The Love of Life

61. Master Hsin Ends a Drought

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Master Hsin was a monk with the deep wisdom and great powers that can be earned only by carefully developing your behavior. Because he was so wise, he was merciful. Because he was so powerful, he was lenient.

Once he saw an old fisherman with a basket. He looked in the basket and saw that it was full of turtles. He knew that whoever bought the turtles would eat them. “Poor turtles,” he thought, “You wouldn’t like to die, would you?” So he got out his wallet and bought the whole basketful, and let them go in a Free Life Pond.

A few years later, there was a terrible drought. All the farmers were worried, because if it didn’t rain, their crops wouldn’t grow, and they might starve to death. People then knew all about starving to death, because it happened so often. When there was a drought, there would be so many hungry people that they couldn’t all be fed. People would eat weeds and bark to stay alive, and many people would die.

Sometimes when a drought began, the farmers would sacrifice cows and goats for rain, but that usually didn’t do much good.

This time, one of the farmers first had a good idea. “Let’s ask Master Hsin for help. He’s so powerful, he ought to be able to do something!”

A whole crowd went to the temple and asked Master Hsin to bring rain. He smiled quietly, and told them, “Sure, no problem. I’ll pray for rain for you, but you have to help first. From now until our ceremony, none of you can kill anything. Until then, all of you have to eat only vegetarian food. Otherwise, it won’t work.”

Well, even for some selfish people who can’t go without meat, vegetarian food beats no food at all, and everybody respected Master Hsin anyway, so they all promised they wouldn’t kill anything or eat any meat or animal products.

On the day of the ceremony, all the local people came to the temple with offerings of fruit and incense. Master Hsin was waiting for them. When everybody was ready, he lit some incense and began to pray: “Om! Dajrta salo salo…”

“I can’t understand a word he’s saying,” someone said.

“Do you really think this is going to work?” some of the people asked their neighbors.

Many people said, “If he really pulls this one off, I’m going to become a vegetarian from now on.”

The Master kept praying, and before the first stick of incense had burned down, the clouds opened up and poured rain on the thirsty earth. All the people knelt in respect, and you couldn’t tell if their faces were wet from the rain or from their tears of gratitude.


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