Sunday, September 04, 2005

HK Stepmom: The Prison of Hatred

The Dhammapada says:

"Let a man conquer anger with love,
Let him subdue evil with good;
Let him overcome the greedy with generosity,
And the liar with truth."

Recently, there is a criminal assault case in Hong Kong that grips its entire populace with intrigue and pity; the case of 20 year old stepmom Hong Minyi hiring 2 young thugs to attack his 7 year old stepson, Cen Haoxian (Xian-zai) with cleavers, almost severing his arm and nearly killing the little boy. At the centre of the storm is the boy's father Cen Weicheng, who is undeniably the originator of this family tragedy.

What drives this young lady and a mother of a 2 month old baby (also fathered by Cen Weicheng) to mastermind such a cruel attack on a defenseless young boy? None other than the poison of hatred. Hatred is one of the most potent of the 5 Poisons of the mind. When hatred rages uncontrollably, binding the mind in a burning prison, it is the quickest way for anybody to enter Hell. Hong is very much a troubled young lady. On the one hand her husband and mother-in-law are consistently showing more affection to his stepson, such that she often perceives the young boy to be "bullying" her own baby.

On the other hand her once divorced husband, who by nature likes to flirt around, is still sticking to his old habits and not giving her the attention that she deserves. Provoked into jealousy and anger, Hong decided to hire a young delinquent to beat up the object of her hatred - Xian-zai. As the previous attack did not cause serious injury to Xian-zai, the crime was not reported to the police. It only made the family more protective of Xian-zai. Unfortunately, that made Hong even more peeved. She felt she needed to make an even stronger statement to draw the attention of her nonchalant husband. Hong took out her savings and hired 2 thugs to teach Xian-zai a lesson he would never forget. Wielding cleavers that could easily inflict fatal injuries to any adult, let alone a young boy, the 2 thugs struck Xian-zai while he was returning home from school with his grandma. Now lying in hospital and slowly making a recovery, he could only listen in bewilderment as people tell him how his stepmom and all suspected accomplices got arrested by the police one-by-one. Xian-zai could not have imagined himself becoming the object of sympathy of the entire Hong Kong in a single day. Celebrity well-wishers have been visiting him in hospital and consoling the boy with all sorts of gifts. Child-cousellers have been appointed to relieve him of his traumatic experience. As for Hong, she would be charged with attempted murder, which warrants a life-sentence. Under a jury system swayed by public opinion, the HK courts would no doubt convict the young lady and all those men she hired to harm Xian-zai. These are the unwholesome fruits of her jealousy and anger. For her this mental prison transforms into a physical prison - proof of the Dhamma that one's enviroment is shaped by the state of one's mind. It is also important to note that this family tragedy is caused by Cen Weicheng's thoughts of lust (much like Ah How in Singapore), which often drove him to sexual misconduct.

This directly broke up his first marriage and indirectly caused his second marriage to end up in that messy situation that it is now. The effects of broken families on children are far-reaching enough; Xian-zai is not just an innocent victim of his stepmom's burning anger, but more so of his father's moral failings. Hopefully he would learn not to repeat them when he grows up. Time and time again we see sentient beings in the world create suffering for themselves through their own craving, hatred, ignorance, egoism & doubt. Thus the need to educate people in the Dhamma is pressing indeed! Only through the Dhamma can we transform the 5 poisons into the 5 Buddha-wisdoms, and the burning prisons into jewelled palaces. May all beings find refuge in the Triple Gems, sadhu.

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