Karmic habits and the fox with nine tails story

In today’s post, I will continue to explore the topic of karmic habits. I will start the post with a Korean fairy tale that illustrates the power of karmic habits. The story, which is about a mythical creature in Korea called the fox with nine tails, will deepen your understanding of karmic habits.

earth people

The fox with nine tails

Once upon a time, there lived a 1000-year-old female fox that was endowed with nine tails. She was gifted with the uncanny ability to transform herself at will to bear an identical likeness of a beautiful young woman.

Despite this shape-shifting ability, she was not satisfied with herself, as she yearned to become a real human! The only way for her to become a real woman was to marry a human being and eat his liver 100 days later. Gentle-hearted, however, she did not want to kill a human being. Nevertheless, overcome by her desire, she finally decided to make her dream come true.

One day, the fox with nine tails transformed herself into a comely woman and sneaked into a village where she seduced a farmer to marry her. With her charm, the fox easily deceived everybody into believing that she was a real woman. She behaved exactly like a dainty lady and tried very hard to win the favor of her husband and in-laws. The only problem was that the fox with nine tails found it hard to resist the urge to eat a live animal. She kept suppressing the urge, but it became increasingly unbearable as time went by.

Ninety-nine days passed. In the morning of the 100th day, a Buddhist monk, clapping his wooden gong, came to beg for offerings. As it was customary, the husband came out to give him a bowl of rice. After thanking the husband for his kindness, the monk looked at him and his eyes suddenly widened since the monk sensed demonic energy on his face.

The monk asked the husband a few questions and soon, he realized that the husband was married to the fox with nine tails. When the monk told him the truth, the husband was shocked. He shouted. “That is non-sense! How dare you call my wife a demonic fox!”

However the monk remained stern. He said, “Young man, your life could be in danger. If you want to live, just do exactly what I tell you.”

Following the monk’s instructions, the husband went inside. Feigning sickness, he started to cough loudly to draw his wife’s attention. He then asked his wife to bring some eggs, saying that eggs will help him stop coughing.

His wife, the fox with nine tails, did not want to go near the hen, but she did not have a choice since her husband seemed to be in a lot of pain.  She reluctantly went to the hen nest. When she saw a hen, she bit her lower lip to control herself. However, an uncontrollable urge soon got hold of her. Her favorite food, which she had been secretly languishing for, was perched right before her eyes. Overwhelmed by the uncontrollable impulse, she grabbed the hen by the neck and choked it to death on the spot. She transformed herself back into a fox and began to gobble up the chicken with avidity.

Meanwhile, her husband and the monk walked stealthily to the hen nest to spy on his wife. When the husband saw a fox with none tails devouring a chicken, his hair stood on end.

The Buddhist monk took out a special potion. After chanting in an imperceptibly low voice, he leaped forward and shouted at the fox with nine tails, “May the power of Buddha chase the evil creature!”  Then he sprinkled the potion to the fox. When it touched her skin, the fox with nine tails let out a roar of immense pain. She took to her heels to escape into the forest.

The husband, still terror stricken, was watching it with utter shock. The monk walked toward the husband and put his hands on the shoulders of the husband. The husband asked shakily, “How did you know that she would turn back into a fox in front of the chicken?”

The monk replied to the terror-stricken husband, “Listen, young man. The fox with nine tails has eaten live chickens for 1,000 years. Would it have been possible for her to resist that urge? No way! Nobody can forsake her own karmic habits. When she was near the hen, she couldn’t help but turn back to a fox to eat her meal, just like she used to.”

fox with nine tails

Do we really have to cleanse our karmic habits?

This story illustrates the power of karmic habits and how easily we succumb to desires and urges generated by our karmic habits. As you see, those habits and patterns that have been entrenched as core karmic habits are extremely hard to control with our willpower only.

When I first learned about karmic habits, I was really bothered by this concept. Part of me internally rebelled and refused to believe it altogether. I still feel reluctant to introduce this concept to readers, because I am aware that this concept could create confusion and resistance in some readers.

So, if your goal is to achieve external success and if your life is generally good and you don’t have recurring issues that greatly trouble you, I would say, don’t worry about the negative effects of karmic habits because they will not obstruct your goal anyway.

However, if you find yourself trapped in a negative pattern of behavior, or frequently consumed by uncontrollable desires and urges, you may want to examine yourself and see if this information resonates with you. 

Also, for those who are already into meditation and mindfulness and seek to ascend to higher consciousness, this information would be very useful to you, because it teaches the value and the power of living a conscious life. Besides, when you understand that most of your earthly desires actually stem from your karmic habits and therefore, will not bring you anything of real value, it will also liberate you from the desires of your personality.

Korean Zen