Living This Moment in Purity
By Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by Janny Chow
This was translated from Grandmaster Lu's 145th book, 當下的清涼心.
CHAPTER 08 - Ghost Woman
During a dinner party one evening, I was asked by an acquaintance to give an energy (chi) reading for everyone present. Among the group of guests at the table there were some I already knew, while others I was meeting for the first time.
A man by the name of Xu Ming spoke up and said, "Though I have not met you personally until today, I have heard your name. Why not give me a reading first?"
I carefully observed Xu Ming and was surprised to observe the presence of ghost chi in his body. Upon stating this aloud, several people turned to me, stunned.
"Sheng-yen Lu, you are joking!"
Another responded, "Well, that's not a very nice joke to make!"
And another said, "What you say is irresponsible! How can you say such things so casually?"
Everyone was looking at Xu Ming, who appeared rather calm. "But Mr. Lu is right! I have indeed been touched by ghost chi," he said, shocking everyone even more with his admission. Turning to me he asked, "How can I get rid of this ghost chi?"
I replied with the following poem:
Return home and chant the Huang Ting Jing;
Wonderful benefits will be engendered;
Put your heart and mind into observing the precepts;
It "the ghost chi" will be gone
Naturally in three months time.
In addition to asking Xu Ming to chant the Huang Ting Sutra, I instructed him to observe a vegetarian diet and abstain from sex for three months.
After thanking me, Xu Ming asked, "Mr. Lu, since you can see that I have the touch of ghost chi in me, can you tell me whether its presence will help or hurt me?"
I answered, "Of course it is not good to have the presence of ghost chi in one's body. Nevertheless, from my observations, this ghost chi is from a woman spirit who harbors no hatred or enmity towards you. In this case, this ghost chi may not cause any great harm."
After hearing this, Xu Ming was greatly impressed, "Shengyen Lu, you indeed live up to your reputation!" He then recounted to me and everyone present the following strange incident:
Xu Ming, a businessman and owner of a trading company, was on a business trip in Tokyo, when he encountered the following strange event. One night, during his stay on the sixth floor of a hotel, a beautiful woman suddenly appeared lying next to him. Xu Ming, believing he was in a dream, made love to the woman and had a very pleasant experience. Yet all the while, the woman seemed so real-he could even smell her perfume-that he was not sure if he was really dreaming or not.
Upon awakening the next morning, the woman was gone. He glanced around his bed, and the windows and doors were still locked. The room looked the same as it had the night before. Despite the clarity of the event, Xu Ming decided he had only been dreaming.
The second night, the woman came again. After making love for a second time, Xu Ming asked her where she was staying. She replied that she was staying in Room XX on the seventh floor.
When Xu Ming awoke, the woman had again disappeared. This time, he felt there was something strange about his experience and decided to take the elevator to the seventh floor to look for the woman. But, the elevator did not stop at the seventh floor. It stopped at the eighth, ninth, tenth, and remaining floors. Xu Ming then tried the stairway, but upon arriving at the seventh floor, he found the entrance sealed.
Xu Ming later inquired of the concierge, "Who is staying in room XX on the seventh floor?"
"No one," the concierge replied.
"Why is no one staying there?"
"Because the entire seventh floor is being renovated now, and no one is staying there!"
When Xu Ming heard this, he was flabbergasted.
The third night, in his dreams, the woman came again. This time when she made the initiative gesture to embrace him, he refused. He asked her again, "Where do you live?"
"Room XX on the seventh floor."
"But the entire seventh floor is being renovated now, and there is practically no one there. Are you human or ghost?"
As soon as the woman heard this, tears started running down her cheeks.
Flustered, Xu Ming said hurriedly, "You can talk to me. Don't cry. I just want to find out what this whole thing is about."
The woman then told Xu Ming, "I'm doing this because I need to ask you a favor. That is why I offered myself to you."
"What is the favor?"
"In your hometown," she asked, "is there someone by the name of Xu Yuan?"
"Yes, we are both from the same village and we were once classmates."
"Xu Yuan is a ruthless and ungrateful man. When we first met here in Japan, I supported him and paid for his complete room and board and tuition fees. I also entrusted myself to him. We made a solemn pledge of love that we would not marry anyone else. But after graduation, he went back to his country and vanished without any news. Later, upon hearing he had already married someone else, I became sad and furious. I had invested my entire life's savings on him, giving him all my love and loyalty. Without him, there was nothing left in life for me. Depressed and angry, I killed myself," the woman wailed.
"So you're a ghost then?" Xu Ming asked shocked.
Suddenly, the woman's sad face morphed into that of a hanging ghost's, with blood dripping out of her orifices and a long tongue dangling from her mouth.
Xu Ming flinched, stepping back several paces. It had never occurred to him that the gorgeous woman he had been making love to the past couple nights was only beautiful on the surface. Underneath, she was actually a terrifying ghost reeking of rotting flesh.
The woman said, "If you help me, I will not hurt you."
His heart beating rapidly, Xu Ming asked, "What can I do to help you out?"
"I have a golden hair ornament to which I can attach my spirit. Take the hairpin, go to room XX on the seventh floor, and call out my name. Room XX is where I hung myself. As soon as you call out my name, I will attach myself to the ornament. When you return home, toss this golden hairpin into Xu Yuan's house. Please help me. I definitely will not hurt you."
"But the seventh floor is sealed. How will I get inside?"
The ghost woman replied, "Well of course there is another entrance. How do you think the renovation workers get in?"
The next morning, with hairpin in hand, Xu Ming found the other entrance to the seventh floor, and went to room XX where
he called out the woman's name.
Later, when Xu Ming returned to his hometown, he carried out the ghost woman's wishes exactly as she had instructed. He went by Xu Yuan's house and tossed the golden hairpin into his courtyard.
It so happened that on that day, Xu Yuan had planned a big party at his house. He had recently been promoted to a new government post and had invited a large number of guests for the celebration. Everyone was toasting him and Xu Yuan was extremely elated. His wife was by his side entertaining the guests.
Suddenly Xu Yuan felt a draft of cold air. The world around him began spinning, and he collapsed on the floor. When the ambulance arrived, the doctor said, "He probably had too much to drink. His is brain-dead due to a ruptured blood vessel, and he cannot be revived."
Xu Yuan died, and his wife developed a severe sickness from which it took some time for her to recover.
After Xu Ming related this strange story, everyone then understood why he had the touch of ghost chi in him. They all shook their heads and sighed.
In today's world, there are few who do not wish to enjoy a long life of good health and serenity. It is natural and normal for people to want to make more money and be promoted to higher positions. Yet, many also heartily indulge in sensual pleasures while, at the same time, swearing and making vows all too casually.
If one gives way to one's carnal desires and takes the liberty to make bold vows, one can easily offend the ghosts and gods. People do not realize that every time one makes a vow, the vow is recorded in the spiritual realm. This is not something to be taken lightly. People of noble character take their promises seriously, while people of little integrity often make vows and forget them right away. Heartlessness and disloyalty are regarded as offensive by the world of spirits.
If one desires a long life, with good health and serenity, one must abstain from lust and sexual misconduct. If one desires a promotion and an increase in wealth, one must not offend the world of the spirits.
Xu Yuan's deserved death was a result of his ruthlessness and betrayal!
Xu Ming's contamination also was a result of his lust for carnal pleasure. Luckily the ghost chi had not brought him great harm and could easily be cleansed away by keeping a vegetarian diet and abstaining from sex for a short period of time.
Today people swear and make vows much too casually, as if they were eating ice cream. They do not keep their promises, as if it were the natural thing to do. How sorrowful this is!