When I was in high school reading the Four Great Books, one of the sages said: “I can not bear to see them die while seeing them being alive; I can not bear to eat their meat while hearing their dying voices. Therefore Gentlemen stays far away from kitchen.” At the time I asked my high school teacher whether all the ancient sages were vegetarians and abstained from killing. “No. It is just that they cannot bear it in their hearts. They have a heart which cannot bear to see the sufferings of others. They still have to eat meat but they keep away from the kitchen where the brutal killing is carried out and the animal’s terrified screams can be heard.” That was my teacher’s answer. Because of that I always doubted that the sages of old did actually possess a benevolent heart.
After I graduated from university and was studying Buddhism, I attended a lecture given by a Buddhist master who refused to answer the question of whether Buddhists can kill mosquitoes, insects, and venomous rodents. At that time I felt that at least the Confucian sages were more direct in facing the issue.
A couple of years ago I was listening to a recorded lecture by Venerable Hui Lu. When asked whether Buddhists could kill mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches, he answered with a flat “No.” The student was relentless and questioned what can be done? These insects were nuisance and annoying in our living activities and even during our sleep. “Before you spray insecticide, tell the insects that they must go away. Otherwise, it is the insects that are actually killing themselves. You are not killing them. So, ask the insects to go far away!” I felt that Venerable Hui Lu’s reply actually maintained the Buddhist precept of abstention from killing, while it also took care of the practical problems of daily life.
Buddha Shakyamuni was an ascetic sage in many of His past lives. Without any trace of anger He was willing to be killed by King Goli. In another life He was willing to sacrifice Himself to feed a hungry tiger and vowed to liberate the tiger after He attained Buddhahood. Every time I remember these stories I am deeply moved by the greatness of His vow of abstention from killing no matter what.
In the well known movie “Shaolin Temple” there was a scene showing the Shaolin monks facing a massacre situation. They decided to lift the abstention from killing in order to face the enemy in battle. I wondered to myself whether it is right to relinquish this vow, or whether they should meet their death willingly. What would I do if I were to face the same situation?
When I watched News reports and saw terrorists senselessly shooting innocent people in public places, I wondered if I were standing behind them with a gun and could stop them from killing innocents by shooting them to death, would that be right?
In the movie “The Longest Day”, a soldier was fatally wounded and in great pains, he asked his buddy to shot him to put him out of misery. Is it right to do that? I suppose I would make an immediate judgement in such a situation, but there seems to be no way I would have the answer in advance.
So, the Kaohsiung student asked me the above-mentioned question regarding whether it is all right to kill mosquitoes, etcetera. The student was obviously touched by my compassionate answer. He said that he had asked many respectful monks but none was willing to definitely answer him. He was extremely appreciative and impressed with my definitive answer.
All beings, no matter whether they are born of the womb (mammalia), the egg (oviparous), moisture (water-born), or metamorphic (manifestation or transformation), are born due to their karmic conditions – the conditions of causation. Because of these causal conditions there is the unending cycle of rebirth. If one is in fact able to neutralize their death karma and also deliver them to a higher spiritual level of existence, these beings will be grateful rather than bearing hatred in their hearts.
Students of Mahayana Zengong who have reached the advanced classes can perform the Spiritual Liberation Method in delivering non-human beings. When the Spiritual Liberation Method is used to deliver a being, the practitioner must be able to unify himself/herself with Buddha and the universe as one. So, with the blessing of Buddha the being can be delivered and be reborn in the Pureland of Ultimate Bliss (Pureland in short) to continue its further spiritual development.
There is a Mahayana Zengong student from Taoyuan. She is a junior high school teacher. On the evening of July 1st of the lunar calendar last year, her mother (seventy years old) suddenly suffered a serious stroke. Starting that evening and every night thereafter, the old lady would scream out loudly in the middle of the night, a loud shrieking cat-like scream, which scared and annoyed the neighbors. The family sought helps from Western doctors, Traditional Chinese doctors, and even psychics and exorcists. The medical attention continued for ten days but to no avail. Every night the cat-like shrieks would continue.
Fortunately, the annual Spiritual Liberation & Deliverance Ceremony was held on July 15th. After I performed the Spirit Liberation method for her, she did not suffer from the cat shrieks anymore. It became known to us later that when the old lady was pregnant, according to family tradition, she drank cat’s blood as a nutritional supplement. In all she drank the blood of dozens of cats. This could be seen as past karma ripening in the present life.
Another student of mine from Taichung, General Wang was in the hospital having his fifth time intestinal surgery when he fell into a life threatening coma. After he regained consciousness he vowed that he would follow his teacher and dedicate his remaining life to promoting Buddhism and benefitting all sentient beings. His health conditions were amazingly improved. After he went home, however, he started experiencing strange pains where he had the surgery everyday.
One night General Wang and his son, a National Chiao Tung University student, had the same dream. A long haired woman wanted to take the General’s life. The student asked the spirit: “Why do you want to take my father’s life?” “I am here following orders to take back the debt of a life,” the long haired woman replied. When asked who she was, the long haired woman said her name was Bi Chi. General Wang and his son asked me to deliver this female spirit. So I performed the Deliverance of Deceased Beings method. I succeeded in having this female spirit, Bi Chi, delivered to the Pureland to continue her development there. After that the General suffered no more pains. The female spirit was never again seen by him or his son.
A Taipei woman, who is the cousin of the Canadian Overseas Chinese Community leader, Professor Han-Hsin Wen, has felt someone sleeping beside her every night since she was eighteen. She did not feel the entity to be malevolent. From time to time she even received guidance in dealing with daily activities from “him”. So, she was not afraid or troubled by this experience. Even after she got married, “he” would continue sleeping beside her. Whenever she was enjoying intimacy with her husband in the bedroom, there would always be noisy sounds of objects dropping on the floor. But since “he” continued helping her, she tolerated “his” company. This continued for some twenty years.
In January of this year, a Buddhist friend of hers took her to the Di Zang (Ktsigarbha) Temple in Taipei because she did not feel well. Considering the possibility that her illness was caused by a spirit, they asked the Buddhist master to perform the Deliverance for deceased souls. From that night on a spirit would ride atop her every night in sexual union. She could not move but the sensation of sexual experience felt very real. This continued nightly for several months.
When I saw her in a two-day Zen Retreat held at the Taipei Mahayana Zengong Center, her complexion was very pale and she seemed to be suffering from nervous exhaustion. Professor Wen asked what we could do, to which I said that I had to perform the Deliverance Ceremony. After the performance her spirit companion of twenty years had vanished! It has been a year without any further occurrence. It turned out that the spirit was her husband from the previous life. Since strong karmic connections were maintained, the “husband” sought her out and stayed with her in this life although “he” was disembodied. After the karmic forces had been resolved, “he” moved on to continue his spiritual development.
The Di Zang Wang (Ktsigarbha) Bodhisattva vowed to deliver all souls, spirits, ghosts, and demons. His great vow reads: “While hell is not empty, I refrain from becoming a Buddha!” This unconditional compassionate vow has been retold for ages.
Should any Mahayana Zengong disciples practice diligently according to the teachings, they will attain high level meditation and they will have the ability to deliver sentient beings to Purelands. Therefore, the more Mahayana Zengong students there are, the more spirits and ghosts will benefit!
(c) USMZAS 1998