Deepest Gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva.
Deepest Gratitude to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dharma Protectors.
Deepest Gratitude to Master Jun Hong Lu.
Good afternoon to all shi xiongs.
I’d like to share with you about how the Three Golden Buddhist Practices – performing recitation, making great vows and releasing captive lives – helped mitigate my brother’s court case.
My parents divorced when I was eight. My mother gained custody of my brother and I, and single-handedly raised us. My brother mixed with bad company during his polytechnic days. One thing led to the other which eventually landed him on the wrong side of the law.
At the tender age of 18, my brother became addicted to gambling and smoking, chalking up substantial debt that there was no way he could repay. Out of sheer desperation, he borrowed from the loan shark. To repay his debt, he ended up as a runner for the loan shark. To extricate my brother from the mess, my father forked out his entire hard-earned savings. We thought this would help turn things around, putting an end to my family’s ordeal. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out the way we had hoped for.
My brother’s karmic obstacles eventually erupted in 2016 when he was 19. He was put on a three-year probation for running afoul of the law. Undaunted, he remained his old self. Subsequently, he was arrested for cheating in April 2019 while still serving his probationary period.
I was saddened by the incident, knowing full well that an offense committed during the probationary period might lead to severe consequences under Singapore law. My brother was remanded in custody because no bail was granted. As a consequence, he was put behind bars pending a court decision. During this period, my mother and I took turns to visit my brother in the prison.
The entire episode was truly a test of my forbearance and grit. I shouldered much of the responsibility to help my brother, using Guan Yin Citta’s Three Golden Practices. After all, my mother’s affinity with Buddhism had yet to come to fruition at that time.
A pro-bono lawyer was assigned to handle my brother’s case, but the lawyer was of little help as he hardly had any patience and respect for us. Unexpectedly, the lawyer informed the presiding judge that he was unable to assist in my brother’s case because he had resigned from his job. This stunning turn of events took place in the second court hearing! My mother, who was in court, broke down and cried upon hearing this.
Out of the blue, a lawyer, who was was present in court, stood up and said, “Your honour, I’d like to take on this case and help him”. A sense of deep gratitude washed over me for giving us a chance to cooperate with a new pro-bono lawyer, who eventually played a critical role in mitigating my brother’s court case.
We learned that the prosecutor was gearing up to bring up my brother’s recent cheating offence and breach of the Probation Order. To make matters worse, the prosecutor was considering to propose a four-year jail term with 21 strokes of the cane and a SGD60,000 fine. This bad news caused much anxiety to all of us.
Knowing that I had Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s blessings, I remained calm but deep down my heart went out to my brother. This prompted me to transfer my merits accrued from past volunteering works and my vow to become a vegetarian to him. I also made the vow to offer some Little Houses to repay his karmic debts and help him overcome his predestined calamities as he was turning 23.
I started reciting Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots (Jie Jie Zhou) and Mantra to Disperse Calamities (Xiao Zai Ji Xiang Shen Zhou) for my brother. The former mantra was meant to resolve potential karmic conflicts between my brother and the judge, and the prosecutor. I complemented my recitation and Little Houses with life liberation. I was fortunate enough to be able to release captive lives in Johor Bahru before the nationwide lockdown was implemented.
Soon after, we learned that the prosecutor agreed not to bring up my brother’s loan shark case, which would help not increase the jail term. This was indeed the first piece of positive development in a long while. I had the impression that Guan Yin Bodhisattva was helping to turn the tide around.
The court hearing was postponed on various occasions in light of COVID-19. It was not an easy period for me as I needed to juggle between work, daily recitation and performing life liberation. There was one day, 30 July to be exact, when I had a nightmare.
In my dream, my beloved brother called out to me after being sentenced to five years in jail and nine strokes of the cane. I tried contacting the lawyer but to no avail and in the midst of my desperation, the pendant of Guan Yin Bodhisattva appeared in front of me. I woke up shaken, with tears rolling down my cheeks and heart palpitating.
Coincidentally, 30 July was the day the pro-bono lawyer came to meet my brother. The lawyer divulged that the prosecutor would be proposing a 31-month imprisonment.
Faced with a wide-range of potential adverse outcomes, I made the followings vows on behalf of my brother: to perform a life-long monthly liberation, to offer 49 Little Houses and recite 10,000 times of Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots (Jie Jie Zhou) and Mantra to Disperse Calamities (Xiao Zai Ji Xiang Shen Zhou) to untie the karmic knots between my brother and his impending lawsuit.
I implored to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to shower her blessings on my brother and give him the courage and strength to pull through this tumultuous period. One week prior to his court hearing on 3 August, I liberated an average of 450 fish daily.
On court hearing day, I dropped by the Practice Centre to pray and recited 21 times of the Heart Sutra for the presiding judge. I prayed for a compassionate judge who would mete out a light sentence.
During the court hearing, the prosecutor made a few mistakes while reading my brother’s charges and was unable to rectify them on the spot, resulting in the case to be adjourned to 7 August. This gave me some breathing room to perform more recitations and offer an additional 13 Little Houses for my brother.
Glad to say, by 7 August, I had collectively liberated a total of 10,000 fish and offered approximately 80 Little Houses. I also took the opportunity to perform daily recitation of 21 times of the Heart Sutra for the presiding judge.
My brother’s case was the last to be heard on 7 August. Having sat through the earlier few sessions, I realised how compassionate the judge was. This put me at ease. The judge sentenced my brother to 27 months in jail for his cheating offense and two weeks for breaching the Probation Order. Both sentences were to run consecutively. The judge decided not to impose additional penalties on my brother for his other past wrongdoings, after taking into consideration his young age and other mitigating factors.
Under current remission system, my brother only needed to serve a total of 18 months in jail which commenced on the day that he was remanded. He was due to be released on 27 October 2020. At the time of this sharing, he was already out of jail.
I’m deeply grateful to Guan Yin Bodhisattva for turning the tide around, making the outcome less detrimental to my brother. The prosecutor’s initial proposal of four years’ imprisonment, 21 strokes of the cane and a SGD60,000 fine would have disastrous for us.
Looking back in retrospect, the many rounds of court hearing deferment had worked in our favour, giving me the much-needed time to perform more recitations and life liberations on behalf of my brother. This goes to show Guan Yin Bodhisattva always has our interests in her heart. She will lay out the best arrangement for us as long as we keep our faith and deliver our vows.
I’d like to take this opportunity to repent for not being steadfast and diligent in my Buddhism cultivation journey. I’d also like to thank many Buddhist friends for extending their help during these difficult moments of my life. It wouldn’t have been possible to pull through this challenging times by solely relying on my own strengths.
I’m deeply grateful for everything. I promise to be steadfast and diligent in my spiritual cultivation and be of help to the needy.
This is the end of my sharing. If my sharing today is improper in anyway, I seek the forgiveness from Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Dharma Protectors. I shall bear my own karmic obstacles.
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