This story will make us reflect on how even when everything in life seems to happen for a random reason, all things are predestined and often unavoidable. With a compassionate heart, we can benevolently resolve our karmic debts; those that incurred from having committed bad acts or having made others suffer in previous lives.

In ancient China, a businessman named Cheng Bolin lived in the city of Yangzhou. He was a devout man who respected the Buddha and the Gods.

One summer, a northern troop violently invaded the area and took the city of Yangzhou. Cheng prayed to the gods and asked for help. In his dream, a god told him that the other 16 members of his family would survive this catastrophe safely, but he would not.

After Cheng Bolin woke up, he couldn’t understand why they had singled him out, so he prayed to the gods again for more guidance.

The gods spoke to him again in a second dream and told him, “In a previous life, you stabbed Wang Mazi 26 times and killed him. Now is the time for you to repay him, there is no way to escape your destiny. You can tell your family to stay in the eastern chamber of your house while you stay in the middle room. This way your family will not be involved.” 

Upon waking, Cheng followed the orders of the Gods and set things up as per the Gods instructions.

Five days later, a soldier from the northern troop knocked on the door. Cheng asked him, “Are you Wang Mazi? If so, you can come in and stab me 26 times. If you’re not Wang Mazi, you can leave this place now since we do not have a karmic relationship.”

The soldier replied, “I am Wang Mazi.” Cheng Bolin then opened the door and let him in.

Wang Mazi was very surprised, “How do you know my name?” Cheng then described what he had heard in the two dreams in detail.

After hearing the whole story, Wang Mazi sighed, “You killed me by stabbing me 26 times in a previous life; if I do the same to you today, won’t you try to take revenge in your next life?”

He then used the back of his sword to strike Cheng Bolin in the back 26 times and then forgave him. In addition, Wang Mazi escorted Cheng Bolin and his family to Jinling City, a safer place.

Everything happens for a reason, nothing we encounter in life is an accident. When someone mistreats us, it might result from the fact that we may owe that person something from a previous life, even if we don’t remember them. If we can endure the abuse without complaints or grievances, or if we can forgive it, then we can dissolve the resentment and resolve karmic retribution. Otherwise, karmic retribution will continue on an endless cycle. We must meet our fate with confidence and know that soon our pain will be over.

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