Retributions of lustful desires


Translated By Tara Lau

The Forty-two Sections Sutra says, “Those people who are unable to throw away their wealth and sexual desires are just like a little child who cannot resist the honey on the blade of a knife. Even though it’s not enough to satisfy a meal’s pleasure, he will still lick it and risk cutting his tongue.”

Consider the following true account of a battalion chief, whose lustful temptations led to a tragic outcome. During the early Republic of China, a battalion commander stationed in Shaanxi, a region in north-central China, led a licentious life despite being married with children. His unrestrained behavior extended to an infatuation with the newlywed wife of a subordinate officer, captivating him entirely with her allure. This obsession set the stage for a catastrophic series of events, culminating in the deaths of seven people and leaving behind a legacy of horror.

If one is incessantly overwhelmed by erotic desires, lacking sound judgment and prudent counsel, they are prone to act rashly. The commanding officer, driven by his obsession to possess his clerk’s wife, resorted to deceitful schemes. He ultimately accused his subordinate of treason, alleging collaboration with a foreign enemy. Consequently, the unfortunate clerk was executed, his name never cleared of the false charges.

Without hesitation, the senior officer proposed to his subordinate’s widow. Aware of his existing marriage, she refused to be part of a polygamous arrangement. Frustrated by the barriers his own family posed to his desires and increasingly obsessed with the widow, he descended into madness and poisoned his wife and children.

At the wedding, a photograph was taken of the commander, the bride, and several guests. After weeks without receiving the photograph, the commander personally visited the studio. Upon viewing the photo, he was horrified to see behind the party the apparitions of his deceased family: his former wife with wild hair and a jawless visage, and his children, each ghastly in appearance. Most chilling was the presence of the executed clerk, clad in military uniform, standing ominously behind the bride, a visible gunshot wound on his forehead.

The photograph’s unnerving details eventually leaked, leading to an investigation that exonerated the clerk of treason. The commander was sentenced to death for his crimes, and the widow, overwhelmed by shame and grief, ended her life.

The Collected Writings of Master Yinguang, in its third volume, reflect on such tragic fates. The text warns of the grave consequences of succumbing to carnal desires—how they can lead to moral decay, family ruin, and a notorious legacy. It emphasizes that unchecked lust is a destructive force, capable of driving individuals to commit heinous acts, often with irreversible outcomes.

This tale is documented by Tang Huqing in his True Accounts of Karmic Reward and Retribution, serving as a stern reminder of the karmic consequences of moral transgressions.

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