One Reaps What One Sows

The Red Guards destroying Buddha statues.

During the Cultural Revolution period, many historical and well-respected Buddhist statues were recklessly destroyed by the red guards. (Image: via Public Domain)

There is a saying: “One reaps what one sows.” It is customary for the Chinese to go to temples at the beginning of the new year. Popular temples are packed all day with crowds that are eager to light incense and pray for a good year to come. However, it was not like this during the Cultural Revolution period, during which many historical and well-respected Buddhist statues were recklessly destroyed by the Red Guards. In the end, one reaps what one sows.

A blogger recently shared a story of the retribution incurred for smashing Buddhist statues that he heard about during a visit to a temple. The group of Red Guards who were responsible for such destructive acts came to a bad end, as one reaps what one sows. In decades since the Cultural Revolution, some went insane, some became handicapped, some died unnaturally, and some were shot to death. There was one particular Red Guard whose story was shared in detail.

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Artifacts were destroyed while individuals were prosecuted during the Cultural Revolution. One reaps what one sows.
Artifacts were destroyed while individuals were prosecuted during the Cultural Revolution. One reaps what one sows. (Image: via Public Domain)

This particular Red Guard teamed up with 30-40 other guards and militia soldiers to wreck a temple at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. During the 1990s, he and his daughter and son-in-law went into logistics and made good money from it. In 1997, his only daughter, after years of infertility, finally gave birth to a baby boy.

One reaps what one sows

In 1998, the couple brought their son along to pick up cargo from another province. While waiting in the hot weather, their son became thirsty. The mother got out of the truck with him to buy some drinks. The line of waiting trucks started to move soon after. The father, being the driver, intended to move along with the traffic. As soon as the truck was in motion, a bumping sound was heard. When he got out to check, he found his young son lying broken underneath the wheels.

The Red Guard was the only son in the family and he had only one daughter. Taking on a son-in-law was his way of carrying on the family name. However, his hope was destroyed now that his grandson was killed in the accident.

Red Guards destroying cultural artifacts.
Red Guards destroying cultural artifacts. (Image: via Public Domain)

One reaps what one sows. The bitter fruit of the broken ancestral line born out of the malicious acts the Red Guard committed in the temple 40 years ago was now his to enjoy for the rest of his life.

Translated by Cecilia

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