Karmic retribution means that every deed or action has consequences, and evil deeds bring suffering. Suffering is not punishment by a God who is free to punish or not, but rather is an inevitable consequence of evil actions.
A school bully pays the price through karmic retribution
In 2018, a bizarre death occurred at a junior high school in Zhecheng County, Henan Province, China. According to the report, a 7th-grade male student, Liu, and two others targeted a fourth student. They pushed him onto the wall corner and beat him. The entire process was caught on the surveillance camera.
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The victim was on the thin side. The trio pulled his hair and beat him up brutally. The victim tried to fight back, but he was outnumbered and knocked to the ground. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Liu, one of the attackers, suddenly collapsed and died.
Many thought it was a case of instant karmic retribution. But instead, it was a reminder that no matter how powerful a person may be, they cannot escape the consequences of their actions.
A murderer dies in jail six years later
In 2015, a murder case that took place in East Hsinchu County shocked the people in Taiwan. Chiu Mei was a 14-year-old girl with a mild intellectual disability. She argued with Ms. Huang at an Internet cafe. Huang told her boyfriend, Mr. Lin, what happened, and he got upset.
Huang, Lin, and other accomplices forcibly took Chiu to a remote location. They beat her up and sexually assaulted her, and left her body there. The group then went to a karaoke bar. When they found out Chiu was dead, they dragged and left her body in a bush and returned to the karaoke bar. Lin later burned Chiu’s body and discarded it.
Even though these people committed inhumane crimes, they were spared the death penalty. Instead, after the third trial in 2019, five of them were sentenced to life in prison and stripped of their rights. On October 22, 2021, Lin told the guards he wasn’t feeling well. He was taken to the hospital and died two hours later. Lin was in his 30s.
Many thought this was a case of karmic retribution. But instead, it was a reminder that no matter how much time passes, justice will eventually be served.
A Brazilian man runs over a woman and dies the next day
In January of this year, a bizarre death occurred in the Brazilian state of Vitoria. The case was inextricably linked to a hit-and-run the day before.
On the afternoon of January 4, a 70-year-old woman walked by a building near Suyá Beach. A 45-year-old man was driving out of the building. He sped down the garage ramp at high speed, smashed the iron gate, and kept going.
The broken iron gate fell on the woman. The man didn’t get out of the car to check. Instead, he stepped on the accelerator and ran over the iron gate and the woman. Then, he sped away, leaving the witnesses and the injured woman behind.
People nearby removed the iron gate and took the woman to the hospital. Fortunately, her life was not in danger. However, other than some abrasions, three of her fingers were crushed.
The police investigated and found out the man was a building resident. Although he had escaped, the police arrested him shortly after. At first, they determined he was not intoxicated during the accident. Then, they noticed he had a mental illness and they were going to have a doctor examine him, but the man suddenly died of cardiac arrest.
One can’t help but think this was probably a case of instant karmic retribution. It was a reminder that no matter how powerful a person may be, they cannot escape the consequences of their actions.
A lesson from Shakyamuni
One day, when Shakyamuni was preaching to all his disciples, suddenly, he called Ananda up and said: “Take a bucket and go to a small village five miles ahead to ask an older woman washing clothes at a well for a bucket of water. Be polite and kind.”
Ananda set off with an empty bucket as the direction indicated. He thought that it would be an uncomplicated errand. However, after arriving at the village, he found a grey-haired woman washing clothes by the well.
Ananda politely bowed to the woman and said: “Grand old woman, may I ask you for a bucket of water?” On seeing him, the older woman was furious and angrily said: “No. The people of this village can only use this well. No outsiders are allowed to use it!” Then she drove Ananda away and didn’t move even though Ananda begged and pleaded.
Ananda had no choice but to return with an empty bucket. He told Shakyamuni and his fellow practitioners what had happened to him. Shakyamuni nodded, gestured for Ananda to sit, and then asked Sariputra to go.
When Sariputra arrived at that village, he found the grey-haired woman still washing clothes by the well. Sariputra politely asked the old woman: “Grand old woman, may I ask you for a bucket of water?” On seeing him, that old woman was cheerful as seeing an agreeable family and gladly said: “Okay! Okay! Let me fetch water for you.”
After taking a bucket of water for Sariputra, she asked him to wait for her for a while. Then, she hurried home to get some vegetarian food for him and asked him to take it home. After returning home with a whole bucket of water, he told Shakyamuni and his fellow practitioners what had happened to him. Shakyamuni nodded and gestured for Sariputra to have a seat.
Ananda and the other disciples wondered why and asked Shakyamuni what caused such a difference between Ananda and Sariputra. Shakyamuni explained: A long time ago, this older adult was once reincarnated into the animal realm as a rat. It died on the roadside under the scorching sun. Ananda, who was a businessman at that time, was rushing for the goods.
While seeing the dead rat, he felt disgusted and passed with a hand over the nose. Contrarily, when Sariputra, a scholar traveling to the capital for his exam then, saw the dead mouse, he felt compassionate and covered it with earth.
Now, after a long time, they met and got different treatment. So everyone can imagine that a bit of thought can have excellent good and bad consequences, let alone directly inflict suffering on people!
The final word
Karmic retribution is a powerful force that can’t be ignored. It’s a reminder that our actions have consequences and that we should always strive to do the right thing. Whether it’s in the form of instant retribution or delayed retribution, it’s important to remember that our actions have consequences.
Translated by Joseph Wu