned practice!”

 

From then on, my feet were unwrapped again. The police asked my grandmother to write down a vow that she would never do such stupid things again. I think Grandma was very disappointed and sad, and I was also very disappointed and sad. I told my instructor: "As long as I can make my grandmother happy, I am willing to take any suffering. Besides, it is not a bad thing to wrap my feet. One is willing to give it and the other is willing to take it. Why not?"

 

I thought of how grandma loved me since childhood. Her love was as high as a mountain and as deep as a sea while raising me, nurturing me and saving me. Now I was a teenager, but I didn’t even have the ability to repay her and I was not able to let my grandmother wrap my feet up. Her biggest wish of creating small feet for me was all twists and turns and couldn't be realized smoothly. I felt so sorry for Grandma. I told my grandmother that I would be eighteen years old in a few years. By then, I would be an adult and have the ability to be independent, so that my grandmother could take care of my little feet the way she would like them to look.

 

In my second and third year of high school, I had a lot of homework. I left home early and returned late every day. I had almost no time for my grandmother to wrap and soak my feet. The master in the mountains also warned me that girls with their feet bound could no longer climb the rugged mountain trail.

 

I went to college and had military training classes; If I fell behind, I would have to drop out immediately. The instructor said, "Have you seen soldiers bind their feet?"

 

I told my grandmother with shame that I would have to wait another four years to get my feet tied. I think my grandma was about to cry, and I dared not look up at her face and eyes for a long time. Ah! I was so embarrassed, guilty, and sad!

 

Finally I graduated from college; my grandmother was very happy. I knew that Grandmother had looked forward eagerly a year after a year, and now she could finally fulfill her long-awaited wish.

 

However, as soon as I stepped out of school, I had to prepare for and pass the national civil server examination. According to the job requirements, I had to train in Yangmingshan for a year. I would be away from home for about half a year. I asked my grandmother to wait for me for another six months. Grandma seemed to be disappointed again, staring at me blankly without any expression. I knew that I had to hold off my promise again. I felt so sorry for Grandma and I couldn't help crying.

 

Soon, I enrolled. On the first day I checked in, I asked the officer: "Can I not live in the public dormitory? Can I go back to live with my grandmother? Can I wrap my feet?" The officer was very angry; he was bewildered; he gave me a lecture: "Of course not! What age is this, and you still want to have your feet bound. Think about it. Can a girl still go to work with her feet bound?"

I cried. I was really sorry for Grandma. She only had such a small wish in her life. Why was it so difficult?

 

I had no choice but to go back to my grandmother's house again, begging Grandmother face to face for forgiveness. I said: "In a few years, I will become the supervisor, and I can call the shots on my own!"

 

I was promoted from rank to rank, and my grandmother waited year after year. However, no matter how high a position is, there is a boss on top, always: "There is always someone above and someone below". How could I ever be the big boss?

 

In 1971, Grandma was 92 years old and she was near the end of her life. At the end, she was old and weak. She said, "Your feet must be wrapped up quickly. I am leaving soon." I instinctively felt that my grandmother's voice was hoarse, and she was choking; I could hardly hear her. I knew that I could wait no more, so I hurried to the office and asked the instructor for leave again. But even though I begged and pleaded and I burst into tears, the instructor said: "What era is this? Who still does such silly things!"

 

I had to resign, for the sake of my grandmother; I had no other choice because Grandma couldn't wait any longer. I handed in my resignation as quickly as possible and handled the handover. Several large and small going-away parties were thrown. I looked like a walking corpse; in any case, all the officers and subordinates regretted that I was leaving to be with my grandma.

 

However, it seemed too late. Grandma was exhausted and couldn't get up. She was really leaving within a few days. She had really waited too long.

 

On her deathbed, my grandmother was moved to the hall. I knelt beside her and sheepishly covered my feet with a skirt. This was a habit. For many years, my grandmother mentioned, "Little girl, with these big feet, how can you present yourself to people?" I would kneel first, apologize to my grandmother, say sorry, and try to hide my feet in my skirt. But this time, Grandma could no longer say anything to tease me. She only motioned to me to turn my back to her. I lifted the skirt and turned around. When I was about to let down the skirt to cover my feet, I seemed to feel a hand on my ankle. Repeatedly, Grandma was struggling weakly, trying to touch my feet; only a slight touch and then there was no more movement. I sensed something had happened and I looked back. Alas! It turned out that Grandma had died.

 

I cried my eyes out and I kept bawling, "Grandma! Grandma..." Time and time again, I cried and fainted and cried and fainted. Still I didn't hear my grandma affectionately respond to me as usual. I was so sad that I kept asking: "Grandma, are you angry with me?"

I silently knelt down and confessed to my grandmother. I told my grandmother that I would do it by myself, binding my two little feet and then visiting her the grave to show her my feet and comfort her spirit in Heaven.

I lowered my head with tears in my eyes. I thought: "In my whole life, I haven’t really lived up to my grandmother's affection and love, not even for only a pair of small feet. Why did I keep her hopeless of just a pair of small feet? How could I? I'm really unfilial!"

 

 

No More Causing Mom to Shed Another Tear

In my graduating year at the high school, I was too busy with the simulation test for admission to college. I really couldn't spare time to go to the hospital for blood transfusion. I always hoped that I could make it until after the test.

 

On the day of the exam, I was pale, weak and groggy, and my eyes were blurred. Although I knew very well in my heart that my hemoglobin must have fallen below five and I would soon faint and become unconscious, I still made it to the end of the exam and vaguely heard the bell ringing.

When the test result was released, I failed, and I got three F’s. When I went home, I handed my mother a report card with both hands. She did not say a word, and her eyes were filled with tears.

I thought how my anemia and terminal illness had tortured my grandma and my mother for more than ten years. I almost cried and shed tears. How could I make my mother worry about my grades again? If I let my mother shed another tear in the future, how could I call myself a human being?

I quickly knelt down and apologized, saying sorry to my mother again and again. I knelt on my knees, crying and vowing, "Mom, I will never let you shed another tear again!"

I’m sixty-two years old and I have married and raised two boys and three girls. Since then, I have never made my mother cry again. Even my children have never made me cry because from the time they were born, they have never seen their mother make her mother sad or make her cry.

I would rather suffer myself than cause sufferings to others throughout my life. I would rather cry my eyes out than causing others to shed even half a tear. Mom said: Other people’s tears are also her tears.

I will not let the mothers of little bugs and worms shed tears, nor will the mothers of little butterflies, ants or birds shed tears; of course, I will not let the mothers of little mice or cockroaches shed tears. I still want to be their mother and love them more than their mothers.

 

Eyes of Others’ Moms

Use your own eyes to see others, and use others’ eyes to see yourself. Our own mothers always see us perfect and without any flaws and the others’ mothers always look at their kids with zero defects. Therefore, the dissatisfaction of life is mostly because our eyes are the eyes of our mothers. We can't see our own shortcomings, nor can we see the merits of others. Sooner or later, when we can look at others with their mothers’ eyes, there will be no frustration or resentment. Looking around, we will see all good people and good things. These are the gentle and kind eyes that can truly see the happiness and fulfillment of this world.

 

Dad and Me

As a result of their participation in the two-two-eight political movement, both my father and mother were sentenced to death. Then, they were caught up in White Horror Later, my father and mother disappeared without us knowing their whereabouts.

All Taichung citizens mobilized tens of thousands of signatures and sent representatives to Nanjing to make a petition to Mr. Jiang Jingguo. Finally, my mother was released, but there was still no news at all of my father.

 

After my mother came back home, she was very ill and couldn't get up. My grandmother taught me to cook things, wash this and that, when I was only fourteen years old. I just bravely supported this family.

One late night, someone suddenly knocked on our door earnestly. I was so scared that I woke up all my brothers and sisters, just in case of accidents. I opened the door, and a man from the Taichung Detention Center came to tell me that someone had found my father's body in Taipei's Liuzhangli Cemetery and asked me to hurry there to check it out in the middle of the night; otherwise, it would be moved and I would never find it again. I was only fourteen years old, a little girl, and a terminally ill patient of thalassemia. How could I do all that?

This man saw me crying, so he said, "I'll go with you!"

It was almost dawn. We finally found my father's cold body, hired a car, and smuggled it back to Taichung.

I found that my father's chest was still a little warm, so I ran to find an Uncle Chen, who was a famous doctor studying in Tokyo Imperial University. I knelt and begged him to try to save my father's life.

Dad awoke. But the criminals who had been executed had no more residence record. My father had no choice but to hide under the table without seeing the sun. (Now my father’s case had been cleared, and my father can live a normal life like other people.)

For the family of a political prisoner during this period, it could be said that there was nothing but bitterness. After my father came back, for the first few years, he didn't even know who I was. Because of the torture, his memory was completely lost. Especially, my father's resentment and frustration were very strong.

Since I was fourteen, I had been waiting on my dad, who was delirious, and my mother, who was in bed all year round. I was beaten and scolded by my dad every day. I grew up strong day by day.

The neighbors couldn't bear to watch me on kneels beaten and scolded like that. They wanted to help me out, but I refused because I was afraid that my father would be even angrier. The policeman from the district also called me over several times  for questioning and he was very concerned, but I told them: "Please let Dad vent as much as he wants to. Dad will never be able to withstand any more blows." Relatives, friends, and neighbors, as well as my classmates, disagreed with me being beaten and scolded like this. They were afraid that I would be beaten internally or beaten to death. But what about my dad?

Now, I am a 62-year-old old woman, but in those 50 long years, I had never dodged the beating and scolding of my dad, nor had I avoided it, not even a single time. I would never hurt my father because he was really pitiful enough. For the happiness of Taiwan compatriots, he had sacrificed so much.

Many people who know me know that I have never offended my parents and have never done things that my parents disapprove of. I don’t neglect my parents, guarding them and protecting them. Even when I become the daughter-in-law of someone else’ family, I still go back to my natal house every day, during my break and during my time off, to take care of their daily life.

I remember the year when I just graduated from university, my professor loved me very much, and his wife was the deputy chairman of the Taipei City Party Committee; they got me a very good job. The professor said: "A lot of people are fighting for this position. You will report on time tomorrow, you know?"

I nodded.

However, I had to go back home and let my parents know about it. I rushed home, feeling so happy. Nobody knew where my dad had gone. I told my mother that I would first go to the newspaper office to work and then come back to see my father after work.

That night, when I got home, my father had fallen asleep because he was too tired. I watched my father sleeping so sweetly, soundly, and heartily. During this period, in order to hide himself from creditors, my father had hardly dared to come back home. He had always been wanted for bills and debt. He had been very restless. Maybe it had been a long time since he slept well. Today he could sleep so soundly. It was rare for him to catch some sleep! I sat on the side of the bed, quietly looking at my father, thinking about his bumpy life. Was it really worth it? I didn’t know why it was my father’s job to save Taiwan. Why was it our family's business?

I waited until noon the next day, until Dad gradually woke up from the drowsiness. Of course, my report time had passed long before and my job was gone.

My professor was very angry: "Why didn't you wake up Dad?"

I shed tears with a look of guilt. Really, how could I have the heart to wake up Dad? Poor Dad hadn't slept like that for a long time.

What if it was you?

 

Note

I still don’t understand why my father, who had been discarded as a corpse in Liuzhangli Cemetery, did not die? Why did my father, who had never believed in any religion, kept saying that Guanyin Bodhisattva let him die and turned him into a corpse then, after he was thrown out, let him live again. Do you believe that there really is Guanyin Bodhisattva in this world? My father said that he saw Guanyin Bodhisattva every day when he was in the death row.

 

Threads in Mom’s Loving Hands

I know that I am a terminally ill patient, and there is not much to hope for. However, I really can’t bear to leave my five children. I’m so worried. I can’t imagine that when I close my eyes, who will take care of them in this world? There is such a popular legend in ancient times, which folks chanted in privacy from generation to generation: "If children can wear clothes, scarves, and hats knitted or sewn by their biological mothers, their safety is far more guaranteed than by esotericism. Such an armored body protector is more beneficial. It can not only effectively eliminate various disasters, such as diseases, boat accidents, water, fires, etc., but also bring a variety of blessings; the children, generations of children and grandchildren will be safe and sound forever from now on. "

I really hope that I can live with my children forever and stay with them day and night. As long as there is any opportunity, I must take care of them, and I must protect them so that they can be very safe for the rest of their lives. Therefore, I told the doctors and nurses that while I was still breathing, I would knit each of my children a sweater, a scarf, and a hat. They said, "You are so sick, and both hands are almost completely paralyzed to the point of no use. Can you really hold the needle? Can you really hold it?"

I nodded confidently and asked them to make an exception and allow me to get up and sit up.

Every day, with IV drip tubes attached to me, I knitted. The children took turns keeping me company and picking up the knitting needles for me that fell on the ground again and again. It seemed that my left and right hands had gradually become uncooperative. I stitched and stitched, patiently and slowly. The children couldn't bear to see me working so hard; they kept begging me not to labor like this. I told the children: "This ancient legend is true. It allows mothers to stay alive with you after they die."

I kept working nonstop, crocheting and crocheting. Several times, I was overworked; I fainted and awoke; several times, I was in critical condition. The children cried and cried, and I said, "Don't worry, mom hasn't finished your sweaters yet!"

This Spring Festival, my eldest daughter was back from Russia for our family reunion. Moscow was already minus 45 degrees Celsius. I hurriedly finished a thick scarf without sleep. I think everyone can do it when motivated. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how long it would take me to finish the craft.

Ten days later, my eldest daughter had to go back to school to continue her research. At the airport, many people were staring at the scarf around her neck. They were surprised. They wondered: "Why is this scarf so ugly? It's also wet. This lady looks like her hands and feet are so neat; how come the scarf is so messy? The wool threads are either stretched too loose or too tight, too thick at spots and then too thin at other spots. How come there is no knitting pattern?" My eldest daughter almost cried. I said, "I'm very sorry. Mom did not do a good job. Tell them that this is the work of your tearful mom who was critically ill. But Mom did her best!" I couldn't help crying.

My eldest daughter came over and hugged me tightly, sobbing and unable to speak.

 

True Terminal Illness

If a person really wants to live, even if he is terminally ill, he will not die.

If a person really doesn't want to live, even if it's only a bite by a mosquito, he will definitely die.

Therefore, when a person really does not want to live, what he gets is a real terminal illness.

When I was in college, a classmate was raped by a taxi driver in a secluded place. She was very sad and wanted to commit suicide all the time. Later, everyone talked her out it and comforted her, and she finally put herself together.

But since then, she lived a life worse than death. Because everyone cared about her and loved her very much, whenever they saw her going out, they would rush to remind her: "Be careful! Don't be raped by bad guys again!"

In a word, everyone was trying to be good to her. However, what kept ringing in the ears every day was the endless rape and then rape; the pain in her heart was getting greater and greater. I really don’t know how long it would take someone to heal a trauma. This kind of second-time, third-time and endless injury made her remain forever in the tragic memory of being raped; she was unable to live a normal life as a normal person. As a result, she couldn't stand their love; in the attempt to put it all behind her, she killed herself.

Another classmate, while waiting for the bus on Roosevelt Road, was run over by a speeding heavy vehicle. She was sober after the first aid, but her pretty legs were amputated. She was in great pain and she was very self conscious, with no courage to survive. Fortunately, some friends kept reassuring and comforting her; finally she was able to face the reality, put on the prosthetic leg reluctantly, and went back to school.

Every day, many people cared about her, loved her, and took care of her. Whenever she moved a little bit, many classmates came over, "You are an amputee. Be careful not to fall!"

She wanted to walk around on the playground, then a lot of people came over to remind her: "You’re an amputee How can you go to the playground? It’s safer to stay in the classroom!"

Every day, that was what she heard from everyone. They were afraid of her falling, fearing she might break a toe again. But who knows that this amputee was suffering from second time and third time injuries all day long? She was repeatedly amputated and amputated again and again; the repetitive reminder kept hurting her like a sharp blade piercing the heart. Her wounds and scars were repeatedly opened. She would never be able to live a normal life like a normal person, and she would always live at the mercy and charity of others. She really had more pain than the pain of amputation back then, which lasted only less than four hours, but now she had to be amputated every day, from time to time; all those who loved her went on to amputate her limbs unintentionally or unconsciously.

Finally, she couldn't live on anymore, and she committed suicide. Everyone who knew her heart was happy for her because she didn't have to be amputated again every second. The car accident did not kill her; nor did the amputation. However, these people who loved her cruelly amputated her and then amputated her again, until she could not take it; they would let her go, until she died.

Any terminal illness will not be a fatal terminal illness; only the special care for terminally ill patients and the unintentional injury caused by terminally ill patients is the real murderer and the real terminal illness.

Now, let me talk about myself!

I admit that the severe anemia I suffer from is indeed very serious. I faint and go into shock from time to time.

But do I really need to live in the shadow of severe anemia every minute? Can’t I shake off the heavy burden of severe anemia for a few minutes, hours, or a while, in the hope that I can breathe easily and look like a normal person? Do I live a normal life? Is it necessary for me to think about my fatal terminal illness every minute and every second and constantly keep myself so terribly tense?

Since I was eight months old, I had been like a canary in the palms of my grandmother's hands. I could not have any freedom, could not fly, and could not walk by herself. Even though I was at fourth, fifth grade at elementary school, my family monitored me around the clock. Why couldn’t they let me learn to take care of myself? Apart from going to school, I almost always stayed in my small room and played by myself quietly. I was not allowed to go outside, let alone play. Of course, my grandmother was worried about my life, but was my life really hanging by a thread? I had been isolated so long that I became very self conscious and autistic. After graduating from university, I still did not socialize with any classmates, nor with teachers or classmates. I barely knew I could speak. When the classmates were having fun and talking about things, I could only stand by myself awkwardly, looking at them from a distance. Honestly, I was so jealous. However, my teachers were afraid that I might get into trouble, so was my grandma. I was prohibited from all daily activities that ordinary students could do because I was a terminally ill patient with severe anemia.

When I graduated from university, the dean of our department asked me to go to his office and told me some tips about how to interact with others. He said: "I know you are definitely not dumb, but why can't you speak? You have to bravely break out of your shell. Think of a way to force yourself to speak!” I nodded shamefully and couldn't help crying. I wanted to say thank-you to the dean of the department, but I couldn't say a word, I was trembling all over.

"How can I possibly speak?" I thought.

I took medicine and injections every day without having to say anything. Reading, writing, holding dolls, and playing with toys, none needed any talking. In the small room, like a dungeon where death row prisoners are held in solitary confinement, I was completely isolated from the outside world. I faced four walls every day, with no need to talk because the walls couldn't speak either.

My family said: "Just stay in the room, so you won’t be in jeopardy!"

Is it true that a person stays alive just to avoid being in jeopardy?

 

I went to junior high school and often gazed at the sky in a lost manner. It was boring, rigid and formulaic. I was bored to death, but why should I live? Was it worth it? What will happen if I die?”

I also asked my grandmother, my mother, and occasionally my Dad, but everyone had red tearful eyes, and they wouldn’t say anything.

My family , especially grandma and mother, cared about me. I am alive and I am suffering because I am reminded every minute that I am a terminally ill patient with severe anemia; if I don't want to live, my grandmother and mother will die because of my death. This kind of pain would be greater a hundred times and thousands of times more than what I endured in my life. The reason why I have to live is precisely for my grandmother and mother. I would rather bear the cross by myself and carry it to death instead of letting my grandmother and my mother suffer such unnecessary suffering. They love me so much. How can I have the heart to drag them into Hell? How can I pay their love with sufferings?

I once asked my grandmother and my mother: "Please all of you, don’t treat me as a severely, terminally anemic-ill patient all day long. Don’t do this. Please let me go, give me some free space and let me breathe, okay?" But no matter how I begged, my grandmother and my mother would not let me be. They said that they might lose me, so they must not take this risk.

For 62 years, I have been obedient and live a life according to the way set by my family every day. Like a puppy raised in the family, I can only do whatever the owner wants, and I am not allowed to have my own thoughts and life. But I'm not a puppy; how can I live like a puppy?

Severe anemia terminal disease is a big sign, pressed on my head every minute and every second, and I don't even have the right to say "no". Severe anemia and terminal illness may be really serious, but the really serious one is not this anemia terminal disease; rather, it was what happens under the sign of this anemia terminal disease: overreaction of relatives and family members who deprive the patient of the right to live a normal life like a normal person; the special attention given to patients non-stop every day. The result is that patients will never get out of the shadow of anemia and terminal illness and even lose the meaning and willingness to live on for this reason.

Over the years, my relatives and family members have given me round-the-clock meticulous care for fear of my death. For a patient like me who is controlled by others, the love of my relatives and family members who have prevented me from getting out of their clutches, I have repeatedly thought about it and try to die in order to break away. To put it simply, these people who are afraid of my death have become the murderers who are forcing me to die, knowingly or unknowingly.

 

When a person really does not want to live, he will definitely die. When a person really does not want to die, he will definitely live. No terminal illness can kill a person, unless the person really doesn't want to live. Therefore, many people who are terminally ill will not die; because of love, they may actually die because they do not want to live. This is a true terminal illness and has nothing to do with medicine. When a terminally ill patient is regarded as a terminally ill patient and must live a different life from a normal person, this person will inevitably become a truly terminally ill patient. The best treatment is to make the patient completely forget that he is a patient and let the patient live exactly like a normal person.

Although I am unable to break off the shackles of tradition, I know that I will not die of severe thalassemia terminal disease, but I will be buried by the hands of those relatives and family who love me to pieces.

 

My Wishes

Life must not be too perfect; otherwise, it will be subject to heavenly disapproving and heavenly condemnation. Everyone must have defects, but the types and extents are different from person to person. In this case, no one has the right to hope to be like others: be born the same, look the same, or live the same. Since there is only one “me” in the world, the life given to me must also be unique.

Every day, I am aware of my fate and take what I should have, and let Heaven dispense them one by one. Although it can be icy cold when the breakouts hit and although I don’t know whether they will hit me in the morning or in the evening, I never pray for their disappearance. I only ask Heaven to give me enough endurance to make sure that I can live and endure it all the time.

Without red blood cells, my body cannot store or transport heat and nutrients. I often lose my body temperature and physical energy; I would feel like being trapped in an ice cellar, and my whole body would have spells of convulsions, which give me tremors, pain and suffering. My family loves me to pieces; but they could only watch me while I I rolled around, crying until I was hoarse, until I was cold to death; they felt helpless. I recover maybe after first aid, but it is always the magic of the gods, and it is by no means guaranteed that I would recover. Every time, I pray to be able to recover and recover soon. My family have suffered enough because of me, and I can’t cause them more sufferings.

 

Seeking no Fame and Avoiding Showoffs

The most important thing for a thalassemia patient is to live one day a time, just like a normal person; this way he/she can continue to live.

Blood transfusion and iron removal is a routine; it is not complicated, but with any treatment process, no matter how simple, each step has endless danger lurking. The more formulaic, the more careless people may get, and the more dangerous.

In our family, professional physicians and nurses are always there to help with these little things that others do not take seriously. My father was afraid that if I died, my grandmother and my mother would not be able to survive.

Our family cares about everything, big or small, that can save my little life. Therefore, my grandmother repeatedly warned my parents that I must not become famous or show off, so as not to alert the ghosts and spirits who visit secretly and take me away in the middle of the night.

From elementary school to middle school to university and even later, I’ve been on the same track. When I started working, I participated in various national examinations, and I was always successful, but my parents would not allow me to accept praise or show up in public.

My grandmother lived to be ninety-two years old; then she left me her beloved granddaughter. But she left a lot of rules. My parents must be careful at all times: never let the ghosts and spirits discover that I am still alive in the world, so as not to incur unnecessary troubles;  "Don't be famous, and don't show off". These are the creeds that I absolutely dare not take lightly. On any occasion, I am not in the limelight or famous; I hide on all occasions and I will always be unknown. I am an ordinary person who is not well-known. After all, things are real only when you are alive. When a person is dead, what difference does worldly glory make?

I believe in grandma's simplicity. I follow every word of hers, with no less commitment than the wisest sayings of ancient sages. Although her words may sound very unscientific, but she and her words will always live in my heart.

"Those who are exposed are not deep and will not live forever."

 

Bushido

The Japanese pay attention to Bushido. A true samurai will never compete with people who are below to him in ranking, and he will not attack his opponent from behind his back. For example, in chess, a person of a higher level will never compete with a person of a lower level, unless he lets the competitor have a head-start.

I have not received a Japanese education, nor have I learned a single word of Japanese, but I admire Japanese Bushido.  I will never argue, quarrel, or compete with people whose qualifications are below mine. Therefore, many people often see me being unreasonably humiliated and bullied while I never fight back or talk back. They are very surprised. I said: These people’s qualifications are lower than mine, their status is lower than mine, their blessings are thinner than mine, and their family background is worse than mine. How can I bring myself to their level and fight with them?  Although I am not worthy of being a samurai, I follow the Bushido principle.

 

 Prenatal Screening

The publications provided by the hospital read that the thalassemia Association is very enthusiastic about prenatal screening and pre-marriage health checks. They advocate abortion to destroy fetuses with thalassemia; they advocate that men and women with thalassemia not marry to avoid giving birth to a child with thalassemia. They believe that as long as they continue to push as such, the birth rate of such children will be drop close to zero in a few years.

When I heard it, I was adamantly against it. This society needs all kinds of people to work together, including thalassemia patients. Everyone is born with special tasks and reasons and he cannot be replaced. Everyone has the right to survive, and he cannot be deprived or let others decide his life or death without his permission. The thalassemia fetus is not a heinous death row prisoner who commits a crime of arson or murders. Why should he be sentenced to death in the mother’s belly without being able to say a word for himself? Wouldn’t it be too unfair? Isn’t it overbearing and inhumane? Patients with thalassemia have no harm to society at all, except for regular monthly blood transfusions and daily iron removal. Besides, thalassemia patients are not contagious and do not have any disability. They can go to school and work exactly like normal people, contribute to the society, and serve the public. Why don’t such people have the right to be born? The Bible says: “Every person is a masterpiece of God, and every person is born with a special reason that he cannot be replaced, and has his sacred mission." God added: "No one has the right to kill, and no one has the right to decide life or death for others."

I am a moderate thalassemia patient who would have been screened out. My mother insisted on not inducing abortion, so she worked so hard to save my life. I have been living on blood transfused from others since I was less than one year old. But I believe that my efforts over the past sixty-two years are, for the country and society, worthy of the blood infused into my body and also worthy of the expensive iron detoxification. I have a complete education and a very stable career. I have a happy family and five healthy children. Seriously, I am in no way inferior to any healthy people. I can’t understand why fetuses with thalassemia have no right to be born into the world? Why should they be executed in the mother’s belly?

Don’t you think we would have died so innocently? Do you think you are too overbearing and inhumane? All of you are so cruel!

 

Ghost Resurrection

After my mother gave birth to me, because I suffered from moderate thalassemia, I had to have regular blood transfusions every month, and I had to take injections and medicines every day. My neighbors all pointed at me and said that my family must have done something evil to attract evil spirits and give birth to this kind of vampire daughter. Later, I was unable to develop normally due to ischemia and hypoxia, and my IQ was stalled and remained that of a newborn baby. When I was eleven years old, I still couldn’t say my name, couldn’t count one, two, or three, and I never uttered  anything that made sense. My words came out all twisted and intermittent; few people could understand my words.

The neighbors were more certain that our family was being punished by Heaven; otherwise, how could my mom give birth to such a mentally retarded child suffering from a rare disease?

People were talking behind the back of my grandma and my mom; I was also their gossip subject every day. My mother was self conscious and she felt sad; my grandma was also self conscious, and of course she was sad, too. I was a clueless little devil and I did not know how much my mother and my grandmother were crying for me behind the doors.

When I was eleven years old, for unknown reasons, I was suddenly infected with an unknown disease. I had a high fever throughout the year. My whole body collapsed. My mother and my grandmother carried me on their backs and went around asking sage for divination and visiting famous doctors. Yet, they all declared that there was nothing they could do, and I stopped breathing.

My mother insisted that I would survive, and she refused to put me in a coffin for burial. She also held me tightly for twenty-four hours, trying to use her body temperature to warm up my cold body. Because of my mother's unwillingness to give me up and grandma's pleading for the love of Heaven and Earth, amid the chanting of Buddha day and night, I finally awoke again. Maybe this is the so-called miracle in religion!

I survived again, and the happiest people were my mother and my grandmother, but I didn’t know who they were for a long time; my mother and my grandmother were also very surprised and they didn’t know who this child was anymore. Because I became someone else: no longer was I not at all mentally retarded with low IQ; I became very intelligent, and I was completely different from who I used to be before I died.

My grandmother and my mother thought that the original me had died, and now I was another person, another soul who used my body. Our house was packed of neighbors. Everyone watched my change with excitement. Almost everyone agreed that I was alive because someone else borrowed my body to resurrect. They didn’t believe that our family had this kind of morality that can save and change the lives of children.

After I recovered, I was able to start the fifth grade of elementary school without any difficulty. Originally, family members and teachers had thought that I was a blank sheet all the way from the first grade to the fourth grade. How could there be a way for me to cope with the difficult homework of the upper levels? However, human’s calculation is never as good as Heaven’s calculation. I began to earn the highest GPA since the school opened, all the way till the sixth grade. I won the Mayor’s Award, I was admitted to a top-notch school, and I won many championships from other prestigious schools.

All my friends and relatives knew in their hearts that I was not a human being, and that I was possessed by a ghost; they were all a bit spooked around me. What's more, I had to have blood transfusions every month, which proved that my corpse really has no hematopoietic ability; it depended on drawing blood from living people to sustain life.

I have read many, many books in my life, and it is easier for me to comprehend them than ordinary people, which some my teachers couldn’t figure out. Actually, it was puzzling. Why do I understand many things that I have never learned or touched? Like Japanese and Korean, I have never learned them, but I can read, write, and speak the languages. My native language is just as good. When I was writing Russian, the Russian professor asked me: "Are you Russian?" I shook my head; she also shook her head in amazement because she felt that my accent was that of an overseas Chinese who was born and raised in Moscow. When I visited my father in Tokyo once, I found that every street was very familiar. Similarly, when I visited Gwangju, South Korea for an official visit, I found that I was familiar with the surroundings. I chatted with some local elderly people easily, and they also thought I was a local.

I thought, was I really a ghost or a zombie who borrowed a corpse to resurrect? This mystery will never be solved by the neighbors, and the doctor will never know, either; even my mother and my grandmother can't solve this mystery. I have asked many doctors whether they can help me figure out whether I am a real living person or a body possessed by a ghost. The doctor said: "Based on your condition and medical history, you should have died long ago. But why are you still alive in the human world?" If I am not a real living person, why do I have to eat every day? In the past, my neighbors, relatives and friends mocked our family’s evil for having me, a useless child. Now I have grown up and I have made academic and career achievements; they all said that I was not the child that our family should have, but someone else used my body to resurrect, and it had nothing to do with our family.

I was so wronged! I grew up, I tried very hard and very painfully. Nonetheless, many people thought that my survival was nothing peculiar: since I was originally not a living person, how could I die? I was just an active body that a ghost had borrowed to resurrect.

 

Physician's Eyes

Because I often go in and out of the hospital to see a doctor, the more I interact with the doctors, the more we know each other. During the New Year, a doctor asked me: What makes a really good doctor? I said: "When a doctor can naturally see every patient as his close relatives, then he can be regarded as a true doctor. On the contrary, when a doctor sees every patient as just a patient, he is only a lowly third-rate doctor, even though he may be very skilled medically.

 

Vampire

It has been nearly 40 years since I graduated from university. Thinking of my ignorance, with that kind of truthfulness and straightforwardness when I first left school, I couldn't help but smile a slight smile. I was going to study in West Germany, but my parents couldn't pay the expensive deposit for going abroad. They wanted me to find a job first so I could save money to cover my urgent need.

I resolutely accepted the position of a field journalist with a newspaper and went to Tainan County alone to be a reporter. On the side, I got a part time position as a national middle school teacher. This way, I would soon become a rich woman.

When I got off the Xinying station, I was full of hope. However, things didn't work out as planned. My anemia broke out and it was very serious. I couldn’t get up for several days when lying in a hotel. I was unfamiliar with the place and I was really afraid of dying in an unknown place. But I did not want to write to my parents, afraid that they would be worried. So I picked up my alumni book, noted down the contact information of all the classmates living in Tainan County, and sent S. O. S.

Almost all the classmates who I had expected came over. A basket of fruit and two or three greetings were their good gestures and that was all. I was left lying in the hotel to die alone.

One day, an old woman came and asked me what my name was; she didn’t say anything else. She picked me up; the little boy and the little girl that came with her also helped carry my luggage. She said, " I will carry you back to our home to recuperate. Being away from home has challenges. You don't have to feel out of place. Just take me as your mother." This is the Tainan mother I miss all my life and the most respected Tainan grandmother in the hearts of my children.

My classmate had visited the hotel before and then he left. When he got home, his mother scolded him for not being thoughtful. How could he leave his seriously ill classmate in the hotel all alone without a family member to take care of her?

Just like this, I became the precious daughter of this family and the apple of the eye of the two genuinely kind old couple. Those days were the sweetest and warmest years in my life.

One year, I suddenly received an obituary. I didn't expect my good Tainan father to leave me without saying goodbye. I hurriedly packed my bags and hurried back to Tainan for the funeral as quickly as possible. I slept on the straw mats in the mourning hall with my clueless classmate. We slept on both sides of the old man's coffin, for ten days until the funeral. I snuggled in the arms of the cold corpse every night, hugging and crying until dawn. How could he have left me without letting me see him for the last time??

"Dad, don’t you love me anymore, the apple of your eye?”

While making the arrangements for geomantic Feng Shui for the burial ground, my clueless classmate seemed to have grown up overnight. He was busy going in and out, and he was no longer a muddle-headed Master Asher. The old saying goes: "A man takes charge outside and a woman takes charge inside.” I rarely ran out of the gate to meet people. I always kept my Tainan mother company and did some housework. There were all sorts of things to be done. I rarely had time to go outside for some fresh air.

Once, my Tainan mother asked me to take tea to the front of the lobby to entertain guests. Just then, a geographer on a bicycle showed up to solicit business. He asked, "An old man has just passed away, right?" My classmate said, "Yes! " He asked again: "For you, the max is to graduate from the law school, and then the max is to become an ordinary civil server in the future, but it's a pity! What a pity! " My classmate asked, "What's the pity?"

He said again: "Heaven was blind that you went to university because all of your brothers and sisters' books have been read by you, and none of them will have advanced degrees.”

Later, my classmate’s younger siblings really didn’t go to college. They had little education, which made me sad. After all, they were my younger siblings, too!

Then, the geographer saw me bring tea out and he was rattled. His face turned pale and he fell off his bicycle, shouting: "Vampire zombie! Vampire zombie! "

My classmate told him: "Don't be afraid. That’s my classmate, a living person!" It  took a long time for the guy to collect himself. He stammered and asked me to stretch out my hands to show him. He asked: "Are you really a living person? Not a vampire?"

I nodded..

"Then how come the blood in your body is all other people’s blood? And how come your face and your hands are so cold and stiff?"

I have to infuse a lot of blood on a regular basis. My blood will, of course, be the blood of others, but how could he have known this? It was a wonder. Did he have a psychic eye?

He said: "Your ancestors have accumulated a lot of virtue, and you yourself are compassionate and kind. You have done a lot of good deeds. Otherwise, you would have been dead for a long time. Your facial features don't have the slightest trait for a long lifespan. How can you be alive? You should not be a living person, but a vampire zombie! "

Later, I went back to my room, crying and thinking this person must be indeed quite accurate. Was I really not a living person but a living blood sucker? I was cold and stiff because of my ischemia and hypoxia, wasn’t it? It’s true that thalassemia relies on transfusion of other people’s blood to keep afloat, but blood transfusion is not blood sucking? Besides, I was also living exactly like normal people. I did not need to sleep in a coffin and I was not afraid of the daylight. In particular, at night I had to lie in bed and sleep like a normal person! Also, I still had to eat like a normal person!

Life's encounters are always full of helplessness. How I want to live without the blood of others! How I hope that one day my bone marrow could also produce blood! But how could I have the power to decide?

Ah! I turn out to be a living zombie who sucks blood. I am such a terrible female ghost!

I remember a few years ago, a group of Taoist alchemy disciples specializing in Ma-Yi divinity followed me for a long time. At first, I wanted to call the police. Later, after some interaction, we got to know each other and became good friends.

Out of curiosity, I asked them: "Why were you following me?"

They said, "We just want to know whether you are a living person or a female vampire! According to the Ma-Yi calculation, you are no longer in the world. And your facial features also show that you have sucked a lot of other people's blood, so we considered you a living zombie! "

 

I have really been wronged! I am obviously a living person. Why for decades have so many people, including psychics, geographers, fortune tellers, yin-yang eyes, temple abbots and so forth, insist on saying that I am a dead person and that I am a female vampire zombie?

 

Wearing Mourning Clothes

At the end of October 1990, my mother in Tainan suddenly suffered a heart attack, leaving me forever.

Originally, my whole family had been looking forward to the Spring Festival that year so that my Tainan mother could come to Taipei to spend the New Year with us. I had also hoped that she could stay for a longer period of time and build closer relationships with her precious little grandchildren. My classmate had promised to go back to Kaohsiung to help me persuade her and he had also agreed to call us the next day.

But what we got was the obituary of her sudden death early in the morning. Our whole family was crying, and I fainted on the floor, unconscious for a long time.

On the same day, I asked someone to drive me back to Tainan for the funeral. Because my eye omentum peeled from crying and my legs felt like noodles, I couldn’t drive by myself. I kept thinking of the time when I was working in Tainan County; I was fortunate to have had such a good mother; otherwise, I would have died a long time ago.

At the door of the house, my Tainan mother’s body was already lying on the straw mat in front of the hall. I crawled in and knelt there to tell her that her unfilial daughter had hurried back home. I took her cold hand and kissed her cold cheek. The more I thought about it, the more sad I became. “Mom, why wouldn't you let me see you the last time? Why didn’t you leave me a few words before departing? Was it really necessary to be in such a hurry?”

My classmate told me, "Mom's funeral will be done soon. It is now in the scientific age. Without the traditional red tape, everything is simplified."

I said, "Mom is yours, so you are in charge!"

Less than three days later, my Tainan mother's funeral was all clear, the offering table was also burned, and all the mourning attires were thrown away. This is called clearing the spirit so that my younger siblings and their children can stay clear of trouble.

I remember that when my grandparents passed away, the funeral was not so rushed. I asked folk experts and seniors who were knowledgeable about traditional funerals everywhere; they all opposed the modern funeral of my classmate. After all, the grace and love of our parents is as high as a mountain and as deep as the sea. How can the funeral be so perfunctory?

I asked: " Will there be any bad effects?"

These experts and seniors said: "After the parents pass away, they will be judged in the ten lobbies in the netherworld, which is very painful. Therefore, the children must "do seven" (mourning for seven days) on time to support her through the first trial. To accompany her through the lobby of Yama, you will have to mourn for seven or forty-nine days, then do it for a hundred days, and then for one year, two years, and three years. After all this, there will be three more lobbies left. Therefore, filial children are afraid that their parents will be exhausted at the last stretch, so they often mourn for three years or five years."

I asked again: "Can I mourn less than seven days?”

They replied, "Absolutely not, because the period from one lobby to the next is fixed. Just like pregnancy, even if the technology advances, it will still take ten months.""

I asked again, "What about wearing mourning clothes?”

They replied, “When a parent just passed away, before the completion of the trial, he/she cannot ascend to Heaven or become a Buddha, nor can he/she be reincarnated  or go to hell. At this time, the parent is roaming, lonely, and helpless, not knowing where to go. Plus, he/she fears light, heat, Yang Qi, violent ghosts of the ruffians and hooligans; he/she is in danger almost at every step and there is nowhere to hide, nowhere to stay. Therefore, children should wear mourning clothes to shield the souls of parents, so that parents can use the clothes of their children as a shelter day and night. Wearing mourning clothes, a child is the guardian talisman for parents. It can protect the soul of parents from being bullied by violent ghosts when they go out. In the trials from one lobby to the next, they are not tortured for a confession. Think about the loneliness of the parents after their deaths. They might be tried and tortured in the underworld, helpless and lonely; they might be suffering thousands of tortures. As a child, if you can’t support your parents in the underworld, what is the good of your parents’ hard work in raising you?"

I couldn't help bawling out.

At that time, my Tainan mother ought not to know how to survive the long and bitter days of the Ten Lobby Trials.

How could I let my beloved mother suffer this kind of terror in the underworld day and night, with no shelter or support, alone and helpless. Then I would be worse than an animal!

My classmate was very science-minded and wouldn’t believe such unscientific things. However, if these things were absolutely true, the one who would suffer must be my mother in the underworld. Who would save my mother then? What's more, even if these unscientific things were just speculative imaginations, I would have nothing to lose! I would rather be fooled than take risks with my mother’s happiness!

I started to follow the traditional rituals and observe mourning of 7-day periods for my Tainan mother. From the first seven, I decided to do it for a hundred days, then one year, two years, three years, and then five years. My children, at all three meals every day, brought food to the altar table first for grandma, in the same manner as when she was alive. After the three sticks of incense burnt up one-third, my whole family would eat. Every day, when the five children went to school or went out, they would greet their grandmother. When they had something delicious or birthday cake, they offered it to their grandmother first. Year after year until today, ten years later, my Tainan grandma is still the patriarch in our family, and still the "grandma" in my children's mind.

I also followed the traditional rituals of wearing mourning clothes to pay filial piety for my Tainan mother. Some people say that only biological children need to pay such filial piety for three years. I am not her own. She had no obligation to support me, but she loved me as as her own, so I should keep filial piety for five years to repay her life-saving grace twice as much. For the past five years, I put on a filial dress made of linen every day for my Tainan mother. I never dared to take it off; I was afraid that my mother would get hurt. When I handled cases for others or go to work, I would ask the other party to forgive me for wearing mourning clothes. If the other party disagreed or cared too much, I would not take these cases. I think my mother was more important than money. How could I have the heart to see my mother have nowhere to live and suffer unnecessary suffering!

 

For five years, I did not stop wearing mourning clothes for my Tainan mother. At first, many people pointed at me, thinking that I was insane, but later they stopped. I told the children, “Don’t let your grandma suffer in the underworld just for fear of others’ ridicules. As long as your grandma walks safely through the ten lobbies and has a protective umbrella in the underworld, we don’t need to think about anything, and we’re not afraid of anything.” I told the children’s teachers that it was our Tainan custom and we couldn’t give it up. The teachers understood.

When my Tainan mother passed away, I was fifty-two years old, and I was fifty-seven at the end of the five-year filial piety mourning period. In my third year of keeping filial piety, I had an operation in a big hospital, and then one operation after another. It was a fatal terminal illness.

I was declared out of danger at the age of fifty-eight. I had been categorically by many fortune tellers in various places in the province that I would not live to be fifty-six years old.

A fortune teller who my friend worshiped was a proud disciple of Master Jigong. He did not hesitate to declare that if I could live past 56 years old, he was willing to tear down his business stand and go on a pilgrimage of one-bow-every-three-steps from Changhua, Taipei to my house.

My cousin was the heir of Maoshan Tao. He boldly stated at the ancestral grave site that if I could live over 56 years old, he would cut off his head and let me play it as a football. A few years ago, my cousin threw up blood and died on the spot when he was contesting with someone.

An elder of mine took my horoscope to a famous fortune teller in Taichung County; he asked if I could survive one major surgery after another. The fortune teller said: I can live until I am fifty-six years old at most, not any longer after that.

There have been no less than 20 expert fortune tellers who all frankly declared that I would live to be fifty-six at most. But I am 62 years old this year. It can be seen that life expectancy is not predestined but can be extended little by little through one’s efforts.

From the period of fifty-two years of age to fifty-seven, during which I was mourning, all of my illnesses were terminal illnesses with no hope of survival, but haven’t I survived them all?

Could it be due to me mourning my Tainan mom? Or she took shelter in my mourning clothes and then saved my life?

 

Heaven’s Laws and Destiny

In the summer of 1990, my friend Mr. Yang married a second wife; they bought a house on Songshan Zhongpo South Road. Allegedly, this was his wife’s endowment.

Mr. Yang had invited me several times to visit his new house because this was the first time he had his own nest in life, and he was very happy.

I suffer from congenital severe anemia, my body does not have the ability to keep my body temperature and I faint at every turn, which others don’t know how to cope with. Therefore, I seldom go out for fear of causing trouble to my family or relatives and friends.

Mr. Yang really hoped that I could be there and help him understand the energy of the new house. However, I am not a geomantic expert at all, and I don’t know much about Feng Shui. Even if I get to the scene and look again and again, how can I have any clue? So, I declined, thinking that it would be better for me not to go.

Nonetheless, Mr. Yang brought a lot of his friends to my house and ‘kidnapped’ me. I had no choice but to honor their request; two family members came along with me to keep me company just in case.

When I arrived at the door of the new house on Zhongpo South Road, I was out of breath and couldn't walk anymore. Mr. Yang was greeting us at the door. Everyone thought that that I did not need to rest at all and I could simply go inside! They did not know that I was too tired to move; all I wanted was to sit down and rest first.

They helped me sit down on the sofa in Mr. Yang's living room. Suddenly, I felt cold all over and started to shake. It was strange; why was it so cloudy here? My teeth started chattering. Mr. Yang saw the situation; he hurried to find the electric heater, but I had gotten into shock.

I was alone; it felt surreal, and I found myself in a strange dark place. I had never been here; there was not a single soul to ask; I was very scared. At this time, a faint voice came: "His Master Wenquxing (translator’s note: the deity in charge of learning and tests) is about to arrive. Everyone, be ready to come out to greet him." I thought: It’s a coincidence today; how come I am meeting Master Wenwuxing?” I had never seen what the gods in the sky look like. I was very curious, especially in this dark place where there was not a single soul. If there was really a Master Wenquxing, then I would be saved. I would like to join him and see the grace of Master Wenquxingjun.

Time was crawling; the clock was ticking; it felt like a year. Sure enough, there was gradually voices, but I was so scared that I couldn't hear what they were saying.

After a long, long time, a group of people appeared. I wanted to ask them what exactly this place was. So I stepped forward slowly. I was very careful because the current surrounding was too mysterious and too terrifying. It was difficult to distinguish between fortunes and misfortunes; it was hard to tell apart enemies and friends.

At this time, a figure in the front saw me approaching and he walked towards me: "Hi! Your Master Wenquxing! Please pardon me. I did not see you!"

I turned my head and looked over my shoulder, only to find no one else but me; there was no trace of Master Wenquxing but me alone; there was no Master Wenquxingjun. I said: "Sir, you made a mistake." The person shook his hand: "Yes, Your Master Wenquxingjun! We are expecting you!"

I said, "But I'm just a very ordinary housewife. I am no Master Wenquxingjun."

He said: "Your Master Wenquxingjun! You don't understand. Please sit down and let me explain to you slowly!"

I didn't know why a lot of light just appeared all of a sudden; I found myself in a very solemn temple, with the man sitting in the middle and me sitting on his left side. There were many people sitting around, including high officials and small officials.  literary officers and martial arts officers.

"What in the world is this place?"I asked.

"It's the netherworld!" he replied.

"Am I dead?"I asked again.

The other person nodded.

I couldn't help crying loudly. I only came to visit his new house at the invitation of my friend, and I died without a cause. I was so wronged! I was so innocent!

"Your Master Wenquxingjun! Please don't be sad. We just have something to  discuss with you. Afterwards, I will send you back immediately; You will be here  just for a few minutes!"

 

He said that I had often passed out; my spirit and my three beams of light had often released those who they had captured, leaving them in a bind. He said they had orders to follow, and their operations were based on Heaven’s Laws and Destiny. He hoped that my compassion wouldn’t obstruct their business. When they saw my presence in this house, they thought I had come to poke my nose into their business; they had to take away scores of people from this house; it was a big case.

I was puzzled. When did I do the things they were talking about? I was nobody but a housewife taking care of our household chores and my children and my parent-in-laws. How could I have that kind of power?

But he said, “I can’t leak a secret. We are just asking you to leave this house as soon as possible and never come back here. Is it possible?”

I said, “Of course. Didn’t you say this is a public affair?”

He said, “Yes. Here is the official paperwork.”

I looked at it and found that there was really official paperwork in the netherworld, clearly organized and itemized. All the names of those to be taken out were listed there. I saw the address: at XXX’s estate; event: passenger deaths from a plane crash, pedestrian and resident deaths from the plane crash; names included my friend’s whole family.

I was very sad. I said, “Do all my friend’s family members have to die?”

He said, “Yes. This is Heaven's Laws and their destiny. Our job is to take people away; we don’t make decisions.”

I sensed that I could plead until my hair turned gray and it would still be useless; they were in charge of carrying out a decision instead of making a decision.

I told them I did know who Master Wenquxing was, nor did I have any idea if I was Master Wenquxing they were looking for; I did not believe it myself. Still, I granted them their request and I would not show up there again. I asked, “Can I leave now?”

There was no response. I heard voices trying to wake me up from my shock and I heard my family crying nervously. “Great. She’s awake now!”

However, I had just woken up when I lost consciousness again. I found myself back in the apparition hall with those same people.

I asked, “Can I ask Buddha and Bodhisattvas to save these people? Can you have mercy? Can you change the accident spot? This is downtown and hub of the city; the accident may impact lots of innocent people. Can you just change the spot? This person has several estates; can you have compassion and be flexible?”

He did not answer. Out of worries, I burst into tears and told them categorically that I would be here to join my friend Mr. Yang’s family on the date of the accident so I would die with them; since I had no way to save them, I had no choice but to sacrifice my life. At this, they disappeared instantly. I woke up again; everyone was calling out, “She’s awake!”

Soon, I went into a coma again. Those people appeared again,”Your Master Wenquxing, please don’t make such a request. Please don’t be stubborn. We in the netherworld are your subordinates and we can’t be accountable for such an offense. From now on, as long as you don’t interfere with our business, we won’t interfere with yours. It is all up to you if you want to read the scriptures and bow to Buddha. All in all, Master Wenquxing has the due dignity. This is all I can humbly say. Farewell.”

Instantly, I woke up again. It felt like a long dream. There were two words left in my mind: Huang Dong.

I couldn’t help wondering what they meant, name of a place, or a person, or a religion?

I asked my friend Mr. Yang, but he didn’t know. I asked everyone present, but none had any idea. Then someone suggested that it might have something to do with the owner of the house (translator’s note: “Huang Dong” rhymes with “Fang Dong”, house owner. “

My friend immediately called his second wife; it was indeed connected with her: her father’s name is Huang Dong; he lived in Dong Shi, Yun Lin County.

I told my friend that before she moved in here, they must read scriptures first, chant Buddha’s name and sprinkle holy water at every corner. My friend was an old man and he consented 100%, but his second wife was a modern “science person” and she objected adamantly. I had no choice but to tell them that many people might die in the house if they were not to read scriptures. Also, when they read scriptures, they should not disturb the neighbors and incur their curses; with any curse, nothing could be altered and saved. After this explanation, everyone in his family finally agreed.

Everyone from Yi Xing Philanthropist Center came to help; unfortunately, some neighbors cursed us; they were Christians and disliked such foolish acts. In order to appease them, we apologized again and again. However, it was too late; none on the roster could be spared anymore.

I cried and said, “The plane will crash around 8 a.am. on August 21; the casualties will total 18; the location will be the middle of a field.”

Someone asked, “Why?”

I replied, “The netherworld left me the two words of ‘Huang Dong’. At the time, I begged them with tears to change the spot and spare my friend Mr. Yang’s family. Their response was ‘Huang Dong’. My mind broke down the two words’ compositions and strokes and it also tied two words that had the same phonetic with Hunag Dong; then I pieced all together and figured it out.”

Many said, “Let’s call the Air Force and notify them.”

I shook my head, “We are nobody. We are not in the position to make such a call. Also, it is a national defense secret; we are in no way to interfere.”

I had promised the netherworld that I would not intervene. All I was able to do was ask them to change the spot and spare innocent people; this way, I would be able to save my friend’s family. That was all I could do. Even Master Wenquxing was not able to do more.

A little past 7, on August 21 of 1990, a military freight airplane crashed in the sugar cane field in Dong Shi, Yun Lin County; all 18 people on aboard died, including three major generals, eight colonels, and the pilot. The field was what my friend Mr. Yang’s second wife inherited. For sure, the spot was altered, but the eighteen army officers still died.

I cried many days. But what could I do?

 

What are Heaven’s Laws? What is Destiny?

In that dream, those from the netherworld told me that everyone, both those in Heaven and those in the netherworld, respects Master Wenquxing, and no one will take Wenquxing’s words lightly. It was only that they were taking orders; they were not to make any mistakes when taking away someone for a trial. I felt ashamed at that. I realized that I was causing them a big inconvenience. What I could not put behind me was this: who in the world was giving such orders? Why was he so cruel? Wasn’t he a deity in Heaven? If I were really Master Wenquxing, I would definitely go up to Heaven and reason with this person. But what is Master Wenquxing? I have no idea.

 

Notes

  1. For details of the plane crash, please search for headline news in the newspapers of August 22, 1990 (in Taiwan).
  2. When I was leaving the netherworld, I saw a couplet, which read:

The soil is honored to bury the faithful sons;

The river is speechless to cry over the heroic souls.

  1. Confucius avoided talking about mysterious energies and spirits. I feel that Yin-yang issues are speculations. I felt pitiful for the loss of the eighteen officers, but what can we do in this modern world of science?
  2. The field of the plane crash, at my request, has been turned into an air force memorial in memory of the officers.
  3. Yang’s whole family was able to survive thanks to their consciences and compassion. At the time, when they heard many people would die in the house, many of his friends earnestly tried to talk him into selling the house; the house was located at a good spot and it would sell for a high price soon after it was posted for sale. However, Mr. Yang would rather have his whole family crushed to death in the house than fleeing; he would not see others move in and die mysteriously in place of him. Also, he insisted on not moving out either, saying that a debt had to be paid by the debtor; if he moved, he might bring death to the new innocent neighbors. I was very touched to hear that and I firmly believed that his family would be spared.

 

PS

  1. The author is definitely not Master Wenquxing and she does not know about him, either. According to the Chinese traditions, a deity in Heaven can’t be a female.
  2. The author doesn’t know how to tell fortunes; neither does she have Yin-Yang eyes; therefore, she does not have any power to resolve any issues.
  3. When the authors loses consciousness, she sometimes encounters spirits of those who passed away on the scenes. But those were coincidences, with slim chances, not to mention her ability to freely summon any spirit or go to the netherworld to meet anyone.
  4. The netherworld and our world are the same. There was a Taipei, GAO Xiong in the netherworld. The streets were full of people. It was hard to encounter an acquaintance; it would be like looking for a needle in the hay to try to find anyone.
  5. I hear that mediums and shamans can go to the netherworld and help people find a deceased family member, but I don’t have this kind of experience; I really don’t know if these people are frauds or not. All I want to say is that I have never met any living person in the netherworld.

 

Living in Harmony

Mr. Zhang was a general manager of the handful renowned construction companies in Taiwan. He managed the construction of several big buildings and made lots of money.

He drove a world classic car that was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars; he looked grand. One day, he was driving home when his car just broke down right on the railroad crossing; he and his driver pushed hard but they couldn’t move it even an inch. To avoid a collision, all the store owners nearby were asked to help; they tried very hard and finally moved the car off the rails. Just then, a train was heard approaching fast towards them. What a narrow escape!

About a week later, he was driving a new car and it also broke down on the railroad crossing, exactly on the same spot; they just couldn’t push it off. In the end, they again turned to the nearby merchants for help; together, they got it off the rails. Within a second, the train sped by. My. Zhang was so frightened that he broke out in cold sweat.

A week later, he got an even better car. The same thing happened; the car broke down at the same spot and wouldn’t move. Again, they got the passersby and nearby merchants to help; together, they had a narrow escape.

Mr. Zhang was scared because the railroad crossing was the only road he could take to go home. Therefore, he asked his high school classmate to bring him to my office. He was shaking when he told me what had happened; clearly, he was terrified.

Even though I ran a firm of international law services, many board chairmen knew that I had severe anemia since birth and I would often go into coma. They felt that I frequented the netherworld and I was able to see the netherworld which was invisible to them. In particular, I stopped breathing at the age of 11 but then I awoke; I became vegetative at the age of 36 and lay in the morgue for 11 months.

I met some people in the netherworld; we would greet each other. When I awoke, I would worry about these people whose souls were already in the netherworld. I would try my best to alert them and hope that they would escape death. Many board chairmen had helped me to contact such living dead people; and they were amazed at the accuracy of my predictions of death causes and dates. However, few had listened to such “nonsense”, so few had been saved.

Mr. Zhang’s high school classmate was a client of mine, who knew I was a constant visitor of the netherworld. So, he brought his classmate over to find out what was wrong and why he had almost died on the railroad crossing several times. I took down Mr. Zhang’s birthday, address, and phone number. Next time when I passed out from anemia, I might go to the netherworld and find out if anyone had any grudges with Mr. Zhang.

One month later, I asked my client to bring Mr. Zhang to my office. I told him that an old couple was angry with him because he had dug up their home and thrown away their bones like trash. I told the old couple’s address to Mr. Zhang.

Right away, it dawned on Mr. Zhang; he said, “Wow! Got it.”

It turned out that Mr. Zhang had built a jacuzzi on a construction site; when digging the foundation, three or four old graves were unearthed. Because they were so old and no one came to claim them, the bones were wrapped and disposed of by a waste management company.

I said, “People in the netherworld have their opinions. We must live in harmony with them instead of angering them because they can see us clearly even though we can’t see them.”

I hoped Mr. Zhang would reconcile with the old couple to avoid mutual animosity. However, Mr. Zhang burst into laughter, “ What are you talking about? This is a modern age. To be honest with you, I have emigrated to Texas, USA. I have a modern company of scientific instruments and I interact with the best American scientists. How can I believe such unscientific nonsense?”

I knew there was no point of me saying anything else.

Seven days later, my client told me that Mr. Zhang was returning to USA the next day. He asked me what message I had for Mr. Zhang. I said, “Since he doesn’t believe it, whatever I say will be pointless. Still, I insist on reconciliation between this world and the netherworld; instead of no hostility, the two worlds must coexist in harmony and peace.”

I said, “The old couple were very angry. They decided to punish Mr. Zhang within a week, so he’d better first resolve the conflict before going back to USA. It won’t be good if something happens.”

About 5 o’clock that afternoon, Mr. Zhang met me at East Zhongxiao Road. He was annoyed, “I’ll be in Texas, USA. Tell the old couple to travel overseas and settle it all with me there if they have guts.”

I knew what I said was all groundless “nonsense”; what good was my advice to a scientific man enjoying the advanced American technology?

The following day, Mr. Zhang went back to USA. My client said that Mr. Zhang was still laughing at my ignorance when leaving; he couldn’t understand it and wondered which landfill my advanced education had gone to.

About four days after Mr. Zhang left, my client brought Mr. Zhang’s mother to my office; she was crying and she couldn’t say a word.

My client was Board Chairman of a big computer company. He cried, too. Quite a while passed before he spoke while sobbing, “Mr. Zhang died in a car collision while on the highway back to Texas; his whole family was in the car.”

I almost passed out at the news. How could it be so tragic?

Mr. Zhang’s mother fell very sick after the accident; she was bedridden and she passed away about this spring festival.

If you want to live to be a hundred years old, you must live peacefully and harmoniously with those in the netherworld. Don’t think you are very scientific. After all, there is another “unscientific” world apart from our scientific world. If you anger the other world, all your “science” won’t be scientific anymore.

Notes

The old couple hoped that Mr. Zhang would be crushed to death in a car collision; therefore, his car broke down on the crossing. However, I didn’t think it would make sense because his car was big and solid; it was a famous European car; if it collided with a train, it would cause the train to derail and many innocent passengers would die; it would be too cruel. What’s more, when Mr. Zhang’s car broke down on the crossing, he would immediately get out and run away, so the train would never hit him. That way, the innocent people would have died while he would be unscathed. Wouldn’t this break Heaven’s Laws? The old couple felt it reasonable and changed their plan to have him die from bleeding in a car collision on a highway. They said that they followed Mr. Zhang to USA and never left him.

 

No Betrayal of your Ancestors to Ensure Longevity

Part 1

Betrayal of one’s ancestors means that you don’t carry your family’s last name for no good reason and you don’t pay respect to your ancestors. The common cases include the local practice to marrying into a woman’s family. The woman’s parents don’t have sons; then their daughter marries a man into the family; they make arrangements that half of their children will carry the woman’s family name and the other half will carry the man’s last name. However, most men feel ashamed to be married into a woman’s family and they change their minds halfway; they refuse to honor the agreement of having half of their children carry the woman’s last name and they refuse to pay respect to the woman’s ancestors.

 

A professor had three kids attending college in USA. During the summer, all of them came back to Taiwan. On the cab ride from Taiyuan Airport, they were caught in a bad highway accident and all died in the cab.

 

The professor was heartbroken. He sent over a client of mine to consult me. He believed that he had never done any unethical things or any evil things.

 

I am a patient of thalassemia and I often go into a coma, crossing over between this world and the netherworld. I told him that if I had a chance to know the cause, I would tell my client who would pass it to him.

 

A month later, he himself came to my office. It happened that I was having a dizzy spell and I couldn’t hold myself standing up; the doctors were performing first aid. In my groggy state, I saw the back of the professor and his family having an argument. It turned out that he had issues with his last name.

 

His last name was Liao, but that was not his original last name; it was Lai. He paternal grandpa married into his grandma’s family; they had agreed that the first son would carry the wife’s last name and the second son would carry the husband’s last name, so so forth; that was the common practice.

However, they had only one son and no more. The husband’s parents insisted that the son should carry the husband’s last name and then the next son would carry the wife’s last name. Later on, they never had another son, so the wife’s last name had no one to carry on.

The wife wouldn’t want to take it like that, so she took it to the court. However, the case lingered for many years, without a ruling.

Scores of years later, that son had boys, who were the professor and his siblings. Still, no one in this generation carried their grandma’s last name. Now, he and his siblings also have sons and still no one carries their great grandma’s last name. Was this fair? According to the marriage agreement, both the husband and the wife were to have half their children carry their last names; now the husband has a lot of offspring while the wife has none; her ancestors were left cold and starving with no one to commemorate them.

The first generation was the professor’s grandpa, who had agreed to let half of the children carry the grandma’s last name.

The second generation is the professor’s father, who carries the grandpa’s last name.

The third generation has the professor and his siblings, who all carry the grandpa’s last name.

The fourth generation has the sons of the professor and his siblings’, who all carry the grandpa’s last name.

As can be seen, the grandma’s family had no one carrying her last name. Think about it. How can the ancestors not hold grudges?

The two families had a trial in the netherworld. Anyone who bullies others in this world will be punished in the netherworld. The professor’s ancestors lost the case and had to pay back what was owed to the grandma’s family. Nonetheless, people in this world have no idea of the conflicts between their ancestors, so their children are taken away one after another and no one knows why.

I told the professor that if they had another child, he/she must carry the last name of Lai, the grandma’s last name; only this way could the child survive. He said that his brother had the same fate, seeing his children die one after another until almost all children were gone.

So far, this case was still lingering; it had been so many generations removed, so how could they get their children to adopt the grandma’s last name?

 

Do you know how many ancestors you have?

If you are the thirtieth generation, then you have ancestors of 2 to the 30th power. How many people does that add up to? (about 1.7 billion). Therefore, everyone has more ancestors in the netherworld than in this world; when the two sides of one’s parents’ ancestors fight with each other, do you know how many people will be involved? Don’t take this lightly.

Some of my friends died because of this and they had no idea of the cause.

 

Heaven’s Tax for Security

Only after you you pay Heaven’s tax can you be secure. Heaven’s tax means donation of 10% of your income to help those in need. Only after this can it really be your money and you can really use it for shopping, investments, and daily necessities; only after this can you enjoy real security and happiness. For example, before you buy a house, take a ship or a plane, or buy a car, you should not forget to pay what you owe to Heaven’s taxes; this is insurance for safety. If you owe such Heaven’s taxes, you will be punished; things will be unpredictable. Don’t take this lightly. In a word, only after you have donated 10,000 dollars should you buy a 100,000 dollar house. After you have donated 1,000 dollars, then you can spend 10,000 dollars. Such donations have no side effects and no sequel effects, either.

Do you have pains? Did you miss your Heaven’s taxes? Do you want to mend the broken net? Mending the surface is paying a Heaven’s tax, so is mending the root.

 

Part 2

After the second surgery at a hospital, my doctors recommended that I get out of bed and practice walking so that I wouldn’t become permanently disabled from muscle atrophy.

My family wheeled me into the lobby on the first floor; I tried to inch forward with the aid of a walking cane. I was barely on my feet when all of a sudden a big guy ran towards me and knocked me down at full speed. Because I could barely move, I was not able to dodge; I was knocked down; I let out a loud scream and passed out.

When I woke up, I found myself lying in bed. My family told me that I had been out for a few hours. They were relieved to see me awake.

At my bedside, there stood a man in his sixties. I asked, “Who is he?”

My family told me that it was he that had knocked me out; he was there to apologize and visit me. The man apologized to me again and again; he told me, “My last son is the only son left. He had a big accident and he is in ER. No one knows if he will be OK. I was beside myself and I was in a hurry; I didn’t see anyone in front of me at all.”

I asked, “How many children did you have in all?”

He said, “I had four boys. The first three all died one after another, at about 24 years of age. My first son had just started his apprenticeship as a sailor on a boat when he was drowned in the ocean a few months afterwards. My second son was a cop. He was shot by a bad guy while he was on duty. My third son was in the military when he died and no one knew the cause. Now I have only this son left. This is my last hope; he is the only one to carry the family torch.”

I asked again, “What’s your name?”

He said, “My last name is Heh.”

Before I could hear out the words, I felt dizzy and the whole room began to turn upside down and everything in front of me kept circling. I couldn’t hold up and I passed out again.

When I woke up, the doctors and nurses were performing ER on me.

I was exhausted and I told them in a whisper that I was OK.

Then I remembered that I had been asking that man his last name and he had said it was Heh.

I said, “Sir, your ancestors just told me in my dream that your last name is not Heh; it should be Zheng. If you don’t change back to Zheng right away, your Zheng ancestors will take out all your children, one by by.”

He thought I was still delirious and I was talking nonsense; he ignored me completely. He didn’t respond to me; then he said bye and left.

About three days later, that man brought an old man in his eighties to see me. The old man was here to visit his grandson in the ER. I asked, “Uncle, your last name is also Heh?”

He was mad and countered, “What other last name do I have if not Heh?”

I said, “Spirits told me that your last name is Zheng!”

The old man was very angry. He said, “Do I need a stranger like you to tell me my last name? I am in my eighties and you think I don’t know what my last name is?”

I said, “It’s up to you whether you want to change your last name. It is a shame that your grandson will die a wrong death, and your son will have no offspring to carry the family’s name.”

The old man saw how serious I was; eventually, he just sat there. He had asked the doctors and nurses that I was not a quack warlock. He began to believe me a little.

Urged by his son and daughter-in-law, the old man decided to go back to his birthplace and check it out. He went back to his nursery and got his birth information; then, he applied for permission to to back to the mountain where his parents were from.

He asked the authorities to investigate openly and secretly. Eventually, they found a few pages of incredible, shocking information which was left behind by the then-ruling Japanese government.

His father was a Mr. Zheng; his father and mother were loggers in the mountain. When he was three, his father was crushed to death by a falling tree while felling a tree. His mother had no one to rely on; she married another logger and registered their marriage. This logger’s last name was Heh; he was his stepfather. This Mr. Heh had been a drug dealer. He had been on the run from police; so he had become a logger in the mountains. As a result, the last name of Heh was also fake. 。

According to the file, Mr. Heh had been so addicted to drugs that he had not been able to have a child. When the old man was about 6 years old, Mr. Heh was caught and the old man’s biological mother was incriminated too; both were executed.

This old man, becoming an orphan at the age of 6, lived a sad life. His son did not go to school that much because they were poor; he also lived a sad life, with constant ups and downs.

I said, “If it is your last name, hurry up and take it up; if it is not your last name, hurry up and give it up. Only this way can your life take a turn for the better.”

I was discharged 40 days later. During the time, I helped a miserable family with their revival, even though I was a disabled, almost useless person. I even saved a young man and got him to escape a narrow death. There is a saying “You save a life, and your credit is more than building a 7-story pagoda.” For me, as a patient of a terminal illness, can this credit save my own life?

Before leaving the hospital, this family came over to say goodbye. The man who had knocked me out said to me with teary eyes, “If I had met you ten years earlier, I could have saved the other three sons.”

Humans’ lives are ruled by Heaven’s Laws. What could I do?

 

Part 3

Mr. Hu was Chief Secretary of a religious group. He was responsible and sincere; everyone respected him. He got married in 1979; they had a beautiful baby boy the following year.

Because I was teaching a religion language in the group, he asked me to name his baby. I told him that I had serious anemia and I might die anytime; it might bring the baby bad luck. He said he wouldn’t mind; he would appreciate it as long as I tried my best. So I agreed.

One day, I was getting up from the kitchen table after lunch when somehow I found the whole room swirling and I was sucked in it. My eyes became blurry. I lost consciousness and fell down.

After a long time, I woke up. My family and my colleagues tried to talk me out of going to work that day. I thought that I might just as well take the time and get a good name for Mr. Hu’s baby; this way, I would be done with the favor request.

When my colleague brought the baby’s horoscope, I got a big headache. My family was afraid that I couldn’t hold up; they helped me into my room; I lay down on my bed for a shuteye.

When I woke up, I somehow felt something was wrong with the baby’s birth information, and I couldn’t tell what it was.

I called Mr. Hu and asked, “My Hu, is your last name really Hu?”

He said, “Yes, it is Hu.”

“What about your father?”

“His last name is Hu, too.”

Then, a blurry figure appeared in my mind, coming and going, waving his hand and shaking his head; behind him was Wang’s ancestral temple. I said, “Mr. Hu, do you have anything to do with a Mr Wang?”

Mr. Hu said categorically that he had nothing to do with a Mr. Wang. He sounded quite sure.

I was puzzled; I said to him that I wouldn’t read the baby’s horoscope or name him because I had too many questions that couldn’t be answered.

The next day, Mr. Hu and his wife came to my office and begged me to do them the favor.

I said, “I visualized Mr. Wang’s ancestral temple, but your last name is Hu. I feel your last name must be a mistake because this baby is Wang family’s baby and needs to carry Wang’s family name. If he takes the Hu last name, he won’t survive; he will live to the age of three at most, no more than a thousand days.”

I asked him to go back to his hometown and ask his parents.

His parents were outraged and yelled at him for not be being filial; his mom even threatened to commit suicide, to show that she was a loyal wife who would never marry a second husband.

Mr. Hu was frustrated and he came to see me in my office again. I said that such issues were not business deals and couldn’t be negotiated. I wrote down the time and date of the baby’s death and asked that he must complete the task of honoring his ancestors.

About 900 days after the baby was born, he really died.

Mr. Hu and his wife were so heartbroken that they kept crying for years and they lost weight. Mr. Hu’s mom felt guilty and told him behind the doors, “Your biological father’s last name was Wang. We had fallen in love from early on. I was pregnant with you, but I was not allowed to marry your father. Your grandparents forced me to marry the father you know of. So, you got the last name of Hu at birth.Your biological father had come over several times to ask for your custody, but I couldn’t let my husband know the secret; therefore, I was not able to help you acknowledge and honor your ancestors.”

Mr. Hu insisted on not hurting his mom, so he said he would wait until she left the world. Whatever happened during the time when he was not acknowledging his ancestors, he took it all on himself in order to spare his parents any inconvenience.

Mr. Hu never completed the task of acknowledging his ancestors, and his life never took a turn for the better. Right now, he is still struggling and his career is not good, either. His mom is in a vegetative state after an accidental fall; it has been ten years.

Life is always full of endless helplessness. Even though one knows danger lurks ahead, he/she still has to press on.

 

 

 

Addendum Booklet

Preface

This booklet contains addendum pieces and stories. In it, we tell a few short stories, which had been strictly forbidden during my employment for propagation on the assumption that they were about mysterious spirit cases. At the time, we were forbidden to say anything, or talk about anything, or acknowledge anything; it was claimed that such would confuse the public views and disturb people.

Thirty years have passed. Time is different now. Our society is more open and more democratic; accordingly, such bans should be put behind us.

Currently, cruel murder cases occur again and again, and it is very concerning. In order to make murderers understand “Even death can not really end it all” so that they can stop short on their track and turn their life around, we purposefully select a few previous cases that are thought provoking; we hope that all readers will inspire each other and learn that we are all connected as kinship with no difference; that we will care for each other sincerely at all times; that our society will transform violence into peace; that we will no longer fight each other to death; that we will no longer kill lives but release lives; that we will “stop slaughtering immediately and become a Buddha”. If so, then our society will be blessed, and we will all be blessed.

Feel free to contact us: Ms. Chen, 407 Eastern University, PO Box 119, Tai Zhong City

 

A Useless Person

During my time off, I took a train from Tai Pei to Jiayi; I planned to connect at Jiayi to a train back to the countryside in Tai Nan.

On the train, there were two robust young men talking with each other; they looked like new judges, proud and confident.

Person A said, “I hear there was a useless person several scores of years ago who somehow passed the bar examination and then presided trials.”

Person B said, “I know. How could this kind of person pass the bar test?”

Person A said, “Maybe it was sheer luck!”

Person B said, “I guess so.”

Person A said, “You know how useless the person was? She was good for nothing.”

Person B, “I heard of such things, but you can tell me more details.”

Person A, “They told me that during trials, she would cry even before a defendant cried, and she would shed more tears than a defendant! She was really good for nothing. She was a shame to us all judges. I also heard that every time she pronounced a sentence, she would go out of her way and explain to a convict in great details the grounds for such a sentence and why a convict had to be incarcerated. Think about it. Does a judge have to look up at a convict for mercy? What was more despicable was that the judge would apologetically tell the convict that it was all she could do and that she could not help more due to the limited evidence available. A convict gets a sentence and that’s what serves him right; why should a judge apologize? Moreover, when a convict was sent to  prison, she would show up for a send-off of the prisoner and comfort and encourage the prisoner. She would also vow to the prisoner that she would do everything she could to take care of the prisoner’s family during his/her incarceration so that the prisoner wouldn’t have worries. It is doubtful whether she could tell good from bad. Didn’t she know that all the convicts are bad people?”

Person B, “I also heard that she used to give talks to prisoners, visit them, check on them, pass their family’s messages to them. Wouldn’t you say that she was a messenger for bad people? She had a habit of regularly calling the inmates’ families and ask them if they had any difficulties and if they needed any help. On visiting days, she would meet the inmates one by one and apologize to them again and again, “I’m so sorry to put you in prison.” You see, a judge brought herself down to that level and visited the inmates and apologized to them. What’s wrong with this world? Is this appropriate?”

Person A, “There’s something more inappropriate. She kept in touch with the inmates’ families and she did all sorts of favors for the inmates; she also helped support the families of the executed inmates. When a convict was discharged, she went to pick them up; she brought red eggs and noodles to them to clear them of any bad luck. Our society doesn’t welcome “rehabilitated people”, which serves the convicts right. But she would pledge to be their reference and she would find opportunities for them. You see, a judge shamelessly mingled with the convicts as buddies; how could she deserve respect?”

Person B, “Our professor said that a judge should act as a judge. I heard from her former colleagues that she did not even seem good enough to be a gofer.”

Person A, “Such people are really pathetic and despicable. It was good that she was fired soon. Otherwise, she would have caused shame to all the judges.”

I sat behind the two big shots. Every word they said sounded like a thunder and it made me very embarrassed. I was educated and I did not even know that a judge was an official; I had thought that a judge was a savior of hardships. Indeed, a “gofer” was only a gofer. What a shame!

I was not a judge and I was not qualified to be a judge; I could only be a gofer. But in my whole life, I had never looked at a defendant as a defendant, nor had I looked at a convict as a convict. My master used to say, “If you can’t look at a defendant as your family member, then you can’t say you have “a clear conscience”. In our world, who can say that he/she will never commit an offence? Who is willing to commit an offence? The Catholic scriptures say, “Please protect me from getting into any irresistible temptations.” My master said, “If you are in the same situation as the other person, can you guarantee that you will not act the same way? Who has such confidence? Who has such power?” Indeed, even a judge can’t be so sure, let alone main street folks!

I feel sentencing does not necessarily prevent crimes. Isn’t the death sentence severe? But the desperadoes are desperadoes. Only love is invincible. Can any judge now declare loudly “Anyone I have sentenced has never relapsed”? Many inmates go back in soon after being released. Even though I am only a gofer, I really want to tell you that over the past thirty years, none of the brothers and sisters that once fell out of grace have never made me ashamed of them since they entered the society again. Have you met the useless person? Do you think she is good for nothing?Do you also think that she is a loser, a bad apple because she had the nerve to tarnish the aura and glory over the prestigious position? Do you feel she is pathetic and despicable?

The Bible says, “You are great because you are the smallest in the eyes of God and you are a servant to others.”

The Buddhist scripture says, “If you want to be an elephant for Buddhas, you must first be servants to the all beings.” It also says, “If you forget your Bodhicitta and practice, it is all demon practice.”

A judge’s heart is the heart of a biological mother.

Serving a sentence is not being punished; it is fairness to the other party and it is also a fair answer for one’s conscience.

 

Heaven Knows, Earth Knows, and you Know While I don’t Know

About 30 years ago, I was assigned to work in Ji Long.

I was from Tai Zhong and I had never been to the rainy alleys in Northern Taiwan. There, it would rain over 20 days every month and it wouldn’t stop; the overcast weather was not comfortable or cheerful.

One day, I got a tip from a caller that there was a female corpse in the mountain on the borderline between the city and the county. Because I was on duty, I got a forensic expert and two assistants to go with me to the scene.

When we drove to the foot of the mountain, we couldn’t see any more road. We had to get out and walk. I was from out of town and I was not familiar with Ji Long at all, not to mention that it was a secluded mountain; the path was slippery, and each step took efforts. It was almost dusk and we still couldn’t find our way out of the maze-like mountain path. The forensic doctor and the assistants shook their heads and said to me that it was useless to go further because we were really lost.

We were all very worried. Just then, to our surprise, we saw a woman walking toward us, “Sir, Madam, where are you going? What are you looking for?”

“We’re here for a case. We got a tip that a woman died in the mountain and the cause is unknown.”

“I know where it is. I will take you there. Please follow me,” she said warmly and friendly.

We stumbled along, switching back and forth; it took quite a while before we got there. The woman waved to us and left. We walked towards the woods and found a female corpse lying there under a tree. The rope around her neck was rotten. In the flashlight, her face looked frightening; it had rotten so badly that the face was almost just bones, with holes here and there. I asked my assistant to bring the flashlight closer so I could inspect the whole corpse.

Then all of us let out a cry of surprise, “Isn’t this the same woman wearing the outwear who brought us here?”

I had chills all over and I began to tremble nonstop; my feet were freezing. The forensic doctor and the assistants were terrified and blood had drained from their faces and their faces shriveled like small oranges.

It was getting darker and darker. All four of us couldn’t wait to get out there right away. Luckily, we got back to the foot of the mountain soon; when we got into our car, we felt much better. Soon, we saw our office building; we said goodbye to each other and went to our respective offices. I got into my office and reported to my supervisor. Then I breathed deeply and began searching for files of missing people. I looked at each photo without saying a word. Many colleagues saw how I was not my old self and they knew that something in the mountain had scared the wits out of me. They were all experienced and they knew how things were. They asked me, “Didn’t you say that the corpse was rotten? You don’t have any idea how she looked; how can you identify her from photos?”

They had thought that I was so foolish and ridiculous. I answered, “I saw her and we walked together for a long time, chatting and laughing, until we parted at the corpse spot. How could I not know? I believe that the person who showed us the way was the same person as the one lying under the tree.”

They all laughed at this. Later on, they had to give me credits because I actually found the dead person’s photo, her name, and her address. Of course, we filed the case with the police because she did not hang herself; rather, she was strangled.

I asked my colleague, “Do you really believe that once a person dies, he/she is really dead?”

I became a Buddhist at the age of 18 and I took the precepts under the refuge of my master. I respect a dead person and the corpse the same way as I respect Buddha; I never look at a corpse as being dead. My master said, “Our hearts have endless thoughts; our spirits never perish even though our bodies do.”

 

You Cherish our Affinity and I Respond with Bleeding from 7-Holes

A rotten corpse washed ashore on the beach in Ba Dou Zi, Ji Long. It had been gnawed by fish to the bones and the face was impossible to identify. It had inflated so much like a inflation toy, all distorted.

Many folks came to identify the body. Everyone said that it was rotten beyond recognition; no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t identify it.

I asked the police to line up the folks in one file and then they were asked to approach it one by one for a closer look.

After a long time, still no one claimed the body. Maybe the face had been deformed and the body’s stench was so bad that no one wanted to linger long.

Just when I was at a loss, a cop came to me and said there was a middle-aged woman and her middle school daughter out there; they wanted to check on the body but they were nervous and did not know what to do.

I said I would go meet them and bring them over; after all, a woman felt more comfortable around another woman.

The middle-aged woman came over to the spot but still did not dare to move closer. I dared not force her, so I had to stand with her and her daughter and moved along with the line step by step.

The daughter was moving closer when the spectators shouted, “How come the body is bleeding. The body is bleeding!”

I looked; it was terrifying! That body was bleeding a pool of blood from his eyes, nostrils, ears, and mouth. Blood was dripping from his ears, mouth, ears, and nose.

It was terrifying!

I rushed the middle-aged woman over and asked her to take a close look. It must have connections with the daughter since it began bleeding at her sight.

The middle-aged woman came closer, bent over, and then started bawling; the middle school girl collapsed in her mother’s arms and cried her eyes out.

The middle-aged woman finally identified the denture in the body’s mouth. She kept murmuring to the body, but I could not make out a single word because the wind was blowing hard and the waves were high and she was sobbing.

However, the body heard all her words and miraculously closed his wide open eyes slowly; he even shed one teardrop after another and his lips seemed to be shivering; it seemed that he had some last words to tell her.

I was so terrified. Wasn’t the body dead?

I came back to my office, still filled with fear. For real, I have too many questions:

“Wasn’t he dead? He was rotten; why was he bleeding and crying like a living person?”

The more I thought of it, the more fearful I felt.

I asked some older colleagues, “After a person dies, is he/she really dead?”

Nobody said anything; they just smiled. I felt so spooked.

(This case turned out to be a fish monger being sucked away by violent waves; it was not a murder case. The middle-aged woman turned out to be the dead man’s wife, and the middle school girl was his youngest daughter.)

 

For a believer, Anything is Possible.

A charred body, it was all naked and shriveled and stiff. Clearly, it was a murder case; the body was burned with gasoline.

The body was deformed and no one knew how to identify it.

Our chief felt that women were more detail-oriented for a difficult case, so he sent me over to identify the body and investigate the cause of death.

We posted news in the media and called on the readers to help with the identification. It was a clear day and “curiosity” was a universal nature, so there were a lot of onlookers.

The forensic doctor and I were busy taking notes, inspecting the scene and mapping it.

There were more and more onlookers, and they were getting closer to the body. I asked the police to keep them back so as not to destroy the scene.

All of a sudden, the charred body flipped around and got up; immediately, it lunged forward, reached out and grabbed a young man at the front of the onlookers; then the body and the young man fell together. At this, I was stunned and scared out of my wits. I shouted hysterically again and again, “Hasn’t he been dead for a few days? Didn’t he die long ago?…”

Then I passed out.

When I woke up, I had been in the hospital with a high fever for more than a week. My nurse told me that I had been screaming for days, “Hasn’t he been dead for a few days? Didn’t he die long ago?”

Ten days later, I regained my speech ability, but I could only speak slowly and I stammered and I couldn’t help shaking all over. I thought I would never come out of the terrifying shadow.

My colleagues came to visit me one after another. They told me that when they finally pulled the young man out of the body’s lock, he had already died. The charred body’s hands were stiff and hard, like plaster; no one was able to prize them open. Eventually, they got an expert, who made extreme efforts and finally pulled out the young man; however, there was already no sign of life.

This incident changed the opinions of the managers at our workplace that men and women were equal; from then on, they did not dare to send me over to investigate such terrifying bodies. After all, a woman is scared of even cockroaches; how can she handle such big scenes?

After some open and secret investigations that went on for over a month, the case was cracked. What was inconceivable was that the culprit was the young man who was strangled by the charred body.

For the past forty years, I have often thought, “Is a person really dead after death?”

Still now, I shudder and have nightmares and I can’t help screaming, “Isn’t he dead? Didn’t he die long ago?”

My doctors say that the shock was too much and I was over terrified.

Alas! Who can solve the mystery? Who can calm my nerves? There has been no cure for me. Is there really such an expert doctor?

 

My Mind is Still Here, thus I am Still Here.  

A friend of mine had an electronic parts factory in Xin Dian, and it was doing well. He decided to expand his business to mainland China.

He called his parents in Gao Xiong and consulted them. They were very pleased with his expansion plan.

He was going to take his wife and their three-year-old son to go see his parents at weekends and tell them the expansion details; he hoped that his parents would support him the best they could so that he would not run into trouble of tight operation funds.

His parents were not super rich, but they had inherited a few estates. If they agreed to support him, he could ask for as much as he wanted.

He came to see me for business. I said, “Don’t try to take advantage of your parents. Any bad thoughts will incur Heaven’s punishment.”

He said that he was the only child; those estates were to be his sooner or later; there would be no difference between early handover or later handover.

I seriously told him that heritage had poison and he shouldn’t expend it; otherwise, his ancestors would punish him. He angrily countered, “This is too dated. Too superstitious. Your schooling is being wasted.”

I knew that more talk would just annoy him, so I zipped my lips.

On Saturday, the three of them took off as planned.

On Sunday, our business office was closed.

On Monday, his parents came to see me from Taipei; they were crying. I couldn’t help crying when I heard the story. My friend had an accident on the highway. In the heavy fog, his car was sandwiched between two big vehicles; it was reduced to a mangled pile of scrap, and the husband and wife were crushed into steak on the spot.

The old couple finally told me the whole story in between their sobbing. Then they asked me to go with them to claim their grandchild from the highway police because they really had no idea about the legal procedures.

I was surprised, “The kid did not die? How can this be possible?”

It turned out that when everyone was busy trying to rescue the injured on the pileup scene, a young woman with the name of OOO carried the 3-year-old kid and rushed to the young woman at the toll; she told the woman that she had urgent business to take care of and she would come back to get the kid once all was done.

Finally, the accident scene was cleared; the dead and the injured were taken away. However, after a long time, still nobody came to claim the kid. Police were making announcements over the loudspeakers, yet the young mom did not show up.

Then, it occurred to a cop that the young mom might be among the injured in the accident.

For real, they found the name of the young mom on the list, not the list of the injured but the list of the dead. She had been pinched in the mangled front of a car, and her body had to be pulled out piece by piece. It was impossible to identify.

The police collected all the IDs of the dead from the accident scene and asked the toll woman to identify the young mom from among all the ID photos.

The pile of remnants had many cards as well as drivers’ licenses and IDs. The toll woman identified the photo on a credit card as the young mom with certainty.

This way, the police located the family of the deceased couple and officially notified them to claim the bodies and get the crying kid as well as the remnants of the couple.

The toll woman was puzzled, “How was that young mom able to carry the kid over to me? My toll booth was far away from the accident scene; how was she able to run over all the way? Her whole body was lodged in the mangled car front and had to be pinched out piece by piece. How was she able to escape alone unscathed and how come the kid did not even have a scratch? How in the world was the kid taken out of the car?”

Not only did she fail to get a convincing explanation but also the highway patrol police and the the couple’s parents and I all had no clue. There was no trace on the accident scene.

On the way back, the kid was crying and I wondered, “Is a person really dead after death?”

 

My Cycle of Death, Birth, Death, and Birth

This happened in 1945. It was shortly after Taiwan gained independence; I was 6 years old. There was a famous midwife in Tai Zhong. She was very skilled and experienced, so we all called her “Senior Midwife”.

For sure, I was brought to this world by this midwife. At the time, my dad was an anti-Japanese, pro-Taiwan-independence activist, and he was on the top of the Japanese black list. Every time the Japanese couldn’t capture my dad, they would take my mom as hostage and torture here for my dad’s whereabouts.

I was kicked to delivery in the Japanese prison of political inmates. The midwife came to save me and my mom when I was stuck half way. Therefore, she was my savior.

Less than one year after my birth, I developed thalasemia and became retarded. She felt guilty and would say to my grandma and my mom, “I am so sorry to have delivered your child like this.”

When I was 6, my belly began to grow just like a pregnant woman. My grandma and my mom asked the midwife to check me up and find out if there was a twin baby that was still not delivered.

Because the midwife was very busy going from one house to another, she hardly had any time to sit down even over a cup of tea, let alone time to check me up. She asked my grandma and my mom to let me follow her so that she could check me up thoroughly whenever she had free time. Because the growing belly was dangerous, my grandma and my mom reluctantly agreed.

The midwife seemed to have affinity with me, so she was affectionate to me.

One late night, an old couple came to ask the midwife to hurry and help their daughter-in-law with a delivery. The midwife took my hand hurriedly, picked up her medical bag, and woke up the carriage man; right away, we took off.

The midwife had told the old couple that she would meet them near the General Temple in Da Li Village. The road was not wide, but it was the only road between Tai Zhong and Wu Feng.

We got to the meeting spot and the carriage man pulled us a little farther; then, there was no more path for the carriage. A little path was winding along disorganized, crowded sheds. The midwife held my hand firmly, and she was regretting having brought me along on this narrow path. Also, it was dark and there were no street lights. It was bumpy at some spots, and the carriage uncle had to carry me on his back.

Finally, we got to a small, low, illegal ranch. A woman was lying in bed and moaning. The midwife right away opened her medical bag and took out a pile of medical instruments. She told me to wait outside and not come back in.

The old couple gave me a lot of candy, but I was so sleepy because it was late at night.

Soon, the auntie’s moaning stopped; instead, a baby’s cry came and it was so loud that I was almost woken up. I found it very annoying.

The midwife said, “Congrats! It’s a boy. So cute!”

The old couple were so happy. Then they were embarrassed to tell the old midwife, “We are very poor, and we don’t have money to pay you. Please pardon us.”

The midwife said, “No worries. As long as the baby is fine and the mom is fine, everything is ok. It does not matter whether you have money or whether you pay me.”

The midwife said that she would come back the next day and then the day after to bathe the baby. She turned around and asked the carriage uncle to go get the baby clothes, PJs, and the blanket from the carriage. She gave all to the old couple so that the baby could be warm.

As the common practice, we went back there to bathe the baby three times; she also helped re-dress and stitch up the young mom’s wounds. In a word, the midwife did everything for the auntie, and the auntie was very grateful.

When we were leaving, the auntie said to the old midwife, “Is this your daughter? She has a beautiful heart. She will have a good future: a good education, a good social status, good fortunes, and a long life.”

The midwife patted me on the head and told me to bow to the auntie and say thanks. I was really capable of all that. I was a retard, a fool, and I had never known how to do all that before. But that day, I really knew how to bow and say thanks loudly. The midwife was so pleased. I guess that she must have secretly been laughing to herself; how could a child like me, who would be considered blessed if she could live to the end of the year, ever grow to have advanced education, a good social status and good fortunes?

Early the following morning, the day was just breaking when a cop came to see the midwife, “We found an abandoned baby boy at the public cemetery. The baby is wrapped in a blanket, and it has the address of your delivery house.”

The midwife was worried to hear that and called the carriage uncle to get ready right away. She asked, “Where’s the baby?”

“At the police station,” the cop replied.

She got to the police station as fast as she could. She picked up the baby boy, inspected him carefully and found him to be the same baby boy she had helped the cold couple’s daughter-in-law deliver.

She placed the baby on my back and let me carry him. I was so happy. The cop gave me a back shawl and helped me wrap him better.

Together, we went to look for the old couple; we wanted to ask them what happened and why they wanted to abandon their baby.

We looked here and there, but we couldn’t find the cluster of little low sheds and we couldn’t find the old couple’s home. We asked the neighbors there, but nobody knew anything about it and they had never heard of them.

The cop said, “We cover this area. Why haven’t we heard of them, either?” Then he added, “Maybe we should look where we found the baby in the cemetery.”

The midwife said, “The place where I helped deliver the baby was a row of little ranch houses. It was a little community for folks. How could it be a cemetery?”

The cop said “It doesn’t hurt to check it out, right?”

The midwife said, “I don’t know their names or their last name.”

The cop said, “What did the old couple call their daughter-in-law, do you remember?”

The midwife thought hard and finally remembered her name. So, the cops checked the names on each headstone.

As expected, they found the woman’s grave.

From the information on the headstone, they found her husband’s name and address.

The midwife and the cops went to visit the baby’s father. She said, “I helped your wife deliver this baby boy four days ago, with my own hands.”

He looked puzzled and wouldn’t believe it. He said, “My wife died over 100 days ago. How can she still have a baby? Is she still alive? But I saw her buried with my own eyes. How can that be a mistake?”

The midwife asked, “Was she pregnant when she died?”

He said “Yes, about 7 months pregnant.”

She said, “That sounds right. It was full pregnancy of ten months a few days ago. If you don’t believe us, can you have your wife’s coffin opened for an inspection and see if she has delivered the 7-month-old fetus?”

He still looked reluctant, not willing to agree.

The cop said, “We can issue a search warrant. We can still open it even if you don’t agree.”

The man had to budge.

The following day, the police station sent several cops over to the cemetery; some workers also came. They dug up the grave and opened the coffin. The woman lying there was exactly the woman who delivered the baby. Her fetus was not there, and her belly was flat. Beside her, there were still some medication and bandages and cotton swabs. Now the mystery was solved.

The old midwife said, “Did I really enter the grave and help a dead person deliver a baby?”

The husband seemed to have tears in his eyes.

He said, “Can a dead person’s baby be alive? How do I know this baby boy is really my blood?”

The midwife said, “Your parents are also deceased, aren’t they? Their graves are nearby, right? It was your parents that came to Tai Zhong and brought me over to help their daughter-in-law who was having trouble with the delivery.”

He took us all over to see his parents’ grave. The cop had already arranged for a forensic doctor to be present and help verify if the baby boy was their blood.

The forensic doctor said, “Dig up the grave. Open the coffin.”

The doctor asked the midwife to draw a small syringe of blood from the baby on my back; he dripped the blood onto the man’s father’s bone and it was absorbed instantly.

The doctor said solemnly to the husband, “This baby boy is absolutely your blood. There is no mistake.”

When we got back, the midwife made out a birth certificate and she wanted to take it as well as the baby boy to his father. I cried because I so wanted to keep the little baby brother. She said, “His son is his son. How can we keep him?”

We got to the baby’s father’s home. The old house had a bid lobby, with the ancestors’ tablets on display and big portraits on the wall. I was curious and I looked at each photo carefully. I told the midwife, “Look, they are the grandpa and grand ma who gave me candy. The auntie that had the baby is also on the wall. The photos look so much like them.”

 

The husband looked on quietly while I was talking and pointing; he looked lost. When I saw all the photos and turned to him, I found that an adult could also cry and they would cry nonstop once they began.

I returned the little brother to his father. I had carried him on my back for days, and I was so reluctant to let go of him.

The old midwife saw me in tears and said to me, “Ask your mom to give you a little brother. Isn’t that better? Don’t cry anymore.”

Later, I wold cry whenever I missed the little brother. My mom was afraid that my frail body with thalasemia would collapse, so she reluctantly gave me a little brother when I was in my critical time at the age of 18. Still, I kept missing the little brother I had carried on my back when I was 6, till now.

The little baby boy now should be in his 50s. Where does the magic little brother live? Does he remember me his little sister, the first one in the world to carry him, hold him and love him?

 

Notes

  1. I wrote this part with tears in my eyes, so it may be disorganized. Please pardon me. At the time, I had never carried a baby, whether a real baby or a boy. The auntie let me carry the little brother right after his birth; he was the first baby I had carried, and it was a real baby. How could I not miss him? I had autism; I can’t count how many dolls I have bought, cuddled, and carried from the age of 6 to 63, but the sweetest baby was the little brother I carried when I was 6.
  2. The auntie was the first in the whole world that believed I was to “have a beautiful heart, advanced education, prestige, and longevity.” At the time, I was merely a 6-year-old retard. Her words have had huge impact on my current achievements; at the time, even my parents did not expect much of me.
  3. Scriptures say that when you see someone being dead, you won’t get to see that person being alive. Only those who did not know that someone was already dead can he/she see that person alive. The old midwife, the carriage uncle, and I hadn’t known that the old couple and the auntie were already dead, so we were able to see them in the real situation of them trying to solve a crisis; it was absolutely no illusion. When you know it all, it all disappears.
  4. The sunlight and energy you accumulate is commensurate with the time you live in this world. When a person dies, a ghost in the grave can only live off the thus accumulated light and energy to extend his/her life in the netherworld. Therefore, once a grave is dug up and a coffin is opened, all the light and energy will be leaked, with nothing left. Then, that person’s life and ghost in the netherworld is at risk. A living person takes in positive energy and sunlight while a dead person takes in negative energy and sunlight. The duration a person lives and takes in the positive energy and sunlight equals the duration a dead person takes in negative energy and sunlight. A dead person is scared of positive energy and sunlight, so he/she is scared of a living person.
  5. When I was carrying the little brother, his body felt warm while the hands of the cold couple and the auntie were dead cold. As for me, my hands were dead cold, too. Several times when the auntie was in pain, she had held my hands tightly because she wouldn’t be hurt by a living person’s energy, but she had not dared to touch her own baby.
  6. When we went to bathe the baby boy, the neighbors came over to ask for some medication. The midwife patiently checked them up, gave them injections and medicine. She wondered if they were too poor to go to the hospital. Why didn’t they go see a doctor when they were so sick? Did they have any difficulties?
  7. Have you given much thought to what happens after a family member died in a car accident, from an illness or a tragedy? Do you really think that all is over after the burial or cremation? Who continues to treat them? Who takes care of them? An illness in this world remains an illness in the netherworld; an injury in this world remains an injury in the netherworld.
  8. Gunshot execution is a very cruel violence because the gunshot wound can’t be healed in the netherworld, leaving the ghost in misery. Before burial, the wounds should be first dressed, bandaged, and relieved. Don’t assume that a dead person is dead.

 

Living Today but Dead Yesterday: Delayed Repentance

Mr. Lai was on the death roll. When the crime occurred, he was a director of a construction site; he raped and murdered a woman who met him to pay down payments for a condo. He took all the large sum of money on her; it was an heinous crime.

His interrogation notes at the police station was not to his advantage, but he admitted guilty to all charges. No matter what was on record, he didn’t care; nor did he plead innocence or defend himself.

During the crime scene re-enactment, he would double check with the police if the details were all falling into places; he was afraid that the reenactment would not match the record.

Maybe I am a weak soul scared of death; I always think that scare of death is in everyone’s nature. Who would take the death sentence without any struggles or self defense? I was bewildered.

A death sentence can’t be sealed just after one trail. As the public defendant lawyers, we dug deep and found quite some evidence and eye witnesses to his advantage; all of which would prove that he was not the culprit. But it seemed that Mr Lai wouldn’t want to appeal again; he asked the prosecutors not to bother anymore. He also declined any good intentions of defenders.

I kept wondering what was wrong with him; what made him so tired of living?

I always treated a defendant as my family member, took good care of them, and felt close to them.

Therefore, I couldn’t understand Mr. Lai’s lack of desire for life and I couldn’t forgive him for that. For real, was he really indifferent to death, like “a monk in meditation”?

I was reluctant to let go, and I firmly believed that he had some secrets.

Late at night, I followed the chief warden of the prison to his cell, woke him up, and brought him to the visitors’ room for a talk.

At first, he kept silent. He simply held his head downcast and listened to me pouring my heart out. But he kept silent no matter what I said.

Eventually, I couldn’t help crying, and I cried uncontrollably until I was almost choking. He was stunned, looking at me quizzically, “Please don’t cry for me. I am a prisoner on the death roll, and I don’t deserve your tears. My life is not even more worthy than an ant. Why are you so troubled about me?”

Tears began to run down his face. He said, “OK. Let me tell you everything. 20 years ago, I was serving in the military in Gao Xiong. During our time off, a comrade and I went to have fun in Dabei Lake in Gao Xiong. About 4p.m. we saw two young women in fashionable outfits and they looked very pretty. We had evil thoughts; we kidnapped them to a secluded spot; there, we gang-raped them, killed them, and then left their bodies in a very hidden spot. We stripped their clothes and took all valuables. Then we calmly returned to our military station. Soon after that, our military unit was relocated, we went away far and beyond.

I asked, “Don’t you have a disturbed conscience?”

He said, “I do, but my friend doesn’t. After being discharged from the military, I went to talk with my friend about turning ourselves in, but he absolutely would not. For sure, I couldn’t turn myself in alone. For the past years, I have often bowed to the two young women up there, pleading for their forgiveness. For real, I repent deeply and I am prepared to face the legal punishment of life for life.

I asked, “You must be married. I read in your file that you are married.”

He said, “I got married right after I left the military. My wife is a good woman; we have a son and two daughters. My son is attending a state college, so is my first daughter. My second daughter is about to start her last high school year; she is attending an all-girl high school at the Provincial High, and it is very promising that she will be guaranteed admission into a national college after that.

I said, “They tell me that you are wronged. I myself don’t understand it either. You have such a happy family and great children. Why don’t you want to live?”

He said, “Twenty years ago when we killed the two young women in the Gao Xiong tourist area, I had deserved more than one death. At that time, I should have been punished with a death sentence by law, but I have been living a surreptitious, shameful life without the courage to face my conscience. Recently, the two daughters of my friend were raped and murdered. His first daughter was stalked by a bad guy when she fell behind her group on a graduation celebration trip; she died a tragic death. His second daughter was on her way home from her evening school when someone kidnapped her near their house; she was taken to a secluded spot, raped, and cut up; it was even more horrifying.

I asked, “So you are beginning to be fearful?”

He replied, “I think of my friend’s daughters, and then I think of my daughters. It may be my family’s turn next. How can I have the heart to cause my daughters to die innocently because of my crime? I know that a life should be paid for with a life, and I am prepared to pay. I only hope that the two young women won’t take away my daughters. I ma prepared to be executed for atonement.

At this, tears were running down my face, and he was crying too. I asked the chief warden to take him back to his cell. I couldn’t stop crying by myself.

I decided to grant him his wish and I asked my colleagues to investigate no more.

After Mr. Lai was executed, his family instantly plunged into financial difficulties. Before the execution, I had told him, “Please rest in peace.”

He died a peaceful, calm death.

I had a meeting with my friends and made plans to help his wife start a little business and help his three kids until graduation. His youngest daughter went abroad for a doctorate degree. (Now all of them should be in their fifties.)

Since all the three children were independent, I felt I had fulfilled my responsibilities and cut off any further contact.

The three children couldn’t let go of their father’s death sentence and they couldn’t forgive me, harboring the indissoluble enmity. I accept their hatred and I never defend myself. One day, they will grow up to be more understanding.

Everyone has trips and falls. We must pick ourselves up where we fall. We must courageously face it and we must not run away.

(The name of Mr. Lai was a pseudonym. Everyone has dignity, which can’t be violated, not even someone on the death roll. His children are all hardworking, and they shouldn’t be hurt. Whether you know the real name or not, you don’t have the right to tell it to anyone.)

 

Notes

  1. Before the execution, Mr. Lai had left three letters, one to his family, one to his friend in Gao Xiong, and the last to a colleague of his. His wife later told me that the friend in Gao Xiong still refused to turn himself in; one day he was at a karaoke when he was shot dead by a bullet during a brawl between two gangs.
  2. Lai had known that the murder was committed by a young colleague of his, who also took all the money from the victim. Mr. Lai’s wife told me that the colleague’s mom was a widow; his father had died in a car accident before he was born. The colleague’s father was the only son, so was the grandfather; the grandfather had died young, leaving his grandma all by herself. In all the three generations, there has been one male to carry the family name torch. Therefore, Mr. Law was willing to take the place of the colleague and turn himself in, with no regrets.
  3. The case in Gao Xiong was not covered by us, so we had no right for inquiry.
  4. Lai’s children once asked me, “Auntie, why did our father have to die?” I always told them, “Your dad wanted to save a young man’s life and die for him.” I can’t allow the glorious image of their father to be destroyed. I insist on maintaining the image of a great father in the eye of the three children and letting them continue their pride in their father, so they can stand up with no shame, in public or behind doors.
  5. Mr’s Lai’s case would have been hard to overturn due to the solid crime evidence at the time, so no one felt sure about it. Moreover, Mr. Lai himself did not want to live, so even a deity wouldn’t be able to save him. He wanted to kill two birds with one stone, saving his daughters by paying for his own crime and saving his colleague’s family name torch. It made sense, and his death was worthy with no regrets.
  6. His three children felt that I went out of my way to bring them up because I had made a mistake in their father’s sentencing; all I did was to ease my conscience.

The Bible says, “My Lord! Please forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”

 

Who Can Wake up First from a Dream?

This happened long ago, so it should be OK to make it public.

About 30 years ago, our country was under the rule of dictatorship and our top leader was upheld as a deity. We were forbidden to talk about any superstitious ghosts and spirits that couldn’t be verified; nor were we allowed to mention any geomatic Feng Shui or reincarnation. Everything had to be verified by science.

I was sent to work in Ji Long. It was a robust seaport and there were people from different countries. Dancing halls, bars, and cafes were everywhere, so there were all kinds of public security offenses and crimes, and what not.

I was the only one among my colleagues who was religious. In my daily life, I adhered to the precepts for every matter, big or small; I never dared to be careless.

During a nap time, I had a dream:

A young woman was standing in front of a house which looked like a dorm. I saw clearly the address behind her. She was crying bitterly and she kept gazing at me, with the look of asking me for a favor. Shortly afterwards, she let out a horrifying cry and her body exploded into pieces; it was frightening.

I dream a lot and it is often a random, senseless dream; therefore, I usually don’t take my dreams serious and I put them out of my mind.

However, after that day, I kept having the same dream and seeing the same scenes. I was so fed up and scared that I almost did not dare to take a nap alone in my office. Every time I closed my eyes, she would appear, the images getting clearer day by day. I told this to some older colleagues. They all told me not to worry about it. It was nothing.

What was puzzling was this: how can anyone have the same dream at the same time of the day for seven, eight days in a row?

Finally, I reported to my supervisor and asked if there was nothing special about it. After all, I was too young and inexperienced.

My supervisor said, “Isn’t there an address in your dream? Why don’t you take a couple of your colleagues there and check it out. Maybe you will figure it all out. What’s the point of trying behind the closed doors?”

He was very friendly to me and he trusted me, so he assigned this to me as a serious task.

We followed the address and found the house in my dream. There was really that house, exactly like the one in my dream. Judging by this, the young woman in my dream must also be real; she must exist.

Because the house looked like a public dorm, we had to have a search warrant per regulations. How could we have a search warrant since all we were going by was a series of dreams?

We politely asked the owner and he told us it was not a public dorm; it was a residential house and there were no civil servers living there. We felt at ease.

We showed him our IDs and told him politely why we were there; it was just a preliminary visit and we did not have enough records yet to proceed to the legal procedure; he could decline our visit if he wanted to.

To our surprise, the owner of the house was very simple-minded and kind; he was willing to cooperate with us and help us.

He also told us that he had just got the house from a Mr. Cui not long ago through a broker; the information about Mr. Cui could be found on the brokerage record.

We contacted the broker and we were told that Mr. Cui had emigrated to USA long ago.

I secretly consulted a colleague: Is it OK to search a house on the basis of some dreams?

The good thing was that the house owner was helpful and cooperative. He showed us one room after another, but we didn’t see anything unusual, nothing.

We were disappointed and went back to our office. We gave a detailed report to our supervisor. I said, “The house in my dreams really exists, at the same address and with the same appearance; there is no mistake at all. But why can’t we find the young woman I saw in my dream? Who is she? Where is she?”

My supervisor said, “Take your time. When the time is right, everything will be clear. Maybe that young woman has some secrets and does not want to show up yet. What is certain is that she must have some wrongs that she wants us to correct for her. Don’t give up. Try harder. Keep it up.”

But I didn’t know what to do next.

It was embarrassing to admit that we still made no progress after trying for nearly half a month. I felt guilty towards my colleagues, and I wanted to forget about it because it was just a bunch of illusive dreams. My supervisor, on the contrary, encouraged me to keep trying; he never said a word of blame.

The next day, I again asked the supervisor to send two male colleagues with me to the scene. I asked the owner whether there was a young woman living in the basement. The owner was surprised; there was no basement. He showed us the house title and layouts so we could see the whole structure print; there was no basement indeed.

Again, I was disappointed and went back to my office; again I shamefully reported to my supervisor that we did not make any progress.

He said, “Are you sure there is no basement? Are you sure no one lives there?”

One of the colleagues had sort of an enlightenment and said, “We will take more people with us tomorrow. We will all think hard.”

The following morning, more of us took off.

We had two goals:

  1. To see if there is a basement
  2. To see if anyone lives in the basement

When we got there, we asked the owner to show us the room one by one again. It was an old house, but the living-room was renovated very nicely, and the cement on the floor was new, too.

A colleague said, “The cement floor is new. Why is this floor only renovated while the other floors are all worn out with no renovation at all?”

We asked the owner to give us permission to bring workers the next day and open the cement floor; we felt there was something unusual about that floor.

When we got back to the office, I reported all the details to my supervisor and asked him how to proceed.

He made out an official search warrant and went to the scene with us.

He said, “There must be some secret below the cement floor. It may be a basement or a skeleton in the closet.”

That day, we followed the legal steps and opened the newly-laid cement floor; after digging 5 or 6 feet down, there appeared two big metal storage barrels, covered and sealed.

We got the owner over for explanations; he said he knew nothing about it and he did not know what was in the barrels. We notified authorities for a collective opening and inspection, in case anything might be overlooked.

The two barrels were opened. To everyone’s dismay, there were piles of flesh pieces, and they did not seem to have rotted. We had the forensic expert and his assistants piece the flesh bits in the shape of a person; it was complete, but the head was missing.

We tried to arrest the suspect, but he had emigrated to USA. What could we do?

The supervisor said, “There’s nothing we can do.”

At this, we were really frustrated; not only were we unable to arrest the suspect but also we had no clue who the victim was.

We were all stuck.

Several months later, some drug dealers were caught at the Ji Long Customs and the leader was dispatched to us.

At the jail, the drug dealer somehow was frightened to death whenever night fell and he would cry loudly and miserably. He would be shouting, “Help! Someone is killing me. Someone is killing me!” It was said that a head would appear at night and fly around, glaring at him, sticking its tongue sometimes, spitting, and cursing non-stop.

The supervisor said, “Maybe he has something to do with the murder case. Take him to the freezer storage and show him the body; then take him to that house and pay attention to his reactions. Ask the house owner to see if the previous owner was this man.”

When the man saw the body that was pieced together, he immediately knelt on his knees. Later when he was taken to the basement, he was so frightened that he began to talk nonsense, as if he were possessed.

Heaven is always watching and Heaven never misses anything. The murder case was solved.

The head was found, and it was the head of the young woman in my dream. She used to be the leading dancer in a ballroom. She was killed because she knew some drug dealing secrets.

The whole case was finally wrapped up. The murderer was not only a drug dealer but also a murderer who cut up a body; he was just too cruel. He was executed after trials.

The case was solved not though our efforts but through the victim appearing in my dreams.

Scriptures say, “Any crime method, no matter how thoroughly it was executed, there must be some loopholes; therefore, don’t take a chance and break laws.”

“Whatever you know, Heaven also knows, unless you yourself don’t know.”

 

  1. The account here may not match the public file 100%. It has to be so. Please pardon me.

 

Fulfillment of the Way Earns the Respect of Ghosts and Deities

A big fire broke out on Democracy Street in Tai Zhong. The houses were all engulfed in flames.

A woman rushed out of the flames with a child in her arms; she put the child on the ground and then ran back into the fire.

Within a few minutes, she ran out of the inferno with another child; she put down the child and then ran back into the fire.

Again, within a few minutes, she ran out of the fire, with another child; she placed the child on the ground and turned around immediately.

At the time, the fire was extremely ferocious; no matter who was close would absolutely die. People saw her running back into the fire and screamed, “Stop her! Stop her!”

Instantly, two, three firefighters rushed to the front, stopped her, and held her from behind.

“Bang!” her hands snapped off; the flesh and skin fell off her bones.

“Bang!” the woman fell to the ground.

The amazing thing occurred. The woman’s hair turned into ashes and all instantly fell to the ground.Her clothes also turned into ashes and fell off her, leaving her completely naked. The first-aid people rushed over. To everyone’s surprise, her flesh turned to pulps upon the first touch; it had been roasted by the fire, with no raw flesh of a living person.

Many people cried. What a pitiable mom! She died while saving her children.

The forensic doctor said, “Did you say she was stopped by all of you while running back into the fire?”

A few firefighters said, “Yes, indeed.”

The doctor said, “How could a roasted person still run? She had been roasted in the fire long ago!”

Later when they were clearing the scene, they found one child had died. The onlookers and the firefighters all felt guilty, “Why did we stop her? She could have saved the last child. She was already roasted anyway, and it would make no difference if she ran into the fire a couple more times.”

Then, someone asked out of curiosity, “She was dead the first time she ran out of the fire. Then the second time and third time she ran back into the fire, was she really dead? Was she really a dead person?”

All the children she saved were pulled out of the inferno, but none had any burns. How in the world was she able to protect them? Her hair and clothes had all burned up into ashes; why did everything look fine before she fell?

There were many questions; we could only ask Heaven. We are all very “scientific”; how could we find answers? This couldn’t be explained by science.

 

Reality or Illusion, a Shadow Follows.

At the culvert, someone smelled stench; it seemed there was a body rotting in it.

At first, people thought it might be a dead cat or dog, but it was not very likely to be a cat because the locals had the tradition of hanging a dead cat on a tree and leaving a dead dog in running water.

At the opening of the culvert, a pile of white tiny moving things were flowing out, lots of them. The onlookers said, “They are maggots!” A brave soul stuck his head into the culvert and immediately covered his nose and backed out; he kept throwing up.

He said: There is a pile of bones; it was a human body. The bones have fallen apart and they are scattered by the water.

The cops hurriedly cordoned off the scene to prevent the onlookers from destroying any evidence.

The forensic doctor came. He put on his gloves and head covering. The culvert was a mess because it had not been in use for a long time.

The doctor was a well respected Holmes; he was very experienced; he was our hope.

However, in the face of the white bone pile, he was at a loss; he shook his head.

He said, “It ought to be a man, middle-aged. I don’t know anything else.” He decided to take the body to a funeral home first and then go from there.

This case got stuck, and all efforts stopped.

Could it be a murder case? Or did he fall into water by accident? Being so rotten, could it remain a cold case forever?

 

About eight months later (I was not very sure because it has been a long time.), an exhausted man came to the police station and asked the police to help him; he turned himself in. These past days, he was at the brink of collapsing.

The police took some notes of his interrogation and then sent him over to our investigation department for more questions. He said, “I killed a good friend of mine about ten months ago. Before that, we had jointly bought a lottery ticket and won a large sum; we were supposed to split in half according to our agreement. But I was in need of lots of money at the time; I asked him to lend his half to me and I promised to return it to him once I turned things around. Nonetheless, he refused to do me the favor. As a matter of fact, he was a big boss and did not need the money at all.

He was too merciless. So I invited him over with the pretext of a celebration; I made his drunk and then dragged him to the culvert, left him inside it, covered the openings with rocks so that water would rise and drown him and that his body wouldn’t be washed out.

I asked, “With no loopholes, it can be said that even ghosts knew nothing about it. Why are you here to turn yourself in?”

He replied, “If I don’t turn myself in, I will die without a burial ground.”

I was surprised, “Why? Is it that serious?”

He replied, “More than serious. It is inconceivable!”

I asked, “What happened?”

He said, “Let me tell you everything.”

“The first half year after I killed him, no matter where I was, everyone saw another man following me, a party of two. For example, before boarding a train, I was by myself, but the the clerk at the ticket window asked me to buy two tickets; then the conductor also asked me to show the ticket for the person next to me. I was sitting there all by myself, but nobody would ever sit on the seat next to me. They saw it clearly; there was a quiet man of no words next to me.

When I went to eat at a restaurant, the waiter said there were two of us. I took a cab and I was alone, but the driver said that there were two of us. I went home and my wife and my children said another person came in with me. I went to bed and another person lay beside me. How could my wife and children take it? Even when I took a shower, a strange person would stand in the bathroom. It turned my house upside down.

My family members were all terrified. Everyone could see that person except me. Who was that person? I dragged my feet miserably for half a year, and then the person suddenly disappeared. But then I started to have illusions and I was not able to tell what was real and what was false. When I was waiting for a train on a platform, I would clearly see the train approaching; then I stepped onto the train only to find myself falling down to the rails. The railroad police helped me to my feet, but I wondered why I had clearly seen the train approaching and then the train was nowhere to be seen. Several times, I fell off to the rails as a result of illusion. I didn’t know how to tell if it was an illusion or reality.

When I drove, I saw clearly a wide road and I drove only to plunge into a river. Sometimes, I clearly entered a shop only to find myself falling into a ditch. I no longer knew whether what I was seeing was real or false. I no longer knew what danger was lurking ahead when I stepped forward. Every time I sat down to eat, I saw maggots crawling in my bowls; how could I eat anything? But how could I survive if I didn’t eat? So, I am willing to turn myself in and accept legal punishments.”

It all sounded inconceivable to me. Indeed, the Heaven net is vast and catches everything despite the net holes.

Later, I took him to the scene for a simulation of the crime.

I still don’t know who cracked the case of the murder. Was it the victim? But wasn’t he already dead? Wasn’t he rotten so badly with all the bones falling apart?

Is a person really dead after death?

 

Notes

  1. The suspect said: the victim told him in the dream that he would have to eat up all the maggots one by by.

When the victim was following the suspect, everyone but the suspect could see him. Then, no one else but the suspect could see the maggots in his bowl.

 

 

Friendship in Life and in Death

A classmate of mine from college had liver caner and was hospitalized in Taiwan General Hospital. They said he had no more than three months to live. I went over to keep him company and take care of him.

One day, I went to visit him after work because his family told me that he was getting worse.

Maybe, one would feel worse and worse after being confined to a ward too long. I felt that he would feel better if I wheeled him out to the courtyard.

When I was wheeling him out of his room, he told me in a serious tone, “The patient OOO at the OOO bed and the patient OOO at the OOO bed told me yesterday that they are coming to have a chat with me around 5 this afternoon. I am afraid that they can’t find me if we go down to the yard.”

I said, “Don’t worry. I will leave a note with the nurse.”

I left the bed number and his name with the nurse on duty and told her to pass the message in case we might come back late and she agreed.

After about 40 minutes, my classmate kept asking to go back to his room. He was afraid that the visitors might not be able to find him.

Finally, I wheeled him up. When we were passing the nurse station, the nurse told me to wheel him back to his room and then come to see her.

I wheeled my classmate back to his room and then went to see the nurse. She had a look of terror and she whispered, “Miss, the two names you gave me and their bed numbers were all correct, but one of them died three years ago and the other died even earlier, five years ago.”

I felt cold. What should I tell my classmate?

I was thinking on my way back to his room.

When I got back, I saw him chatting with two other friends joyfully. I did not want to interrupt them, so I said bye and left.

I asked the nurse, “Do you people with modern science education believe that a person is really dead after death?”

A doctor signaled me to the door and said, “Your classmate has no more than one month to live. You need to be prepared.”

I replied, “Got it. Thanks.”

I went back to his room, feeling sad. I had thought he might ask me what the doctor had told me, but he did not; instead, he asked, “Can you do me a favor?”

I said “Certainly. What can I do for you?” Knowing that he had no more than 4 weeks left, I would do any favor he asked, no matter how difficult it might be.

He said, “This afternoon when I was in the yard enjoying the flowers, I ran across a woman who was very sick and her family had spent all their money on her. Next month, her three children will need to register for classes, but she can no longer support them. She hopes that I can lend her some money and pass it to her children. Her address is OOO and her name is OOO.

I noted down the address and the name.

Early the next morning, I took about 100,000 dollars and went to look for the address and the woman’s three children.

The neighbors said, “They moved away long ago.”

I asked, “Do any of you know their new address?”

The leader in the neighborhood kindly wrote down the address for me.

I immediately went to the new address, “Excuse me, does Ms. OOO live here?”

“That’s my mom. She passed away in Taiwan General Hospital 6 years ago. What can I do for you?”

“A classmate of mine is hospitalized in Taiwan General Hospital, and he knows her. Yesterday afternoon, your mom asked my classmate for a loan and told him that her three children will register for classes next month. My classmate told me to send you the money right away. Are your names OOO, OOO and OOO?”

“Yes. One is my sister, another is my brother. But all three of us graduated several years ago and we don’t need to register for classes any more. How could this be?”

I said, “Maybe my classmate made a mistake. I am so sorry.”

A day later, I went to see my classmate. He was worried and kept asking me if I had sent them the money.

I said, “I went over early yesterday morning. I met the children and settled everything. Please don’t worry.”

He said, “Can you do me another favor and go to the yard and tell this to the woman so she won’t be worried anymore?”

I said, “I don’t know her and can not tell who she is. You can tell her when you see her.”

I really felt that my classmate had little time left.

Everyone he had many friends visiting him, but I could see none. I could tell it was his time. But what could I do except weeping behind his back? What could I say?

The good thing was that people are still around three, five years after death. Will my classmate be really dead after death?

 

Notes:

  1. Just as the doctors’ prognoses, my classmate passed away shortly after. I took his body to the cremation center and saw him cremated. He left behind 4 hundred million dollars with his wife and children in USA, and all he got was a marble jar of ashes and a small burial place. If what one needs is really this little, what is the point of doing so many wrong things and cutting one’s life short and dying so prematurely? He died such a sad, miserable death.
  2. A dying person seems to have visitors from the netherworld, who will guide the dying person on the final stretch in this world. This way, he/she won’t be lost on the way to Heaven. If those people were really dead, how could this be possible?”
  3. My classmate used to laugh at me and call me a scavenger and a beggar; he used to live a life of extravagance and luxury. I used to tell him that my master had me follow Buddhist precepts and eat what no one else would eat, wear what no one else would wear, save whoever no one else would save, and do whatever no one else would do. So, I have been wearing poor clothes all my life. As for my income, I believed that all the money, except for the daily necessity expenses, belonged to Heaven and Earth. I have never spent even a cent on myself. I have spent almost all the money on Buddha, deities, God, St. Mary, and all the suffering beings. I have never made plans for my own benefits. Lots of my college classmates had so much money but a short life. Because I am a Buddhist, their families often ask me to make the funeral arrangements.
  4. I told the children of that woman that they needed to let their mom know next time they moved. The children asked me, “My mom has been dead so long; how do I tell her?” I said, “Your mom is always in you heart; how can she be dead? You must let your mom know about graduation, careers, relationships, marriages, and such major events.” Her children asked again, “Where do we go to tell my mom?” I said, “At her grave.”

I told them that a person is never dead; he/she is in another world. There is only a thin film between this world and the netherworld. So very far is very near.

  1. Don’t look at a person as being dead after death. Whether your naked eyes can see or not, the person is sure to be alive and will surely meet you sometime later. Maybe, you can talk with that person through the medium of a dying relative; then you will be surprised that there are dead people among us living people.

 

A Hero in Life and a Sage after Death

This happened long ago.

My aunt’s husband was one of the several famous calligraphy artists, he was also good at meditation and alchemy. Still, he was old and he died.

My aunt left his body at the funeral home, to be moved out for the memorial.

Few cared about his body, and few cared about his widow’s life after his passing; they were all busy grabbing my uncle’s artwork, whether it was finished or half finished. My aunt cared about her husband, but those people did not care about him; they cared about his artwork.

My aunt felt lonely, but when a tree falls, the monkeys on it disperse; no one cared about her anymore.

There were many people who were busy with the memorial event; they used my uncle’s name and tried to pull strings everywhere. So, there were countless memorial groups, and the people who signed up for the memorial were countless.

My aunt said that she didn’t have a say about the memorial even though it was her husband; what kind of world was this? The memorial committee finally decided on a date and notified my aunt to get his body to the memorial location without any delay.

Before the memorial, my aunt got to the funeral home, asked the morticians to locate his body and thaw it. Strangely, they searched through all the bodies but couldn’t find his body. They looked for it all day but still couldn’t find it.

We were anxious. The morticians tried to reassure us, “Don’t worry. In case we can’t find it, we will give you a body in the similar shape. His body might have been taken away by someone else by mistake.”

Just then, a crowd of villagers came in. They had a memorial that afternoon and they had been looking for the body of their loved one since early morning, to no avail.

The morticians said, “There’s a body in the corner. They say it is the body of a little-known hoodlum that was shot. We felt such a person was of no significance, so we just left it there.”

The morticians all went to search for it and the villagers helped to identify the body. They looked all over the morgue but did find the body.

The morticians said, “According to your account of the age and the look, it might have been confused with the National Representative OOO, whose body is at the memorial at OO hall. After the memorial, we will take you there for an identification check before the burial.”

I had never been to a grand memorial; out of curiosity, I followed the villagers to OO hall to take a look and identify the body afterwards. After all, my uncle’s body was missing; I could incidentally check if it was his body. My aunt said, “It’s a good idea.”

The hall was so grand. It was so pompous as to be dizzying; all the villagers had their jaws dropped. It was so super and extravagant. First, the president, then the vice president, then the ministers of the five ministries, then chiefs of all departments, national representatives, legislators, judges, representatives from all the counties… filed one after another. It was a huge congregation; all those who were supposed to be there were there.

I thought: This person must be great. Finally, the farewell ceremony was over. All the big shots, high and low, left after paying their respect. One minute the hall was full and the next minute it was empty.

The morticians came in to explain the situation to the family and then brought the villagers in to look closely at the body. For real, the morticians had made a mistake. The body that had received the memorial ceremony was the body for the villagers. When the workers wheeled the body that had been left in the corner, the family in the memorial hall let out a cry of surprise, “This body belongs to us!”

The morticians told the villagers, “When we dispatch bodies, we are usually very careful. Because he was a National Representative, he ought to have the aura of dignity from correcting wrongs for the people. When we were cleaning this body, we found it respectable, but we found the other body was insignificant and we thought it must be the body of a hoodlum. Therefore, after some comparison, we decided to bring this body to the memorial hall. We didn’t know that was a mistake.”

I was taken aback. There must be something great to a body that had received the high respect from civil and military officials. This couldn’t be a coincidence! The villagers said, “What a worthy death!”

They told me about him. “He was a high ranking gang leader in a big city. Later, out of gang creed, he went to prison in place of his friend. He suffered a lot. Then he was set free upon completion of his sentence. During his prison time, he got to know a good friend, who taught him the principles of life; he transformed completely. This was indeed ‘let go of yesterday and start today anew’.

He gave up all he had built from those years of hard work and came back to his hometown to live a simple life. Every day, he helped others till the land, grow crops, and harvest crops. He worked hard and earned money the right way. He was like a guardian to the villagers. Whenever a villager had any difficulties, he would never refuse to help if he could lend a hand. He would never see the villagers bullied or coerced. Because he used to be a high ranking gang leader, all the villagers lived and worked peacefully under his protective wings.

About a month ago, an elementary school student was kidnapped, and the ransom was enormous. He put his life on the line and negotiated with the kidnappers; he made efforts to save the student. He took a briefcase of ransom money over and redeemed the student. But the kidnapper found the ransom to be counterfeit and they shot him. When he was breathing his last breath, we rushed him to Taipei, hoping that a big hospital could save him. But he died anyway. He was the guardian in the eyes of all the villagers. We bought a very good burial ground for him and we also plan to build a memorial temple for him. This time, villagers from several neighboring villages took a tour bus here; we are excited and grateful to him and we want to say goodbye to him.”

I cried all the time, and the villagers were crying. I thought, “Is the person really dead? Can he be dead? Will he live in the hearts of the villagers forever? Do you really think that a person is really dead after death?”

 

Notes

  1. If it was not the hand of Heaven, it was not common for the funeral home’s operation to make a mistake.
  2. It is true that the latter half of one’s life determines one’s life. Maybe the past was full of unspeakable things; but the man who radiated aura of dignity and righteousness at death and earned everyone’s respect was no doubt a great practitioner (of The Way).
  3. On his deathbed, he urged his gang brothers again and again not to revenge him. His wish was to clear all the grudges.
  4. Someone is still alive but seems dead; someone is dead but still lives.

There is no coincidence in the world. Everything happens for a reason. That day’s grand memorial was what this person was worthy of. It was the highest honor for a gang brother.

 

Heaven is Silent; Earth is Silent; yet Both Convey Thousands of Words.

We got a tip that someone drowned himself in the ocean with his hands tied at the back. We couldn’t find any remnants or suicide notes, and there was no ID on the body. So, we decided to freeze the body and leave it in the funeral home temporally.

About 4 days later, we got a registered letter. We opened it and found it was a suicide letter, from a construction contractor. He couldn’t take the commissioner’s extortion any longer; in despair, he chose to take his own life in the ocean.

I thought this must be the man whose body was found in the ocean a few days before.

I contacted the general manager of the construction company and the contractor’s wife to come and identify the body.

The company had contracted the construction of the library and the science building for an all-girl high school; the construction was almost completed, with only the inspection to be conducted.

The director of the high school blackmailed a huge sum of bribe to the contractor; the sum was greedily gigantic.

If the library and the science building failed the inspection, they would have to be torn down and rebuilt. The inspection was subjective; so the director, with “the power of life and death”, was very powerful. The old saying goes, “If you want to incriminate someone, you can always find charges.” If the eye was fixed on finding faults, an inspection would fail. Therefore, as long as someone gave a price, no one dared not to pay, unless you didn’t want to live.

The contractor had invested all his money in the construction of the library and the science building; if they were to be demolished, all would be going down the drain and the materials left would be a mere pile of useless trash. Furthermore, it would cost lots of money to pay workers to demolish the constructions. The worst part was that a contractor couldn’t get paid in case of a failed inspection and he would also be fined several times liquidated damages. Thus, what was the alternative but suicide?

I was very sad to hear that. I was shocked at the power of a director at a public institution.

I asked the director to meet me.

He said that it was all business; as long as a contractor followed the blueprint , the construction would surely pass an inspection. As far as requesting a large sum of money from the contractor, he categorically denied and he insisted on face-to-face cross examination with the contractor.

I said, “The contractor is dead. He left a suicide letter which explains all this.” He took the letter and read it again and again, very angry. Why did the contractor frame him like that? He must have been too strict and thus offended the contractor. I wrote down the notes of his statements, but there was nothing I could do about him. After all, the contractor had died; we had no evidence to verify the director’s statements.

A month went by fast. It was time for the inspection of the library and the science building. The construction company knew the director wouldn’t let go of them, not to mention that they had reported his despicable deeds to authorities and thus had offended him.

One night, a hurricane hit Taiwan. The whole island was at the mercy of the terrifying storm, and an earthquake of a great magnitude doubled the blow. My colleagues and I were stationed in the Hurricane Prevention Center, worried that some old buildings might collapse and harm people.

I wondered if the new library and the science build could survive the storm. They really had no luck to encounter such a storm and earthquake before the inspection.

It was after ten that night when we got a 911 call: someone at the all-girl high school was cut by a metal sheet blown off a roof; he was lying on the ground in critical condition.

We called for an ambulance and got to the scene. There was a middle-aged man lying on the ground. It was completely dark; there seemed to be a power outage. We turned on the emergency light and took a close look, “How come the head was cut in two, with the brains all scattered?”

The first-aid workers turned the man over and pieced the head together. I was taken aback, “How come it was the director?”

The high school said that the director was walking around to check things out during the storm and see if doors and windows were secure when he got hit in the head by the metal sheet off the roof. The sheet was made of horseshoe iron, customized for roofs; it was very thin and sharp.

The forensic doctor inspected the body and then had it taken to the funeral home.

On the way, I kept thinking, “What a coincidence! Right before the inspection, here comes a big storm and an earthquake and the director’s head is cut in half by a metal sheet that came from nowhere!”

I strongly believed that there was an invisible hand at work.

How about you? Do you believe that the construction contractor was really dead after he was drowned in the ocean? Once someone dies, is his/her spirit, ghost really gone, too?”

If it were really the case, then kind people would have no more offspring in this world.

On the inspection day, the headmaster was very fair, and the experts and civil engineers from the Inspection Committee were present. The constructions passed inspection. In particular, the buildings stood the test of a hurricane and an earthquake, and it was proof that there were no cut-corners or mistakes.

The wife of the contractor and the company’s general manager and other mangers were very thankful for us authorities upholding justice. I told them to be confident of our country’s laws.

The case finally closed, for now.

 

 

One day, a middle-aged woman asked to see me in my office. She said she was the wife of the director at the high school. I asked a colleague to go with me and meet her.

It turned out that her family plunged into hardships right after the death of the director; they couldn’t even afford a funeral. She was crying bitterly.

I asked, “Didn’t your husband leave behind any money?”

She said, “No.”

“What about his salary as the director?”

She answered, “Maybe he lost it all to gambling.”

I was sad to hear that. Wasn’t the director position well paying?  How come he was that poor?

I got three months’ advance payment of my salary on the spot and gave it to her for her husband’s funeral.

She said, “I have three children to raise. I don’t know what to do.”

As a matter of fact, my hands were tied. The pay of a civil server was not much; plus, I was always minding others’ business, donating here and there; I was almost living beyond my means.

I said, “Let me ask our manager to find a job for you; it shouldn’t be a problem. Before you can find a job, I can help you with some money each month; Is this OK?”

She kept crying; she couldn’t say a word.

Later on, our manager got a job for her near the school, and the pay was enough to feed them; along with the public subsidies, she was able to raise the three children, even though it was hard.

The three children were not easy to raise; they often fell sick, costing me a lot of money. In order to help the poor family, I wrote for some big newspapers and also translated world-famous classics; I would be writing until daybreak. That was all I could do.

 

20 years later, was the cursed family still living in misery? I moved away because of my work and lost touch with them.

Nobody had high hopes of the three children. How good could a bad guy’s children be? Doesn’t the saying go, “An apple does not fall far from the tree”?

I always believed, “Punishments should only go to the offender.” The dad was bad, but that was his fault only and he was cut to death by the metal sheet. It could be said that it served him right and he paid for his crime.

My affection to the three children caused lots of gossips from the locals, but I had my own thoughts.

I told those dissenters, “Shouldn’t we pay more attention to bad guy’s children and nurture them well? Doesn’t the saying go, “A black hen can lay a white egg”?

 

One day, a client of mine wanted to have an office building; he asked me to go with him to sign the contract with the construction company. The client wanted the construction company to customize the building to his company’s preference, so we went to the construction site to check out the finished units.

When we got to the guestroom of the construction company, they brought the site manager over to explain to us the layout of the buildings under construction so that my client could choose one.

The manager came in. He kept looking at me; then he shouted, “Auntie! It’s you!”

I was at a loss. I asked, “Who are you?”

He said, “I am the son of the All-girl High School director. I am the first son; my name is OOO.”

I remembered, “You’re so grown up!”

He immediately called his mom and his siblings and told them to take a cab and come to the guestroom right away.

Shortly afterwards, an old woman in her late 70s came in. I stared at her; she looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember. She fixed her eyes on me. All of a sudden, she knelt on her knees and bowed to me; she was crying, unable to say anything.

This was all too sudden; I was taken aback and did not know what to do. I took a quick step over and pulled her up.

She told me that none of her three children got on the wrong track. The first son was the manager at the construction site, the second son was an architect, and the third one was a banker. I remembered I used to take them to Yuan Shan Zoo, children’s amusement parks, and tours during vacations. Now they were all grownups, with good careers and good families. I was very relieved.

She also told me that all the three children set up a longevity tablet for me and they had the daily habit of kneeling three times and bowing nine times; they would also burn incense for me to thank me and to pray for my health. I was embarrassed. How could I deserve all that?

About a week later, the woman invited me over to her home at weekends. She called her children and grandchildren and in-laws all back home to kneel and thank me one by one. I asked them not to torture me like that because I really did not deserve it. But they insisted and would not stop no matter how I protested.

In my life, I may have had compassion and helped some helpless poor families in my small ways from time to time, but I have never expected any gratitude; I have always forgot about it, leaving no trace. I always feel that I am only doing my duty and there is no need to stay in touch.

I also wanted them to “Let bygones be bygones.” As far as “owing to me”; there is absolutely no need, for deities have bestowed all on me.

 

Notes

  1. Heaven is silent and Earth is silent, yet both convey thousands of words.
  2. Heaven and Earth will not tolerate bad guys bullying good people; neither do Heaven and Earth turn a blind eye to good people’s sufferings.

 

In-Laws in Life and After Death

My Tainan mom was the mom of my college classmate. When I was an unknown journalist in Tainan, she loved me like her own daughter. In my mind, she was also my own mom, and her first daughter was also my own sister.

My sister lived in a village near Bai River in Tainan. My brother-in-law liked hunting; he had three designer brand shotguns, made in West Germany, France and Britain. The six hunting dogs were outstanding. When I was working there, I would follow my classmate and go with our brother-in-law out of curiosity on his hunting trips for pheasants, rabbits, turtledoves, and sparrows. However, whenever I saw the game’s intestines pierced, I would be scared to tears at the horrifying death images.

My sister’s mother-in-law was a devout Buddhist. She adamantly objected his hunting and would urge him earnestly, “Please stop the cruel killing game. You see, your little sister is scared to tears. Think about it. Just one shot and all the birds in a tree fall off to death.”

I have never killed anything since my childhood and I don’t dare to look at blood. The birds on the ground either bled from head injuries or had their brains scattered, or their intestines pierced.

I enjoyed seeing the heroic image of a hunting dog chasing game on the plains, but I would worry that the game would be caught by the dogs.

My sister’s mother-in-law felt the same as I did. Therefore, that was the pain in her heart.

As for my classmate, he was a senior manager at a security company. Because of business socializing, he would get drunk almost every day.

My Tainan dad was a drinker, but his stomach lining broke from too much drinking when he was about 54. One day after a drinking party, he threw up a lot of blood on the way home and died.

Therefore, my Tainan mom did not like my classmate’s social life. She was worried that the tragedy might repeat itself. But my classmate would “do what the Romans do when in Rome”; he had never broken away from the life of getting drunk every night.

With whom could my Tainan mom talk about her worries and pain?

Year after year it went on, and she could no longer take it.

At midnight, my Tainan mom called my sister’s mother-in-law. The two commiserated and decided to leave home together and cut loose the disobedient sons; maybe they could change and break the addictions.

My sister heard their conversation, but how could she say anything?

When it was nearly 9 o’clock the next morning, my sister had just sent off the kids to school and her husband to work when she saw my Tainan mom coming to her home. My sister called “Mom. It’s so early. Where are you going?”

My Tainan mom had a mysterious look and did not say anything. Instantly, my sister’s mother-in-law came out. The two held hands and left. My sister called out, “Where are you going? Come home for lunch later!”

But the two of them just left in a hurry.

At lunch time, my sister saw that her mother-in-law and her mom still hadn’t come back. They waited for the two until the food was getting cold. She began to worry if the two had lost their way, so she made a few calls to all the relatives and friends, but nobody knew their whereabouts.

My sister had no choice but to call my classmate, “Mom came over early morning and left with my mother-in-law; they are still not back. Do you know where they went? I have called up all relatives and friends but nobody knows where they are. I’m very worried.”

My classmate said, “Sister, Mom passed away at 4 a.m. this morning. I have been calling you but the line was always busy.”

My sister burst into tears; she felt it all too strange. Hurriedly she hung up and went to her mother-in-law’s room; she took a close look and found her mother-in-law dead long before.

The forensic doctor said, “The death time was after 8, shortly before 9.”

Just like this, my Tainan mom and my sister’s mother-in-law really left home.

My brother-in-law no longer hunted. He gave all the three shotguns to the police and the hunting dogs to his friends.

As for my classmate, he was climbing up the position rungs further and further, and he drank more and more often, and he drank more and more. Indeed, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do.” What could he do?

I just don’t know where my Tainan mom and my sister’s mother-in-law went. How did my Tainan mom take a ride from Gaoxiong to Bai River in Tainan? The ride would take as long as four hours and she would have to connect on the way.

 

 

Acknowledgement

This booklet is an account of how I strove for 62 years for survival despite the torments from thalassemia. The chance of a patient with such a disease living to adulthood is 0%. I am blessed; I died several times but somehow survived each time.

My body development was stalled for the first 28 years. I once took deadly poison; it was a desperate gamble because life for me was harder than death.

Now I am 62 and I won’t die prematurely any more. I have a family and a good career.

I was in pregnancy danger due to lack of blood and oxygen, yet I had five children. They all graduated from national or internationals colleges. My whole family is religious; we live a life of peace, equanimity, and auspiciousness; it is a life our relatives and friends envy.  

I am thankful to deities. I am thankful to the two Buddhas in my heart: my grandma and my mom.

I owe the publication of this booklet to all the colleagues at Yi Xing Philanthropist Center. In the past few months, everyone spent money, labor, and time on it; they worked hard until late nights and dawns. I am deeply indebted and don’t know how to pay them back. My special thanks go to Miss Qiaoling Hong, the typist. She does not know me, yet she wholeheartedly typed the whole manuscript. I will never forget such kindness.

May this booklet bring you some enlightenment and light up your life.

 

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