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
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
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
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
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
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
I wrote a poem about this:
After death, there still exists a body of soul, to feel sorrow
Whether the living or the dead, for the sorrow, there is nothing
Even if you amuse yourself by singing or drinking when in your
Eventually you will become one member of the many lost tourists
in the world
For the weary and annoyed karmic hindrances
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.