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The Last Moments

  • From TBN, issue 528 - 531
  • Guru's Talk: The Last Moments
  • By Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
  • Translated by Cheng Yew Chung
  • Edited by TBN

(From Book 177: Stories About Seeing Deities and Ghosts)

My primordial soul went out during my samadhi. I arrived at the house of a True Buddha School disciple. I could see that my disciples were very busy, everyone rushing back and forth. They were preparing for a funeral. I glanced at the bed-there lay one of my disciples.

Since I was there, I settled myself down. I attached my "samadhi primordial soul" to the upward curling smoke of the incense. I carefully observed the dying disciple's last moments, the last moments before his soul left his body to enter the other world.

The "chi" [soul] of my disciple's whole body ascended from his feet, but it stayed at his feet for a while. I looked at his feet and discovered that his feet were sinful:

At one time, he had frequented the brothels. In the fields, he had also stepped on many ants, other insects, earthworms, ...

At last, he was able to rely on the merits and virtues he had accumulated from chanting the "Purification Mantra" and the "Rebirth Mantra." His chi successfully left his feet and moved upward to the "reproductive chakra." His feet were now dead.

Over the reproductive chakra, his chi again collided with his transgressing ways:

When he was a young man, he was often unable to resist the impulse of his sexual desire. He once stayed at a brothel for a short time. It is just like the ancient poem that says, "After staying at the Yang Prefecture for ten years, it feels like only a dream. The only name I have earned is the irresponsible man at the brothels."

There had also been a time when he had been unable to resist the seduction of his colleague's wife and he had fallen off the rails. (They committed adultery.)

Consequently, his soul was having difficulty passing the roadblock at his reproductive chakra. Fortunately, however, he had registered many times for repentance ceremonies and had wished wholeheartedly to repent. Taking advantage of the power of "Water Repentance" and "Emperor Leung Repentance" ceremonies, his soul passed the reproductive chakra.

Since his soul had passed the reproductive chakra, this chakra was now dead. His soul moved next to the "navel" chakra.

Over the navel chakra, his soul once again collided with a barrier for a while. I found that the reasons were tied to his insatiable appetite: He drank a lot of liquor; he loved to eat the "living fish" (sashimi). He also loved to eat "living prawns" (prawn sushi), "living crabs" (crab sushi), "living foxes," "gall of snake," "organs of cattle," "sea-ears" (abalones), mullet roe, ...

This time, he relied on the power of the "Wen-Shu Rebirth Mantra" and passed this difficult obstacle.

After passing from the navel chakra, his soul arrived at the heart chakra. Now the lower half of his physical body was dead. But the obstacles at his heart chakra were not easy to overcome:

1. He had been jealous of good and capable men.

2. He had "set up" some people, he had framed some people.

3. His heart for compassion and giving had been narrow and small.

4. He had been greedy about money.

5. He had tended to get angry a lot.

6. He had been fond of reputation.

7. He had disliked and detested people who were better than him.

8. He had been stubborn.

The barrier at his heart chakra made the disciple feel remorseful and angry. It was just like being in a pot of boiling oil. For those extraordinarily embarrassing things from his childhood until now, or those things which had been forgotten, they were now popping out of his mind one after another: cheating on a test, fighting with classmates, stealing his parent's money, forging a certificate, lying.... They were playing out in front of me, like a movie.

One time, when he had had a lawsuit against someone, he had even hired an evil master to cast an evil spell on the person. He had cursed the person concerned and that person's lawyer, that they both die, that neither one would be spared. It was very difficult and embarrassing for him to get past this barrier at his heart chakra. The transgressions of his life were preventing him from passing the outpost of his heart wheel.

Fortunately, when he had grown older, he had realized that what he had done in the past had been a great mistake. He reaffirmed his resolution to Buddha. Whenever he made a mistake, he would kneel down in front of the holy statue of Avalokitesvara for a while and tearfully proclaim his repentance.

At this very difficult moment for him to pass the obstacles of his heart chakra, he saw Avalokitesvara sweep a willow branch over him and sprinkle drops of pure water on his soul.

Guan Yin Bodhisattva [Avalokitesvara] too wonderful to repay

Pure and clean, so solemn her cultivation for so many lives

Thirty-two responses full of the world of dust [samsara]

For countless kalpas, she delivers the sentient beings of samsara

The nectar dew sprinkling from her vase

The willow branch in her hand for countless years

Wherever there are prayers, she appears there

Transforming into a salvation boat in the bitter ocean

Over his heart wheel, the disciple relied on the power of Avalokitesvara to pass. The hot chi of his soul then moved up to his throat chakra. Unexpectedly, his soul became stuck at the throat wheel.

At one time, he had criticized a saint. He had also scolded his own master when suspicious thoughts grew within him. He followed someone else to slander his Guru. Yet he still cultivated "Guru's "Padmakumara Dharma."

I shook my head from where I stayed in the upward curling smoke of the incense. Oh! The sentient beings are hard to deliver!

I said, "Never mind! Never mind! Let him pass through!"

The disciple then felt his hot chi piercing through his throat wheel, entering his brain and combining with the master of his third-eye chakra, becoming one with it. Then, his soul came out from his crown chakra. The disciple's soul had left his physical body. At this moment, the physical body was completely dead.

After the disciple's soul came out from the crown chakra, the disciple felt endlessly vast outside. He followed his thoughts; he saw that his own physical body had died. He tried to (drill) his body, yet he could not enter by (drilling). The physical body organs were damaged.

He saw his family, who were in great sorrow. He felt sympathy and it was difficult for him to give them up, but there was nothing he could do. He tried getting closer to them, but they felt nothing.

The disciple's soul drifted over to what appeared to be an ancient city wall. He saw his ancestors there, welcoming him. Then he suddenly became clear-headed - this was the netherworld! He remembered his master's teaching: "When your ancestors come to welcome you, don't go with them. Just close your palms and say 'Namo Amitabha Buddha.'" So he closed his palms and said "Namo Amitabha Buddha." After doing this, his ancestors disappeared. The city wall also disappeared.

Outside this city, he met a group of his karmic creditors.

Someone yelled out, "Repay my life!"

Someone yelled out, "Repay my money!"

Someone bawled at me, "Repay my innocence!"

These karmic creditors then took up knives and sticks to chase after him, to kill him. He was terrified. He ran for his life. But his karmic creditors ran after him all the more urgently. He found himself running to nowhere. He looked back and chanted, "Namo Amitabha Buddha." The karmic creditors disappeared.

He then saw a giant running very fiercely toward him. He fled again. This time, he came to a small cave. He was about to enter the cave to escape from the giant, but then he remembered Guru's teaching - when you enter a cave, you enter an embryo. It could be the embryo of a domestic animal or an egg-layer. He dared not enter. He had no choice so he chanted Buddha's name again. The giant was gone. The cave was gone, as well.

The disciple was very hesitant. He had no idea where he should go. Then, all of a sudden, he remembered another teaching by Guru Living Buddha Lian Sheng: "[After your soul leaves the physical body,] go to one of the [True Buddha] Lei Zang Si temples, or to one of the True Buddha School chapters, or go to one of the places where they have cultivation."

As soon as this thought came into his mind, the disciple found himself at a Lei Zang Si temple. The temple had a dharma protector watching the door. The disciple was stopped there.

The guardian gave him a loud shout: "Who are you? Why are you being so surreptitious?"

The disciple replied, "I am Lotus X X."

"With whom did you take refuge?"

"Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu."

The dharma protector let him into the temple. This is why the soul must remember his own dharma name and his refuge master's name.

The inside of the temple was splendid and exquisite, every statue of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas appearing solemn and shimmering. The smoke of incense curled upward in the room. The disciple then felt much more comfortable and at peace.

He saw fellow cultivators gathering together to cultivate. They prayed, inviting Guru Master Living Buddha Lian Sheng; they chanted the heart mantra of Padmakumara. The disciple then saw Padmakumara descend to the shrine, great white light bursting forth, too radiant to even lay eyes upon.

The disciple closed his palms together and chanted:

"Om, Guru Lian Sheng, Siddhi Hum."

"Om, Guru Lian Sheng, Siddhi Hum."

"Om, Guru Lian Sheng, Siddhi Hum."

After the disciple had chanted Padmakumara's heart mantra only three times, Padmakumara radiated his light three times upon him to receive him. This disciple was reborn in the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds.

I wrote a poem about this:

After death, there still exists a body of soul, to feel sorrow and grief

Whether the living or the dead, for the sorrow, there is nothing good

Even if you amuse yourself by singing or drinking when in your youth

Eventually you will become one member of the many lost tourists in the world


For the weary and annoyed karmic hindrances

Too narrow-minded

They try with all their strength and all their might

Come out and fly around

So many mistakes, so many cases of karmic wrongs I made, appearing now to ruin


Fortunately, I remember Buddha's name and mantra.

And I return to a Lei Zang Si temple

From there I may then escape my hardship and the dust and the dirt.

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