21 Aunt said, "Guanyin once has called out, "Bad deeds, as well as good, may rebound upon the doer. It isn't they don't rebound, it is the time doesn't arrive. As soon as the time arrives, may all rebound." We asked, "Who is Guanyin?" Aunt told us, "Guanyin is a Bodhisattva." Sister-in-law said, "Guanyin Old Mother is very kindhearted and always young. There's a saying, 'Guanyin Buddha, eighteen every year'." Aunt told us the story about Guanyin Bodhisattva: Guanyin is a beautiful good girl. She loves her parents. She gets up early every morning and works hard. In the evening her father teaches her to read and write. she studies attentively. She is very kind to everybody. Many rich men ask to marry her. Her sister-in-law is pregnant and the belly looks very big. Guanyin asks her what she is feeling. Sister-in-law answers, "Hang a big jar of water on your neck and then you'll know it." Guanyin does so. She feels unwell and she is afraid, so she refuses the rich men. But the rich men oblige her to get marry. So she loses her desire to live. When Buddha knows the truth, he saves her and teaches her Buddha Dharma. Then she becomes a Bodhisattva and never gets marry. Guanyin Bodhisattva shows great pity and mercy. She helps people in distress. People respect her. They pour out their thinking and pray to her for safety. Hearing the story of Guanyin, we looked at each other, as if we had got into a magical world. Aunt said, "A person should do good, should not do bad. Guanyin Old Mother knows what people have said and have done." an uncle said, "As the saying goes, 'The person is doing, the heaven is looking, three feet over the head gods exist' is just this meaning." Hearing what our elders said, we had our faith in our hearts. It was that truth, goodness and beauty were always with us. Later when the girls saw us doing mischief, they said loud, "How dare you continue? Guanyin Bodhisattva has seen you." We stopped at once.
22 In Chen Ancestral Hall, the tablet of Guanyin was the tallest. It showed how Chen's families worshiped Guanyin and how we entrusted her with our wishes. I said, "Guanyin Buddha is just in our Chen Ancestral Hall." They asked me, "How do you know that?" I answered, "My mother told me. One evening I hurt my fingers while shutting the door. My mother said that it was nothing serious and that Guanyin would bless me. Then she led me into Chen Ancestral Hall. She paid respects to Guanyin and prayed to her to bless me. She asked me to pray, too. I did so. My mother fetched some tea from the cup on the table to wash my fingers that were hurt. I asked who Guanyin was. My mother said that the tallest soul tablet in the middle was. Soon my fingers were all right." Hall sister-in-law said, "Guanyin Old Mother blesses you. You should worship her." I asked, "When do we worship Guanyin?" She answered, "Usually on Guanyin's birthday we worship Guanyin." We asked, "What is Guanyin's birthday?" Aunt said, "The day on which Guanyin was born is. February nineteenth, June nineteenth, September nineteenth and November nineteenth. They all are." My hall sister-in-law said, "In the morning of Guanyin's birthday we pay respects to her. We offer vegetarian sacrifices to her. Vegetarian sacrifices are mainly cakes, fruit, etc." We asked, "Why don't we offer chicken, duck, fish, pork, and so on?" They said, "Guanyin Old Mother is a god. She pays pity on creature. she says all animals are good friends of us human being. We mustn't kill them. So she only eats Vegetarian food." All of us couldn't help gasping with admiration, "How kindhearted Guanyin is! She is really a good Bodhisattva." The aunt said, "Yes. Guanyin is mercy. She knows it is not easy for a creature to come to this world. She would bless all living creatures safe and peaceful. So everybody worships her."
23 Sister-in-law said, "Guanyin Bodhisattva is always the idol of Chinese people. Mother brought us to pay respects to Guanyin, teaching us to be honest and kindhearted." Aunt said, "A kindhearted person lives happily without demons." I said, "It is said that there are many Guanyin Temples everywhere. But few people pay respects to Guanyin these years. Nuns are also less." Runlian asked, "Guanyin Old Mother is so kind, but why don't people go to pay respects to her?" Sister-in-law said, "Everything is hard to predict. A disaster Suddenly came to earth. Many people lost their homes, some even lost their lives. How wretched their womenfolk were! They were occupied or raped. The world changed, and it was lawless." We asked, "Guanyin has great magic power. Why doesn't she punish those bandits and robbers?" Sister-in-law said, "Sometimes the devil is more powerful than Dharma. But the devil is temporary, Dharma is eternal." Aunt said, "Dharma is not a punishment or retaliation but is to enlighten all living creatures, and to advise people to build virtue." Aunt's words were not easy to understand: Guanyin had great wisdom and supernatural power. She appeared anyplace and she civilized people by karma. Guanyin warn the world, " Don't do evil but do good works; Never do to others what oneself dislikes; Kind make achievements from Dharma and wicked is absolved from it." Uncle said, "But People with ulterior motives are hostile to religion. They slander Dharma and maim the living creatures." We were afraid of robbers and evils from the words. We dared not say anything. Sister-in-law said, "Don't be afraid. Thirty years of water flows east, then thirty years of water flows west. You wait and see whether Guanyin's words are right." Aunt said, "Rest assured. Stone also has a turn someday. You're still young to see the good days. We haven't good fortune to see any more." I knew they were disappointed in life, at the same time they had great expectations for us.
24 My mother was much younger than the aunts, but she was more careful than them. When they were talking together, she seldom got in a word. She just listened like a fool. When we returned home each time, she always warned me not to tell anyone about what they had said. We children never told anyone, because we understood how serious it was at that time. If we were careless and leaked out their words, the consequences would be unbearable to imagine. They would be said to spread rumors. They would be caught even would be beaten by others, and we would get into trouble, too. Runtong said, "Our surname is Chen. We are of the same family." Watson said, "We are from a same ancestor. Our big family separated into several families not long ago." I said, "So we are brothers and uncles. We must help each other." In our homeland we children seldom quarreled or fought with others. When the other children bullied one of us, we would help him. We dared not fight back for him. All we could do was to persuade them to stop. Then we went away and comforted him. We were too young to know what the world was. We only knew those people could insult and bully us. Our elders told us that they had formerly been some gluttonous and lazy people, so they had been very poor. Some of them had lost the bet, so their wives had been sold out by them. Most of them were not from our Chen's families. We didn't know why they were so lucky to come to our homeland and share everything. They had also occupied all of our trees. From then on, they were not poor any more, but we were. They were illiterate and unreasonable. Whenever they insulted or bullied us, we went away without a word. The elders taught us to resign ourselves to adversity, saying that it was adverse toreason things out with them. As the time went on, We gradually got used to it.
25 One morning I heard Watson crying. I went over to see him. His mother was striking him with a whip. "I beat you to death! I beat you to death better than you are beaten to death by others! I asked you not to quarrel with others, but you wouldn't obey. You were so foolish. If I didn't beat you, you would never be wise!" His mother looked angry. I said nothing but went away. In my homeland, there was a saying: A stick can teach a child to be clever. We children used to be beaten. That was a kind of custom. No one would care about it. Maybe that was a good way to teach children that made a mistake. Why did we have to be naughty and make mistakes? So it was right that we were punished. Watson smiled a bitter smile when he went out. He told me that he had quarreled with others and his mother had learned it. I comforted him and told him, "It is said that there is a film this evening." Watson became very happy. He asked me, "Do you know what film it is?" I answered, "I don't know, either." In the past movies were seldom on show in my homeland. If you study Chinese history, you will find a war between China and Japanese lasted eight years till 1945. Then another war between the Communists and the Nationalists lasted four years. In the end the Communists won the war. The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. From then on it was called "after liberation". Then political struggles happened one after another. Chinese people suffered from the wars and the struggles. China was poor and backward at that time. No one paid pity on us and helped us. It was lucky for us to live on. Watson said, "Uncle, Let's go together. Remember to call me." I said, "All right. We several go together." I went to see my fellows and told them about it. They were very glad at the news and decided to go together.