Real-life Story of Repentance: From Fishing Fanatic to Vegetarian Volunteer

Mr. Wu Zhaocai (吳朝財) is a Tzu Chi volunteer.  He was involved in the adaptation of the Water Repentance text and had joined a study group to learn more about the practice of repentance.  Through the study group and learning the repentance lyrics, he came to reflect on his favorite hobby–fishing.
Mr. Wu used to be a fishing fanatic.  When someone told him of a good fishing spot, he would go there no matter how long the drive or how treacherous the road.  He would even try to go if weather conditions were dangerous.  He would go fishing in the sea, in streams, and other places.  To satisfy his urge, he would get up early in the morning to go fishing nearby before he went to work.  After work, he would go off to another fishing spot.  He never got tired of his obsession.

Besides the usual angling method, which relies on bait or lures, Mr. Wu was keen on catching fish using just bare hooks.  In this method the end of the line is armed with numerous clusters of extra-large hooks.  He would cast this fishing line into the water and vigorously swing the rod about.  The hooks would move about randomly in the water.  Fish swimming nearby would become impaled on these moving hooks.  As he reeled in the line, the fish would be struggling, and blood would be flowing from their wounds.  When he saw how many fish he had caught, it gave him great satisfaction.

During that period, many people told Mr. Wu not to be so caught up in fishing, but he wouldn’t listen.  Then, one day while he was eating a fish, a fish bone got stuck in his throat.  He tried various folk remedies as well as medical treatments from doctors.  Over three months, he went to three hospitals and visited six doctors to try to get the fish bone out.  As a last resort, a doctor even suggested an operation, but warned that there was no guarantee of success.  Mr. Wu said, “It was agonizing.  I even had difficulty eating and drinking.  I was scared of having an operation.  When I thought about the doctor telling me that the operation could not guarantee getting the fish bone out, I decided not to get the operation.”

He started to reflect.  It was just a tiny fish bone, yet it had caused him tremendous pain and disrupted his life.  What about the fish that he had caught?  He must have caused them a lot of pain and suffering.  Feeling remorse for his cruel behavior, he vowed not to fish anymore.  Incredibly, within a month after making the vow, the fish bone had gone.  He was able to swallow solid food again and was relieved of his agony without undergoing any medical treatment.

Nowadays, instead of fishing, Mr. Wu is a vegetarian who is devoted to Tzu Chi’s recycling work.

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