January 16, 1973, Tuesday evening

On Not Believing an Earthquake Won’t Happen 

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua

People are strange creatures. Some time ago, when a rumor was going around that there would be an earthquake here, most people believed it and many left San Francisco . At that time there was a very wealthy Chinese man, probably a millionaire, who lived in Oakland . Thinking that Oakland would be damaged by the earthquake, he and his wife decided to move to Reno to avoid death. However, halfway to Reno , the couple died in an auto accident. If they hadn’t run away, they might not have died. But since they were fleeing, they met their death on the highway. They were survived by several children. 

Although I have made the claim that there won’t be an earthquake, to this day people refuse to believe it. They say, “There wasn’t going to be an earthquake to start with. It wasn’t because you said there wouldn’t be one that there hasn’t been an earthquake.” They don’t believe it. If someone says there will be an earthquake, people will believe it. But if you tell them there won’t be an earthquake, they don’t believe it. Even though no earthquake occurred either on the 13th or the 14th [Editor’s note: as was predicted], they still refuse to believe. They insist that it was a coincidence. 

There have been predictions that an earthquake would hit San Francisco in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. To this day there hasn’t been an earthquake. But if we state that there won’t be an earthquake, nobody believes it. “Well, I believe it,” someone says. But for one person alone to believe is still useless. 

(Timely Teachings, page 134)