Maggie H is a Global Explorer and Wellness Guru from Hong Kong. Among many spiritual endeavors, Maggie practices and leads Qigong meditation to help people around the world find their inner balance. Find out more about this and other Eastern Philosophy & Meditation practices every Monday on the ICBRKR blog.

Photo from Pinterest - Zen Buddhism, Zazen

A few years ago, I was waiting in the studio for one person who had insisted on showing up for a group class despite the black signal for heavy rain, while everyone else had cancelled already. A young lady then showed up looking like a drowned rat.

Based on my experience, when a group session unexpectedly turns into a private one like that, there's always a reason. Sure enough, when the session was over, she sheepishly asked, "Do you believe in karma?” So I said, “Absolutely.” She went on, “I have done something terrible to someone. Does that mean that the same thing will be done to me in return?” I saw the look of horror on her face and she was almost in tears. She continued, “What am I going to do? I don't want that horrible thing to happen to me.” Looking at her face, I couldn't possibly ask her what the horrible thing was that she had done. Instead, I decided to share a story I had heard from a dharma teacher. Since it was a long time ago, the details were a bit blurry but the last part of the story was tattooed in my mind, like a movie scene.

Many years back, at a temple near the border somewhere, a well-respected Zen master stood as abbot. One day, he heard that the troops from the neighbouring country had raided the village and were heading to the temple. Intuitively, the abbot knew that the general of the enemy troops was coming only for him, and not for the rest of the people at the temple, because, some lifetimes ago, the abbot had killed the general at war and now the general was coming to take the abbot's life. So, the abbot asked everyone to leave the temple for a day and got himself ready to deal with his karma.

He clothed himself properly and sat in the middle of the main hall waiting for the general to take his life. Finally, the enemy troops arrived at the temple to find nobody. Surprised, the general headed to the main hall and there was the abbot facing his back to the entrance. The general drew the sword and asked the abbot, “Where is everybody hiding and why are you still here?” The abbot calmly answered without turning his head, “I was expecting you. You came here because of the past karma between you and me. So, leave them alone and cut my head off now, as I did to you in the past. I face my karma today so the cycle stops here forever. Go ahead, I'm ready.” A few silent moments later, the general lifted his sword high and then laid the back of the sword gently on the abbot's neck. “Here, I just paid you back and we're even now,” he said before taking his troops and leaving the temple with everything intact.

I told her that the karmic wave she had raised will swing back and hit her one day, which was inevitable. However, I also reminded her of the verse from the Lord's Prayer "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." If we own up to what we have done and build good merits by forgiving others as we want to be forgiven, then the waves may still come, but the good merits will protect us as a strong breakwater from getting too damaged.

After that interaction, the young lady never showed up again; but I hope that one day, through this experience, she becomes a wise and compassionate lady who everyone loves.

Maggie H is a Life Cartographer, Eastern philosopher, Qigong master, Buddhist and Taoist meditator, Feng Shui practitioner, and researcher of Buddhist scriptures. She lives in Hong Kong, and regularly travels to both India and South Korea to further her spiritual growth and development. Her lifelong motto is: "benefit to all humankind."


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