Ever since young, I love swimming. I swam in small streams, big rivers, paddy channels, swimming pools and oceans through the growing up years. I began swimming in the dog crawl stroke at first before moving on to freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke and finally the butterfly stroke and synchronized swimming.
When I was in Taiwan going on day trips surveying Feng Shui, I would jump into any stream spotted in the mountain and yelled in joy upon finding a lake as the weather was unbearably hot.
Also in Mexico, I had learnt to dive into the deep ocean with oxygen tank on my back, strapping a belt of lead around my hips, wearing a full-sized face mask and putting on fins on my feet. I even knew underwater communication with hand signals.
I simply love water. It is in my blood.
One day, I went to a health centre for a swim in its swimming pool. It was evening and not a holiday. There was not one soul in the pool. I took a shower, then changed into my swimming wear and cap. As I dipped into the water, I was hit with the cold and shuddered. I did not think much of it because the water was unusually icy cold. I swam in breaststroke style with my head above water, without having to surface and submerge to exchange breath. It was a light and relaxing swim.
Then, I sensed that the water in the pool was rippling weirdly. It was as though a wind had blown across the water and ripples began to roll. A fog appeared in front of me and things seemed unreal. It seemed like a person was swimming towards me. Yet, this individual ignored my presence, swam straight at me, then into me and out through my body. I felt I was getting an electricity shock.
Most people would not feel a thing when they encounter a ghost. Upon returning home they will usually experience a bout of cold and hot fever. They would need to engage someone who can perform a rite to calm the patient's spirit and dispel the negative vibration. This is typical of a psychic interference. Psychic interference can lead to nightmares, and in some serious cases can cause depression, insomnia, and eventually mental problems.
I am no ordinary person. I can expel any negative vibration and ghost energy lingering in my body with the inner fire of kundalini and everything will be fine. There is no cause for concern. I had no intention to meddle with this ghostly affair but I realized many people visit this swimming pool. However, if anyone should encounter a psychic interference the person is bound to become very sick. Out of compassion, I could not possibly walk away from this and not do something about it.
I climbed up the side of the swimming pool and opened my heavenly eyes to observe. Immediately, I saw a girl in swimming suit. She looked graceful and enchanting, captivating with a body streamlined in beautiful curves and features. Her fair complexion and enrapturing facial features with a pair of big eyes marked a true beauty.
She was swimming not too far from me. I called out to greet her, "Hi!"
"You can see me? I thought no one can see me!" She was surprised.
"I am Sheng-yen Lu. Of course I can see you."
"I heard of you."
"What's your name?"
"Everybody calls me Xiao Cui"
"Why are you here?"
"I died a sudden death."
"Why don't you leave?"
"I am attached here and couldn't leave. Should I leave this place, there is the Sun Deva (Aditya), Moon Deva (Candra), Day Patrol, Night Patrol and all other godly beings. A small fly like me can't roam freely!" Xiao Chui said.
"How did you die?"
"When the swimming pool was just completed, I went for a swim. My legs got cramped. Three or four minutes later, I'm gone."
"Didn't your family deliver you?"
"My parents had passed away. Only some offerings were made for me at the pool side." Xiao Cui said.
I said, "I could do a deliverance for you and lead you out of your suffering. I have great Dharma power."
When Xiao Cui heard this, she was overjoyed and kept saying, "Thank you! Thank you!"
As cultivators, we develop bodhicitta or compassion and this can be expressed through our homage to the Three Jewels and our deliverance of the four lower forms of birth. So back home at my shrine, I set up another smaller shrine. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is being erected within the little shrine. Incense, flower, light, tea and fruits are arranged according to needs and offered wholeheartedly. In front of the statue of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I set up a tablet for Xiao Cui.
I entered into the shrine and sat in meditation.
"Om Ram Svaha."
May this fragrant flower-cloud,
Fully pervade the realms of Ten Directions.
May this offering be made to all the Buddhas
As well as deities, Dharma, and all sages
Through boundless Pure Lands.
May you receive this offering and perform thy Buddha's deeds,
Permeating fragrance to bless all sentient beings,
Attaining the Perfect Enlightenment together.
Countless offerings appeared automatically in the sky. I recited the Ksitigarbha Sutra for three days. When I performed this rite, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva would descend onto the mandala without fail. He would hold his pilgrim staff and arrive on lotus flowers beneath his feet. Xiao Cui's Soul would be led to the shrine to receive the light emitted from Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and then being delivered.
Much to my surprise, despite performing the procedure properly and carefully without missing any step, Xiao Cui's Soul did not arrive. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva himself did not turn up. I did not offend Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, so it was hard to imagine that he would not show up at all. They had no reason to be absent. My shrine may be small and my offerings humbling, but the Dharma power is nonetheless at full force and its invoking power could reach Dharma Realms of Ten Directions. My Dharma Ceremony has always been effective. Failures are rare.
Unable to invoke the presence of Xiao Cui's Soul and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, could it be that my Dharma power and mantra chanting have lost their effectiveness? The fact remains that my Dharma power still works its magic. I must get to the bottom of this blunder.
I looked up my sworn brother, Cheng Huang Bodhisattva (also known as Patron God of the City). His sole responsibility is managing lost Souls and wondering spirits.
I wanted to know why the Dharma Ceremony did not work?
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva told me, "Don't stick your nose in Xiao Cui's affair!"
"What? Don't meddle?"
"Yap! Just mind your own business."
"I simply love to mind any unfair business under the sun!"
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva chuckled and said, "You're doing this because she's a beauty right?"
"Nonsense! I am not horny!" I disputed.
"If you encounter a filthy homeless ghost, would you still perform a Bardo Deliverance?"
I was dumbfounded. Remaining persistent, I said, "The Soul of a pretty lady and that of a filthy wondering spirit is of equal standing and appears no difference within Bodhicitta."
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva told me, "Don't be fooled by outer appearance!"
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva then revealed, "The usual kind of Dharma Ceremony would not be able to invoke the wondering Soul of Xiao Cui. What appears to be the case of a beautiful girl swimming and later drowned from a cramp in the water is in fact a fatal hit by the Five Thunders. These Five Thunders are not confined to just lightning and thunder. Being buried in a slide, being drowned, being burnt, meeting a car accident and being struck by the elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth constitute the Five Thunders."
"Why was she struck by the Five Thunders?"
"Xiao Cui has her karma. She had committed killing in her past life!"
"We can certainly deliver the person being killed!"
"Not just one!"
"Above a hundred people!"
"What! That many!" I was stunned.
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva said, "In one banquet, she poisoned the soup out of rage from a trivial matter. More than a hundred Souls died instantly from the poisoning! Because of this karma, she must suffer drowning in water for a hundred times. Besides, she must go through the agony of drowning on the first and fifteenth of every lunar month as it shall be reenacted."
"Her heart is as venomous as the snake and scorpion. As a consequence, she must be prepared to taste her own medicine, and suffer." I could not help but sigh over Xiao Cui.
I returned to the swimming pool to swim. I pretended nothing had happened. While swimming, interesting phenomenon happened. The water in the swimming pool would become chilling cold as ice and this sent a chill up in my spine.
The water in the swimming pool would suddenly turn turbulent like the waves in the ocean. Yet, outside the pool, the wind was mild. I was the only person swimming and there was no reason why the ripples should be so wavy. I swallowed a mouthful of water and choked badly.
My swimming stroke has always been excellent. I can kick well with the breaststroke. When I was swimming forward, I suddenly felt that someone was pulling my leg. My leg was held so that I could not kick. Moreover, I was being pulled downward. When I turned my head to check, my leg was freed. When I resumed my head position, my leg was pulled again. It was very taxing on me to swim with such exchange of forces.
I dived into the water. Moving forward, it seemed like I was stopped by an invisible net and was unable to go forward. I turned around and bumped into another invisible net, finding no way to retreat. Turning towards the left, I found no outlet. Turning towards the right, I was unable to break out. I realized this was like a fisherman casting his net and I was trapped within. Despite my attempts to manoeuvre left and right I could not free myself. I was fast losing my breath.
While I was in the water, I chanted one mantra syllable, "Hum."
A ray of green light pulsated. The net was breached and I dashed out of the water and grasped a mouthful of air. I did not want to play games anymore. I walked towards the shower cubicle in the changing room. When I opened the door of the shower cubicle, I got a shock! Xiao Chui was standing in the cubicle; her face appeared pale.
I said, "I want to bathe."
"I can scrub your back." Xiao Chui said gently.
"I always shower by myself."
"Will you make an exception?"
"Didn't you just have enough fun earlier?" I was getting a little angry.
"I was only kidding. No hard feelings." Xiao Chui said.
"You don't joke around with the 'Solidifying Surrounding Space Method'. You could have gotten someone killed. Glad it was I. If it had been somebody else, he would have suffocated."
"I was testing your Dharma power!"
I looked at Xiao Chui. Her fragile countenance with such tender and fair complexion, coupled with a beautiful bodyline would have every man fancy after her. How could such a woman be so viscous and venomous?
I asked Xiao Chui, "Do you want deliverance?"
"But why did you kill this one hundred people?"
"I lost my mind."
"Have you repented?"
"I have regretted over my impulsive act!"
"Because a hundred lives were killed, I'm afraid I can't deliver you."
"Didn't you promise you can deliver me? You have great Dharma power!"
I thought about this. I was quick to promise Xiao Chui that I would deliver her from her suffering, telling her that I had great Dharma power without first finding out about the causes of the matter. Cheng-huang Bodhisattva was right on target. If the ghost were not Xiao Chui but a homeless filthy spirit, would I have taken such initiative to help?"
Actually, there are many attractive and enchanting female ghosts whose earthy lives were anything but kind.
They talked nonsense, spilling and weaving all kinds of lies, being jealous, envious, narrow-minded, good at scheming, cruel, unscrupulous and malicious.
When some of these women schemed, they were more polished than men.
When you think of these women, you know they can be adorable. Yet they can be the most terrible and horrifying humans. Consider history. How many great men and heroes had succumbed to the fate of being destroyed by women?
I wondered if I should save Xiao Chui? I was confused.
In the end, perhaps it was fate that did it, I decided to save her. I had promised to help her right from the beginning and I could not go back on my words. I went ahead to erect the shrine. The Dharma process was as scheduled. However, I visualized this shrine in my mind multiplying into tens, hundreds and thousands. I recited the "Thousand Turn Mantra"
"Om Vajra Guherya Gapa Samaya Hum." (seven times)
This Bardo Deliverance would have delivered only one person. Yet in an instance, this had become a Bardo Deliverance for a thousand people. Xiao Chui's negative karma only involved no more than a hundred Souls! Then came a flash and roar of a single thunderclap! I pointed a hand mudra towards the heaven! A hundred Souls ascended to heaven.
This ascent to heaven illustrates:
Liberating all equally with one mantra one heart,
One makes no distinction whether a person is eminent or lowly, able or foolish.
If one's bad karma should be uprooted completely,
Apply the great Dharma and all shall be well.
I saw Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva leading Xiao Chui to my shrine. Xiao Chui's Soul was entangled with stripes of dark strain-like energy. I shouted, "The one hundred victims that you killed have been delivered and ascended to the heavens. Why aren't you ascending towards the heavenly realm?"
Xiao Chui said, "Those being liberated are indeed the one hundred victims. Yet I remained tied up." Upon hearing this, I said no further. From the top of my head arose a red Sanskrit syllable "Ram" which turned into a red fiery triangular chakra. This triangular chakra sprouted a gigantic flame towards Xiao Chui, scotching her into a heap of ashes.
(Even if Xiao Chui had the five deadly sins, this syllable would have burned and eliminated her body of all such karma.)
That Xiao Chui was burned into ashes meant that all her negative karma had been destroyed. I saw a ray of bright light which was as crystal clear as the Mani Pearl itself, through which rays of pure light flow and illuminate all Dharma Realms. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was holding this Mani Pearl as he ascended towards the heaven.
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said, "Lian-sheng, you're really something. Your use of mantra is excellent!"
I closed my palms in respect and said, "Thank you Bodhisattva for your presence."
In the chapter, I have taught everybody a Tantric Sadhana. This major technique is among the most secret.
The cultivator sits upright in meditation posture and calm his mind, allowing the body and mind to be free from all thoughts of the past, the present and the future.
This is the Samadhi of the Dharma Realm.
Visualize on top of your head, a Sanskrit word "Ram". It illuminates bright light, shining like a full moon. Then, visualize it being transformed into a triangle, which sprouts fire around it. This triangular flame engulfs your body and mind.
Recite the mantra "Ram" for 21 times. This practice can burn away all negative karma of the cultivator!
The cultivator first holds the mala or prayer beads on the right hand. Rolls it around the left hand. And then transfer the mala back to the right hand. Form the Lotus Mudra with the praying beads and position the hand to the front of one's head.
"Om Ram Svaha(All is purified)."
"Om Vairocana Mala Svaha (The mala is cleansed)."
"Om Vajra Guherya Gapa Samaya Hum (7X) (The Thousand Turn Mantra)."
One single recitation is equivalent to a thousand recitation. This is a secret Dharma. This is also the Thousand Wheel Turning Technique, the Thousand Turn Shrine Method.
According to Cheng-huang Bodhisattva, as a consequence of saving and delivering Xiao Chui, I need to answer this karmic link and return to the human world one more time.
Cheng-huang Bodhisattva tissed me for being nosy. To intervene too often is to incarnate too often. But I did not bother, as my main concern remains saving lives. I have made a great vow to deliver and liberate sentient beings life after life. There is nothing of concern except this. I teach people to recite the Buddha's name, chant the mantra and practise the Dharma so that they may be liberated from their suffering. Sentient beings are drowning in the sea of sorrow and are unaware of it. I shall work till my last breath to help all beings!