In the Tang Dynasty, a man called Cheung Sin-Wah slaughtered cattle for his living.
When he was dying, he saw scores of oxen and cows talking to him as if they were humans, “You slaughtered and killed us!”
Sin-wah then told his wife and asked her to invite a monk to recite the Buddha’s name on his behalf.
When the monk came, he said, “In accordance withe the teachings, if one had done evil things and had to fall into the lower destinies of the animals, the hungry ghosts and hell realms – one has to repeat wholeheartedly and complete 10 repetitions of the invocation, ‘Namo Amitabha’ to remove the sins of life and death accumulated over 8,000,000,000 kalpas“. These 10 invocations will carry even a dying man with evil karma into the Pure Land.
Sin-wah said, “Hell is now the most urgent and pressing matter. I have no time to prepare the incense burner”.
He then lifted the fire (candle?) with the left hand and the incense with the right hand.
Facing west, he then repeated the Buddha’s name very loudly in the 10 invocations. When he had not even reached the 10th invocation, he said, “The Buddha has come and has given me the precious throne!” on saying this he passed away.
This story came from the Record of the Saints of the Pure Land
Besides this Butcher, there wer others who had to kill for a living and were able to be reborn in the Pure Land.
- Cheung Chung-kwai who slaughtered chickens
- Sung Kam-but who caught fish (was a fisherman)
- Fung Mun who was a hunter
It is hoped that readers of this will advise these kinds of people to change their occupation and repeat the Buddha’s name.
Source: Records of Home Coming to the Pure Land p 56
So even though people have killed and still were able to be reborn in the Pure Land – it’s still best not to kill because think of the suffering you’d be inflicting on those animals! Plus the extra bad karma you created from the killing could obstruct you.