By Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-yen Lu
Translated and edited by TBTI
There is an off-color joke that goes like this:
When God originally created Man, He shaped dough into a human shape and placed it in a frying pot.
The first time, God over-fried the dough and it turned black.
He put it down in Africa and it became the black-skinned people.
The second time, God was afraid to overcook the dough so He took the dough out too early.
The dough was not yet done.
He put it down in Europe and it became the white-skinned people.
The third time, God knew that if he overcooked the dough, it would darken, and if he under-cooked it, the dough would remain white.
So, he cooked it just right, not black or white, it was yellow.
He set it down in Asia.
This is the joke about God frying people.
* * *
In the netherworld, I really did see people being fried in a frying pot.
I saw a huge frying pot with several people inside.
Netherworld officers were preparing to light the fire.
The people in the frying pot pleaded loudly, “Don’t light the fire! Don’t light the fire! Please don’t light the fire! We will all be fried to death!” The netherworld officers laughed.
”It is not us who are starting the fire.
You are the ones who started it.”
The people in the frying pot fell silent.
The fire started and the people in the frying pot hissed and sizzled to death.
* * *
I asked the netherworld king, “Why did the netherworld officers say that the fire was set by the people in the frying pot and not by the officers?” The netherworld king replied, “The people who were sentenced to be fried in a frying pot all committed arson while they were alive in the human world. Hence, they set the fire themselves.”
Based on my knowledge, the negative karmas generated by committing arson are extremely severe.
This is something that everyone should know so that they don’t make the same mistake.
The negative karmas generated by a single matchstick and a container of gasoline are countless:
1. Negative karma for murder — burning people to death;
2. Negative karma for theft — burning people’s property;
3. Negative karma for hatred — the fire of hatred flaring up in the heart creating the desire to destroy others;
5. Negative karma for envy — envious of what others have;
6. Negative karma for jealousy — jealous of what others have; and so on and so on.
For these people who commit arson, it doesn’t matter where they set the fire, be it a factory, a residence, or a vehicle (ships, cars, planes), the negative karmas they create are all extremely severe.
These people are essentially setting themselves on fire.
Their karmas are really unpardonable.
A single flame can burn down an entire plain.
A single misstep can become a regret of thousands of years.
Hence, self-restraint is extremely important.
It is critical that people do not play with fire.
* * *
I have seen people who become angry because of relationship problems and then exact their vengeance by committing arson, causing many innocent people to die.
Think about it — how can one calculate all the negative karmas generated by these actions?
These are the type of people who are sentenced to be fried in the netherworld frying pots and plunged into netherworld mountains filled with swords.
There are also some people who don’t light the fires but sit on the side fanning the flames.
Although they don’t set the fires, their actions are equivalent to those of the arsonists.
Was it really worth it for such people to act out in such an irrational way because of some girl?
We as cultivators must transform our anger into strength, increasing our diligence in cultivating our practices.
It is critical that we do not commit negative karma or harm others.
Master Yongjia said: “Depleting dharma wealth, destroying merits, and committing murder are all caused by one’s [deluded] consciousness”.
* * *
There is a saying:
”When the body dies, it is like a residence being burned down and the resident leaving.
The residence is impermanent while the resident is eternal.”
Someone asked me if this is Buddhadharma.
I replied, “This is an ‘expedient means’ explanation and does not distinguish between deviancy and righteousness.
The resident is not necessarily eternal! Consider this question: Is the heart eternal or impermanent?
Everyone, please carefully contemplate the meaning of this question.”
(From Book #187 “Manifestations of the Netherworld”)