Wednesday evening, February 14, 1973

60. On the Karmic Retribution of Hunger

Ven. Master Hua

On Monday [Editor’s note: February 5] the week before last, seven of us—four monks and three nuns—went to New York . We had to go hungry on the airplane, since there wasn’t enough food to fill us up. Especially Guo Hu. Since he could not get his fill, he got into an argument with his elder brother, blaming him for not arranging the meals better. Actually, you should know that a karmic retribution like having to go hungry will not necessarily be limited to just one day.  

The next day, when we got to the conference, the layman hosting it was rather stingy and prepared very little food. He thought it would be enough, but many people turned up, and there weren’t enough rice and vegetables to go around. And so on the second day, we had to undergo the same karmic retribution of going hungry. Then I said to Guo Hu, “Never mind, don’t cry. I promise you that on the third day you will eat to your heart’s content.” And so, on the third day, I took him to Canada .  

When we went to the Buddhist Association of Canada, a Dharma Master and several laypeople had prepared plenty of rice and vegetables in advance, and we ate our fill there. However, although we ate our fill, the other five people who stayed over at the conference site in New York still did not get enough to eat. And so, on the first, second, and third days they were there, they did not get enough to eat. On the fourth day, we just made do with it, since the conference came to an end at that point. But the fact that we did not get enough to eat was an overriding impression and so nobody could muster much enthusiasm for the conference, which came to a rather muddled conclusion anyway.

Timely Teachings