The Buddhadharma is in the world, and is never apart from worldly enlightenment

(Continued from issue #254)

Instructional Talk by Dharma Master Heng Gwei on November 29, 2015,
during Lunch at the Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery Emperor Liang's Jeweled Repentance Dharma Assembly

I will now share with you the story of Upasaka Yang Ren Shan. Do you know who Yang Ren Shan is? He was born in the Qing Dynasty, during Dao Guang period, and passed away at the age of 75 during the third year of Xuan Tong period. He was the founder of Jin Ling Sutra Engraving Press and Distribution Center. The wood-engraved copies of our Buddhist Sutras came from his printing press. Furthermore, they did their best to recover long-lost sutras from all over the world. After proofreading what they retrieved, they proceeded to wood-engrave the sutra text and attach the appropriate Buddha images.

There were auspicious manifestations at the time of Upasaka Yang Ren Shan's passing. There was a span of 50 days from the time he got sick to the time of his passing. Actually, he had recovered from his illness about one week before his passing. Before he got sick, he had made adequate endorsements pertaining to affairs at Jin Lin Sutra Engraving Press and Distribution Center. He also set a meeting on August 17th to elect a new chairman for the Center. Originally, he was the chairman. Later on, he slowly delegated his duties to others and made clear endorsements.

On August 17th, after he finished lunch, he asked, "What time is it?" They answered, "2 o'clock". He repeated, "Ah, 2 o'clock". He then told them to start the meeting. Around 3 o'clock, a laity came to check on his well-being since he had just recovered from an illness in his advanced age. He asked, "What are you doing here? Hurry to the meeting. They are having some very interesting discussions right now." That was 3 pm. Hearing that, the laity obeyed and hurried to the meeting.

Shortly after the laity left, Upasaka Yang felt a little chilly. A female disciple who was attending to him brought him a jacket. Afterward, she noticed he seemed a bit out of the ordinary and asked him, "Honorable elder, let's recite the Buddha's name. Ok?" He replied, "Ok. It's good to recite the Buddha's name. It's good to recite the Buddha's name." He sat up immediately in full lotus position, reciting the Buddha's name. After a couple minutes of recitations, he looked around for a few seconds then closed his eyes. In less than 10 minutes, he went into rebirth.

The first auspicious sign is he knew in advance the date and time of his passing. Second, he relinquished his retribution body peacefully, as if he was in Samadhi. Third, the crown of his head stayed warm when his entire body turned cold. He passed between 3-5 pm, but his body remained warm until midnight. It started to cool down afterwards. The lingering warmth at his crown signifies rebirth in the Pure land.

Before he passed, he often held conversations with others, "I have been diligently studying and propagating the Buddha dharma. I have complete faith and understanding of the Buddha dharma; yet, I have been a little lax in upholding the precepts and incurred some violations. Consequentially, I will be reborn in the superior grade of the lower level in Pure Land. Nonetheless, I will see Amitabha Buddha very quickly. I have absolute faith in the Buddha and I have thoroughly investigated the teachings of the Chan School and Teaching School. Additionally, I accrued merit and virtue from engraving sutras and painting Buddha images. At the end of my life, I will be reborn in the Pure Land quickly. There will be no delay. "Indeed, what he described was exactly what happened. This is the third auspicious response.

First, he knew his time of passing in advance. Second, his crown stayed warm. Third, he knew he would leave his retribution body quickly. All of these transpired. He said, "Because I did not uphold the precepts as strictly, therefore, I would be reborn in the superior grade of the lower level in Pure Land. But, I would see Amitabha Buddha very quickly." Because he had thoroughly investigated the principles of Chan and Teaching schools, along with the merit and virtue accumulated from engraving of sutras and reproduction of Buddha images, his efforts were not wasted.

At the time of his cremation, he looked the same as when he was alive, and his body was pliable. His body remained at room temperature, not becoming cold and stiff. This is another auspicious sign. All of these demonstrate that his meritorious deeds were not in vain. We must make sure we are clear of where we are going and what path we are taking. Do not use our lazy man's standards and aspire for rebirth in the Pure Land. We want to be reborn in the Pure Land, not in the Land of Lazy Ones. We must be very clear of the essential requirements. Otherwise, we may think we are working hard and feeling good about our own efforts, only to realize in the end we were on the wrong track.

I hope that everyone will do his/her best in being mindful of the Buddha. Recite the Buddha's name well. Be single-minded and steadfast. If you sincerely recite the Buddha's name to the point where neither water nor wind can penetrate your concentration, then there is hope that you will be reborn in the Pure Land. May everyone charge forth vigorously and race against time.`

(The End of the Article)