Turning Over A New Leaf

                                                    

   The reeducation of prisoners may be one of the most important ways to maintain social
  order, because it provides prisoners a chance to lead a new life and stop doing wrong
  deeds again. Venerable Yi Hang is one such Dharma teacher who is dedicated to this goal
  at over 10 prisons in southern Taiwan during the past four years. In 1996 she preached
  over 140 times and as many as 10,000 people have benefited from her guidance. 

    After listening to a Dharma lesson one day, a prisoner said to her,¡§It is strange that
  every time I watch the TV and whenever a scene of a bank shows up, my mind would
  think about a plan to rob the bank!¡¨ 

     The Venerable replied,¡§That means you are learning to examine your mind and are
   deciding whether to develop it or not. In the past you just did the bad things and never
   thought about what you were doing.¡¨

      Once, a highly educated young man said,¡§I have always known that it's wrong to
   steal. I am capable of earning a living, however, whenever I find a chance, I just can't
   stop doing it.¡¨ 

               ¡@The Venerable responded,¡§This inward pressure that compels you to do evil deeds
               shows that you have done the same things in yours past lives. Because of that bad karma,
               you have continued the habit to this life.¡¨ 

               ¡@Most prisoners grumble about the loss of freedom in jail. But after learning
               Buddha-Dharma through Ven. Yi Hang, they realize that the world is like a big jail and
               all sentient beings are trapped in the prisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance as they
               blindly pursue after desires. Thus they regain the confidence to reshape their new lives.


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