Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Encounter With The World Of Spirits (by Grandmaster Lu Sheng Yen)
It was a day six years ago, in 1969, when my mother decided to go to worship at a nearby temple. I was still a Christian. Normally I would not have accompanied her, but that particular morning, I had had a very strange dream. I dreamt that I was climbing up a very tall mountain, and at the peak was a very ancient temple to which I was drawn involuntarily. The strange thing was, I was not the least bit afraid, and I felt as if I were returning to a familiar old home. Inside the temple were many sculptures of gods; some of them looked benevolent with downcast eyes while others had the ferocious looks of Dharma Protectors. Quietly I tiptoed into the main hall and found myself face to face with an old Taoist priest. The old priest joined his palms and spoke to me, "You've finally arrived. I have been waiting for you for a long time." "We are not even acquainted with each other, how could we have an appointment?"
"Not acquainted? You might have travelled all over the four seas and lived through three different religions, but we meet every five hundred years. Even if you were to fall into the nether world or the realm of hells, and had become a wicked ghost, I still could recognize your original face!"
"Taoist priest, what do you mean by that?"
"If I don't knock on your head, you won't remember."
The Taoist priest raised a duster and hit my head with it. I gave out a cry and woke up in a cold sweat. I usually did not remember my dreams, but this one was so vivid. That day was Sunday, and mother had planned to visit the temple. Surprisingly, although I was a Christian, I decided to go along. Of course, I was only going there to have some fun. I would not be lighting incense, let alone bowing to the images of Buddhas and deities enshrined in the temple. I was just going to do some sightseeing around the temple. At that time, I found it ludicrous that people would bow and prostrate to the Buddhas, especially those important looking men clad in suits, whose apparent devotion of kneeling and prostration just made me laugh.
Smaller in size than the average temple, the Jade Emperor Temple had a Buddhist monk, the Rev. Shih Hui Ling, as its abbot. There were many Bodhisattva images in the temple. Most were unfamiliar to me. As it happened, there was some kind of festive celebration that day, and many people were around. Inside the temple, it was crowded, and the strong incense smoke was getting to me, so I went out and stood in the temple hallway. At that moment, I noticed, amid the crowds in the temple, an old woman dressed in a royal blue robe. She was in her fifties and was kneeling in front of the statues. It appeared that she was conversing with the deities and was also answering questions posed to her by the people beside her. After a while, she suddenly stood up and called out loudly,
"Who is Sheng-yen Lu? Who among you is Sheng-yen Lu?"
I was standing outside the door of the temple, but I could hear her clearly and so could my mother. Mother went up to her and asked, "What do you want from Sheng-yen Lu?"
"It is not I, but the Bodhisattvas who want to find him. Ask him to come over here soon. They have a message for him."
So I walked up to the old woman. She had a very unusual face. With one eye tilted upward, the other tilted downward, and a slightly misaligned mouth, she looked extremely ugly. Someone in the surrounding crowd explained that her upwardly tilted eye was to see the Heavens (gods) and the downwardly tilted eye was to see the Earth below (ghosts). Baffled, I stood facing her.
"Are you Sheng-yen Lu?"
"That is right. What can I help you with?"
She knelt in front of the statues and started whispering in murmurs to the Bodhisattvas. Then she turned her head to ask me, "Are you a Christian?"
"Are you working at the XXX unit?"
"You have graduated from college, correct?"
"The dream of guidance you had this morning, do you understand it?" I was stunned by the last question. How could this old woman kneeling in front of me know about the dream I had this morning? I had not told anyone about it, not even my mother. My visit to the temple had been completely spontaneous. What an inconceivable thing! She then continued to ask me some more questions, to which my answers were invariably "yes" or "right." In any case, all she had described fitted me completely.
"The Bodhisattvas hope that you can stand up and do some good work for them, spreading the Tao and dispersing the delusions, propagating the spirit of Buddhism, and promoting good while suppressing evil. People's minds today are extremely corrupt. Some wicked people have deliberately put on the coats of the Buddhas and gods to engage in affairs that harm others. Under the guise of psychic counseling, these people take financial and sexual advantages of their fellow beings. They use smooth talk and heresy to spread the fallacies. The righteous Dharmas are sinking while the devious teachings are rising. From now on, you will have a very great responsibility. The Bodhisattvas know that you have a kind heart and that your behavior is proper; therefore they want to entrust you with their mission."
"But I don't know anything!"
"You don't know anything yet, but, if you kneel down , you will learn. I am not lying to you. Come, kneel down next to me and join your palms."
I emulated her and knelt down in front of the Bodhisattvas' statues, with my palms joined. By now, many people were crowding around us. Even the abbot, Rev. Shih Hui Ling, and my mother were standing behind me. I closed my eyes, and the most amazing thing happened. I saw a beam of light in front of me, and out of the light, three lotus-enthroned deities appeared. Their golden bodies emitted a resplendent rainbow This absolutely was not a dream, as I could see clearly in broad daylight. The deity in the middle spoke, "Turn your mind to the Buddha." The two deities on each side said, respectively, "Turn your mind to the Dharma," and "Turn your mind to Kindness." Afterwards they faded away, and a banner of red cloth with the two glittering gold Chinese characters for "Loyalty and Righteousness" descended from above. In my ears a voice from somewhere announced,
"The Jade Emperor has especially bestowed upon you the motto of Loyalty and Righteousness. They are the principles by which you should guide your life. Before any action, ask yourself if you have any misgiving in carrying it out. By becoming your own master, you can obtain eternal life and the Tao, and you will coexist with Heaven and Earth."
I clearly saw with my own eyes the golden writings on the red cloth.
"You saw it?" the old woman asked.
"I saw and I heard. But, how is it possible?" "Under the heavens, there are many things beyond one's wildest imagination. So, today, you have finally seen and heard. Gradually you will get to know the other strange and wonderful worlds in the Universe, and you will no longer be an ordinary person. You will see what others cannot see, hear what others cannot hear, and feel what others cannot feel." The blue robed woman continued, "The gods will teach you gradually."
Inside that temple, I could hardly believe what had happened to me, but the facts have made the truth irrefutable.
A Temple Story
Inside the temple, the blue-robed woman told me the following story:
On Chung Shan Road in the City of Hualian, there was a man by the name of Pi T'ien Tz'u. He did maintenance work for temples, such as mending the sculptures and repainting the dragons which were placed on top of temple roofs. He did not believe in gods and was an atheist. One day he went to the Shih Pi branch of the Tz'u Hut Temple at Hualian to work on the shrine for the Jade Pond Golden Mother. After his job was done, he walked around inside the temple and, when he came to the front of the statue of the Golden Mother, without any provocation, he suddenly joined his palms and lowered his head to do prostration. Because of this bow, things were never again the same for him.
What happened was that after he lowered his head, he could not raise it up. Only he himself knew what was happening; his head felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. He became panicky and started screaming and yelling. The abbot and manager of the temple ran excitedly over to him. After finding out what was happening to him, they knelt down to ask the gods to forgive him. At that time, the blue-robed woman was also present, and she immediately communicated with the gods, relating to those present the following message:
"Although this person does not believe in my existence, I have an affinity with him. I just want him to know that between heaven and earth there is the existence of gods. He shall have to kowtow to me twelve times, then I will let him up."
Strangely, after hi T'ien Tz'u kowtowed twelve times, he was able to raise his head again.
Afterwards, Pi T'ien Tz'u kept on exclaiming, "Oh! There indeed are gods!" From then on, this maintenance worker dared not deny the existence of gods. Whenever he had the chance to come to the temple to work, he would repeat his story to whomever he met.
This blue-robed old woman is a Taoist priestess at the Shih Pi branch ofthe Tz'u Hut Tang, which is associated with the Jade Pond Sect of Taoism. In a way, she was responsible for my cultivation in Taoism. Before I met her, I was a Christian. After meeting her, my desire to practice Taoism gradually increased and strengthened. This old woman is a psychic, and when she gives readings, she is extremely accurate. She can even tell one the nicknames of one's grandparents, as she is a good friend of the gods and ghosts. She is one of the strangest characters in the world.
During the feast days of paying respect and making offirings to one's ancestors, if one invites the blue robed woman to one's house, she is able to describe the looks and special traits of one's ancestors, down to the details of their burial clothes and jewelry. She can even transmit messages from one's ancestors. Usually her accuracy greatly astonishes people. How can someone outside the family know about one's ancestors, especially since my teacher (the blue-robed woman) was not even born at the time some of these ancestors had passed away?
The deeds in her life have caused many modern, civilized men to shake their heads in disbelief. How can such things be possible? But, then, they are faced with such convincing evidence that they cannot disbelieve!
Faced with such strange things, what could I say? But, something even stranger was yet to happen.
Traveling To The Illusory Realm Of The Great Void
That same night after I left the temple, I returned to the Surveyor Unit where I was working. I was twenty five years old then, unmarried, and lived by myself at a dormitory for singles. Pondering over what had happened during the day, I lay in bed, unable to fall asleep right away. Suddenly I smelled wafts of fragrant sandalwood, and I closed my eyes. I entered into a trance and saw a circle of light appear in front of me.
The circle of light was as bright as a mirror surface, with glittering golden sparkles all around. At this time, my body felt as if it were rising lightly, then it flew into the light circle. I could only hear the wailing sounds of the wind, and I felt that I had flown to a place very far away. I had, indeed, arrived at a different world. In the trance, I had the distinct and unmistakable feeling that I had come to the Illusory Realm of the Great Void, and I was to travel throughout it under the guidance of a certain force. There, I met many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas whom I did not recognize, and they acknowledged my presence with nods. I saw large blossoms of lotus, the size of automobile tires, in many different colors. In each lotus, a child stood holding lo tus blossoms of different colors. I saw ladders descending from the space above and golden armored gods standing all around.
The ground was covered in mist. I saw beautifully sculpted abodes of gold, silver, and crystal emitting lights in great splendor. I saw two pillars suspending amid the clouds in the sky. A voice explained in my ear that one of the pillars was Mount K'unlun while the other was Mount Meru. Then I found myself walking into a great temple inside a certain mountain, and again, a voice spoke into my ear, "This is XXX, your previous incarnation. If you have doubts, when you return to your body, you can look up page 89 of XXX scripture, and you will find the name of your previous incarnation. This must be kept secret; otherwise, you will be punished."
Dutifully I consented to the request. Please excuse me for not being able to divulge the name of my previous incarnation - it was a secret of the Heavens! I then travelled to many other places and saw and heard many things that I had never encountered in this life. When I awoke in my body, it was already 7:00 a.m.
Following the instructions from the previous night's travelling, I hurried to the Jui Ch'eng Bookstore in Taichung, which specialized in Buddhist books, and looked up the scripture indicated by the gods.
Eagerly I turned to page 89 and was astonished. There, indeed, was the name, XXX, on that page. Standing there stunned, I was filled with both joy and sadness. I had confirrned my experiences from last night! Men indeed reincarnate!
Could I deny that my travels last night did not happen? From that time on, I have believed in reincarnation and the laws of karma. To this day, I still have mixed emotions about my unusual experiences. However, the urge to do spiritual cultivation arose in me. If I do not practice it this life, when shall I do it? I purchased many Taoist and Buddhist scriptures and classics at the bookstore. At that time, I was not yet able to distinguish the similarities and differences between Taoism and Buddhism.
Ever since that one time of travelling in the Illusory Realm of the Great Void, I have very much wanted to reexperience it, even for just a few minutes. But, it has not happened again. I asked the gods about it, but there was no reply. Perhaps in this life of mine, I only could experience it that one time. I once told a monk about my travelling to the Illusory Realm of the Great Void. Behind my back, this monk told other people, "Lu Sheng-yen tells lies."
The Invisible Teacher
It was two days after the temple incident and my travel to the Great Void. I was sound asleep at night when, suddenly, I heard someone calling my name. Abruptly I turned over and sat up. Because of my previous experiences, I immediately thought of the possibility of unusual happenings. I looked around the room, but there was no one else in it. Outside the window, the moon was high in the night sky. I raised my wrist to look at my watch in the moonlight; it was 1:00 a.m. After draping a jacket over my shoulders, I turned on my sun lamp. The bright light of the sun lamp greatly dazzled my eyes.
"Sheng-yen, stay where you are and do not move. I have been instructed to transmit to you the Taoist teaching. Join your palms and memorize the following footsteps which I am going to teach you." I could not see anyone in the room, but I was not afraid since he had come to teach me the Taoist practice. I closed my eyes and joined my palms. Strangely, although I had no intention of moving my foot, my foot was lifted by an unknown force. When I tried to put it down, I could not do so and, instead, the foot took a different turn. I started pacing in a strange kind of footstep pattern. If someone were outside the window at that moment and had peeped into my room, he would definitely have thought that I had gone crazy. Was I crazy?
No, I was not, and it was an invisible force which lifted and moved my feet. I rehearsed the steps time after time, memosizing them. "What kind of footsteps are these? What are their functions?" "This is the Stars Worshipping Footsteps. One uses it during memorial services for the spirits of the deceased, invocations of gods, and other shamanistic practices that combine footsteps with mantra and mudra. Do not underestimate its powers; this is a teaching that has been lost for more than a thousand years! You should not use this as you please but only when you absolutely have to."
"Then what method should I use during ordinary times when I want to invoke the gods?"
"Sheng-yen, all you need to invoke the gods is to say the following: 'Lian Shen, a student of the Three Purities School, acting under orders of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma, requests such and such gods to descend.' In the future, when the time is ripe, I shall direct you to a teacher who is currently living as a hermit in the Lient'ou Mountain. You are predestined to be his student. He is an adept in the sacred practice of Liuchia Heavenly Book of Fu [magic inscriptions written by Taoist priests to invoke or expel spirits and bring good or ill fortunes]. In the future, you will certainly obtain the Linchia Divine Seal. You will learn all the secrets to this art and write efficacious Fu's yourself."
"This sounds like a fairy tale." I was somewhat incredulous. "Fairy tale or not, we won't argue about it now. Today I have come on orders to teach you the Taoist practice, and you already have embarked on a fairy tale journey."
"May I ask your name?"
"From nowhere I come and to nowhere I go. I never have come or gone anywhere. I am originally nameless. Just call me the Spiritual Master, Three Peaks Nine States."
This Spiritual Master, though invisible to me then, often stayed close to me. At night, he came to wake me up to teach me Taoist practices. I regarded him as a teacher, while he treated me more like a brother. To him, I unhesitatingly poured out my heart, and in the quiet small hours, engaged him in conversations. Although I could not see him, I could feel his presence.
When he taught me the "hand gestures," my hands automatically moved into various formations, such as the Kuan Yin Mudra, Amitabha Mudra, Lotus Mudra, Deliverance Mudra, Five Thunder Mudra, Palm Heart Mudra, Great Heaven Roll Mudra, Shakyamuni Mudra, Sword Mudra, and Deva Mudra. He also taught me the Buddhist method of "offering foods to the spirits and hungry ghosts." (Later I confirmed that, during the Festival of All Souls, monks performed mudras to transform foods, and their hand gestures were very similar to what my Spirit Master had taught me. There were also some dissimilarities, because I had learned directly from my Spirit Master while, generally, the monks had learned information that had been passed from teacher to student from one generation to another.)
"Spirit Master, what is the most precious thing in life?"
"It is hard to obtain a human birth, and the most precious thing in life is to do spiritual cultivation."
"How does one do spiritual cultivation? How does one attain the Tao?"
"There are many pathways. Depending on the person's psychological disposition, the methods will be different. There are expedient pathways as well as ultimate pathways. The teachings of the Jade Pure Holy Realm is an ultimate pathway that does not talk about any Dharma, and its formless structure makes it the most difficult path for the students of Taoism. The teachings of the High Pure True Realm has eighteen pathways and seven graduated levels. Regarding the Most Pure Immortal Realm, there are twenty pathways and nine levels.
Sheng-yen, do you know that there are three vehicles for the Truth cultivators? They are the initial, middle, and upper vehicles. For example, Li Liang Feng reached Tao through divination; Yen Chun P'ing reached immortality through astrology; Huang Ch'eng Shih reached royal ranks through charitable works; and Chang Tao Ling reached heaven by guiding the dead. Their methods were different, but the Tao is the same. As long as one walks on a correct path, one will ultimately realize the Tao!"
"Spirit Master, which pathways have you taken to attain the Tao?"
"People call me Three-Peaks-Nine-States. I have attained the Tao through the Dharma. I am an immortal in the upper vehicle."
Through the intermittent teachings of my Spirit Master, I have learned a great deal. He taught me a new practice each time he came. From a Christian who used to memorize the Old and New Testaments, I abruptly turned into a Taoist student of the Three Purities School. This was something I had never imagined when I received my baptism.
"Spirit Master, what do you think of Jesus Christ?"
"Jesus Christ is one of the many saviors. Behind the many pathways is the same principle. Jesus has been the savior of the Occidentals, while in the East, Buddhism and Taoism have been the ways of salvation."
"In that case, there is no conflict among them?"
"In Christianity, the Trinity is made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Taoism, the Trinity is the Jade Pure, High Pure, and Most Pure. In Buddhism, the Dharma Body, Bliss Body, and Emanation Body are the Trinity. There is only one Tao with many pathways leading to it!"
The Worship Of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva
Before I began enshrining Buddha statues in our home, there was not a single Buddhist statue in the family. My mother's religious worships only extended to making offerings to our ancestors. So it was completely beyond the imagination of any family member that our home would be transformed, over the course of a few years, into a large Buddhist shrine. Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States had explained to me that my practice of Taoism should be kept a secret from my family and colleagues, and he also gave me the Dharma name: Lian Shen (Lotus-born). "Spirit Master, may I set up a shrine to pay homage to the Buddhas, sages, and immortals?"
"Yes, there is actually a good reason for this. In the future there will be a large shrine in your home!"
"Which statues should I have?" I asked.
"Any statues that please you." My Spirit Master did not give me a direct answer.
"May I enshrine a statue of you?" I was thinking that, since he was my invisible teacher, I should have his statue on my shrine.
"People of the world do not know my original face. My name is not directly mentioned in the Taoist Sutra of Huang T'ing Thing, as I hide myself amid the mountains and waters on heaven and earth. Since no one today recognizes me, how can you enshrine my image? Besides, I am used to the easy existence of not being called upon. So, don't worship me, just worship other Buddhas and deities." "Is there any merit in making offerings to Bodhisattvas?" "The Buddha has said, 'To feed one hundred non-virtuous people is not as good as feeding one virtuous person. To feed one thousand virtuous people is not as good as feeding one follower of the Five Precepts. To feed ten thousand followers of the Five Precepts is not as good as feeding one Srota-apanna [one who has entered the stream of holy living]. To feed one million Srota-apannas is not as good as feeding one Sakrdagamin [one who has one more rebirth]. To feed ten million Sakrdagamins is not as good as feeding one Anagamin [one who will not be reborn in this world]. To feed one billion Anagamins is not as good as feeding one Arhat. To feed ten billion Arhats is not as good as feeding one Pratyeka-buddha [a solitary awakened one]. To feed one hundred billion Pratyeka-buddhas is not as good as feeding one Buddha who has interpenetrated past, present, and future. Yet, to feed one trillion Buddhas is not as good as feeding one unenlightened non-cultivator who is totally non-attached. Lian-shen, to feed is to make offerings. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I do," I respectfully answered.
One day I went to a building in Taichung which contained department stores, and inside a ceramics store on the second floor, I suddenly came upon a unique Kuan Yin statue. It was light green with an undertone of gray and was extremely dignified. The figure was about eight inches tall and was sitting on a lotus. As soon as I saw it, a great happiness welled up inside me. When I inquired about the price, the storekeeper told me, "This Kuan Yin statue has been enshrined before by someone else. Because the vase held by the Kuan Yin is broken, its owner considered it to be inauspicious and asked me to sell it for him. The price is very cheap, if you want it. How about fifteen dollars?"
"Fifteen dollars, wow! That is inexpensive." I purchased the statue without any hesitation and took it back to my apartment in the dormitory.
After placing the statue on my desk, I put in front of it a small censer which I had also purchased earlier. In the evening, I lit an incense, and my heart was filled with a great joy.
That night, in a dream, I saw a vast ocean. A resplendently beautiful lotus slowly emerged from the ocean, and sitting on the lotus was a majestic Kuan Yin. Smiling, Kuan Yin approached me from afar. Above, in the sky and on top of colorful clouds, stood a golden armored god with a demon subjugating scepter in his hand. (I found out afterwards that awe-inspinng amd majestic looking god was the image of the Dharma Protector Weit'o.) The Honored Weit'o commanded loudly from the sky, "Lian-shen, I have received an order from the Bodhisattva to bestow a name to the shrine in your home: Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple. Do remember." As soon as the Weit'o Bodhisattva finished speaking, both he and Kuan Yin Bodhisattva vanished, and I immediately woke up. Carefully recalling the details of the dream in my mind, I looked at the Kuan Yin statue to which I had earlier offered incense and was astonished to realize that the Kuan Yin in my dream had looked exactly like the one I had enshrined. I got out of bed and respectfully kowtowed three times to the Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. As I was kowtowing, the room became suffused with sandalwood fragrance; my Spirit Master had arrived.
"Spirit Master, did I do the right thing?" "Lian-shen, because today you have enshrined the Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, in the future the Bodhisattva will save your life."
"Save my life?" "Yes. I can't explain to you now as the time is not ripe." Spirit Master's prediction did materialize later, and I shall discuss this in a later chapter in the book. It involved an incident that still makes me shudder.
During the period I had the Kuan Yin enshrined in the dormitory, Captain Chuang, the person in charge of my unit, invited my parents to come see him.
"Mr. Lu, your son has been acting peculiarly; he is even worshipping Kuan Yin in the dormitory. Do you think there is anything wrong with him?" Captain Chuang asked.
"I don't think so!" my father replied. "He is sincere in his belief and completely lucid in his speech. Is his worship interfering with his job in your unit?"
"No, I just find that he's acting rather strangely. You know, he has made a prediction that I will be transferred to Taipei in the middle of July. Since when did he begin to do divination? The middle of July is still six months away!" "Divination? This is something I was not aware of," my father replied.
As it turned out, Captain Chuang was promoted and transferred to Taipei on July 17th that year. Afterwards, he frequently mentioned to others that my divination was extremely accurate. Captain Chuang's full name was Chuang Ming Shi, and he was from Hsihu, Taiwan. I had used the Pa Kua Method taught to me by my Spirit Master to do the divination. Spirit Master told me, "The Primordial Tao divides into Tai Chi, giving rise to the two Regulating Powers of Yin and Yang, which produce the Four Forms, which again produce the Eight Trigrams and further generate the Nine Courts. These eight Trigrams are Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Wind, Marsh, Water, Fire, and Mountain, and they give rise to the sixty-four hexagrams which contain all the permutations and transformations in the Universe. When you have a full mastery of the hexagrams, you can divine any event regarding any person, anywhere on earth. It is tantamount to becoming an earthly immortal yourself!" "Spirit Master, what if some people do not believe in it?"
Spirit Master sighed and said, "People who have not yet evolved to the point where they have a strong urge to return to Tao will not have the opportunity in their present incarnation to encounter such mystical teachings. Even if they had the chance to hear the correct Dharma, doubts and confusion would quickly overcome them, so there would be a reluctance to devote themselves to the Dharma. It is sad that one can be entrapped in the polarities of the physical world, interminably suffering through birth, aging, sickness, and death. Lian-shen, there is little you can do about these people, just let them run their own course."
Studying Taoism At Mount Lien T'ou
With directions from my Spirit Master, I sought out Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen at Mount Lien T'ou and became his student. Under Master Ch'ing Chen's guidance, I walked through a fire ritual, which is a Taoist initiation rite, and formally became a Taoist practitioner. Perhaps readers will wonder why they have never heard of a mountain called Lien T'ou among all the famous mountains in Taiwan. This is because Lien T'ou is, in fact, a lesser-known name for one of the many mountains in a large mountain range.
Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen came from mainland China.
When I met him, he was in his eighties. In his youth, he had studied Taoism at the Ch'ing Cheng Mountain in China. His family name was Chang, the same as the Heavenly Taoist Master, Chang T'ien Shi. Since his arrival at Taiwan, he had been living in seclusion in his thatched hut on the mountain and subsisting on several plots of farmland. Inside the hut, there was an altar for the Three Pure Ones of Taoism.
According to my Spirit Master, "Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen is no longer an ordinary mortal; it is just that the worldly people do not recognize this. He has been doing cultivation for more than fifty years and has access to his spirit. At night, he travels out of his body. By becoming his student, you will not go wrong.
He does not like to take students, but if you go to see him, he cannot refuse you. If he teaches you the Liuchia Divine Art, you will benefit greatly from it."
When I first met Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen, he was in meditation. Opening his eyes slightly, he asked me, "Why have you come here?"
"I was guided by Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States to ask you to be my teacher." I knelt and kowtowed to him.
"What is the date and time of your birth?"
"I was born at noon on the eighteenth day of the fifth lunar month in the year of Yi Yu," I answered.
Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen was greatly startled by my answer and spoke to me haltingly, "Then you were born on the same month, day, and hour as the Heavenly Master Chang.
Get up quickly and bow to me no more-I do recognize you." Strangely, I also felt that I had met Taoist Master Ch'ing
Chen somewhere before. I thought about it and suddenly remembered. Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen was the Taoist priest with whom I had an appointment in the dream and who had used a duster to knock on my head in an effort to remind me!
In real life, Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen also owned a duster. When I told him about my strange dream, he just laughed loudly and did not say anything.
The Taoist practices my teachers taught me leaned heavily on the writing of magical inscriptions (Fu's), mantras, and Taoist alchemy. Most of my knowledge of Fu's was taught to me by Master Ch'ing Chen, while Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States taught me the mantras. Taoist alchemy has to do with returning to the Source and involves secret teachings from the Nine Stages of Taoist Mystical Practices.
Master Ch'ing Chen taught me, "Walking on the Great Way is like tumbling from head to toe; if one is able to tumble around, then one will be a Great Immortal." Master Ch'ing ' Chen also told me this, "Lian-shen, in order to return to one's Source or to one's Original Nature, one has to recover one's ching, chi, and shed from the places to which they have been dispersed. To travel out of one's body at will is neither impossible nor superstitious. It might sound like a fairy tale, but it can be done. How can ordinary people understand this since it is a cultivation of the spirit body?"
My studies with Master Ch'ing Chen up in the mountain could take place only on the days I was off from work. I was still of the world and unable to devote myself wholeheartedly to this study; however, I was very serious and diligent. Master Ch'ing Chen encouraged me to study hard, so that in the future I could use what I had learned to help other people. He taught me how to recognize and neutralize evil methods used by devious practitioners for their own monetary and sexual gains. He taught me the Vajra Indestructible Mantra to protect myself from evil energy and black magic. He also explained many Taoist practices to me.
Master Ch'ing Chen said to me, "If you want to rescue and deliver human beings, then this is the moment for you to make a vow with great compassion to spread the Correct Dharma. This is to enable sentient beings who have not seen the Truth to see it, and those who have not heard the Truth to hear it. Through your teachings, sages will realize their Original Nature, and ignorant beings will achieve understanding."
He continued, "In the world, both positive and negative forces exist. Be concerned only with the positive forces. Negative forces thrive only because man insists on neglecting the positive forces. If one affirms the positive forces, the negative forces will recede. All cultivators should seek this point of view. As long as one abides in the positive forces and cultivates the Supreme Ultimate Pathway, then one will not be harmed by negative forces. If one further obtains the transmission of the immortality method, then one will reach the Tao."
One day Master Ch'ing Chen asked me, "Lian-shen, do you want to learn how to read the past and the future?"
"Yes, I do."
"Study the book, Huang Chi (The Supreme Method of Fortune Telling), in depth, and I will teach you the Spiritual Divination Method. Then, everything in the world will be known to you."
Master Ch'ing Chen awakened the innate "spirit body" inside my flesh body. This spirit body is the true spirit that has been sealed inside my physical body ever since I was born. If it remains unawakened, this spirit body will only manifest itself when the physical body dies. The spirit body is the true body while the flesh body is the illusory body. This spirit body is what is often referred to as the "soul" by ordinary people.
When one's "soul" awakens, one can then function through the soul and be able to see into the spiritual realms. Some people can sense, while others can see or hear happenings in the spiritual realms. Some people can also use help from the spiritual realms to make predictions and learn things from the past. The Spiritual Divination Method works differently from other divination methods, such as Pa Tzu Index, Four Pillar method, palmistry, face reading, bone reading, and Chi Men Tun Chia.
Not too many people know how to use the Spiritual Divination Method, as the first requirement for using this method is to have an "awakened soul." I shall explain more about how this method works in later chapters.
My First Spiritual Healing
On the ninth day of the first lunar month in the fifty ninth year of the Republic of China (1970), the Jade Emperor Temple in Taichung celebrated the birthday of the Jade Emperor. Besides staging two plays, the abbot of the Temple, Rev. Shih Hui Ling, also initiated a religious procession in which statues of the Jade Emperor, as well as statues from all temples in the city, were carried in a parade. It was a spectacular event. Throughout the procession, loud and exciting firecrackers were ignited to welcome the gods who sat majestically in shoulder carts that were carried by devotees. People stood in front of their homes holding incense to greet the arrival of the gods, while many devotees also joined in and followed the procession.
When the parade was finished, the statue of the Jade Emperor was returned to its position on the central altar of the temple. Enshrined on the left side of the temple was the figure of Lao Tzu, and on the right side was the Primordial Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. Inside the temple, throngs of worshippers lighted incense to be offered to the gods, and the entire temple was heavy with smoke. Suddenly, a woman who was sloppily dressed and who had white spit foaming at her mouth dashed out from the crowd, knelt down in front of the Jade Emperor, and started crying. With both of her outstretched arms scratching on the ground, she begged the Jade Emperor for justice and to have her life returned to her. Her behavior was that of an insane person.
The sudden appearance of this crazy woman caused a commotion in the temple, and people started to gather around to look at her. The woman yelled out fiercely, "Give me back my life! Please help me, Jade Emperor, give me back my life! Ha ha! You have murdered me, and I must take revenge. Gods, please deliver me! Give me back my life-otherwise, my rancor won't go away! Ha ha! How painful! I won't forgive you, I won't let you go so easily!" The crazy woman cried for a moment, then laughed for a moment. Alternately she clapped her hands and kowtowed in a frenzy to the statues of the gods. With her unkempt hair loose and flying, she shrieked and wailed.
Standing beside the woman, the abbot Rev. Shih Hui Ling was at a loss. He had already prayed to the Jade Emperor for help, but the demented woman was still sitting on the ground, acting wildly, with no sign of recovery. In fact, she was getting worse. She swiped at the offering table, sending all the candles, incense, and fruit crashing to the floor. Someone from the crowd tried unsuccessfully to restrain her and got scratched for his trouble. Everybody was at a loss. The temple became even more crowded as people from the outside tried to squeeze inside to look at the spectacle. Yet no one knew what to do. At this time, a big, tall man emerged from the crowd. Someone recognized him and cried, "Everything should be fine now, the Dharma master from the Nine Heavens Temple is here." It turned out that this man was called Ch'ien, and he was the trance medium for the deity Prince General at the Nine Heavens Temple. He walked briskly up to the woman holding bowl of water in his right hand while forming a sword mudra (a magical hand gesture) with his left. After taking a mouthful of water from the bowl, he spewed it out and intoned, "Bright and luminous, the sun rises from the east. This true samadhi water will wipe out all evils." The crazy woman quieted down for a brief moment, then glowered at Master Ch'ien and yelled,
"How dare you interfere with my business!"
She reached out to grasp at him. Master Ch'ien went on to spit out several more mouthfuls of water but all to no avail. Instead the woman was so strong that her deep clawing at Master Ch'ien had produced several gashes, and he was bleeding. The master continued to gesticulate with the sword mudra, chanting at the same time,
"The Prince General commands you to obey, the Prince General commands you to obey."
The crazy woman just became more frantic and started brandishing with both her arms. The crowd rapidly stepped back. Master Ch'ien's efforts were becoming futile, and he was panting from exhaustion. Turning to the abbot he shook his head, "This woman is possessed by a demon who is too strong for me. I can't handle it."
It happened that my mother and I were at the temple at this time and I turned to my mother, "Let me handle it. This can be taken care of easily." I was twenty-six years old then.
When Mother heard me, she turned pale with fear and tried to stop me, "You mustn't go. Don't do anything." Yet I was confident that I could handle it. After taking off my suit jacket, I stepped over to the crazed woman.
I joined my palms in front of her and silently recited the Vajra Indestructible Protection Mantra.
"Who are you? How dare you mess with my business?" the crazy woman dropped her arms and asked calmly.
"My name is Lian-shen, and I am a disciple of Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States. I have come especially to ask you to stop this revenge. One should dissolve one's enmity instead of perpetuating it. Otherwise, this vicious cycle will never end. You can ask the Jade Emperor for justice, but how can you cause such a disruption here at the temple?"
"In my previous life, I was murdered by this woman. I have taken possession of her body now and am asking the Jade Emperor to avenge me. It is a rare occasion that the Jade Emperor goes on procession, and I must seize this chance to get even. You better not meddle in my affairs. I do respect you as a Taoist cultivator and will not fight with you."
"My friend, think of it this way. If I can deliver your soul, then will you be willing to bring this wild and interminable duel to an end?"
"Can you?" The crazy woman burst out laughing boisterously. Everybody in the crowd was breathless with anxiety.
Thus, I invoked the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva to be my witness, and I proceeded to chant silently the Primordial Ultimate Prajna Deliverance Mantra. I first walked clockwise thirty-three times around the crazy woman, then thirty-three times counter-clockwise. I formed the different deliverance Mudras with my hands as I was encircling her.
This was the first trial of the method Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States had taught me, and I was not sure if it would be efficacious. Of course, I was nervous. My palms were perspiring, and my heart was beating fast. A remarkable thing happened, the crazy woman slowly closed her glaring eyes, stopped brandishing her arms, and became completely silent. When I finished the mantra, she woke up to her own self, for the entity attached to her body had gone away completely.
When she regained her own consciousness, she cried,
"Why am I here?"
All around people applauded thunderously. At the same time many people surrounded me and asked me how I was able to perform such a feat. According to one neighbor of this woman, who lived in the vicinity of the Town God's Temple, she had been crazy for the past nine years, and no doctor could cure her. That day was the first time she had become lucid in all those years. She was finally cured!
At that time my heart was filled with gratitude for Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States. If there had been no spiritual master to teach me, I would not have been able to learn the Primordial Ultimate Prajna Deliverance Method. It was my first trial, and it had worked! I was elated with joy, and my mother was very happy for me.
There was, however, one regrettable note to this affair. Master Ch'ien felt that he had somewhat lost face, so he turned to the abbot and said, "This battle was actually won by the transcendental power of the Prince General. That man just came at the end and took advantage of it! How could a few casual hand gestures drive the attached spirit away? Hum! It was actually the sacred power of my Samadhi Water that did it."
Of course, I did not enter into meaningless disputes over merits with him. However, this generated inside my soul a deep abhorrence for the kind of undeserved reputation that can bring men to contemptible actions. A disciple of Master Ch'ien even approached to challenge me, "What do you know, boy? What else can You do? Let's have a fight."
How sad it was that the hearts of men could be this foul!
My disappointment with mankind grew. I thought of my master, Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen, and understood why he had chosen to live a cloistered life up in the mountains, why he preferred to enjoy his solitary Enlightenment and not use his great knowledge to help save the world.
Consulting The Town God At Penghu
The vice captain of our unit, Wei Ch'ing P'ing, and I were assigned to fly to a military base in the Penghu Islands to do some surveying. Mrs. Wei's maiden name was Hsiao Feng Huang, and she was a devotee of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, while Wei Ch'ing P'ing himself was an atheist. Everyone in our surveyance team knew that I was a Buddhist, and as the flight we were on was just about to take off, Wei Ch'ing P' ing looked at me curiously and asked,
"I've heard that you are a devoted Buddhist, is that true?"
"Yes, I am. How about you?"
"Me? I don't believe in any religion. I feel that as long as one follows one's own conscience and does not hurt anyone, there is nothing that one needs to be afraid of. I have had people preach to me several times before, and they only talked about how faith can bring one salvation. Christianity, Buddhism, they are all the same. My wife wanted me to worship the Kuan Yin, but I feel that having respect in my heart is enough. All that burning of incense and bowing are too much of a nuisance."
"Vice Captain, you have a point there, but only if everybody is as kind-hearted as you are," I conceded. "But perhaps there are some people who can experience the presence of Bodhisattvas."
"Are you referring to making predictions and fate-reading? Ha, ha! I will believe it when I see it. People have told me that you can do Spiritual Divination. I won't really believe it unless you can demonstrate it for me. Perhaps you find me very stubborn, but I need hard facts. If your predictions come true, I might even become a devout Buddhist!"
The short flight from Shui Nan Airport to the Makung Airport at Penghu took only thirty minutes. Up in the air above the Makung Airport, the plane moved in the turbulence of the huge dusty wind of Penghu. Looking out of the airplane window at the blue ocean below, I saw a beautiful scene of tumbling white waves lapping against the sandy beach. A short while later, the plane was gliding along the runway. That night, the vice captain and I stayed over at the Wen Shih Hotel, a moderate sized hotel where one could hear the whistling of the ocean wind outside (a typical feature of Penghu according to the doorman at the hotel). Local products included a particularly large strain of peanuts, dried scuttle fish, and wen shih (a type of marble-like rock indigenous to Penghu). It was only during our initial scouting of the town that I discovered that the vice captain and his wife had once stayed at Penghu. Back then Mrs. Wei's health was quite poor, and she had prayed at the local Kuan Yin Temple for an improvement of her health. When we returned to the hotel, it was only 9:00 p.m.
This was too early to go to bed, but there was no place to go for entertainment. At this time, the vice captain reached into his pocket and grabbed a handful of one dollar coins. He turned his closed fist downward and extended it in front of me, "Let me test you and see if your divination ability is any good. If you can guess how many coins I have in my palm, I'll believe in the Buddhas. If you are wrong, how about treating me to a movie at the Dragon Palace Theater? Just give it a try!" This sudden challenge took me by surprise. Although I did not like people posing such frivolous tests to the gods, I cannot avoid such probings. So I quieted down my mind and focused all of my attention on my "spirit current." With my palms joined, I recited silently, "Disciple Lian-shen, a practitioner of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma, is respectfully inviting any deity in the vicinity to come to me. I need help with a problem." I recited this repeatedly in my mind. Before long, from the mid-air a god descended. He was wearing a bright and colorful dragon robe and a black gauze cap, the kind worn by feudal officials. With myriad auspicious lights radiating from him, he was impressive looking. Of course, he was not visible to the physical eyes of the vice captain, and I, during that period of time, could see most of the gods and ghosts with my third eye. Buddhas and immortals, such as my spiritual master, Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States, who resided in the Formless Realm, were invisible to me then; nevertheless, I was able to see gods who were assigned with duties.
"Dharma master, I am the town god of Penghu. Since you have called upon me using a method of the Correct Dharma, what can I help you with?"
"I am really sorry to have troubled you. My vice captain is challenging me to find out how many coins he has in his palm. Could you find out for me?" I felt that I should be the one to be blamed for having troubled the town god over such a minor matter."
"What a trifling matter! How can you be so foolish!"
"Well, town god, if I get it right, I will be able to bring one more person to Buddhism. In that sense, it is a good deed and not that trivial. Please help me just this time, I won't bother you again," I spoke respectfully.
"There are fourteen of them." In a flash the town god vanished.
So I spoke to the vice captain, "There are fourteen one dollar coins."
Vice Captain Wei Ch'ing P'ing opened his fist and started to count the coins, for he also had no idea how many there were. When he reached the thirteenth, only one was left in his hand. There were exactly fourteen coins! The vice captain gave me a look, "Amazing, how accurate! I will keep my promise and become a Buddhist. When we have time, I will accompany you to all the temples here in Penghu to pay tribute to the Buddhas as well as to thank them for fulfilling the wish of my wife."
Vice Captain Wei indeed kept his promise. When we finished our assignment, he took me to visit all the temples in Penghu, which included the Kuan Yin Temple, the Nan Ping Temple, the Ocean Spirit Temple, the Matzu Temple, the Lord Tung Liang K'angfu Temple, the Yin Yang Temple, the Hsti Chen Chiin Temple, the Paoling Temple, and at the end, the Town God Temple. When we arrived at the Town God Temple, some people were chanting the sutras, and the Town God of Penghu was sitting high up on the altar. When he saw the two of us walk in, he got up from his chair at once and said to me, "So you are Lian-shen, the disciple of Mr. Three-Peaks Nine-States. No wonder you knew how to use the invocation method of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma. Sorry I didn't recognize you."
I spoke to the town god, "Oh don't say that. I have come especially to thank you for helping me out. Now the vice captain has become a Buddhist. Much credits have to go to you if one day he realizes Buddhahood."
"Oh, I am flattered." The town god was very courteous to us, and I saw the ghost attendants on both sides wink at us. After returning to Taichung, Wei Ch'ing P'ing had a complete turnaround from his previous behavior and became a devoted Buddhist. He printed for free distribution, a thousand copies each of the White Robed Kuan Yin Divine Dharani and the Surangama Mantra. He also set up a shrine at home for worshipping and making offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and I consecrated his shrine for him. At that time Wei Ch'ing P'ing had three sons and hoped to have a daughter. His wife became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, which brought him great happiness. Mrs. Wei's health also steadily improved. In the end, the vice captain's faith in the Buddhas even surpassed his wife's.
Of course, the accurate reading of the Spiritual Divination had much to do with the generation of strong faith in Wei Ch'ing P'ing. At the same time, I taught him how to do meditation and awaken the "soul" in his body. Now the vice captain also has developed some psychic ability. On one assignment trip out of town, he met a local earth god who reported news from home to him and whose information turned out to be very accurate! If any readers still have doubts, please look up Wei Ch'ing P'ing, who lives near the Farmers Electric Company at South Gate Bridge in Taichung, and have this incident verified. If one still refuses to believe and still regards this book as a fairy tale, then there is nothing I can do about it!
The Unforgettable Smile of Ma Tsu At Liuchia
As a surveyor, I had to do a lot of traveling. Out of all the places I visited, the most unforgettable was Liuchia, where I saw the smile of the goddess Ma tsu. Liuchia is located in Tainan County (in southern Taiwan) in the vicinity of the famous Coral Lake Dam. The two co-workers assigned to go with me to Liuchia were Chang Ying Ao and Huang Ta Fu.
My spiritual master also went to Liuchia with me. I remember it was a very cold winter, and every night my spiritual master would awaken me to go out to the local cemetery to receive teachings from him. The site of the teachings did not bother me as I had always been quite courageous.
The stars of the winter nights were extremely bright, shining over the rows of white tombstones in the cemetery. Surrounded by a light veil of mist and the twittering sounds of the night insects, my spiritual master taught me a method to call upon and command the spirits using the power of mantras and Mudras. According to my spiritual master, this kind of magical art was not usually studied by practitioners of the Correct Dharma; however, a knowledge of them was necessary. In order for me to propagate the Correct Dharma in the future, I needed to have a complete understanding of all kinds of magical practices. My spiritual master explained to me, "Lian-shen, the Heart of Great Wisdom encompasses all doctrines in the Universe and its inconceivable Light outshines everything. If one has the Heart of Great Wisdom, no evil magic can take advantage of one, and in the future, one will learn the Buddhadharma.
Lian-shen, with what you are taught, together with the knowledge and experiences you have in Christianity and Taoism, you will have a complete education and not lose sight of anything." One evening, Huang Ta Fu, who was from Chang Hua County, and I wandered around on the streets of Liuchia. After visiting a barber shop, we came upon a medium-sized temple in front of the Liuchia market place. A sign which read, "Chanting Club of Liuchia Buddhist Group" hung at the entrance. We walked inside and heard sounds of sutra chanting coming from the building's left wing.
I joined my palms and bowed to the enshrined Bodhisattvas.
As I raised my head, I saw up in the mid air clouds of colorful lights from which a goddess emerged with a beautiful smile. Wearing a colorful robe and a crown embroidered with nine dragons, she stood on two seven-colored lotuses as she descended to face me.
The goddess greeted me, "Welcome to Liuchia, Lian-shen. How have you been?"
"Bodhisattva, do you know me?"
"I once travelled to the middle part of Taiwan and visited the Jade Emperor Temple there. I have also visited your shrine at home, don't you remember?"
As a matter of fact, I did not remember. In this Universe there are so many deities. Each of these deities has his or her own responsibilities, and they also interact with each other. I was acquainted with many deities and had even become good friends with some of them. However, I really could not remember if the goddess Ma tsu of Liuchia had been to my home, which already had a small shrine with several Bodhisattva statues. "I hope the Bodhisattva will forgive me, I really can't recall."
"That is all right, Lian-shen. There is something I would like to ask of you."
"Please instruct me, Bodhisattva."
"The abbot of this temple has been very sick and is bedridden. I would like to ask you to write a Golden Pill Fu to cure him. Can you help him?"
"As this is an instruction from the Bodhisattva, I do not dare disobey, but I am afraid that they won't believe me." "Don't worry, they will believe you. The devotees here are very pure and kind in heart. Their abbot has been ill for almost two months, and his last day of illness is supposed to be today. Quickly draw up the Fu and give it to the students chanting in the left wing. When you come back here tomor row, there will be a miracle." As soon as the Bodhisattva finished speaking, she disappeared.
So, without further hesitation, I drew up a Fu and energized it right there on the altar. Afterwards, Huang Ta Fu and I walked over to the left wing. Inside, an old man and several women were chanting. I explained to the old man what had happened, but he did not say anything. The women looked up curiously, and one of them spoke to me,
"Are you a trance medium? Where are you from?"
"I came from Taichung, and I am not a trance medium. I shall come back tomorrow, that was what the Bodhisattva instructed." "Just leave the Fu here and come back tomorrow then!" . The old man waved us away. As we were walking out, Huang Ta Fu turned to me,
"They don't seem to believe you. You shouldn't have bothered."
"I really can't blame them for not believing. If the blue robed woman had not initiated me to the spirit world, and if my spiritual master and Master Ch'ing Chen had not taught me, I wouldn't have been able to communicate with the spirit world. In the past, if someone had told me these things, I wouldn't have believed either. In fact, I would have found them to be absurd and superstitious. Actually, even religious people find such things hard to believe!"
The next evening Huang and I hurriedly returned to the Ma tsu Temple. As soon as we stepped inside, the abbot and several women came up to greet us. The abbot said, "Your Fu was so effective! I have had this severe and lingering illness for almost two months and to be relieved of it was like having a burden suddenly lifted off from me. I was able to get out of bed and become my old self again. I really owe it to the Bodhisattva and to you for helping me. Thank you."
The abbot's recovery also lifted a great burden off my chest. After bowing to the Bodhisattva several times, I was about to leave.
"Mister Lu," one of the women asked me, "do you think you can write a Fu for my son? He has had a fever for quite some time. When he takes the medicine, his fever goes away but, as soon as he stops the medicine, the fever comes back again. Do you mind writing a Fu for him?"
Another woman requested, "I also would like to have a Fu. My mother has been coughing for a long time, and it does not seem like she is getting any better."
"Mister Lu, please also give me one!" Seizing this opportunity, Huang Ta Fu started bragging to the women drawing around us how accurate my Spiritual Divination was. The women's eyes widened at his boasting. I went over to the Bodhisattva statue again and knelt down. Ma tsu again smilingly appeared, although her image this time was not as vivid as the first time. Transmitted to my ears was the soft voice of the Bodhisattva,
"Lian-shen, now it is time for you to get busy. Do not be afraid, I shall help you."
Holding a brush dipped in cinnabar, I chanted mantras as I wrote the magic inscriptions on the papers for each of the women. Remarkably, after the Fu's were taken, mild illnesses went away immediately, and severe illnesses also started to get better. There was even one old woman, who had been bedridden and immobilized for half a year, who suddenly started to get out of bed after ingesting the Fu.
On the third evening, when Huang Ta Fu and I went back to the Ma tsu Temple, such a big crowd had gathered inside that the doors almost would not close. A rumor was spreading that a young man of divine power had arrived at the Ma tsu Temple who could write Fu's to cure any illness. The whole town of Liuchia was in an uproar.
I used the Spiritual Divination methods to help many people solve their problems, as well as using mantras and Fu's to cure their illnesses. I worked every night until midnight.
The abbot offered to call a taxicab to take me back to my lodging, but I declined. When the many people who had come to seek help offered me red envelopes with money inside, I also refused them. I did not want to take any money, nor did I want to accept any offerings. The power had come from the Divine.
I was just an instrument in fulfilling the intent of the Divine. This is why I detest charlatans. Evil charlatans demand money in return-the more the better. When one's services to the Divine are motivated by goodness and charity, then one is not superstitious or a swindler. Some people mistake me for a trance medium, but I am not one. A trance medium is someone who has a spirit attached to his or her body and that is not true in my case.
"Mister Lu, you are looking down upon me by not accepting my red envelope," one woman reproached me.
"I am sorry, but this help you received from me is really my service to the goddess Ma tsu of Liuchia. How can I accept your red envelope while I am of service to her?"
It was the first time I encountered this kind of difficult problem. Everybody was offering money to me, but what should I do about it? Out of the goodness of my heart I had wanted to help, because helping gave me the greatest happiness. Yet most people were pragmatic; they felt that a service should be paid with monetary reward. The goddess Ma tsu of Liuchia had two spirit assistants, the Divine Hearing Deva and Divine Eyesight Deva. They have both become close friends of mine. Up through my last day in Liuchia, nearly one hundred people came to see me every day for help. At Lin Feng Ying, where we were going to take a bus to head back north, more than twenty people went to see us off. Yet, what has remained most indelible in my mind was the beautiful smile ofthe goddess Ma tsu of Liuchia. My friends, if you happen to be in Liuchia, you might want to visit the Ma tsu Temple to pay homage to her. Perhaps you, too, will see the smiling goddess sitting there on the altar.
A Teaching On The Way To Good Health At The Feng Lin Temple
The Feng Lin (Phoenix Woods) Temple is located in a small village near Feng Pi T'ou (Phoenix Nose Tip) - a small harbor in Kaohsiung. It is close to the naval base where frogmen undergo training. I loved the sea, and at sunset, I would find myself drawn to the beach at Phoenix Nose Tip. There I would sit down on one of the dilapidated boats on the sand and gaze far away. The ocean and the sky met to form the horizon and, on the undulating surface of the ocean, the tumbling waves muttered to each other. My heart felt as if it were a skiff in the middle of the ocean, bobbing up and down with the waves. I could taste the melancholy beauty of life. Life is perpetual movement-rocking up and down. My life as a travelling land surveyor echoed this, a variation of the movements of life itself.
During one such sunset, sometime after I had started visiting the beach, I lifted my head to admire the passing evening clouds while my mind glided lightly over the vast ocean. The sun kept dropping, its reflection turning the ocean a blood red. Soon the sky became dark, the wind started whistling, and the waves began to roar. Immersed in the night of the beach, I felt like I was completely alone in the world.
Just when I was about to leave, I noticed a swaying light above the ocean. It was a flickering light, now drifting to the east, now drifting to the west. When the light came near, I saw a celestial palanquin behind it. In front, escorting the palanquin, were two officials who walked upon the waves. On top of the palanquin I could see a sign which read, "Holy Heavenly Mother of Feng Lin Temple." The celestial palanquin and the two officials remained visible to me for a short while, then silently disappeared. The next day, I approached a local villager and asked,
"Is there a Feng Lin Temple nearby?"
The villager replied, "Sure! That is the Matzu Temple in the village."
That same evening, I went into the village and located the temple. I had, by that time, developed a habit of paying homage to the gods. Whenever I arrived at a place, I would visit the local temples, regardless of their size, to pay homage to the Buddhas and gods. Even if it was a local earth god temple, I would still go inside and show my respect by joining my palms. Sometimes, the local earth god happened to be at the temple, and he would lift up his head to greet me in return. Because of my sincere reverence for divine beings, I knew they would certainly help me when I needed it.At the Feng Lin Temple, I lit an incense stick and bowed to the Holy Heavenly Mother. After I finished, the Holy Mother spoke to me,
"Devotee, have you already achieved the Liuchia . Divine Hearing Faculty?" "Yes, I have come to ask the Bodhisattva for a teaching." "What kind of knowledge do you seek?"
I replied, "The knowledge to keep good health."
Matzu, the Holy Heavenly Mother, thus spoke, "We shall talk about the role of foods! The five basic tastes in foods are: salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and sweet. They are the secret recipe to the harmonization of yin and yang energies and their subsequent transformation into the mysterious force of the Universe.
They are a necessary part of daily life, and a moderate intake is essential to good health. If taken excessively, they can harm the five elements and give rise to illnesses. Reducing one's consumption of the five flavors nurtures one, while excessive consumption harms the body. In the ancient times, people subsisted on simple, often raw foods, and enjoyed long lives. Since the discovery of fire and the cooking of food, men no longer enjoy the same longevity they used to. When men are greedy for a complicated diet, their six emotions are aroused, and this covers up their spiritual awareness."
"Holy Mother, thank you for your teaching," I thanked her cautiously and respectfully.
The Holy Mother continued, "Modern man's approach to good health is far from wholesome and balanced! Most people living in this latter part of a world cycle are unconscious of their souls and not able to meet enlightened teachers to hear teachings that can expand their wisdom and enable them to understand their original nature. Most people only focus on the externals, such as the intake of nutrients, in trying to keep good health, while at the same time, they commit numerous transgressions in thoughts and actions. How can one truly discuss the way to good health without first purging oneself of negative thoughts and actions?"
"Bodhisattva, you are quite right. I shall remember your teaching."
"By the way, may I ask which spiritual pathway you are practicing? From the three spiritual lights radiating from your head and the protecting spiritual guides around you, I gather that you are a spiritual cultivator," said the Holy Mother.
"Bodhisattva, my name is Lian-shen. I was originally a Christian. Later I received a divine decree from the Jade Pond Golden Mother and started studying Taoism from Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States and Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen. I am in Phoenix Nose Tip on a surveying assignment. Yesterday I saw you making an inspection on the ocean surface and decided to come today to pay homage to you."
"Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States? I have not heard of him. I have heard of Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen though. He is a pure-hearted Taoist who engages in non-interference practice. Very good, very good."
"Bodhisattva, Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States is not a person but a high spiritual being. I call him Spirit Master. He is from the Formless Realm, beyond the domain of the Jade Emperor." "Oh, I see. Please excuse my ignorance. Lian-shen, if you have time, come back more often. Your visits will be welcomed " "Thank you," I addressed the Bodhisattva.
The sighting of the Holy Heavenly Mother at the ocean had led to our acquaintance with each other. Later, when I formally enshrined the Jade Pond Golden Mother at the shrine in my residence, I sent out invitations by Fu's to deities in the ten quarters of the world. The Holy Heavenly Mother of Feng Lin Temple also came to attend the ceremony, along with many other deities.
A Rescue By Kuan Yin
This incident happened about twelve years ago when I was eighteen. My family was then living in Kaohsiung, and I was attending the Kaohsiung vocational school. One evening a classmate, Huang Hsin Ch'ing, and I visited the night market behind the Wanlung Theater. There were so many vendors in that night market, that the stalls filled with food, clothes, herbs, plasters and other daily necessities continued for a distance of two kilometers. Jam-packed with people who jostled each other and filled with all kinds of riotous sounds and lights, the night market was an extremely lively and exciting place in which to have some fun.
We walked and looked. We passed by a fortune teller's booth near the entrance of an alley. The old fortune-teller, who was sitting alone at one corner with a dull look on his face due to lack of business, saw the two of us and called out,
"Young men, come over here and let me do a reading for you. It won't cost you anything. The King Wen Divination Method that I use is extremely effective in predicting fortunes and disasters. I know you young men don't have much money, and that's quite all right. It'll be completely free of charge to you!"
As soon as we heard that it was free, we thought to ourselves, "Why not give it a try?" and walked over to him.
Naturally, after the old man started to give us a reading, the booth soon began to attract a small crowd of people around it.
Although the fortune-teller was quite old, his eyes were very bright and shiny. He first took a look at Huang Hsin Ch'ing's face and then examined the lines on his palms. After obtaining Huang's full name, he asked him to pick out a divination hexagram, which he placed behind a censor. Through the smoke rising from the sticks of lit incense, the old man studied the hexagram, then glanced at Huang and asked, "Are you a Hakkanese from Meinung?" To which Huang gave an affirmative reply.
The old man continued, "Judging from your facial features, you are of average intelligence and educational level. Your palms tell me that your life is a difficult one that requires hard work. The King Wen hexagram says that the best career for you will be a steady post in the civil service. You will not be receiving much help from your family, as you must rely on yourself and build up from nothing. To find people who can be of help to you, you have to travel to the north. Your family burial site, and therefore the feng-shui that can affect your family's fortune, has undergone some major changes. Are you aware of this?"
"Yes, I know," Huang said. "It happened just at the beginning of this year when the burial site of my grandparents was relocated and its feng-shui readjusted."
"If my reading is correct, this new site was selected by your oldest brother. He has placed a Fu in the burial site that is going to divert all the riches in your family to the first born. This has caused a color of impoverishment to appear on your forehead, and you are going to have quite a hard life. My child, your chance of making a great fortune will be very slim even though there won't be any great disasters in your future."
"You are right. The new burial site was picked by my oldest brother," Huang Hsin Ch'ing concurred with the old man. The people surrounding us gasped at the accuracy of the reading.
The old man then turned to look at me. I was short, skinny, and quite shy then. He pulled me closer to him, carefully studied my face and palms, and told me to select a hexagram just as Huang had done. After looking at the symbol, he knitted his brows. Shaking his head once, he asked,
"Are you the eldest son in the family?"
I replied, "Yes."
The old man continued, "You have a very complex physiognomy which means that you have a unique personality, and your future is not yet fixed but remains to be seen. What is peculiar is that the 'gold reserve spot' of your palms is very fleshy, indicating a life of riches and honor. At the same time, the literary line here is so long that it even runs through the 'gold reserve spot. ' I suspect that in the future you won't need to use much of what you are now studying in school. Since your family origins are only average, that means you also will be building your life from scratch. As for the King Wen hexagram, I hope what I am going to tell you won't shock or frighten you."
"Go ahead, it's all right," I answered calmly.
"According to the King Wen hexagram alone, you belong to the realm of heavenly beings, which is not bad. However, in combination with your face and palm readings, it indicates that, at the age of twenty eight, you will meet a great disaster and die. I think you'd better pray and worship more to the gods and Buddhas!"
"But I am a Christian!" I protested. At that time, I had already been baptized at the New Presbyterian Church and had become a Christian. In fact, the church that I attended was in the vicinity of the night market.
"Christian? Then there is nothing I can do," the old man said. All around, people were sighing, "This child has some quite fine features. Too bad he will meet an early death." After that, many people requested to have their fortunes read by the old man, and Huang and I both stayed behind to listen. Strangely, the old man's fortune reading was pretty accurate, as attested by the people being analyzed. Yet, the more accurate he proved to be, the darker the shadow left on my mind grew. My heart became extremely uneasy.
During the sixtieth year of the Republic of China ( 1971), when I was twenty-seven years old about to turn twenty-eight, I still had not forgotten the fortune-teller at the night market ten years before. One night, I asked Mr.Three-Peaks-Nine-States,
"Spirit Master, a fortune-teller in the past predicted that I shall die next year. I wonder if it is going to happen."
"Lian-shen, one should not slight the art of divination. The various divination methods such as the Four Pillars Prediction, the Huang Chi Divination, the Yuan T'ien Kang Calculation, and the King Wen Hexagram are outstanding methods. Since the fate of a heaven can change from its predestined course. So can the fate of a single human being. Death at twenty eight was an accurate reading, but the King Wen Hexagram was not able to divine that a bridge of rescue had already been built to save your life. Do you remember way back when you first enshrined the Kuan Yin statue that you purchased from the ceramics store? I told you that, by paying homage to the Kuan Yin, she would one day save your life. The merit in paying homage to the Bodhisattva is truly great!"
Around Christmas in 1971, I was having lunch at home one day. At that time I was not a vegetarian and enjoyed eating meats and fish. Suddenly a dizzy spell came over me, and my stomach started rolling. I became so nauseated that I vomited all over the floor the fish and rice I had consumed. The room was filled with its foul smell. I kept on vomiting until my stomach was completely cleaned out. My family thought that I had become ill, but they noticed no fever when they touched my head. Later I went to see a doctor, but nothing was found to be wrong with me. It was rather strange! That same evening, my mother prepared a fish head stew which was my most favorite dish. I took a few mouthfuls of rice and sipped some soup from the fish stew. In a few moments, the same trouble returned, and I started throwing up again. This time the dizzy spell was so severe that I was seeing stars spinning around me and almost could not hold myself up. Finally, the vomiting stopped. My face had turned green, and I was wondering what in the world was happening to me.
Eventually I discovered that only when I restricted myself to vegetarian foods would I be safe. If by accident I ate any meat, even if it was a minute quantity, I would begin throwing up violently. The pain was beyond words. Perhaps some readers might entertain the idea that my strange reaction to meat was totally psychological, but it was not so. One time my sister, Yu Yi, placed some leftover fish on top of the dinner rice to warm up. I did not know about it and ate the rice. After dinner, I started vomiting violently again. When I looked into it, I realized that even food warmed up with fish had to be ruled out from my diet. Therefore, I continued to be a vegetarian. During that period of time, there were at least ten different occasions when I had accidentally tasted meat and suffered severe and extremely painful vomiting.
I asked my Spirit Master why this was happening to me? The Spirit Master gave me this answer, "What a wonderful rescue! This is to substitute a life with another life. The great disaster predestined in your life will naturally be eliminated."
I was a vegetarian from December 1971 to December 1972.
One day in December 1972, Yu Yi stir-fried some vegetables with oil that she had previously used to fry some sausages. I ate the vegetables and found that I did not have to vomit and there were no more dizzy spells. It was indeed a peculiar case. I looked at the calendar and realized that it had been exactly one year since the whole episode started. I again asked my Spirit Master for an explanation. He said,
"The day of your predestined death has come and gone. With the karma neutralized, your life has been rescued by another life. You were forced by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to be a vegetarian for your own sake. During the past year, you were being guarded by the gods of precepts to make sure that you stuck to a vegetarian diet. With the mission completed, the gods of precepts have departed, and you have become your old self again. It really does not matter from now on whether you stay a vegetarian or not, it is completely up to you! If you don't believe me, take a look at the Kuan Yin statue you have enshrined at your altar. Then you will understand."
After hearing the Spirit Master's words, I carefully examined the Kuan Yin statue and discovered that fracture lines had appeared all over the porcelain statue from head to toe.
The fracture lines were like a net, distributed-evenly all over the body. This was completely different from the condition of the Kuan Yin statue that I had enshrined three years ago. The originally compassionate face had become broken in multiple places. Why had this happened?
Later I learned that I was supposed to have met with a traumatic experience which would have broken my body completely. The merit engendered from the one year of abstinence from meat, together with the Kuan Yin sacrificing her body, had helped to save my life. I had enshrined the Kuan Yin and paid homage to her, and she had become broken (with the appearance of fracture lines all over the body, from no apparent cause). What could I do to repay the great compassion of the Bodhisattva? This Kuan Yin Bodhisattva statue is still enshrined at my altar, and I continue to pay homage to her. She is the first Great Bodhisattva of my Lei Tsang Temple.
Taking Refuge And The Bodhisattva Vows
In Buddhism, the Buddha, Dharma, and Spiritual Community are referred to as the Triple Jewels. To take refuge in the Triple Jewels and to make offerings to them are the basic privileges and responsibilities of a Buddhist. The purpose of practicing Buddhism is to attain Buddhahood, and the first step in that process is to take refuge. Under the guidance of the Spirit Master, I went to the Taichung Buddhist Lotus Society to take refuge in the eminent Buddhist Master, Rev. Yin Shun. My refuge name is Hui Yen, which was selected by Mr. Li Ping Nan. My mother also took refuge in the Triple Jewels on the same day, and she was given the refuge name of Hui Yun. By that time, I had already set up a small shrine in my home. The main Taoist deity enshrined at my altar was the Jade Pond Golden Mother, and the main Buddhist deities were Buddha Shakyamuni and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. I also had other Buddha and Bodhisattva statues enshrined at my altar, including Kuan Yin. Twice a day, in the morning and at night, my mother and I would light incense and make tea offerings at the altar. On the first and fifteenth of each lunar month, as well as on special days known as the Kuan Yin Vegetarian Days, we would perform prostrations and chant sutras. Dharma Master Shan Tz'u, the abbot of Compassion Sound Temple, and Dharma Master Shang Lin, a Buddhist nun at Compassion Light Temple, taught us how to chant the sutras and mantras. Rev. Yin Shun, my refuge teacher, belongs to the Pure Land Sect which emphasizes the chanting of Buddha's name as a way of cultivation, and they hold in high esteem the three classics of the Pure Land School: Amitabha Sutra, the Mahasthama Bodhisattva Universal Chanting Chapter, and the Rebirth Shastra. My mother and I had a wonderful time learning the repentance liturgies and mantras. As if we had learned them before in our previous lifetimes. it took us no time all this time around to memorize and chant the most difficult mantras. If it normally took someone a month to learn one, it only took us a week to learn it. If it normally took someone a week to learn it, mother and I would learn it in a day.
The sixty-first year of the Republic of China (1972) was the two hundred and twentieth anniversary of the construction of the Pi Shan Temple in Nantou, Taiwan. On April 17th, the abbot of Pi Shan Temple, Rev. Ju Hsueh, conducted a Thousand Buddhas Precepts Convention to transmit the Bodhisattva Vows. He engaged many eminent monks from Taiwan, as well as from overseas, to preside over the convention. I know that precepts are the foundation upon which compassion and the extinction of one's own wickedness are built, and that they are also the seeds to the transcendental realm of the sages. If one accepts and follows the holy precepts and is determined in finding the Truth for the sake of transcending birth and death, one will definitely reach the realm of the Bodhisattvas. Therefore, I gladly went to receive the vows.
During the period of the convention, I learned much from the teachings given by the various Buddhist masters. The elderly Rev. Master Hui San, who was acting as the Preceptor Monk, explained to us the different roles of the three presiding monks. "The role of the Precept Monk is to transmit to you the precepts while the role of the Karma Monk is to teach you how to perform repentance rituals. The Teacher Monk is to teach you the conduct required in carrying out the precepts. Since all of you are here to receive the Boddhisattva Vows, you must first generate the Bodhicitta which is the desire to bring Enlightenment to other sentient beings. The goal of a Bodhisattva is to liberate oneself as well as other beings. This is in contrast to the goal of an Arhat in Hinayana Buddhism who only works towards the liberation of oneself. To help others is to practice the Six Paramitas [charity, precepts, vigor, endurance, meditation, and wisdom]."
Dharma Master Hsian Tun, who was acting as the Karma Monk, gave us this teaching. "All of you present should be aware of the kinds of transgressions we have committed since time immemorial. The three kinds of unwholesome deeds committed by the mind are: greed, which will cause a person to fall into the hungry ghost realm; malice, which will cause a person to fall into the realm of hells; and stupidity and ignorance, which will cause a person who can't tell right from wrong to suffer from one's own actions and fall into the realm of animals. The three kinds of unwholesome deeds committed by the body are killing, theft, and sexual misconduct, any of which will result in conditions wherein the Buddha's words cannot be heard. The four kinds of unwholesome deeds committed through speech are evil talk, double talk, lies, and flirtatious talk. One should correct these ten unwholesome acts and turn them into the ten wholesome acts.
"The sutra says, 'Repentance should come from one's mind, as the mind is the source of transgressions. When the mind is transmuted into emptiness, then all transgressions will also turn into emptiness. True repentance occurs when both the mind and transgressions are transmuted into emptiness.' Therefore, the hall where one receives the vows of precepts is also known as the hall of repentance. Your physical body comes from your parents, while your future Buddha Body or Bodhisattva Body comes from the teacher who transmits the precepts to you. After receiving the Bodhisattva Vows, one should practice letting go of all worldly affairs, concentrate the mind on the Buddhas, and do repentance. The practice of the precepts will lead one to succeed in attaining Buddhahood."
In his discourse to us, the elderly Rev. Dharma Master Chileh Kuang who was acting as the Teacher Monk said, "The so-called three thousand major dignified behaviors and eighty thousand minor activities are all covered under the umbrella of walking, standing, sitting, and sleeping. One should walk with the wind and stand as a pine tree. When sitting down, keep the upper body slender and the lower body wide so that there is a majestic, stable equipoise. When one sleeps, one should lie on one's right side, with the spine rounded like a bow; this is the Auspicious Sleeping Posture."
After attending the teachings, I made fourteen great vows. They were:
1) I shall constantly be mindful of the Buddhas, seek sages, and learn from them
2) I shall not become attached to people of evil knowledge
3) I shall not break the precepts even if my life is at stake
4) I shall often study the Mahayana sutras and treatises and contemplate their deeper meanings
5) I shall constantly be mindful of and have confidence in the Bodhicitta
6) I shall lend help to any suffering beings whom I come across
7) I shall make offerings to the Triple Jewels according to my ability
8) I shall show filial obedience to my parents and respect to my teachers
9) I shall give up slothfulness and cultivate diligence
10) I shall conquer the mind which gives rise to all kinds of worldly troubles
11) I shall deliver the countless sentient beings
12) I shall transcend the endless afflictions
13) I shall learn the infinitely many pathways
14) I shall realize the supreme Buddha Way
After I finished making the fourteen vows, the three teachers knelt in front of the shrine and read out aloud,
"Respectfully we would like to inform all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in all the worlds of the infinite ten directions that there is now a Bodhisattva by the name of Sheng-yen Lu, who is present at the Pi Shan Temple in Nantou City, Nan Tou County, Taiwan, and who declares three times his desire to receive the Bodhisattva Vows. We are his witnesses and may all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, sages, and all beings in all places and times show mercy and bear witness to this occasion!"
While the three teachers were reading the above article, I heard earthquakes, thunderous sounds in the sky that sounded like lions' roars. I turned to look at the other people present, but they were unperturbed as if they heard nothing. After the thunderous sounds and earthshaking quieted down, a melodious voice sang,
"As bright as the sun and moon, like the shining pearls, the precepts have been the guiding lights, leading multitudes of Bodhisattvas as numerous as dust particles to reach Enlightenment. When one receives the Buddha's precepts, one immediately enters into the realm of the Buddhas and become equivalent to the Great Awakened Ones."
I also witnessed the rite wherein the Dharma masters performed the transmission of the precepts for the beings in the spirit plane. The purpose of this ritual was to afford people who have just taken the Bodhisattva Vows the opportunity to show appreciation to parents and families from their previous lifetimes. The ceremony was similar to the one for living people. It took place in the evening and, after the Dharma masters and the three monks were seated, there was an invitation for the souls to enter into the shrine. Representatives, holding plaques with names of the departed souls, knelt down and announced in unison that they were asking in the place of the departed souls to receive the Bodhisattva Vows. The Precept Monk rang the bell and gave a discourse to the souls.
"All souls present, listen carefully to what is written in the Brahmajala-sutra: If one receives the Buddha Precepts after understanding the teachings of the Dharma masters, whether one is a king, a prince, a high official, a monk, a nun, a being from the eighteen heavens in the Realm of Form, or from the heavens in the Realm of Desire, an ordinary citizen, a eunuch, a lustful person, a slave, a being from the eight classes of supernatural beings, a Dharma protector, or a human who has come from the realm of animals, one shall be called the Great Pure One because the Buddha's teachings are all compassionate and embracing, lending aids to all beings in the three realms..."
During the transmission of the Bodhisattva Vows for beings in the spirit plane, I tuned into my psychic vision and saw in front of me the Pi Shan Temple completely transformed into a vast ocean. High waves, one after another, were rolling in, and out of each wave a group of strange looking spirit beings emerged. Their unusual shapes were totally unfamiliar to me. Wave after wave, the beings rushed up to the steps of the temple and joined their palms in respect for the Buddha and Bodhisattva images and the three monks inside the temple.
Among the astral beings were some without heads or limbs, while some had three heads and six arms. After I watched for a while, the scene no longer seemed so unusual, and I tuned back into my ordinary waking state of consciousness. When I reopened my eyes, the ocean was gone and replaced by two rows of tables covered with offerings. The monks and nuns were chanting to the accompaniment of musical instruments.
A minor incident of note also took place during the convention. Among the people who received the Bodhisattva Vows was a Mr. Chou Hsin Yi, who was fifty-one years old and had come from the Chiangsu Province on the mainland. He was a student of the Dharma Master Nan T'ing and had the refuge name of Kuan Jen. In our chats, he mentioned that he had some business he would like to attend to in Malaysia, but it had been quite some time since his application for a visa, and he had not yet heard a reply. I smiled and asked him, "Would you like me to do a divination for you and see what is in store?" "You can do divination?" He shook his head in disbelief. "Let's give it a try." I took him to a shrine nearby that honored martyrs. After picking up twelve small pieces of rock, I blew three breaths of air into them while silently reciting Mr. Chou's name, date and time of birth. Then, I tossed the rocks up in the air and let them fall freely onto the ground. The rocks fell into a pattern in which five of them stayed relatively close to each other while the remaining seven were scattered apart.
Then I asked Mr. Chou to pick up one of the pieces to show me. He bent down and picked up one that had a corner missing. I interpreted the result for him, "You are in luck. You will be able to make your trip in July." "The purpose of my trip to Malaysia is to visit the Dharma Master Yen P'ei and to be close to him," Mr. Chou explained.
A month after receiving the Bodhisattva Vows, Mr. Chou came to visit me and expressed a desire to be my student. I asked him, "What has happened?"
"Wow! Your prediction was really accurate. I will be going to Malaysia in July. You've got to teach me this divination method!" Chou Hsin Yi spoke excitedly.
So I taught him a practical divination method which he gratefully learned before leaving for Malaysia.
The Rite Of Bardo Deliverance
One night in July 1972, I had just fallen asleep when I was awakened by some jabbering noises that sounded like the twittering of birds, or rather, like the chirping of insects. It seemed to be coming from the corner of the house. I listened carefully for a moment and realized that it was actually a conversation involving several people. One of them said,
"Well, let's stay here tonight. Tomorrow we can have a big feast."
"I wonder which Dharma master will be presiding tomorrow over the Bardo Deliverance Ceremony at the Fa Hung
Temple? If he is just a dabbler, he won't even be able to enfetter my shackles!" At this moment I heard the sounds of metal chains knocking around. Another voice spoke, "Lower your voice. You don't want to wake anyone."
The next morning I looked in the directory for the telephone number of the Fa Hung Temple. I made a call,
"Could you please tell me if there is a Deliverance Ceremony at your temple today?"
"Yes, do you want to sign up your ancestors and family members for the ceremony? You must hurry, as the Ceremony Prayer is about to be written soon." I thanked the man and hung up.
From this incident, I realized that disembodied spirits do, indeed, exist.
That evening after work I hurried over to the Fa Hung Temple. Inside, a Dharma master wearing a Five Buddhas Crown was sitting between two rows of nuns who were playing some musical implements and loudly chanting the extra.
The Dharma master was performing hand gestures of Deliverance which were to make food offerings to the hungry ghosts. (The Spirit Master had taught them to me during my night lessons.)
I channelled my psychic energy to my eyes and found that the temple was filled with crowds of spirits, just like the scene I had seen at the Pi Shan Temple. Two ghosts were carrying a bamboo pole and after sliding it through a cloth bag of rice, they took the whole bag away. It was a very unusual situation : the bag of physical rice stayed unmoved while the rice's vital energy was carried away by the two ghosts. I learned that the so-called feasts referred to by the spirits were not the physical consumption of the actual, visible meats, poultry, and fish, but rather, the extracting of the "chi" from the foods. Spirits consume the invisible chi while we who are alive consume the physical foods. This kind of phenomenon proves that food consumed by living people also possesses a special kind of . "chi" in it. Perhaps the reader might wonder if I was born with this psychic vision. No, I was able to see the spirits only after I exercised and channelled the psychic energy to my eyes. If the Dharma master at the ceremony did not have the ability to see the spirits, then he would not be able to unlock their chains and shackles. While I was busy watching, a swirling black shadow suddenly appeared before me, almost making me jump. The shadow squatted and spoke,
"Kind man, I beg you to unlock the chains on my hands!" "Why do you not ask the Dharma master to help you?
"Why are you asking me?"
"The Dharma master has chanted the mantra and made the hand gestures. He is sweating from working so hard, but the chains around my hands have hardly moved at all. When the Dharma master waved his long sleeve, I lost my balance and fell to one side. I asked the Ghost Warden for help. First he shook his head, then tipped me that I should ask the man wearing a white shirt and standing on the side, as he might be able to help me. That is why I am begging you."
"All right, I will give it a try." Several previous spiritual encounters had made me much bolder. Although I was facing the ghosts, I did not seem to have any fear. After all, as long as men and ghosts do not hurt each other, there is nothing to be afraid of. When one does not have a guilty conscience, even a ghostly, midnight knocking at one's door should not cause any fear.
Silently I chanted the Rebirth Mantra three times. The ghost shook his head as his hands were still tightly manacled.
Then I chanted, "The disciple Lian Shen, a practitioner of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma, is asking the spirits of Liuchia Liu Ting, the Twelve T'ien Yu goddesses, the Na Yen goddesses, the Three Generals in charge of the celestial armies... " At that moment I had my palms joined, but suddenly the palms started to form a mudra on their own and with one striking motion, the mudra automatically chopped down on the manacles of the ghost. With a clattering sound, the ghost's hands were free! The black shadow prostrated on the floor and made several bows, then suddenly he sprang up and ran towards the altar. He came back with many ghosts whose hands were also manacled by metal chains. There were more than twenty of them. Now the job had become much bigger. I continued to recite the mantra and form the mudras and, one by one, the ghosts were unchained. They each bowed happily; before leaving. Throughout this process I had stood at the same spot, and the motions from my hand gestures had attracted the attention of the people surrounding me. They probably thought that this young man was mentally ill and having a flare up! How could they have known that I was enfettering the shackles of so many ghosts! They could laugh all they wanted to!
How could they understand this? Up on the stage, the Dharma master was gesturing dramatically. Of course, many truly learned and accomplished Taoist practitioners exist, but there are also many Dharma masters who cannot see the spirits at all. I wonder if these Dharma masters become indebted to the ghosts that they are unable to deliver from their chains?
As I have been able to see numerous ghosts, I have been asked what ghosts look like. This is my reply,
"Like men, ghosts also differ from each other by their body shapes and facial features. Some have kind faces and some have evil-looking faces."
I have seen drawings of green-faced and long-toothed ghosts with long tongues and dishevelled hair; however, these are just the creations of men. In reality, ghosts are just like human beings. There are fair ladies and refined, courteous gentlemen among them. In my opinion there is nothing dreadful about being friends with ghosts. It is actually more scary to be friends with human beings whose true feelings are masked behind their faces.
During that period, I already had twenty Buddhas and Bodhisattvas enshrined at my altar at home although not too many people knew about it. One time, after lighting an incense at the altar so I could do prostrations, a lotus suddenly appeared and slowly descended from above. Sitting on the lotus was a Bodhisattva with brilliant lights radiating from him. He was wearing a Five Buddhas Crown on his head and a gem necklace around his neck. He held a staff in his left hand. His kind, round face was filled with compassion. The Bodhisattva spoke, "Lian Shen, I am Ksitigarbha, the guardian of the nether world. Why don't you conduct some deliverance ceremonies at your home shrine?"
"Bodhisattva, will I be able to do it? I am afraid people will laugh at me. The ritual of transforming and offering food to the hungry ghosts is traditionally performed only by monks. I am just a lay Buddhist who has taken the Bodhisattva Vows. To start performing such a ritual myself would be overstepping a rule set up by past elders. How about inviting a high official monk to head the ceremony while I accompany him on the side? Will this do?"
"Lian Shen, what do you think the Ten Dharma Realms are? The so-called Ten Dharma Realms are in fact Non Dharma Realms. They are inherently nonexistent. Why are you still debating whether you should do it or not?"
"Bodhisattva, how can I conduct a Dharma ceremony in a residence? I would have to apply for an official permit so everything would be legal."
"Then go quickly and get this done," replied the Bodhisattva.
"Should I register as a Taoist or Buddhist organization?"
"Do you regard the Tao and mysticism of Lao Tzu as different from that of Buddhism? Is there really any difference whether you register as a Taoist or Buddhist? There are different kinds of people in this world; therefore, some will encounter the ordinary aspects ofthe Buddhist teachings while others will see its mystical aspects. Actually, both Taoism and Buddhism could vanish and become extinct. Experience this truth yourself."
With these words Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva smiled and disappeared.
Thus I joined the Chinese Taoist Society and became an official member. I also became a member of the Chinese Buddhist Society, and they mailed me a diploma for taking the Bodhisattva Vows. Since I have been baptized as a Christian, initiated into Taoism, and taken the Buddhist Vows, I have indeed become someone who has traversed these three religions. However, with my concurrent practice in Buddhism and Taoism, I think that Buddhism is more organized, its scriptures more complete, and its liturgies more well-defined. Therefore my ideological inclinations tend to lean slightly towards Buddhism.
The First Dharma Ceremony At The Lei Tsang Temple
The first Dharma ceremony at the Lei Tsang Temple was conducted on the eighteenth day of the seventh lunar month.
We did not notify anyone about this beforehand, but surprisingly, many people we had never met before found out about it and came to join us. My little shrine had never been so crowded. Everyone bowed sincerely to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at the shrine. After burning the prayer which stated the purpose of the ceremony, I solemnly sat down and started to chant first the Amitabha Sutra, followed by the Rebirth Mantra, the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Original Vow Sutra, the Golden Light Luminous Sutra (a Taoist liturgy on how to make offerings to Heaven), and then the Diamond Sutra. Although all these sutras took quite some time to chant, I was not tired at all. In fact, I did not even pause once I started and was able to chant continuously in a steady and lively manner. Like floating clouds and flowing water, each sound of my voice, which seemed to have been replaced by those of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, was clearly audible.
Next I did what a presiding monk would do and performed "a dance of hand gestures" that my Spirit Master, Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States, had taught me. Many people were awed at the display of the mudras and asked me from whom I had learned them. They wanted to know the name of the monk who had taught me this ritual. Someone commented,
"You must have paid someone to teach you this!"
I just smiled and did not reply.
Throughout the ceremony, I had the extraordinary feeling that the whole shrine was infused with a strong spiritual energy. Inside my heart, a kind of solemn dignity arose that kept expanding until it turned into thousands of lotuses, showers of sparkling heavenly flowers slowly drifting down from the sky. When I was burning the prayer, I saw a heavenly being in the ancient, official attire of black hat and red robe take the prayer into his hands and pass it on to the Ten Dharma Realms. The first Dharma ceremony at the Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple at Taichung turned out to be a spectacular event.
Using his metal staff, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva sent vibrations to the gate of hell and opened it. Under his guidance, spirits in the nether world immersed themselves in the shower of Dharma. While charm papers were being burned, ritual implements tinkled and psalms resounded. Amid this scene of bustle and excitement, many miracles occurred. I shall record them as follows:
Mrs. Yang Pi T'ao, who resided in Taichung near the Teacher's College, was suddenly able to see her brother who had died in his youth. Her brother was conscripted into the Japanese Army during Taiwan's occupation by Japan and had died on a battlefield somewhere in Southeast Asia. This was her account,
"My brother was led by a local earth god and, as soon as he walked over the threshold into the shrine, he looked at me, and I recognized him right away. It was indeed my brother. I could see him clearly!"
Mrs. Li, the proprietress of Yung Lung Food Company, who lived on Li Hsing Road in Taichung, had lost her son in his eighth year. She saw a lotus blooming and enlarging in front of her. Sitting inside the lotus was Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who shook his metal staff and called aloud,
"Go! Your mother is over there."
Mrs. Li's eight year old son crawled out from under the lotus seat, and cried out as he wrapped his arms around his mother. Embracing each other, mother and son wailed in grief. Later she asked the people around her,
"Didn't you see my son?" The people around her replied,
"We could see your hands embracing something in the air, and we heard your deafening cries. We wondered what had happened to you!"
A Mrs. Liu, who lived on Mei Ts'un Road in Taichung, gave this account,
"I suddenly saw a well-lit road in front of me. As I walked on this road, I crossed over mountain after mountain, finally arriving at a most beautiful place. There the grasses were emerald and fragrant, flowers were blooming, and birds were singing in the deep woods. I saw many celestial maidens playing together. It was such a wonderful place." Friends! Where is this place that she has visited? No one knows.
Miss Ch'en Ch'iu Lan, who lived on Ch'e Road Tung Lang, was sitting behind me during the ceremony. She closed her eyes and went into a trance. She found herself somehow transported to a dark and gloomy place that reeked of a foul and nauseating stench. When she opened her eyes, she saw before her an expanding red pool of blood. Many women were drowning and struggling in the bloody pool. As they saw Miss Ch'en approaching, they shouted out for help. Overtaken by a deep fear, she turned around to find her way back. When she came back to herself, she found that her limbs were sore.
A young man called Ch'iu Wen Pin, who joined a Dharma ceremony for the first time, was also sitting behind me. He closed his eyes and was surprised to see himself surrounded by countless strangers. All of them had their hands extended to him and were asking for money. They said to him,
"Young man, you have to pay us back now what you have owed us from your previous life."
However, he did not recognize any of the faces. He had never seen any of them in his life, so where have these people seen him? This young man did not believe in reincarnation, nor did he believe in ghosts and spirits. Yet he did see and clearly hear these peop!e demanding payment of a debt. After this experience, he started to believe somewhat. He made a vow to do more charities in this life so as to compensate for his previous debt.
The above incidents were just a few of the many psychic experiences that took place at our first Dharma ceremony. The success of this Dharma ceremony helped to lay the foundation for future ceremonies. Since then, there have always been psychic happenings in every single Dharma ceremony that I have conducted. Such inconceivable events have convinced many people, who were originally materialists, to believe in the existence of spirits and enhance their faith and determination to seek the truth in Buddhism and Taoism. Indeed, it is rare to be born as a human, with a fleeting, human life that lasts only several decades. Wouldn't one be wasting one's opportunity by not seeking the eternal path to the truth while journeying through life?
The events I have recorded here are completely true, and they are only a fraction of what I have experienced. I know I cannot force people to believe in them if they choose to take them as fairy tales. In this scientific age, almost all teachings of karma, reincarnation, heaven and hell, and spirituality are ridiculed as being superstitious. Even a religious person whose faith is devout is mocked as a superstitious person. Take me for example! How do other people look at me? I am regarded by many as a mentally ill person who talks to himself, a monster, and an ignorant. On the outside, I am isolated and cut off from others, but my inner world is so rich. I detest hypocrisy and lies. My real perceptions have been sneered at and derided as "psychological manifestations." These accusations have caused great grief in me. Yet I must declare that I do not advocate "superstitions." I abhor mediums who harm others, charlatans who, under the pretense of spirituality, cheat people out of money or take advantage of them sexually. These transgressions are committed by men and not by gods or Buddhas. It is the vileness in human hearts that has defiled the gods and Buddhas. Such people shall suffer in hells created by themselves.
What I have written here are my true, personal experiences in the world of spirits. Of course, there are many other incidents which I shall write about later. They will reveal studies and discoveries I have made about the spirit realm.
How does one get in touch with the world of spirits? How does one practice occult arts through the spirits? How does one channel the spirits? How does one make spiritual divinations? How does one practice fortune-telling with the eight trigrams? What is the soul? How does one become a medium? I shall reveal every one of these secrets. Of course these secrets are those that the world of spirits have directed me to see and hear, and much is also owed to the guidance and teachings of my spirit master, Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States. I do not believe that such magic practices have before been disclosed. This is indeed a rare book.
What Is The Soul?
What is the soul? This is a question that has puzzled mankind for thousands of years and no one, as yet, has come up with a detailed and satisfactory answer to it. Some people hold the opinion that the soul is something invisible and untouchable, which may or may not exist. Some feel that, even if the soul exists, it exerts no influence whatsoever on the living person, and if it does not exist, then it is even less worthy of study.
Is the soul really not worthy of study? Many people are curious about the nature of the soul, yet few have access to the answer. Is the soul really invisible and untouchable? Many people answer "yes" to the question, although they really do not know. I would like to boldly make a startling statement to the reader, "You are the soul." What is the soul? You are the soul! Why is it that being the soul oneself, one does not know nor realize that one is actually the soul? Where then is the soul hidden?
There is this account in the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Original Vows Sutra: The Holy Maiden asked the Ghost King named Poisonless,
"Where is Hell?"
Poisonless answered, "Within the three seas are hundreds of thousands of great hells; each one is different."
The Holy Maiden again asked the Ghost King, "My mother has not been dead long. Do you know where her soul has gone to?"
In this sutra, there is a reference made by the Holy Maiden to the soul and the inference is that the soul continues to exist after a person dies. But, why is it that a person cannot see the soul when alive? My answer is, when man is born, the soul becomes surrounded by the external visible shell, and the soul loses its consciousness. When living in the visible world, man becomes dependent on all tangible forms. During this time, the soul can be said to be dormant. Although it dwells inside the body, it has lost its awareness; it is as if it is not there. Therefore, people take the illusory to be reality and believe the physical body is the true self. The soul remains silent, dormant until the day the physical body dies. Then the soul gradually reawakens, becoming active again. Herein lies the principle of rebirth and reincarnation. The cycles of birth and death continue endlessly. Taoist and Buddhist practitioners today are cultivating the transcendence of the soul over birth and death, not the longevity of the physical body.
Therefore, one cannot experience one's soul while alive, because one's soul is dormant. There are probably people who still doubt this and find it hard to accept. But, imagine this, if one's soul is awake and conscious while one is still physically alive, what kind of world would such a person experience?
This kind of realm is understood by only a very few people. Only when a person has reached the realm when his soul is conscious, can he understand what the soul is. Only then can such a person be qualified to use spiritual power to do divination. And what a wonderful experience that is!
According to my knowledge, souls exist everywhere.
They exist in the hills and woods, in rivers and oceans, in residences of living people (Yang abodes) and those of dead people (cemeteries or Yin abodes), in busy market places and even inside the human body. A soul can expand to cover the sky and earth, or it can contract to hide inside a grain of sand, a speck of dust, or a water droplet. There are also different types of souls: those of Buddhas, gods, humans, ghosts, and demons. This knowledge has come from my direct observations and not from any other source. The most important question is what is the soul? To me, the soul feels like a stream of "phi," a stream of "energy," or a kind of "transformation." What is the soul made up of? Since I am not a scientist, I cannot analyze this, but I can detect the soul's existence and to me it feels like "electricity" and "radiation."
Normally, the visible world is inhabited by men and myriad material things, and the invisible world is inhabited by souls. Souls in the world of spirits can have knowledge of the visible world, whereas it is very difficult for men to understand the invisible world. This is the reason why researchers who are studying the soul still have not been able to unlock the riddle. Although there are some people whose souls are conscious and can communicate with the realm of the spirits, such people are usually ridiculed as mentally ill, imagining things, or actually hallucinating. Indeed, such experiences can be sensed, but not explained in words. A description of the truth and mystery of the soul can never evoke a direct experience of it. People who are interested should seek to learn firsthand about the world of the spirits. The world of spirits and the visible world are not just neighbors to each other, but are related far more intimately. We have come from the world of spirits and shall return to the world of spirits. Men also live together with the spirits, so how can we say that there is no connection between the two? One can manoeuver power from the world of spirits to accomplish many great tasks. Perhaps the reader still does not believe me, but if one will just read further, I will reveal the secrets in the rest of this book.
Harm Caused By Ghosts And Evil Spirits
In chapter six, The Tathagata's Praises, of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Original Vows Sutra, there is this account:
"There are men and women who become bedridden and are unable to get well, yet who cannot die in spite of their wishes. At night they dream of wicked ghosts, of family and relatives, of wandering on dangerous paths with ghosts, of being weighed down by ghosts, or roaming with ghosts and spirits. Such conditions can continue for days, months, even years while the sufferers deteriorate and cry out painfully in their sleep. All of this is happening while the degree of severity of their karmic deeds is being resolved. They cannot die, yet they have great difficulty getting cured. The ordinary eyes of men and women cannot recognize such things."
This speech from the sutra clearly indicates that ghosts and spirits can influence the health of humans. "Being weighed down by ghosts or roaming with ghosts and spirits" implies that ghosts and spirits can cause mischief and harm; therefore, one should not underestimate their behavior. From my own experiences, I know that there are good and evil spirits, just as there are good and evil men. Good spirits help people to do good deeds, while evil spirits help men to do evil. Wars take place in the world of spirits just as they do in the visible world. Before discussing the main theme ofthis chapter, I would like to share this true example.
One day while I was at my shrine chanting the Diamond Sutra, a stranger came to see me. This young man was in his thirties, with an angular face, large ears, and glistening eyes. Tall and straight, there was a heroic quality about him. This young man came straight to the point,
"Mr. Lu, my sister was hospitalized in the P'u T'i Hospital in Taichung, and she often attended Dharma lectures given by the Shan Kuo Buddhist Society. A Mr. Chan of the society told my sister some of the mystical things that you have experienced. My sister especially asked me to look you up because she thinks that you might be able to help me. My last name is K'e, and I am a teacher in the Taoyuan Middle School."
"What can I help you with?" I asked curiously. The young man in front of me looked healthy and was without any signs of illnesses. "Mr. Lu, I know I look healthy. In fact, I have seen many doctors and none of them thinks that I am ill. I have had all parts of my body examined and all kinds of tests done-including testing my brain waves. All tests were negative. But I am in extreme pain, and also I am afraid to get married. My girl friend has asked me to marry her but knowing my condition, I have said no to her. I will have to bear this pain and live my life alone."
There was misery in his face and tears in his eyes.
"What is wrong with you then?"
So he told me the whole story exactly as it had happened. One day about five years previously, while he was teaching in the classroom, he suddenly felt a buzzing sound, as if a swarm of bees was approaching him from afar. Then his head started to hurt. The headache and giddiness rapidly accelerated, and when he could not tolerate them any more, he passed out on the floor. Watching him, the students were panic-stricken. However, five minutes later, he gradually came to himself. The sudden pain and dizziness had completely vanished. He was baffled by the incident and so was the school doctor after examining him. Mr. K'e had always been very healthy; he did not even catch cold easily. His face was ruddy, and there was no sign of anemia. Why did he pass out? Mr. K'e did not pay too much attention to that first incident, but the attacks began to occur frequently.
Each time, before he passed out, he would hear the buzzing from afar, growing closer and louder. Then his head would start to hurt. After falling unconscious for five minutes, he would wake up again. He got to the point that, whenever he detected the buzzing sound of the bees, he would instantly drop his chalk, run back to the dormitory and wait for the blackout. Five minutes later, he would walk back to the classroom to resume his class. During the past five years, he had sought out many traditional and western doctors and taken all kinds of pills, injections, and electric therapies-all to no avail. Some doctors told him,
"This is a psychological illness due to fatigue and nervousness. Just don't think about it; it will get better on its own."
Others said, "These are the symptoms of epilepsy, you should consult a neurologist!"
The neurologists said, "Your electroencephalogram is normal, and we can't find anything wrong."
He had even passed out in front of the doctors, yet they were at a loss what to do. Mr. K'e's illness stupefied even the medical doctors.
Talking with Mr. K'e, I took from the bookshelf my copy of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Original Vows Sutra and opened it to chapter six, The Tathagata's Praises. I asked him to read the paragraph which I quoted at the beginning of this chapter. When he finished, he looked up and said,
"Mr. Lu, do you think that spirits have caused my illness?"
"That is right. Although most modern men do not believe in this, I think that in your case, spirits are at the root of your illness. I believe this based on my own experiences in the world of spirits. Science can prove the existence of many kinds of radiation in space, and broadcast stations transmit their frequencies around the world. Although the world of spirits has not been empirically confirmed by science, we cannot arbitrarily deny its existence. Radiation existed long before it was discovered by man. The transmission of televised images and sounds utilize frequencies we cannot touch, hear, or see. It is wonderful that scientists have made great discoveries and brought about changes day after day. Science, however, cannot negate the existence of that which it does not yet have the tools to detect."
"What you say makes sense, but can you cure me?"
"I can give it a try. I hope I have the ability to heal you."
While we were discussing the world of spirits, he suddenly cried out.
"Here it comes, here it comes, the buzzing sound is coming."
He first pressed both his hands over his ears, then rolled up his eyes. He was sitting on the sofa, but his body slowly slouched and leaned to one side, then rolled off the sofa onto the stone floor below. He was also raving words that were hard to understand. I lowered my head to try to listen to what he was saying and realized that his voice now sounded like a woman's.
I suddenly remembered that my spirit master, Mr. Three- Peaks-Nine-States, had taught me a demon-subjugating mantra called the Great Brahma Diamond Mantra. So I pressed my thumb over a spot at the crown of Mr. K'e's head and silently chanted the mantra,
"Om chin lin zhi yin ji mi su do lu ling kang."
I silently chanted this mantra seven times and wrote a magic symbol six times on his crown spot with my thumb. Mr. K'e slightly opened his lips and spoke in an affectedly sweet voice,
"Sir, please let me out." "Who are you? Why are you possessing the body of Mr. K'e? I will let you go after you tell me the truth." The woman spirit spoke through Mr. K'e's mouth.
"Five years ago, Mr. K'e was my neighbor. I became ill and passed away. On the day of my funeral, Mr. K'e was walking by my house and saw my picture. He expressed that he felt pity for me. Since he had sympathy for me and I did not have any place to go, I went to find him."
"How old were you then? What was your name?"
"I was nineteen and my name was Ch'en Hsiang Lan."
"Since you don't have any place to go to, why don't I chant the Spirit Retrieval Mantra to retrieve your spirit. You may attach yourself to a branch of camphor or willow tree and help me run errands in the spirit world. When you accumulate enough merits, I can help you to be reborn in the human realm or in a heavenly realm. Do you agree to it?"
"It is fine, but Mr. K'e .."
"Mr. K'e has not done you any harm. He just pitied you; you have taken him too seriously. If you want him to be well, the best solution is for you to quickly release yourself from him. If you continue to be infatuated with him, don't blame me if I have to use the Five Thunders Mudra to break you into pieces! If I did, it would be hard for you to be reborn again."
"All right, sir, I am willing to take a camphor or willow branch to be my body and help you run errands. But you cannot chain me up!"
Thus I chanted the Spirit Retrieval Mantra, placed a piece of willow tree on top of the crown spot on Mr. K'e, and uttered the incantation, "Willow Spirit Willow Lady, grown by the side of an ancient grave in the wilderness, I now invite you to join the spirit troop, so you won't have to bear the winds and hails any more. During the eight festivals and the arrival of the four seasons, I will make offerings to you. I will light incense for you every day. Chichiheheyangyang. The sun rises in the east, and the spirit axe releases you. Quickly depart from where you are. In the name of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma, disciple Lian Shen quickly retrieves the soul."
I chanted the incantation three times altogether, then took the willow branch off Mr. K'e's head and placed it under the shrine table, in a spot that people usually cannot see.
Mr. K'e woke up and I spoke to him,
"You are all cured now. You can return to Taoyuan."
Mr. K'e shook his head in disbelief.
"Was there a young lady by the name of Ch'en Hsiang Lan who was a neighbor of yours five years ago? She was nineteen at the time."
"Oh yes! But she died. She was quite pretty. Does she have anything to do with my condition? How do you know about her?" Mr. K'e asked in surprise.
I related the incident from beginning to end. Mr. K'e left, not quite convinced. Several weeks later, a letter came from him. He wrote,
"Since that day, I have not heard any more buzzing sounds, and I have not had any more headaches or dizziness. My bright future has reappeared in my life. This is a miracle. Mr. Sheng-yen Lu, I will forever be grateful to you. There is, indeed, a world of spirits in this Universe."
I did not write back to him. Ch'en Hsianz Lan is now staying in my Buddhist shrine. Although she is a ghost her nature is not bad, and she is making great progress in her spiritual growth. She has also been a great help to me. From this true story, we know that spirits can exert great influences on us. They can affect the thoughts and behaviors of living persons. The spirit of a deceased scientist can even render help to a living scientist to inspire him in his inventions. This kind of activity is the sixth sense in the subconscious. From studying the above case history, I found out that the souls of Mr. K'e and Ch'en Hsiang Lan vibrated in similar frequencies, and it would be easy for them to perceive each other's thoughts. Mr. K'e's sympathy for Ch'en Hsiang Lan provided a guidance for her soul to seek him out. Mr. K'e was like a radio receiving the frequencies sent out by Chen Hsiang Lan, who was like a radio transmitter.
The principle is the same behind most so-called mischief caused by spirits. The differences lie in the karmic causes and consequences. Love and hatred from previous lives continue to develop and be avenged in this life. There is also the so called Ch'ung Sha-an affront by noxious energy. This case of Mr. K'e is an example of being effected by Yin energy. What I have written here is fact. If someone chooses not to believe in it, there is nothing I can do about it. But, under the vast sky, there are all kinds of unheard-of-but-true stories. Some of the happenings I have come across are a hundred times more unusual than this one!
The Awakening Of The Soul
There is really a "soul" inside every body. Unfortunately, for many people this soul is dead, inactive, and does not seem to serve any function. However, if one is able to awaken this soul, one will be truly alive both in body and in spirit. In the world today, those people whose souls are "alive" still comprise in the minority. Among these individuals are those who, in the Western world, are known as "mediums," and, in Taiwan, as "chi tungs." These are people who allow ghosts and spirits to attach to their bodies. Many people seek out mediums and chi tungs for psychic consultations or divinations.
From the phenomenon of the existence of mediums and chi tongs, we can understand that they function merely as relay stations providing a means of communication between men and the world of spirits. Some of these mediums and chi tongs do not necessarily know how to channel and control their own psychic energies. They merely lend their bodies to be used by the spirits. Mediums and spirits are able to transmit and receive each other's messages because their souls vibrate at similar frequencies. This is the first level of application for an "alive" soul.
Often people regard mediums as masqueraders who are merely putting on an act. This does occur. When the takeover by a spirit is strong, the medium can enter into a deep trance and not even be aware of what he himself has said. If the takeover is light and the medium knows of it and is of a character to satisfy his or her own egotistic desires, he or she might bluff and swindle people out of their money or take sexual advantage of them. Such occurrences are the main reason behind people's distrust of mediums. Since my first spiritual encounter and the beginning of my spiritual studies, I have travelled extensively and have noticed that eight out of ten mediums are swindlers. By misusing the talent they are born with, they not only defraud people but also bang shame to the world of spirits. Such unethical mediums make people suspicious of those with "awakened souls" who really want to help others.
I know quite a few mediums in Taiwan, but most of them have turned to their wicked side using their talent as a money-making tool. Apart from mediums, only a very few people can truly cultivate and channel their own souls. The "cultivating of the soul" refers to the process of spiritual practice that returns one to one's Original Nature, the True Self. The ultimate goal of spiritual practice is to shed the external shell and have the awakened soul ascend directly to the realm of purity and stillness where there is no birth and no death. A spiritual cultivator works to reawaken a soul that is vivacious and pure. When one gains access to one's own soul, one does not need to rely on any other medium. One can communicate directly with other spirits. This kind of magical power can be called 'psychic power." The "live soul" inside one's own body is able to communicate directly with other "live souls."
This is far superior to relying on mediums who may be manipulated by external spirits. The state in which one is in conscious control of one's own soul is filled with freedom and happiness. With spiritual cultivation, one can advance to a level at which one can manoeuver "psychic energy" to one's eyes, thus directly perceiving the world of spirits. This is known as the faculty of divine sight, which differs from the kind of sight which some people are born with that enables them to see spirits in the nether world. (In the latter case, their eyes sparkle at night, like those of a canine.) At the advanced level, one can channel energy to the ears and attain the faculty of divine hearing. Divine hearing enables one to directly hear conversations in the invisible worlds.
At the beginning of this book, I mentioned a blue-robed lady from Hualian. She is a spiritual cultivator at the Tz'u Hui Tang's local chapter at Shih Pi, and she has already attained the faculty of divine hearing. She can talk directly with ghosts and spirits. Among my acquaintances, with the exceptions of my teacher Taoist Master Ch'ing Chen and the blue-robed lady, I have not met anyone else who has the faculty of divine hearing. Perhaps there are others, but I am not aware of them. If one can manoeuver the soul outside one's body, one can perceive other people's thoughts (the divine faculty of reading others' minds), and explore the past and future (the divine faculty of knowing karmic causes and consequences).
One's soul can travel freely anywhere (the faculty of divine travel). One can also attain the divine state of Non Outflow (a state of No Birth and No Death). These six kinds of transcendental powers can all be attained through spiritual cultivation of the soul. When one attains these six transcendental powers, one becomes a Buddha who has realized the highest Enlightenment, or in Taoist terminology, a Ta Lo Chin Hsien (Great Immortal).
How does one transform from an ordinary person with a dormant soul to someone with an "awakened soul"? The key to activating the soul lies in gaining access to the juncture that separates the conscious mind from the psyche. This is an extremely important task. There are many benefits in opening up the psyche. I have helped several hundreds, to as many as a thousand people to activate their psychic power, and this I shall illustrate with a true incident here.
Tsai Wen Ming is a Taipei engineer with a bachelor degree. We attended the same college, and he is two years my junior. He has no religious belief and is totally disinterested in any spiritual studies. He has good health and a kind and honest heart. While in college, he heard some of the many rumors regarding my psychic abilities. He felt that the stories were just rumors and carried no credibility. At the same time he formed the opinion that I must be a weird, neurotic person.
After his graduation, he, by chance, turned up working at the same institution as I. One evening, Tsai Wen Ming came up to me,
"Well, Lao Mu, you don't seem to be a secretive person at all!"
"Secretive? Why should I be secretive? I am just an ordinary person and lead an ordinary life like everyone else. Should I behave differently from others?" I smiled.
"I have heard from others that you can do psychic divination and predict the future, that you know many secrets in heaven and on earth, and that you can talk with gods! But, I don't believe in any of those things. After all, Confucius himself didn't talk at all about extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings. I absolutely would not believe such things unless I could experience them myself. To believe, it would have to be something that I could see while I was awake and completely conscious."
"Do you want to experience it then?" I asked him.
"Yes, I do."
"The only way to do this is to awaken your own soul and open up your psychic energy. Only when you communicate to the world of spirits with your own awakened soul will a sympathetic chord be struck. It is a fruitless approach to try to encounter the world of spirits by using only those means available through the flesh. I have often teased scientific researchers (whose souls are still dormant) while they try, with only physical tools, to explore the realm of the spirits. Is that possible ? To explore and investigate the realm of spirits, one of the most important requisites is to be in possession of an awakened soul."
"Can anyone do it?" asked Tsai Wen Ming.
"Yes," I answered affirmatively.
I took Tsai Wen Ming into my study and drew a paper charm. The message on the charm was,
"Om, by decree of the Jade Emperor, gods from the four directions shall help the soul to be activated, as in accordance with the rules of the Most Pure Correct Dharma."
After the charm was burned and ingested by Tsai Wen Ming, I formed the Five Thunders Mudra and brought it down five times in a chopping gesture on his crown. Sitting on the chair with his feet touching the floor, he had his eyes tightly closed and his lips pursed. I taught him to join his palms and silently chant the name of "Jade Pond Golden Mother," who was my principal deity. The chanting of the Golden Mother's name has the same benefit as Pure Land Buddhism's chanting of Amitabha's epithet - it brings the mind into focus.
Earlier Tsai Wen Ming had taken a vegetarian meal and a bath. Now his mind turned to the hope that his soul would become "alive." The ingested charm started to take effect as the gods of the four directions arrived promptly after receiving the message. Gently they nudged his soul. After about twenty minutes, Tsai's hands began to lift up as if a kind of great force was raising them to a position above his head. At this moment he cried out loudly,
"Lao Lu, Lao Lu, I can't pull my hands back!"
Asking him to remain relaxed, I went behind him and exerted my thought power on his soul. When I called out in my mind for him to separate his hands, his hands separated. When I silently commanded him to make a circle with his left hand, he followed. When my mind told him to clap three times, he clapped three times. I then asked him to rejoin his palms, and he did. At this time Tsai called out again,
"Lao Lu, Lao Lu, a protector deity has appeared in front of my eyes. Lao Lu, I can't open my eyes."
"Can you try to open your eyes?"
"No, I can't."
"All right, just bow five times to the protector deity, and you can open your eyes."
After carrying this out as instructed, his eyes were able to open again. When Tsai got up from the chair, I explained to him what had happened. He was gabbergusted. He had not moved his hands intentionally at all, but they had moved as if a force had impelled them on their own. He had wanted to open his eyes, but his eyelids had refused to listen to him. While he was in this trance-like condition, he saw the protector deity clearly and consciously. This was neither a dream nor a hallucination. Ever since, the soul inside Tsai Wen Ming's physical body has remained awakened. However, Tsai did not pursue any spiritual cultivation, and thus the awakening did not bring him any great benefits.
He is at the level that, whenever he steps into a house, he can feel the Yin energy of any disembodied spirits and thus can tell whether or not it would be a safe house in which to live.
The Key to Awakening the Soul - Concentrating the Mind and Stilling the Thoughts
It is actually not difficult for an ordinary person to learn the art of soul awakening. It is possible to rely only on one's own mind power to accomplish it. However, the most important key is to cultivate the mind to a state of quietness where not even a single thought arises. In such a frame of mind, one is not aware of the physical body, though the body is there; one is conscious, yet one does not dwell on any thoughts. At this critical moment, if one enters the juncture that separates waking consciousness from unconsciousness, one can, in a flash, break through all barriers. A great path of brightness and splendor will manifest in one's mind. When one walks on this path following the spiritual guidance provided, one day there might come the clap of a thunderbolt, as heaven and earth start to shatter, and the Universal Truth is disclosed to one. If one wants to become acquainted with one's "true soul," one can use the following method:
1) First prepare a clean room, such as a study, in which one will not be disturbed. As the lotus posture used by meditators is usually quite difficult for ordinary people to attempt, one may instead sit on a chair. Buddhists or Taoists can light an incense stick, then sit for the duration of the burning of the incense. Join both palms and hold them in a relaxed manner in front of the chest. If one is a Christian, there is no need to light incense. Buddhists should silently chant the name of Amitabha, Taoists should chant the epithet of the Jade Pond Golden Mother, and Christians should chant the name of Jesus Christ.
Every five minutes, one should add this phrase, "please help my true soul to reawaken."
2) Since the characteristics and stage of development are different in each soul, the time taken for each soul to reawaken will also vary. Some people might be able to succeed with one attempt, while others may require at least three sittings. If one can receive help from a spiritual adept, there will be twice the result with half the effort. Do not, however, become discouraged. There was one woman in her forties who, after sitting for seven consecutive days, attained the unexpected result of divine eyesight.
3) Underlying both meditation and soul awakening is the tenet that a quiet state of mind is of paramount importance. "When the mind is still, all Dharmas are empty of characterstics. In such a state, Enlightenment is realized." Although meditation appears to be a very simple act, it is not easy for someone to sit quietly, maintaining a high concentration, while the mind rests in a totally pure state. How many individuals can enter into this state of mind? Most people bustle about in their lives. It is very seldom that one can sit down for half an hour with the mind in stillness. A person who can sit with his mind totally quiet for half an hour is definitely no ordinary person.
4) People who are learning to awaken their souls must remember that the moment the spiritual light shines is also the moment when one's mind is completely quiet and still. At such moments, when no thought arises, one realizes the true nature of the mind, attains liberation and self-mastery.
5) Please note that when the moment of understanding dawns, one's limbs might start moving on their own in a dance. I will not elaborate on it as one can experience directly the surge of spiritual energy within oneself when the soul awakens. Although the power to awaken the soul comes from oneself, why not also ask help from the spiritual realm? After the soul is awakened, one may then embark on the very long journey of cultivation towards spiritual maturation. In fact, the awakening of the soul is a relatively easy step compared to the challenges on the path of spiritual cultivation. At the final moment, while still sitting in the lotus meditating posture, one will hear the roaring of thunder in the sky as the soul moves to the crown energy center. When the energy of the soul is reinforced by the sound of thunder, the Three Lights will manifest, and one's soul will soar from one's gross body on earth to return to the Ocean of Void. One shall attain forever the lofty, magnificent, and eternal Truth. There are many benefits in having an awakened soul. I shall explain many of them in the next chapters.
The Lowest Level Of Application Of Spiritual Awakening - 'Chi Tung'
I do not deny that I have trained quite a few chi tongs (a kind of medium in Taiwan) who are now working at various temples. For example, I have trained the chi tungs of Lord Su in Chin Fu Temple, of Prince Nata in San Yuan Tang Temple, of Mystical Maiden of Nine Heaven in Pao T'ien Temple, of T'ai Yi Taoist in T'ai Yi Temple, of Matzu in Chen Hai Temple, of Three Mountains King in Three Mountains Temple, of Chi Kung Living Buddha in Pa Ching Temple, of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva in T'ien Te Temple, of Pa Kua Taoist in Tzu Shih Tang Temple, and of Master Lu Tung Pin in Chen Nan Temple. These chi tungs are accorded professional titles which correspond to the names of the deities they channel.
A chi tung is a person who lends his or her body to ghosts or spirits and serves as a conduit for the energy of the spirits. Although this is a lower form of obtaining psychic information, it is still considered a type of Spiritual Divination.
When a spirit attaches to the body of a chi tung, it is often for the purposes of divining, for an inquirer, regarding future, fate, family affairs, and health. If the chi tung is more advanced, one can ask him about one's karma and things related to the nether world. Some chi tungs can even travel or help others to travel and experience the nether world. Predictions made by chi tungs are often quite accurate. Therefore, many people (even doubters) have a great deal of interest in chi tungs and their many different styles of divination. Some chi tungs are immediately able to identify inquirer's names, know in advance what questions they have, and describe in familiar terms past events that have happened to them. This ability alone can keep inquirers fascinated. But there are also times when chi tungs fail. I know that gods, the beings in the higher spiritual realms, are not omnipotent although they have more knowledge than men. This is why one should not believe completely in communications from the higher beings.
There are many ranks of higher beings with different degrees of abilities. If the question asked by the inquirer is beyond the boundary of that particular high being's power, then even a high being cannot do anything about it. From my estimations, most of the beings channelled by the chi tungs are accurate about eighty percent of the time. In this Universe, with its myriad changes, men can often transform their fates through their own efforts. Since the powers of the high beings are limited, it is fine for one to pray to them for blessing and protection, but total dependency on them would lead to a state of confusion. Here I would like to emphasize the importance of self effort in the path of spiritual cultivation towards "Oneness." Although the Divine wants to aid one's efforts, one must also strive positively and energetically to make progress.
For example, if one desires to go to college but, instead of studying hard, one just prays to the gods and Buddhas, it will be impossible for the gods to help, even if they wanted to. Gods and Buddhas can help bring peace of mind, good health, and quick understanding of the subjects one is studying, but if one only prays instead of working hard, then one is operating from wrong motives.
The chi tungs in Taiwan are actually very similar to the mediums who can do psychic healings. Although employing different methods, they basically utilize the realm of the spirits to help them in the business of effecting healings for them. Although, at the start of their careers, the moral character of most chi tungs is good, many of them slowly become degenerate when bedazzled by material temptations. Some chi tongs who are in light trances take advantage of such occasions to ask inquirers for more money. At temples, people have to pay for all "business transactions," including counselling, worshiping, and the purchase of "spirit money." This "money business" causes true spirits to turn away. When evil spirits seize the opportunity to enter, it gives rise to charlatans. Chi tongs do not ordinarily engage in any spiritual practice; therefore, they are unable to judge if a spirit is good or evil. In the end, they become confused and do not know if they are channelling gods or demons. This is the sorrow of the chi tungs.
There was a case of a chi tung from the Chiayi County in Taiwan who, using the will of the gods as a pretense, cheated many people. He persuaded a follower to give him free room and board so he could pursue spiritual training, but instead, he seduced the host's daughter. This kind of fraudulent and licentious behavior is committed by the rotten elements within the ranks of the chi tongs. This particular chi tung had previously sought help from me.
At that time, he displayed a sincerity to do true spiritual cultivation, and I was momentarily taken in by him. Subsequently he used channelling as a pretense and caused much harms and many scandals, bringing disgrace to the world of spirits. He was, indeed, most detestable to use channelling as a tool to cheat others.
After this incident, a middle-aged man who looked like a blue collar worker came to see me. He was very forthright.
"Mr. Lu, I heard that you have the power to make me into a chi tung."
"What is it that you want?" I asked impatiently.
"I am very interested in becoming a chi tung. Lately the job market has been very tight. Even if I could find a job, the monthly salary would only be a few thousand dollars. If I became a chi tung, I could make more money. Also, people would look up to me and treat me like a god, so I could do whatever I like. That would be so interesting! I believe I can be trained very quickly. I am confident of that."
"I am sorry, but I don't train chi tongs any more," I spoke glumly
"Why not? I won't treat you shabbily. I will send you a red envelope [with money] every month," he bragged unblushingly.
"Please leave! Another chi tung with evil intentions? I have had enough!"
That middle-aged man did not seem to comprehend and insisted,
"I can pay tuition right now and send more later every month."
"I am sorry, I have decided not to train any more chi tungs. Please take your leave!"
My face had contorted into a painful twist, and I waved him away. That man left resentfully. I am disheartened by many of today's mediums and chi tungs. They themselves have contributed to this negative view held by ordinary people.
Many are uneducated, ignorant, superstitious swindlers who take money from and sexual advantage of others - all under the pretense of connection with the gods. My heart cries out in pain for people who have degenerated to such a level in their spiritual studies.
Channeling By Planchette Writing
Divination using planchette writing is seen quite often in Taiwan. Many of the local temples, known as En Chu Temples, and the Holy Emperor Temples (which worship Kuan Fu Tsu, a deified historical hero) often offer demonstrations of planchette writing. The demonstrations are performed by mediums called chi shengs who either work alone or in pairs. A tray of white sand is placed in front of the chi sheng who holds in his hand a V-shaped writing tool made out of peachwood. A group of assistants known as the luan shengs then chant scriptures to invoke deities to descend to the peachwood implement. While being supported by the chi sheng, the peachwood writing tool will write on its own in the sand. The deity usually announces its identity first before inscribing what will turn out to be a poem or essay. It is a rather bizarre scene. Generally the chi shengs and luan shengs carry out their rituals with great care and are very respectful to the deities who descend to the planchette. I have read some of the poems obtained by planchette writing, and there are quite a few good ones. Some of them advocate good deeds, proper etiquette, and moral behavior. There was one particular one I remember that advised people to be punctual, especially when attending lectures on sutras. Although some of the planchette writing is quite good, it sometimes seems to have been written in a hurry. The strangest thing is that, even when the chi shengs themselves do not know any English, Japanese, or Hebrew, there have been occasions when the deity has announced himself in one of these languages. For example, deities have announced themselves to be Jesus Christ or a Japanese god. In the case of the Japanese god, the planchette produced a poem written in Japanese.
This points to some mystical connections, as the chi shengs are generally not very educated, and it is puzzling that they would suddenly be able to write poems, especially in foreign languages! More than ten years ago, I witnessed a demonstration of planchette writing in the Tsu Shih Temple in Kaohsiung.
The chi sheng's hands first started trembling and then, in a fast, almost choreographed fashion, he wrote an essay in the sand. The speed of the composition was amazing, and the writing of calligraphy on a tray of sand was no simple feat either!
At that time I did not believe in planchette writing, but I was intrigued by the apparent sincerity of the chi shengs.
Today, I have realized that planchette writing is also a kind of Spiritual Divination. Planchette writing is actually a tool that the invisible spirits use to give teachings. The peach branch replaced a pen, and writing is used instead of the speaking voice. The writings serve to bridge communication between men and spirits, and the content usually advocates goodness and discourages evil doings. In Taichung, I have seen planchette writings at the Sheng Hsian Temple, Sheng Ming Palace, and Sheng Hsiu Palace. In Ts'ao T'un, I have witnessed planchette writings at the Hui Te Temple. In those temples, the chi shengs and luan shengs all wear long robes. Two other temples which are famous for planchette writings are Yuan Lin's Ch'uan Hua Temple and Penghu's Hsin Shan Temple.
The divination art of planchette writing has a long history in mainland China, although its degree of accuracy has been disputed. Most chi shengs and luan shengs have lumped together teachings from Confucius, Lao Tzu, and the Buddha.
The luan shengs have to observe very strict rules and an infraction is sometimes punished by up to an hour of kneeling.
Many of the popular Taoist classics in these temples are not passed down from past Taoist masters, but are edited from the many scriptures obtained by planchette writing.
One might have reservations about planchette writing but the following incident, which happened to me personally, is more than a mere coincidence. One time I was in Taipei and was taking a walk in the Chingmei area. I came upon a temple with a horizontal board bearing the following inscription: Three Religions Headquarters. Rather aimlessly I walked inside. At that time I had the regular habit of going into just any temple and paying homage at the shrine. Inside this temple the luan shengs were very busy. Some were serving tea, some were chanting scriptures, and others were reading out the inscriptions while the chi sheng was doing the planchette writing.
Although there were many followers in the temple (probably to seek guidance), the whole bustling scene was very quiet.
At this moment the peach branch suddenly stopped in mid air, then brandished a couple of times. All of the luan shengs became alarmed, and several of them knelt down to ask for guidance. The peach branch then alighted on the sand tray, and after making a hop it touched down again to start writing.
"We have here among us a visitor from Taichung's Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple, Lian Shen, who is a disciple of Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States. Lian Shen's crown chakra is already open. Since he is visiting us, he should be treated with good manners."
After reading the message, the luan shengs started asking who was this Lian Shen from the Taichung Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple. Everyone looked at everyone else.
When I heard my name, I was quite taken aback. After letting the inquirer know that I was the person for whom they were looking, the abbot of the Three Religions Headquarters courteously invited me to sit down and offered me tea. There were many devotees present, and I felt very embarrassed to be singled out to receive this special treatment.
"Are you the Lian Shen from the Taichung Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple who is a disciple of Mr. Three-Peaks-NineStates?" the abbot asked me.
"Yes," I replied.
"Then Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States is the principal god at the temple of which you are in charge?"
"That is not so. The chief deities at my shrine are the Golden Mother of the Primordial Pond, Buddha Shakyamuni, and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva the Nether World Guardian."
"Oh! Then what kind of deity is Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States? How come I have never heard of his name in all these years of worshipping?" the abbot asked again.
"I myself don't know much about this," I told him honestly. "All I know is that he is a holy being from the Formless Realm." Then I continued, "Since the deity who has just now descended to the planchette knows about my teacher, he must know about his background. Why don't we ask him?"
The deity who had descended to the planchette was Hsu Chen Chun, a deity in Lu Shan Taoist Temple. He was rumored to be the teacher of Chen Ching Ku, a female Taoist adept.
After I finished praying with an incense stick in my hand, Hsu Chen Chun wrote the following words on the sand,
"Having arrived a long time ago in the land of the Golden Lotus, a ninth level in the Buddhaic plane, Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States' spirit traverses from Heaven to Earth and throughout the Land. He is a free high spirit who has transcended birth and death. Although he has never been deified by the Jade Emperor, his virtues match Heaven and Earth. Being formless and shadowless, he hides himself in the dust specks of the Universe and penetrates through mountains and lakes. His magic power is limitless, and I, Hsu Chen Chun, do not know of his true background. Even the Five Revered Elders of Taoism, the Tung Hua Emperor, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, Huang Lao, Shui Ching Tzu, and Huo Ching Tzu give some precedence to him out of courtesy. The goal of cultivation is to attain the true Tao. Yet the path and result of spiritual cultivation rest completely in the heart. It is from the mud that the lotus grows and blooms; therefore, only by persisting on the path can man realize his fullest potential."
The abbot of the Three Religions Headquarters Temple exclaimed, "Wow! Your teacher is such a high being! You must also be quite extraordinary, as you are his student."
"Oh no, I indeed know nothing. I only know how to practice devotion and do sitting meditation."
I stayed a little while at the temple to watch the chi sheng writing with the planchette. The luan shengs were looking at me with curious eyes. Normally no one other than the staff was allowed to stand next to the planchette while work was going on, but Hsu Chen Chun of Lu Shan asked me to go up to the planchette and gave me the following guidance,
"Before the yin vapor is eradicated, there will still be many obstacles. As you practice and make daily progress, merits will accumulate. Universal salvation to the three realms is on Heaven's scheme of things. Do not slow down in your path to seek understanding and realization." He also wrote, "Guard against demons when your merits and power increase. The spiritual light manifests itself when the heart is strong and immovable. The heart has always been the test that differentiates good from evil-born from the lotus, and to be born as the lotus, life after life."
When I left the Three Religions Headquarters, one of the luan shengs ran out after me.
"Please wait for me, Mister". He was gasping for breath.
"Sometime ago I was ordered to take a retreat for forty nine days. According to our spiritual master, after the retreat I was to begin training as a chi sheng. I read scriptures during the day and meditated in the evening. Nothing happened to me during the first six days. Then, on the seventh day, as soon as I sat down to meditate, my eyes became tightly shut, and in a trance I saw a golden armored god standing in the doorway. I looked around and discovered that to my front, back, left, and right, there was another me standing in each of all those positions. I was in the middle and being surrounded by four of myself. A voice in the air asked me which one was me. I replied that I did not know. The next day our spiritual master gave instructions that I was not qualified to become a chi sheng. I was let out of the retreat. Now I can only work as a luan sheng. Can you tell me what was my mistake?"
I quoted a passage from the classic Record of the Heart Lamp to him, " 'The initial key is to have consciousness of yourself when you leave yourself. The next is to know that your body is being used as a channel. The third key is, while under, one is guarding oneself and still has the faculty of thought and vision, and when one desires to exit from the channeling, one can do so without losing any of the memory.' Do you understand what I am talking about?"
He nodded, "So that's how it is!"
As far as I know, any person who has a yearning for spiritual cultivation can join the group of luan shengs. From the luan shengs the chi shengs are then selected to undergo special training. There is usually some good karmic connections from a chi sheng's previous incarnations which result in his being of higher intelligence and having a strong determination to seek the Tao. The most important key is, however, that the soul of the chi sheng must be radiant and vivacious. Souls in the spiritual realm need to borrow physical bodies in the world of forms to manifest themselves. This is the principle behind channeling. That is why I consider channelling a kind of Spiritual Divination and why I believe that it does exist. Whether the messages being channelled are always authentic is another matter. However, some definitely are authentic. There is, indeed, a true phenomenon of spirits attaching themselves to peach branches for the purpose of transmitting messages. Buddhism does not advocate belief in chi tongs, hexagram divinations, or planchette writings, but neither does it openly oppose such practices. Actually both Buddhism and Taoism propose that one should let nature take its own course.
However, if the teachings are too deadly dull, without any demonstrations from the psychic realm, how can sentient beings be attracted to turn to Buddhism and Taoism?
A Simple Discussion On Fate
Fortune tellers like to talk about fate, and people have a great interest in finding out about their own fate. There are, of course, people who claim that they do not believe in fate. However, these same doubters, when they encounter difficulties and crisis in life, are often the first to blame everyone else, as well as their own poor luck. Some people are born lucky. They pass their lives with relative ease from birth until old age and death. There are others who, from the moment of birth, have to live in disadvantaged environments, coping with poverty, hunger, violence, or lack of education. While still at a young and tender age, they have to struggle to survive. Is this not fate? Who can deny that this is not predestined fate? I have seen a terminally ill patient lying on his sick bed, gasping for breath and asking,
"Why does heaven have no pity on me? I have not done anything wrong. I am still young, and I am a kind person. God, why do you permit so many bad people to go on living and allow an innocent person to be struck with terminal illness. I have not done anything wrong! Why torture me? This must be fate. It must be fate that I have to suffer so much."
Cancer took away my friend's life. He suffered so much that he was no longer recognizable when he closed his eyes and died. Now he is far away, and no one will ever again see or hear him in this world. This good friend of mine lived only a short life of twenty-four years. Can one say that this is not fate? The blue-robed lady told me the following story: She said that she goes by the name of Chi O. She has never told me her real name, and I have, so far, not asked her. She is originally from the Village of Fu Li in Hualian County.
Her father, a technician in the county medical office, was an honest and decent person who did not believe in the existence of gods or ghosts and did not have any religious belief in life. Chi O herself has not been highly educated, but she was the only person among all her siblings who was born with a psychic vision. During her childhood, her family was not rich.
Since the Village of Fu Li is located in hilly terrain, Chi O. being the oldest of all the children, had to walk to the stream at the bottom of the valley to carry water back home for laundry and other household uses. In the Village of Fu Li there was a temple for the local village god. Hei Wu-chang and Pai Wuchang, the two spiritual attendants to the local village god, often liked to joke around with Chi O. One spiritual attendant dressed in black, while the other dressed in white. Both loved to laugh, play, and run back and forth along the hilly path with Chi O.
Chi O told me, "Hei Wu-chang and Pai Wu-chang were very mischievous. They often deliberately tipped over my water buckets."
"So you were able to see the world of the spirits when you were young?"
"As far back as I can remember, I have always been able to see it. But when I told my mother about it, she just laughed and ignored me. When I told my father, he thought that I was making it up. Later he even wondered if I were mentally ill! If I told them what I saw, he would rebuke me for acting up and say that something was wrong with my brain."
"Weren't you afraid of Hei Wu-chang and Pai Wuchang?"
"There is nothing scary about them when one sees them all the time. Besides, they were my playmates and good friends."
Before the awakening of my soul, if someone had told me that she could see Hei Wu-chang and Pai Wu-chang, I would not have believed her either. Even if she were able to describe them vividly, I would have taken it to be pure fabrication on her part. Therefore one can hardly blame her parents for not believing in her. After all, in this world, how many people can see into the world of spirits while they are alive?
As Chi O grew up. she became a devotee of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. The Golden Mother took special care of her, guiding her on tours of some of the worlds in the spiritual realm and teaching her the method of enabling other people to visit the world of spirits. That is why, as a female member of the Taoist Jade Pond Sect, she has become a well-known and outstanding personality among the Taoist community in Taiwan. Apart from her ability to see and hear the spirits' world, she also knows other occult practices. She is indeed a "superwoman" in modern day parlance.
As Chi O's father grew old, he became ill and bedridden.
When he got worse, he would often start talking unintelligibly and incessantly in the middle of the night, scaring the people who took care of him out of their wits. Chi O volunteered to keep her father company during the nights.
One night, the wind was howling and the windows were shaking as if they were coming apart. Outside it was pitch dark and inside the room was only lit by a small candle flame. At around 1:00 a.m., Chi O heard many footsteps arrive at the door. She did not feel the least bit afraid and went to open the door. A large group of men and women had gathered there, some were old and some were young. Chi O asked them,
"Who are you?"
An elderly man spoke, "Are you Chi O? I am Uncle Ah Ping who used to live next door to you. I died just last year.
Your father is about to lose his breath, that is why we are here to take him away."
"No, none of you can take him away. I won't let you come in."
She opened her arms to block their entry. This way her father dragged on for three more days. On the third night, a spirit general from the temple of the local village god came to knock on the door. His back was decorated with many banners, and he said,
"Your father should have been taken away by the spirits to the nether world three days ago. Your barring the way has caused a three day delay and obstructed the spirits from doing their job. The local village god has ordered me to take him away. You must not stop me now."
Yet Chi O loved her father dearly and she could not bear to see him being taken away by the general. She held out a spiritual charm that the Golden Mother had given her and, right away, a shield of brilliant light emerged from it. The general could not proceed any further and had to turn back to report to the village god. Not knowing the complexity of things, Chi O ran after him all the way to the temple and started arguing with the two other generals, Hei Wu-chang and Pai Wu-chang. She even spanked every one of the spiritual guards at the temple. The village god was so exasperated by her that he pulled a long face and his head tilted to one side. At this moment, propitious clouds appeared in the sky, and a floral fragrance infused the air. The divine light of the Golden Mother had descended. The village god came respectfully outside to receive her. The Golden Mother spoke to Chi O.
"Child, your love for your father is very moving, but the village god has been decreed to carry out his order. Your father has reached the end of his life and is predestined to fall into the realm of the nether world. Now quickly become my 'blue robe.' 'Blue robe' denotes that you are my disciple. And quickly, have your father put one on too. If he wears a blue robe, he will automatically belong to my domain and will not suffer in the nether world."
After hearing this, Chi O reluctantly nodded. When she helped her father put on the blue robe, she saw a ship descend from the sky and carry her father away.
This story was told personally to me by the blue-robed lady. From this story, we can understand that birth and death is predestined and fate is woven into the course of life in between. Birth and death is also fate. If one wants to transcend this cyclic transmigration of birth and death, there is only the path of spiritual cultivation and evolvement to attain self-determination and liberation. When one attains self-determination and liberation, one also becomes a great Bodhisattva who is beyond the constraints of birth and death.
Auxiliaries Of Buddhism
Many Buddhist scholars and eminent monks have a disdain for the realm of devas. It is not that they don't believe in deva's existence, but that they consider Buddhism to be the only proper religion. Thus they regard the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha to be the Triple Jewels and other non-Buddhist doctrines to be heresy or teachings from the Deva Mara. However, they are not aware that these maras, so-called heretics, and supposed enemies of Buddha-truth actually render themselves completely to the aid and causes of the Buddhadharma.
If there were no magical interventions from the maras and devas, the number of people taking refuge in the proper Buddhadharma would undoubtedly be much fewer. In the absence of maras or devas, could the proper Dharma have existed?
Among the ten chief disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, Sariputra held the first seat and Maudgalyayana held the second seat. The former was known for his supreme faculty of Divine Vision and the latter for his supreme transcendental powers. These two chief disciples were originally non-Buddhist scholars and leaders. They became facilitators of the proper Dharma when they were converted to Buddhism. Therefore, today's Buddhist scholars and monks must not despise the heretics. One may refrain from non-Buddhist practices, but one should not arbitrarily denounce them. Many highminded Buddhist monks feel that they are superior to the devas, forgetting that even Buddha Shakyamuni himself has treated the Indra Deva with respect. From the perspective of the Indra Deva, human beings are as minute as ants. Human beings cannot even perceive the existence of the local earth gods, let alone the Indra Deva, so how can we claim that we are more evolved than either of them?
Even if a Buddhist monk is greater than the local earth god, when this monk walks by a local temple and the local earth god comes outside to greet him, should the monk just totally ignore him? How petty it is to proclaim one's superiority over beings from the deva realm when one does not, in fact, even have the ability to see them! As a Buddhist cultivator, one may decide not to learn any of the magical powers of the devas, but one should regard the devas, from the Indra Deva on down, with respect. The devas have, after all, accumulated enough merits in their previous lives to be born into the realm of devas.
The Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva [Kuan Yin] can manifest in tens of millions of different forms to render help to sentient beings. He can take the guise of a man, woman, vajra protector, ghost king, or non-human, as he makes no distinction between the subjects of his salvation. He can transform into a deva or into a local earth god. When a Buddhist monk displays contempt for the local earth god, isn't he also being contemptuous of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva? If someone is supposed to attain liberation from the realm of maras or heretics, then Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva will manifest as a mara or heretic to guide one to reach liberation.
Once I was chatting with a Buddhist monk who brought up the same subject.
"A monk is much greater than a local earth god," claimed the Buddhist monk.
"Rev. Tz'u Yin, from where have you heard this? Who has told you this?" I asked him.
"What's the matter? That is what everybody says! Isn't it true?"
"I have heard in Buddhist teachings that, when one's truth merges with the Tao, one attains goodness, and when one's will merges with the Tao, one attains greatness. Buddha Shakyamuni never said that a monk is greater than a local earth god!"
Rev. Tz'u Yin's face turned red and said, "The proper Buddhadharma is much more profound than non-Buddhist deva teachings."
"That is true, but how would you know that, after a being is born into the deva realm, a deva would become complacent and not want to seek the proper Dharma any more? After all, the accomplishments of devas far exceed those of human beings." After my explanation, Rev. Tz'u Yin realized that, although the proper Buddhadharma is superior, one still must not look down upon the realm of devas. Juan Yin Chang, the author of the book Chao Hua Tung [Path to the Creator] has made the following observation.
"The lowest vehicle of divination includes the methods of ideograms, cards, drawing lots, and feather and bone readings. Their efficacy is determined to a large extent by the degree of one's sincerity in seeking divine guidance. The medium vehicle of divination includes the Book of Lo, which is used to divine the fate of a locale, the method of Ch'i Men Chiu Hsing, which is used to divine military strategy, and the Liu Jen Shi Er Shen Chang method, which is used to divine the state of human affairs. If one wants to divine major world happenings, only the upper vehicle methods of divination will do. These are the Huang Chi Yi Hsiang method and Ta Yi Li Shu method, which can predict what will remain constant, and the astrological charting method of Chou T'ien Su Yao Hsing Du, which can see what changes will occur."
This comment of Juan Yin Chang completely reflects my own thoughts on the meaning of the three vehicles of the Buddhadharma. Today, if there is no improper conduct, all elements may be considered auxiliary to the proper Dharma. These include planchette and automatic writing, gazing into mirrors or crystal balls, the integration of five, six, or even all the different religions into one school, and even the claiming that one is decreed by the heavens or an incarnation of Maitreya. When one's actions follow the Bodhicitta, all heretic Dharmas become the proper Dharma. On the other hand, if one uses the pretext of Buddhas and devas to accumulate wealth, deceive others, act perversely and unreasonably, or advocate superstitions, then it would have become truly the evil way. The Dharma that I am studying esteems both the Hinayana and Mahayana teachings. Its ultimate goal is to transcend birth and death and reach perfect Enlightenment. With the auxiliary aids of Spiritual Divination, I am able to attract tens of thousands of people to turn to the Buddhadharma. The way Buddhism is taught today focuses only on the expounding of extras and doctrines, and the devotional aspect. It is devoid of shamanistic practices, does not teach one how to invoke or expel a spirit, nor does it teach people to take refuge in the Great Path to Direct Liberation.
If there had not been the auxiliary aids from the "heretics," I would not have been able to bring so many people to take faith in Buddhism. Many of today's practitioners worshipped at temples before, yet eight out of ten of them started to seek the proper Dharma only after they had experienced the so-called "heretic" element. Therefore Buddhist monks should not slight or disrespect the deva realm which is really an auxiliary to the proper Buddhadharma.
From my understanding, the reason some Buddhist monks have kept a respectful distance from ghosts and spirits is that ghosts often disguise themselves as certain deities, and when they are channeled, they carry on metaphysical talks in a nonsensical way. Since the monks are unable to distinguish the deities from the imposters, the monks simply take the stance of not believing in any of them. I once watched a demonstration of planchette writing at a certain shrine, and a deity descended and claimed himself to be the Taoist Immortal Lu Tung Pin.
When I tuned into my psychic vision, it was not Lu Tung Pin at all, but a wandering ghost with some spiritual powers. Of course, teachings transmitted on that particular occasion would only have pertained to the practice methods used by wandering ghosts. There is fundamentally no difference among Enlightened beings, sages, and ordinary beings. The only differences lie in their levels of realization after cultivation. An Enlightened being or Buddha is at the top rung of realization, while an ordinary being is at the bottom rung. The deva realm serves as a bridge between the two. How much one will realize depends on one's comprehension and ability to do cultivation, as well as the important role of previous karma. My suggestion to some of today's Buddhist monks and Buddhist practitioners is that, although one does not take refuge in the devas or heretics, one must respect them too.
If today I reveal that Kuan Yin Bodhisattva once sprinkled a few drops of sweet nectar from the sky above onto my head, that ever since then all my illnesses and aches have been completely gone, and that I have been feeling empowered by the light, would you believe me? It is possible because the Kuan Yin Bodhisattva can and does manifest everywhere! I often urge others to set up a Buddhist shrine, chant the Buddha's name, and seek the proper Buddhadharma. These people have taken up the Buddhist practice with an unshakeable faith. Why is this so? It is because my spiritual divination has enabled me to see into their secret selves and convince them of the existence of the realm of spirits. Thus they make the decision to halt all conventional pursuits and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the Buddhadharma.
The Key To Chanting Mantras
Many of the Buddhist mantras have been made known to the public, and all have extremely effective spiritual power. For example, when the Great Buddha Crown White-Umbrella Dharani [Sitatapatrosnisa-dharani] was proclaimed by Buddha Shakyamuni, brilliant jewel-colored rays emitted from the Buddha's crown protuberance, and amid the light, a thousand-petalled lotus appeared. Sitting on the lotus was a Buddha who emitted ten beams of golden light pervading all Dharma realms. Ucchusma, the Ferocious Deity, holding a vajra in hand and propping up a mountain, also appeared in all spiritual realms. Another example is the Thousand Arms Thousand Eyes Avalokitesvara Great Compassionate Heart Dharani, known commonly as the Great Compassion Dharani. There are also the Ten Minor Mantras: the Talismanic Wheel Dharani; the Divine Mantra that Eradicates Calamities and Brings Forth Auspiciousness; the Virtuous Jewel Mountain Divine Mantra; the Divine Cundi Mantra; the Holy Infinite Life and Light Dharani; the Medicine Buddha Empowerment Mantra; the Kuan Yin Spiritual Mantra; the Seven Buddhas Mantra that Eradicates Transgression; the Rebirth Mantra; the Virtuous Goddess Mantra.
In Taoism, there are even more mantras. For example, there are: the Principal Mantra to Invoke Deities; the Refuge Mantra; the Great Light Six Syllables Mantra; the Harmony Mantra; the Earth God Invocation Mantra; the Divine Wish fulfilling Mantra; the Dharma Jewel Fu Mantra; the Hun T'ien Mantra; the Spirit Capturing Mantra; the Five Ghosts Hun T'ien Mantra; the Mystical Maiden Mantra; the Golden Light Mantra; the Great Yang and Great Yin Mantra; the Five Directions Thunder Light Mantra. All of the above mantras have been made known to the public. There are many unpublicized, secret mantras which are usually transmitted only to select individuals of integrity who can be trusted. Such secret mantras are not to be thrust into the hands of scoundrels who would misuse them for manipulating others.
Mantras, also known as True Words, originated from Enlightened beings who have manifested the collection of their experiences as language and sound components. By practicing and chanting these sounds correctly, one can help not just oneself but other people.
However, people who practice mantra chanting should pay attention to the following important keys:
1) One should not practice too many mantras together.
The key is to uphold one mantra persistently. Nowadays people have a tendency to chant too many different mantras. Some feel that they have to learn all mantras, and they chant every single one they come across. However, when they chant mantras, they just pay lip service to them and are unable to really hear the sounds at the same time and let the sounds impress into their hearts. Such chanting is just like a shepherd singing folk songs or a singer singing popular songs; it does not generate any spiritual powers. There are eighty-four thousand kinds of mantras, and it is not easy to learn every single one of them and still be able to merge ones heart with each anthem. Therefore, if one chants just one particular mantra and practices it over time, gradually this mantra will become one's heart mantra, and whenever one chants it wholeheartedly, it will generate a power that travels throughout the whole Universe. Mantra chanting is a doorway into the mastery of one's heart, and through it one can arrive at the realms of the Buddhas and Immortals.
The Buddhist mantra I have been chanting is the Seven Buddhas Mantra that Eradicates Transgressions: Li-po-li-po-di, Chiu-ho-chiu-ho-di, To-lo-ni-di, Ni-he-la-di, Pi-li-ni-di, Mo-hejia-di, Chen-ling-chien-di, So-po-he. It is a very simple and easy mantra with only seven phrases [not counting So- po-he], but it is very powerful. It can wash away one's negative energies and opens one into the reality of guidance and power emanating from the chanting of this mantra. I have been chanting this particular mantra for a long time, for many millions of times. As soon as I start chanting this mantra, my heart can experience the power of its wonderful spiritual energy. The Taoist mantra that I chant is the Lui Chia Divine Mantras which consist of the Liuchia Yang Mantra and Liuchia Yin Mantra. When these mantras are practiced over a long time, they become a key to unlock the inconceivable powers of the Universe.
2) Do not make any mistakes in chanting the mantras.
Often times there are people who incorrectly pronounce one of the syllables of the mantra. For example, there is an old lady in her fifties who frequently comes to worship at my Buddhist shrine. Instead of chanting "Om Mani Padme Hum," she chants "Om Mani Padme Niu." This old lady has an orchard in the Wufung area of the Liu Ku Mountain. Every day for the past ten years, as she went to and from her orchard, she chanted this mantra. To reach her orchard from the foot of the mountain, she had to pass a long and narrow river bed. Strangely, everytime she chanted "Om Mani Padme Niu," the stones in the river bed would start jumping up and down. When she chanted her mantra once, the stones would jump once. When she chanted her mantra twice, the stones would jump twice. The first time this happened, she was petrified.
After a while, it became routine, and she stopped being bothered by it. Then one day she told me of this strange happening. I did a psychic investigation and realized that she had been chanting the mantra wrong. A deformed mantra chanted over a long period of time will naturally give rise to a deformed psychic phenomenon. Especially in this case, the old lady was so diligently and wholeheartedly chanting the mantra that she generated a power that moved stones! I accompanied her on a trip to the Liu Ku Mountain, and I asked her to chant "Om Mani Padme Niu." Then I instructed her to verbally command the stones to pile up in a heap to the east. She followed my instructions, and the stones all ran towards the east to accumulate in one big pile. She changed her command, and the stones all ran to the west. Afterwards, I taught her to chant "Hum" instead of"Niu" in the mantra. This time none of the stones moved at all. This confirms that there is infinite power in chanting a particular mantra. When one makes a mistake with one syllable, the mantra's power is lessened to that of only moving stones. Therefore, it is extremely important that no mistake is made in chanting the mantras.
3) There is this quotation in the Diamond Sutra, "The mind should be kept independent of any thoughts that arise within it." This state of mind, or consciousness, is the key to unlocking the supreme doorway of mantra chanting. In other words, the vibration frequency of the mantra becomes the identity of one's consciousness. There is no difference between the two. The vibration of one's consciousness is the same as the vibration of the mantra. When one is chanting the mantra, sending out the vibration frequency of the mantra, one always enters into a condition of one-pointedness, or Vajra Samadhi, and attains the Vajra Indestructible Body. This is true at all times, wherever one goes. What a miraculous achievement!
In my opinion, mantra chanting is one of the means of cultivating stability in meditation. It is also a rapid shortcut to achieving realization. People who desire to activate their psychic energy can make great progress with the help of divine mantras. By chanting audibly the four syllables of Yao Chi Jin Mu, i.e. Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, and impressing the mantra on the mind, one can transform from an ordinary person to a psychically awakened person.
In one of the esoteric scriptures, the Miao Pei Bodhisattva Discourse Sutra, there is this passage,
"If a cultivator desires to arrive at the Siddhi quickly by the doorway of mantra chanting, he has to follow all rituals carefully without overlooking any details that might give the opposing forces a chance. Thus, a cultivator must chant incessantly without interruption, to the level of proficiency wherein visualization, sound, and seed syllables all merge together. Also, the practitioner should remain mindful during chanting and refrain from unnecessary conversation, as interrupted chanting will result in failure. On the other hand, if one does not follow the proper codes or remain pure, one will not realize the Sidhi and might even incur troubles."
The Shan Jie Ching (Sutra of Virtuous Precepts) says,
"To chant a divine mantra, one should refrain from meat, alcohol, the five food stimulants, improper sexual activity, and the partaking of food and drink in unclean households."
When one abides by these five codes, one will be empowered by the divine mantra and derive great benefits which include the uprooting of poisons and the eradication of illnesses and evil spirits.
Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States taught me to chant a divine mantra as a practice of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma. When chanted with sincere devotion, this mantra will move the spiritual guides, who are on duty, to descend. That is why a practitioner of the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma must chant this mantra with reverence. It is not to be casually chanted unless it is necessary to do so, as it is an extremely powerful Taoist mantra to invoke deities from sky, earth, and other planes. In fact, any deity travelling through the sphere who happens to hear the chanting of this mantra, (which is a secret decree of the Primordial Jade Pond,) has to descend to render help. How many people have learned this mantra from Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States? I do not know, but those who know will know, and they must not casually teach this secret mantra to other.
A Strange Case Of Karma
It was New Year's Eve and piercingly cold outside. I was in the middle of my hot-pot dinner with my family when a good friend of mine, Hsie Chun Hsiong, announced himself anxiously at the door.
"Lao Lu, you must help me. My niece is dying." He had in his arms a statue of the Weit'o Bodhisattva. Hsie Chun Hsiong, a warm and sincere person, is a devout Buddhist who attends services at the Taichung Buddhist Lotus Society. He also has a Buddhist shrine in his home.
"Where is she now?"
"She is now at the Buddhist Auditorium at Wufung. The devotees there are gathering together to do chanting to help her."
Without asking him for the details, I put on a jacket, and after paying homage to the Buddhas at my shrine, we immediately entered the taxicab which was waiting at the door.
On the way Hsie Chun Hsiong related to me the following course of events:
His niece is called Liu Min Yu, and she was a junior student at the National Taiwan Normal University [Teachers' University]. She was a pretty girl and had been doing very well in school until two years ago when she suddenly became ill and started talking nonsensically. She would sleep for four or five days and refuse to take any food or drink. Finally the school notified her father, Mr. Liu Ta, to take her home for treatment. At the mental hospital, the doctors examined her brain waves and declared that there was nothing wrong. The doctors could not come up with any diagnosis and eventually consulted a foreign doctor who also offered no specific diagnosis to her problem. Mr. Liu Ta is a wealthy businessman from central Taiwan, and after spending close to a million Taiwanese dollars on medical treatments which were to no avail, he turned to the gods for help.
The chi tung at the Wang Yeh Kung, a temple in Puli, gave this advice,
"Liu Min Yu's life is in grave danger. To change her fate, offerings and rituals have to be performed, and she must, at the same time, reside in the temple for forty nine days."
However, during her stay in the temple, she remained in a lethargic sleep most of the time. And, whenever she woke up, her ravings became more severe. In the end, the treatment from the temple god Wang Yeh Kung was ineffective and even the chi tung shook his head in despair. Next, the family went to beseech the temple god at Tainan's Wu Wang Temple. There they paid homage to the Jade Emperor and burnt a whole cart load of spirit money, but Liu Min Yii's condition did not improve. On good days, she would be in a daze and would not speak. On bad days, she would behave wildly, bouncing up and down while alternately laughing and crying, and she would have such incredible strength that even ten people could not hold her down. After half of a year of treatment at the Wu Wang Temple, her condition remained the same. Later her family brought her to see the abbot at the Tz'u Yun Temple who claimed that he had a fan that could exorcise demons.
The monk declared that she was being possessed by the spirit of a carp. The monk chanted the Great Compassion Dharani, sprinkled some consecrated water, and hit Liu Min Yu's body with his fan-all to no avail. After two months of treatment, the monk said furiously,
"How strange, this carp demon is quite powerful. I am sorry that I can't help you. Please seek help somewhere else, I can't handle this any more."
After that, Mr. Liu Ta took his beloved daughter to the Wu Chi Wang Mu Temple. The chi tung there taped all kinds of charm papers to her body and forbade her to eat anything, except to drink water prepared with paper charms drawn by the chi tungs. After three or four days of such treatment, Liu Min Yu became feverish, her complexion turned dark, her eyes started rolling up, and she continued mumbling to herself. It was a grave situation -she was starving to death instead of getting cured.
The chi tungs announced that they could not offer any help, so she was again taken back to the mental hospital for more electroshock therapy.
Hsie Chun Hsiong continued, "We have visited close to a hundred temples in Taiwan, and none of them could help her. We even went to ask Mr. Li Ping Nan, the famous Buddhist scholar, for help. He did not want to get involved, as he only gives discourses on sutras. Suddenly I thought of you, since you also have some psychic power. We are trying every possible effort we can think of. You must help her. If you don't help her, she is going to die. Earlier today she was raving that two people were coming after her for her life."
After arriving at the Buddhist Auditorium at Wufung, I first paid homage to the shrine. In the auditorium, many members from the Buddhist Society had gathered together to chant for Liu Min Yu. Seeing so many people sacrificing their New Year's Eve dinner to come to pray for a young woman who was fighting her life, my heart was quite moved. Liu Min Yu was sitting down and talking in a high and sharp voice. Her words were portending her own death and telling of the guards wearing death masks, that were coming to take her away. She also pointed at the people who were chanting and shouted abuses at them,
"What is the use of just chanting Buddha's name? The god of death can still come to grasp you away."
I met with Mr. Liu Ta and Liu Min Yu's mother. After chatting a little while with them to find out how their daughter was doing, I proceeded to use the Buddhist ritual of Great Compassion Dharani to prepare some mantra water to sprinkle on the patient. There was no response at all.
At this time, I asked the Buddhists present to chant the name of Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. While standing in the middle of the hall, I kept my gaze at a statue of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva that was enshrined at the altar and chanted the Primordial Ultimate Correct Dharma Mantra to invoke the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva to manifest. After a while of tuning into my psychic vision, I saw the ground beneath the altar split open, and a Bodhisattva, who was wearing a golden Five-Buddhas Crown, a cassock, and holding a metal staff, slowly emerged from it. Slightly raising his eyes, the Bodhisattva spoke, "Lian Shen, many modern men have this karmic illness due to past crazed actions. I am the division body of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva at the Wufung Buddhist Auditorium. It is futile to cry for help, as it is a karmic consequence!"
"Bodhisattva, is she going to die tonight?" I asked anxiously.
"No, these are just words used by her karmic enemies to scare her. She is not going to die yet. Anyway, such enmity won't be resolved by just her death."
"Bodhisattva, what kind of illness does she have? Can I help her?"
"The vibration of her spirit is entwined with those of her karmic enemies. It will take a great effort to separate them."
After saying these words, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva slowly vanished. The earth merged together again, not showing any sign of its previous split. I related the last words of the Bodhisattva to Mr. Liu, and his brows became tightly knit. I also told him that, although his daughter was claiming that someone was going to kill her that night, these were just threats. As it turned out, she did not die that night and was later taken back to the Kuan Temple in Tainan for a rest.
Several days later, Mr. and Mrs. Liu came to my house.
"Mr. Lu, please do your best to help cure her. If she does not get any better, we are going to have to give up on her and commit her to an asylum. We have already expended all our energies and tried all we could to find a cure. The Kuan Temple in Tainan called today to tell us that she was having such a severe flare up that they could not keep her there any more. Tonight we are going to drive over to Tainan to bring her home. We would like to ask you to please come to our house tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. to help her with your spiritual power. Please help her."
I consoled them, "All right, I will do my best, but it all depends on the power of the Buddhadharma. I believe its unlimited power can cure her of her psychosis." That night before I retired, I lit an incense and prayed over this matter.
Strangely, while I was at the brink of falling asleep, in that state between waking and sleeping, a strange scene of a very long bridge came into my vision. There was fog on the bridge, and it was late at night. A man was carrying a woman who had a big rock fastened to her. The man threw the woman into the surging river. With a plop, the water sprayed all around. For a moment I seemed to have turned into the woman who was struggling painfully to breathe. Next I saw the same man wielding a samurai sword, chasing after another man in a dark alley. After killing the other man, the first man threw the blood soaked body of his victim into a large pool of quick lime. I saw the corpse slowly sinking into the quick lime until just an arm was left. Finally, even the arm disappeared. The man who had just killed two people in a row turned around, and I noticed that his face was becoming more and more like Liu Min Yu. Oh! He was Liu Min Yu! At this moment, I awakened. I looked at my wristwatch, and it was 4:00 a.m.. I got out of bed, washed my face quickly, and walked over to my shrine. After lighting an incense, I prayed silently to the Buddhas to give me guidance.
Very soon, I received this message, "The scenes in your dream are the karmic causes from Liu Min Yu's previous incarnation.
The souls of those she murdered are attaching to her now to avenge themselves. If she wants to be free from them, she needs to untie the knot of grievances."
At 7:00 a.m., I arrived at Mr. Liu's residence. Liu Min Yu was lying down on her bed, not saying a word. Her eyes had become sunken. I related my dream experience and the Buddhas' message to Mr. and Mrs. Liu, and both of them fell silent. Afterwards, they came to my house. I took out a Chinese version of the Ouija board, and both Mr. and Mrs. Liu placed their hands on the coin to monitor the reading. This was the message, "Liu Min Yu killed a man and a woman in her previous life. This time the murderer has been reborn as a woman. The souls of the murdered have been crying out their grievances. They were given a decree by the Ksitigarbha of the nether world to take away Liu Min Yu's life. Liu Min Yu must suffer eight years of madness before the grievances of the man and woman are dissolved. The surnames of the murdered man and woman were Huang and Lin respectively. Because this is a karmic illness, even the deities in the temples could not do anything to help her." The message from the Ouija board was very clear, and Mr. and Mrs. Liu looked at each other in dismay. Then Mrs. Liu sighed,
"No wonder when she flares up, Min Yu always begs for mercy from people named Huang and Lin. She has also talked about this present madness as a result of killings in another life."
When Liu Ta asked the Ouija board if there was any chance or hope at all, the board gave this answer,
"Whoever started the trouble should end it." Therefore I invoked the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva to bring the two wronged souls to the board to talk with us. When the two souls descended to the board, they first refused to back down at all, insisting that they would keep pestering Liu Min Yu until her death. Mr. and Mrs. Liu kept begging and appealed to the souls, saying that a karmic ribbon is better untied than to remain tangled up. Finally the two souls asked for the following terms:
1) Have a gold-plated Buddha statue made and dedicate its merits to the two souls;
2) Sponsor a Ksitigarbha Deliverance Ceremony for three days and dedicate the merits to the two souls;
3) Make a vow to help build a Buddhist temple, donate $160,000 Taiwanese dollars towards its construction, and dedicate the merits to the two souls;
4) Every year for the next five consecutive years, sponsor a Soul Deliverance Ceremony in the seventh lunar month and dedicate the merits to the two souls. These four terms should be carried out as witnessed by the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, Buddha Shakyamuni, and the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva enshrined at the Tz'u Hui Lei Tsang Temple. At the end of the three days Deliverance Ceremony, the decree for grievance would be removed, and Liu Min Yu would regain her clarity.
For the sake of their beloved daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Liu knelt down at the shrine and made vows to commit themselves to carry out those four terms. The Ksitigarbha Deliverance Ceremony was conducted by me in the presence of four other people, Hsie Chun Hsiong, Liu Ta, and two female devotees from the Lotus Society. We chanted the Ksitigarbha Sutra and observed the Vajra Repentance Liturgy. I followed rituals outlined in regular Buddhist practice by first reading a prayer of intent which was then burnt. I also performed a dance of mudras and the Transformation of Food Offerings according to methods taught by Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States.
The first demand of making a gold-plated Buddha was quickly carried out by Mr. Liu. So was the second term. The third term could be fulfilled in the future when the Lei Tsang Temple is expanded. As for the fourth condition, it is just a matter of time until it is fulfilled.
Strangely, on the seventh day after the Ksitigarbha Deliverance Ceremony, Liu Min Yu started to regain her own mind. About a month later, she completely recovered and returned to her old self of glowing health and radiant vigor. She is now working as a substitute teacher. When she received her first monthly salary, she was so happy that she started crying like a child. Soon she will return to the Teachers' University to finish her education. She can then go on living a normal life. (Author's note: The people and events in this chapter are all real. However, in order to protect the young woman's future marriage, I have used fictitious names. I hope the reader will forgive me.)
The Old Man Who Owned An Orchard
A beautiful young girl brought her sixty-three year old grandfather to see me. The young girl was eighteen, extremely vivacious, with the ruddy complexion of a ripe apple. In a stark contrast, there was a marked weariness on the grayish face of the grandfather.
The young girl said, "I have heard that Mr. Lu can do spiritual readings to help people with their problems. That is why I have come here with my grandfather. My grandfather has had a really bad year. Do you know when his luck will change? His name is Kuo Ju Feng, and he is sixty-three years old. Our family lives in Feng Yuan, and we have especially made the trip here in a taxi cab." The young girl was very articulate, but her grandfather did not make a single sound.
I lit three sticks of incense for them. The young girl took over the three incense sticks, and after making several bows, she placed them in the censor. When I joined my palms to pray for guidance, suddenly a huge mountain appeared in front of me. It was a landscaped mountain that seemed to have been cultivated for use as an orchard. I turned to the old man,
"Are you the owner of an orchard in the mountains?" The old man was taken aback when I asked him, and he tried hard to show a slight trace of smile on his steel gray face.
"Yes, I have quite a large crop of papaya trees in the mountains. But, can you do a reading to find out what kind of illness I have? How can this illness be treated? If I become well, I will definitely be grateful to you. I have already been seen by all kinds of doctors, treated with injections and medicines, but nothing has helped".
After examining his fingers and looking at his gaunt face, I told him that he most likely had a stomach illness. This old man said,
"You are right again. I do have a problem of stomach ache, but it is a very strange kind of stomach ache. It only hurts at a certain hour. During the day, it is fine, but every night at 3:00 a.m. sharp it starts to hurt, and the pain goes on until 4:00 a.m. sharp; then it stops. After 4:00 a.m., I am fine again and can eat and work like everybody else. Nothing is wrong until 3:00 a.m. the next night, then it hurts all over again until 4:00 a.m.. It is unbearable to go through the pain night after night. It is such a living hell that I have contemplated killing myself. I have seen so many doctors. Every 3:00 a.m., I have to take a pain shot to relieve the pain. Really, I have never believed in ghosts or spirits in my whole life, and this is a first for me to come to see you for spiritual help."
"It is indeed strange that a stomach ache would last from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. every day! I have never before heard of a pain being so timely."
I prayed to the higher beings for guidance, and again I saw the mountain with papaya trees planted all over it. This time amid the papaya groves, a grave appeared and on the tombstone were the words, "Hsian Pi Su Hung." So I asked the old man,
"Is there a grave on your mountain?"
"Yes, the grave had been there when I first purchased the mountain. There was a crack on the grave, and no one had fixed it. All these years I have not seen any descendants of the buried visit the site."
"Was the buried man named Su?"
This question gave the old man a start, "How do you know?"
"This is Spiritual Divination." I smiled faintly.
This is the result of my Spiritual Divination: The old man has been growing papayas in the mountains, and over the years the papaya trees grew tall. Too many papaya trees were planted around the grave, and eventually their thick roots extended into the grave, rupturing the cement. At the same time, the roots extended into the coffin and became entwined with the skeleton. The deceased, Mr. Su, had died of a stomach ulcer. After finding out the cause of his stomach pain, the elderly gentleman, Mr. Kuo, was not sure if he believed it. This was the prescription I gave him: Prepare some fruit and tea to bring as offerings to the grave site and admit one' s mistakes to the deceased. Also dig up the bones and re-bury the bones in a new container after the grave is repaired. This way Mr. Kuo's stomach pain will be cured without any more medical treatment. Mr. Kuo had had such long medical treatment without any improvement that he decided to follow my strange prescription. After all, he had already spent ten thousand dollars on medical treatment. Since the repairing of the tomb would only cost several thousand more, he decided to follow my recommendation.
The undertaker who dug up the bones discovered that the roots of the papaya trees had indeed become entangled with the bones of the deceased. After the bones were unsealed in a new container and reburied in the new grave, Mr. Kuo's stomach pain went away, and he was able to sleep normally. The day the pain stopped was the same day the bones were dug up and put into the new container. Since that day, he became well again and gradually gained back his ruddy complexion.
He had always been a healthy person and rarely got sick prior to this strange illness. When he was healed, he and his beautiful granddaughter came to see me again.
"How would you like me to pay you? Just tell me, and I will do it," he asked.
"All right. If I let you know, you have to keep your promise."
"Of course, just let me know how much money you want. I won't mind!"
"I don't want any of your money. My only request is that you chant one hundred times each morning Namo Amitabha."
"Chanting the name of the Buddha! Well ....you don't want any money?"
His granddaughter said to him, "Grandfather, chanting the name of the Buddha is quite a simple request. Why don't you just agree to it? Mr. Lu only wants to help people. He did not do the spiritual reading for money. It would be an insult to him to insist on giving him money!"
"That's right. There is great merit in chanting the name of the Buddha. We should accumulate merits that we can use in the heavens," I concurred.
After listening to me, the old man finally bowed down at the shrine to pay homage to the Buddhas and agreed to do the chanting. Then he reiterated his gratitude before leaving.
Perhaps in this scientific age, many people would not believe such a story as that I have written here and would rather consider it as mere coincidence. I myself do not demand that everyone believe in it; it is totally up to each individual. However, if these are coincidences, then there are just too many cases of coincidences of Spiritual Divination happening to me!
The Hand Of A Christian
Mr. Yan Yun Peng, a colleague of my father's, works for the Taiwan Electric Company. One time, Mr. and Mrs. Yan came to visit us. As soon as they entered the house, they saw our shrine. Mr. Yan, an intellectual and college graduate who has travelled abroad, has never been interested in religions. Mrs. Yan is different. She is a graduate of the Tainan Ch'ang Jung Girl Middle School, a Christian school, and she is also a leader of the Christian fellowship at her church. A devout Christian, she carries the Bible with her to church every Sunday without fail.
Mrs. Yan commented, "I don't believe in any of these. I am a Christian."
"Have you ever studied Buddhism? Have you tried to understand Buddhism? If you don't understand it, of course you would not believe in it."
"I only know that Buddhism worships idols. It is an evil religion from the Devil. God is the only true God. People who believe in Jesus Christ can go to Heaven. People who worship idols definitely go to Hell."
"According to you, since we are Buddhists, I am an evil person and a disciple of the Devil. But Buddhism also has its own high ideals !" I remarked to her.
Mrs. Yan apologized, "You are of course not an evil person, or a disciple of the Devil. I am referring to people in general. Although Buddhism has its own high ideals, I don't want to learn them." Mr. Yan Yun Peng just smiled and did not offer any opinion. He had come to ask me about the future of his career. I was able to give him a reading that not only included his own but also his brothers' careers and businesses.
My readings proved to be so accurate that even Mrs. Yan was surprised.
"One of your brothers is a police officer stationed at Hsinhua, Tainan, isn't he?" I asked him.
"Yes, he used to be quite healthy. He has practiced Judo.
But lately his health has been quite poor. Do you know what kind of illness he has?" Mr. Yan asked. Next to him Mrs. Yan lowered her head and smiled. She was thinking to herself, how could I find out anything about an illness of a police officer who was away at the Tainan Hsinhua Station. After I silently chanted the invocation mantra to ask for guidance, I told them that it was tuberculosis. Mr. and Mrs. Yan looked at each other. Mr. Yan nodded his head, while the smile froze on Mrs. Yan's face.
Mrs. Yan pointed to a Buddha statue on the shrine,
"Which Buddha is this?"
"This is the Medicine Buddha."
"How about this one?"
"This is Amitabha Buddha of Sukhavati."
"How about that one?"
"That is Buddha Shakyamuni."
Her finger pointed at each Buddha, one by one. When a row was finished, she moved to the next row. At this time, Mr. Yan said to her,
"Do not point your finger at each statue like that, it is quite impolite."
Before he could finish, a strange thing happened.
In an instant, Mrs. Yan's other hand spontaneously moved up to join with her hand that was pointing at the shrine, forming a prayer gesture. Next, her head started to nod up and down.
Mrs. Yan was unable to separate her hands or stop the nodding of head and the up and down motion of her upper body. She looked like she was bowing to the Buddhas, albeit a little too devoutly, as the speed of her pumping movements was too fast. Mrs. Yan shouted,
"Help, help, I can't stop. I can't stop!" Mr. Yan was petrified.
Standing next to them, I tuned into my psychic vision and saw two shrine protectors. One of them was the third prince Nata, and the other was his assistant, the second prince Chincha. One of them was in mid air with both hands holding onto Mrs. Yan's neck, causing her head to nod up and down. The other was holding onto Mrs. Yan' s hands and moving them up and down. That was why Mrs. Yan was not able to stop her hands and head from moving. I also saw a light emitting from the eyes of the statue of Matzu, the Holy Heavenly Mother, causing Mrs. Yan's eyes to close. That was why Mrs. Yan also yelled out in alarm,
"I can't open my eyes, I can't open my eyes !"
I spoke to her, "To stop your body and hands from moving and to open your eyes, all you have to do is to chant in your mind three times, 'Please excuse me for being so irreverent.' Then bow five times after the movements stop." She carried out my instructions and it worked. She sighed,
"Oh! Such things do exist! We had come today deliberately to test you. So there are indeed, such things as spiritual readings."
Mrs. Yan has since stopped treating the gods in my house with contempt. Although she was a Christian, whenever she came to visit me after that incident, she would bow once to the shrine with her palms joined to show her respect. She said to me,
"That was the first psychic experience I have ever had with the spiritual realm. How real it was!"
Mr. and Mrs. Yan eventually were able to develop their psychic energies and became psychically active.
A division body of the Golden Mother at my shrine, the Lei Tsang Temple, had been invited to provide guidance at the Tz'iu Hui Nan Yang Temple in Tainan. The abbot of that temple, Lai Yi Hsiung, was a devout Buddhist who had come to my shrine to ask to bring a consecrated image of the Golden Mother to his temple. Mr. Lai's father, however, was a non religious person who often became drunk and would talk loudly at the shrine without any regard for the sanctity of the place.
One time Mr. Lai's father had an experience similar to Mrs. Yan' s. He was kneeling on the floor and unable to get up. His head was knocking on the floor until the skin was grazed and bleeding. It only stopped after Mr. Lai and his mother knelt down at the shrine to ask the deities to forgive him for his ignorance. Ever since then his father never dared to slight the spiritual power of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. Whenever he passed by the shone, he would be dressed needy and tidily, and he always acted with reverence. Without one's knowing, the deities are there observing one. A person who reveres the deities acts as if they are there all the time and never shows contempt. The gods and Buddhas are actually very kind and compassionate. However, when one shows too much rude contempt, the deities' protectors will not stand by as if they are blind! There are many different religions in the world. In Buddhism alone there are eighty-four thousand different doorways, each involving a different, secret teaching. This is an expedient way to help the different kinds of sentient beings. Although the numbers of religions are many, most of them share the same goal. However, men often believe that their own religion is the only true one, and all others are evil. For example, some Catholics consider Protestantism to be deviant while some Protestants consider Catholicism to be a cult. Such human prejudices over the teachings of Christ were probably not something that he had foreseen when he was crucified.
For full set of chapters on ENCOUNTERS WITH THE WORLD OF SPIRITS (Book 16) by GRANDMASTER LU, please visit : http://www.padmakumara.org/books/book16/index.shtml