Book/Novel

What is death?

Author: Master Sheng Yen

Q: Although “Life has never died since ancient times”, the power of science and technology has entered the subject of resurrection after death, such as the experiment of “freezing people.” Does the Master think that human beings can “not die” in the future? Or can life be extended to the limit of near life? Everything is volatile.

A: Since ancient times, there have always been people who want to live forever, but until now, no one has ever found anyone to die. In fact, not only do human beings die when they are born, but also other animals. We observe the ecology of nature. Even the plants have the same glory and glory. On the earth, there are trees that have survived for centuries and thousands of years, but have not seen trees that have not died for many years.

“The Meaning of Life,” I mentioned that all kinds of spiritual things are inseparable from the cycle of “success, living, bad, and empty”. The parasitic earth also has the end of life. Geologists studied the crustal activity, which changed about a few hundred million years. The ocean rose to the high mountains, and the land sank into a stream. Under such dramatic changes in the formation, the creatures at that time almost died. If we look at the earth in the universe, its orbit is not static, from circular to elliptical, this change will affect the displacement of the South, Arctic and Equatorial, which will affect the ecology of all things. The movement of this cosmic celestial body is very slow, and its influence is not obvious to the first and second generations of human beings, but it is indeed changing. In fact, nothing is long-lasting.

The changes in the natural environment form the spring, summer, autumn and winter, and the human body responds to these changes and causes illness and death. Even if our psychological activities are transformed, psychological activities also have four phases of life, residence, difference, and destruction. This means that each of our thoughts will go through the four processes of emergence, temporary retention, change, and disappearance.
  
  Therefore, from the universe, the earth, the creatures, the human beings, to our bodies and minds, we can’t die forever. It is both endless and changing at the same time. This is the phenomenon of impermanence.
  
  With the wisdom of mankind, the turmoil of the environment and the fact that people will die will be observed very early, but human beings have always had the desire to live forever. This deep hope is widely seen in the religious beliefs of various ethnic groups in human history. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed that people could be resurrected after death, borrowing the body of this life to another world, so the mummies were invented, but today, in the 21st century, we all know that there has never been a resurrection of a mummy.
  
  The same is true in ancient China. The ancient emperor would find ways to keep his body from corruption, and there was also a culture of death in which treasures and slaves were buried. This phenomenon is the desire to resurrection and hope for eternal life.
  
  The Taoist practiced the internal and external Dangong, and the ultimate goal was to emancipate the immortality and immortality. The so-called internal Dangong is qigong. They think that the “fine” force in the body can be “qi”, and the “qi” can be practiced into a stage to become a “god”. At this time, the soul will go away from the body (the Taoist called this is a will) to achieve the purpose of immortality.
  
  But such a thing only exists in the personal beliefs. Is there such a fairy? Maybe not.
  
  The external Dangong practiced by Taoism is the medicine Dan extracted from metals such as mercury, gold and silver, also known as the technique of Dan Ding. This was a kind of technology one or two thousand years ago, and it had positive help to the later metallurgical technology of the Chinese. However, Dan Pill, which was refined with alchemy, has never succeeded in giving birth to the user. During the Tang and Song Dynasties, many emperors used to take such medicinal herbs. At first, they seemed to have the functions of strengthening the body and aphrodisiac. However, after long-term consumption, organs such as liver and kidney were poisoned by heavy metals, but died earlier. In modern times, the public no longer believes in the reincarnation of the post-mortem and the longevity of alchemy, and instead “goes natural,” prolongs life with healthy food, vitamins, tonics, and exercise. In principle, I agree with these views, but if we carefully scrutinize it, it is very difficult to give a proper and appropriate definition of “following nature.” If everyone grows like a tree in a mountain forest, it looks most natural, while others expose themselves to danger. For example, the film “Xianglin嫂” describes the widow Xianglin, who was living in the mountains to discuss life because of poverty. Later, the child was bitten by the wolf. Therefore, people are human beings after all, they need some appropriate protection facilities, and they cannot survive in the wild as “naturally” as other animals.
  
  Therefore, I personally think that “nature” is the golden mean. Its connotation is simplicity, simplicity, neatness and peace of mind. No matter whether it is clothing, food, shelter or transportation, it should be excessively materialized, and the movement should be timely and appropriate. This should be helpful for extending life.
  
  One day, Mr. Lin Huaimin, the founder of Yunmen Dance Collection, talked to me about the life of the members of the dance group. I think it is a kind of “natural”-simple, quiet and healthy lifestyle. Cloud Gate’s finances have always been poor. It has been resting for several years because of economic difficulties. In recent years, the standard of living of the people has generally improved, and there are more people who know how to watch. However, the income of dancers is still not high, and they usually eat, wear, and use. They are very simple, even if there is no performance, they still practice dancing every day. If you look at the standards of nutrition experts, their nutrition should be difficult to load such a large amount of activity, but under the ideal and the love and perseverance of dance, they can jump day and day. It’s hard to believe that they are in their forties.

Knowing death is important.
Q: Since people will eventually die, is it important to know death? Because Confucius said, “Unknown life, knowing death,” has a great influence on the Chinese attitude toward death.

A: Confucius has its role in this sentence, because most people are unaware of the “law” (the phenomenon of the replacement of everything in the world) when they are born. Few people will go deeper into where life comes from, since they don’t think about the problem after death. Then, let’s live this life now. “The body is affected by the parents, not afraid to damage, the beginning of filial piety.” This kind of thinking is also to persuade people to cherish life, to protect the body, but not to take risks, but to hurt life.
  
  If people have only the life that is born now, then the Confucian view of life and death has much in common with the truth of Buddhism. But the problem is that there are problems such as good and bad, good fortune, rebellion, poverty, wealth, etc. in the course of life, and these problems are bitter and doping. How to face and deal with these tortuous situations of life while maintaining peace of mind and treating people and things with compassion and wisdom? In this respect, if you can extend the length of life and believe in the past, present and future three causes of causality, then the death of this life is just another beginning of the next life, your attitude towards life will be more calm and face the twists and turns. The situation of life, and the problems of life and death, this is a different place between Confucianism and Buddhism.
  
  Let me give an example. When I was still in service, one of the platoon leaders jumped to the first level and was promoted to the company commander by the superior. Due to the ethics of the personnel in the army, the deputy company commander and other platoon leaders were very unconvinced. The so-called new company commander knows that the grief is resentful. One day, he said to everyone: “I know that you are all better than me, but I am lucky. This personnel order is appointed by the superior. I have not drilled and flattered. “Everyone listened, and there is nothing to say.”
  
  What is luck? Is God without eyes, can’t you see your talent? no. This is in the past, you have less goodwill with people, so when you work with others, you will not get help or even obstacles. In order to improve this situation, you must redouble your efforts in this life, and you will have good fruit harvest in the future. If you think so, your life will be bright and broad, with a bright future.
  
  When I was in my thirties, when I attended the ceremonies or gatherings with other mages, everyone introduced them one by one. I was always the last one to be introduced. When the believers heard that “this is a certain mage”, they usually eagerly said “long-term”, or someone else greeted him. When the believers heard my law, most of the reactions were silent, and even did not look at me. At that time, I knew that this was not enough for my own blessings, so I would never compare and compete with others, and my heart would not be sad.
  
  Once, my master Dongchu old man told me, “Shen Yan, your past life is not enough, and now you should be more popular.” I replied that in the past, there was no harm in the birth of a child. I am not harmful in this life. . This is my attitude at the time.
  
  Therefore, I believe that there is a past world, and when it comes to adversity, it will not be hateful. In fact, since I was a monk from a young age, I had this belief. Therefore, after hours, I encourage myself to make a good relationship with others. I am very careful not to complain. Although it is so attached to people that it is still not respectable and supportive, it does not matter. I will not be angry, nor will I believe that I must be respected and supported. This concept is a link between the past before this life and the future after this life. Because of the coherence of human life, there is a broader and more complete pattern. This is the view of life in Buddhism.
  
  As the saying goes: “Good and good, bad and bad! If you don’t report it, the time has not yet arrived.” If this “time” is limited to this life, then it will be found that the world often has “good people do not live long, the scourge of the millennium An example of this. However, if we extend this “time” to the past and the future, then all the causes and effects must be completed through the three (past, present, and future), and we can look at the phenomenon in the world with this mentality. In the quiet ocean, there is no wave of waves.
  
  A Western journalist once asked the Dalai Lama. How can the world be truly righteous? Everything is full of unfair things. For example, a good person like you who is so compassionate has fallen to the point of being in exile for decades. The Dalai Lama replied: “If you believe in the past and believe in the future, you will feel safe. Thinking about the eternal past and thinking about the eternal future, your heart will be balanced and happy.”
  
  As for where the past came from ? Where will the future go? It is difficult to understand clearly before life.
  
  The life of the third life.
  
  Q: So, will it be clear and understandable after death?
  
  A: (shaking your head) is not easy.
  
  First, we must understand a situation in which the brain cells of newborn babies are blank. Just like a floppy disk that has not been imported into any program or content, the newborn is born with the genes that his parents gave him, but did not bring the memory of the previous life. Because in the pre-mortem, the cells in the brain are all dead, and there is no trace left.
  
  If someone knows the past generations, it is not the function of brain cells, but the magical power. The magical power is born and cultivated; the “born” is the strength of past strong perseverance or the power left by Ford, and through this power, it knows some parts of the previous life; “cultivation” is based on revision, holding, thinking, etc. The method initiates the power of the gods, but if the magical powers are not properly handled, it will bring troubles in life.
  
  I met many people who have this ability, and they all know their past. Three months ago (end of 1999), at the time I was at the Xianggang Dojo in New York, USA, a woman from Beijing to the United States and her mother came to see me. This mother is a Buddhist, and her daughter is not.
  
  The young female student told me that she was originally the same as an ordinary person, but one day, she suddenly saw her past life, and she could predict the future. Usually this ability can clearly see the past, but as for the future, you can only know a part. She even has the ability to see the inner and inner organs of the person, and does not have to face to face. Just make a phone call and contact her to know how the other person’s mind is and how it is.
  
  Since she had this power, the pace of life has been disrupted, because she is now and now, and sometimes seems to have returned to the past, and time and space have been confused. The feelings of this biological parent are not as close as they used to be. I don’t feel that I am part of this family, because she knows that her parents are not her “original” parents.
  
  She told me that although she did not believe in Buddhism, she believed that this life had a past and that there was a future because she saw it. I advised her not to use this ability. If it is used more, it may become a psychic medium, and it will not be of much benefit to others. I also encouraged her to learn Dharma, to look at it with the knowledge of Dharma, and to gradually dilute this ability, without it, to ignore it.
  
  Among my disciples, some people have similar abilities, the so-called third eye. I advise them not to use it, ignore it, and slowly this ability fades.
  
  People who generally have a third or sixth sense will naturally believe in the cycle of life, but those who have this ability are, after all, a minority. Most people rely on religious beliefs to believe in the past and the future. This is the best preparation for life and death, and you can also get a balance between good fortune and good fortune in the life process. In the September 21 earthquake, the family was ruined and shocked. The victims were sad and shocked. Can they be smoothed by others? However, if they have religious beliefs and believe in the past and the future, then even if they can’t accept the painful facts for a while, there will still be comfort and hope in the psychological.
  
  Because from the teachings of Buddhism, they will gradually realize the truth that the world is impermanent, the country is endangered, the four major hardships, the five elements are free, and the birth and death are mutated; for the sudden disappearance of life, it will slowly relax and walk out of sorrow. Situation. And because I believe that life III continues, so my loved ones have passed away, but they have not disappeared like this, but the beginning of another new life, or the reincarnation of heaven, the Buddha, or the reincarnation. Such a belief can give the victims’ hearts a great comfort and support, and have enough courage to continue the journey of life.
  
  Question: According to scholars’ research, Taiwanese people’s associations with death are very negative. I have read a research report by a scholar who is committed to studying the cognitive experience of adolescents and children for ten years. In many investigations, she found that when Taiwanese teenagers mentioned death, they associated with very negative emotions such as ghast, horror, hell, fear, and loneliness. This idea is obviously darker than the children of the same age abroad (mainly the United States). Although her research is mainly for teenagers, in fact, adults have similar ideas about death.
  
  Why are people in Taiwan particularly afraid of death?
  
  A: This is related to the description of death in Chinese culture. In our traditional concept of thousands of years, people will become ghosts after they die, and they will go to the Yin Cao government to be judged by the King of Luo. The Chinese also believe that the dying person will become a devil, and the undead will be a ghost. These are just folklore and have nothing to do with Buddhism.
  
  From the point of view of the rulers, China has been unified for most of the three thousand years, with a vast territory and very difficult management. The ruling party often makes good use of folk popular culture, and promotes the loyalty and filial piety thoughts in the way of drama, singing, storytelling, and legends, and urges the public to hate the good. This practice has the function of stabilizing society. In contrast, it also has a negative impact, so that when the average person thinks of death, there will be images of terrible cow head horses or miserable torture, so everyone is afraid of death and avoiding it.
  
  Willing to go to the Pure Land of Buddhism
  
  However, according to the records of Buddhist classics, for example, the hell described in the Bodhisattva Bodhisattva is the person who committed the sin of the Five Rebellions and Ten Commandments, and the place where karma was sent after death; and greed, blasphemy and killing during his lifetime. The person who died will break into the hungry ghost road and become a hungry ghost with a big belly and a thin neck. Therefore, those who commit sinful crimes during their lifetime will not go to hell to become ghosts after they die, or suffer in hell. After ordinary people die, they will not go to hell. Buddhism only has more wealthy ghosts, less wealthy ordinary ghosts, and no wealthy hungry ghosts. There is no mention of “ghosts”, only lonely and remote hell, and there is no such thing as “solitude and ghosts.”
  
  Compared with China’s unhealthy imagination of death, Westerners seem to be much more rational, because in their conception, there is no dark, horrible scene of death, but some bright and happy future.
  
  Western Christianity believes that people can rise to heaven as long as they believe in God. Even if you don’t believe in life, you will repent and be baptized into a Christian at the end of your life, and the church members will pray for him. Then he can still go to heaven because God loves the world. Only those who commit felony and refuse to confess their sins and refuse to believe in the Lord will be convicted of purgatory. This kind of faith gives the dying person very bright hope and comfort. At the same time, Christianity also said that people who die for the country, society, and the love of the Lord will rise to heaven. But the Chinese often refer to those who are not dead at the end of their lives as dead, dying, and after death, turned into ghosts and ghosts. soul. The difference between the two is too big.
  
  Observing Chinese culture from these aspects, especially the folk culture, is indeed too dark, horrible and unhealthy to describe death. We should use the correct religious beliefs to reverse and dilute this negative point of view.
  
  Buddhism calls death “going to life” and succinctly points out that there is a future after death. Where is the birth? All Mahayana Buddhists are willing to live in the Pure Land of the Buddha Kingdom and the Western Paradise. If you don’t want to go to the other side of the land, then it is good to send back to the world to go to Bodhisattva. Therefore, in the face of death, not only do not have fear, but rather rejoice, this is very far-reaching and has great stability.
  
  Question: Listening to the Master’s instructions, it seems that we still have the right to choose after death, instead of going to the place where we should go.
  
  A: There is buffer space in the middle. Even if a person commits a heavy sin, as long as he can confess his heart and vow to go to the Buddha country, he can bring the industry to the pure land. If he wants to come back to the world, he will face many reports after the regeneration; but as long as he is firm A remorseful sorrowful heart can also be practiced while being reported and must have achieved something.
  
  Q: If I didn’t make such a sorrow and regrets during my lifetime, would I have time to die after death?
  
  A: I am afraid that it is too late, and others can’t make a sad heart for the people. Excessiveness is good for the dead, but the power is limited. Therefore, if you have done some bad things to regret yourself during your lifetime, you should turn back in time and confess your heart.
  
  Question: The Master just explained that hell is not the place where ordinary people die. Does this mean that “King of King Luo” is not the presiding judge after death, taking the life and death book to calculate and sum up the good and bad acts of each dead person?
  
  A: Yes, King Luo is not necessarily the god of death.
  
  In Buddhism, there are two Jurassic, one is in the world of Jerome, which is the saying of Hindu Buddhism; the other is in the land of the Jurassic Son, who made his wish to go to hell, not the ten temples in folk mythology. Yama. China’s record of the Ten Temples is actually a myth and legend that slowly emerged after the Tang and Song Dynasties.
  
  According to Buddhism, the stage of waiting for a child to die is called “Zhong Yin”. Generally speaking, it lasts for forty-nine days. Between these forty-nine days, depending on the career of the deceased (including the previous life), what kind of maturity is ripe, the undead is drawn by this karma. If the deceased had a sorrowful wish and confidence in his life, he would not be able to sneak into the country after his death. He could be born to the Buddha or return to the World Bank Bodhisattva, depending on the wishes of the deceased.
  
  Therefore, if you make a big wish before you die, you will do what you want after death. But if you don’t know where to go in the future, you have to be dragged by karma. To prepare for your future life and death, you must first make a wish, and it is a good, compassionate wish.
  
  Question: The Master said that the stage of the Yin body was about forty-nine days. After forty-nine days?
  
  A: After forty-nine days, if you haven’t reincarnate, you will naturally become a spiritual body. It is not a place to go to the government. It is not necessarily a hungry ghost. It is floating in space, or a ghost attached to the grass. Buddhism’s super recommendation for the deceased is mainly due to over-infested body. Therefore, in the forty-nine days after death, relatives and friends have a greater effect on the Buddha’s work done by the dead. Once this period has passed, if it has been reincarnation, the function will be lower. .
  
  The reason why the yin body has not been reborn has become a spiritual body. Some are because they can’t let go of their grievances and erotic desires. Some are because the karma is not mature yet, and they can’t wait for the “margin” to meet; some are caused by karma, but they will parasitize the land. The temple, or the general shrine temple, shows the spirit, “help” the people who come to pray. However, as long as they continue to recommend and say to them, they will soon put down their minds and reincarnate. Therefore, the spirit of the spirit in the same land temple or other temples is often the ghost of “changing the shift” and will not always be the same spirit.
  
  Strictly speaking, these spirits are neutral, not good or evil, but good and evil, between the gods and the ghosts; the gods who call the spirits are called gods, and the people who are the victims are called ghosts.
  
  Both East and West, since ancient times, people have used the power of these spiritual bodies to cure people, fortune-telling, divination, and exorcism. In ancient times, these people were called wizards, and modern people said that they were psychics. For Buddhists, knowing that they exist is not necessary, and there is no need to fear.

Question: If the earth that human beings currently live in and the universe they are searching for cannot be separated from “staying in the bad air,” then heaven and hell also have “staying in the bad air”?

A: Yes, Buddhism believes that our innocent universe is called the “Three Realms”, including the boundaries of desire, color and colorlessness. The earth in which human beings live is in the realm of desire. In addition, there are heavens, Shura, ghosts, animals, and hell. They are also in the world of desire. The color world is the place where the meditation person lives, the world of the heart, and there is no substance here. There is only the activity of “heart”; in the colorless world, even the activities of “heart” are gone, leaving me with an infinite and eternal. In the colorless world, although it is colorless and unthinkable, it still clings to an eternal “I”, so it is not the residence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas without me.

The Buddhist scriptures: “The Three Realms are like a fire house”, which means that the universe consisting of the Three Realms is always at risk of disaster. There are three catastrophes and three major disasters in the Three Realms. The three catastrophes are knives, hunger, and epidemic; the three major disasters are fire, water, and wind. When the three catastrophes are rampant, human beings can still survive, but when the three major disasters occur, all the three realms will be destroyed, and all sentient beings living in the Three Realms, including the human beings in the world of destiny and the beings in heaven and hell, as well as the colorless and colorless worlds All beings will turn to the other world and start again.

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