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Grand Master's Books > Grand Master Lu's Book > 163_Crossing the Ocean of Life and Death

Chapter 01. The Opening of the Eight-Petalled Lotus

01. The Opening of the Eight-Petalled Lotus
Written by Sheng-yen Lu
Translated and edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation Team

I became very sick after I put on the Spiritual Travel Shoes. The experience itself is really beyond description, and these three words sum it up: Miserable! Miserable! Miserable!

Let me share with you exactly what this phrase `the Opening of the Eight-Petalled Lotus` means. My skull was in a perfect condition until it suddenly began to split open, fragments by fragments. On the surface, I looked absolutely normal, and there was no sign of my head splitting up. But please do not be shocked and frightened if I were to say that my head was in actual fact, beginning to crack open in the invisible ethereal realm.

Starting from the center of the skull, it split into eight fragments, and every degree of splitting drew a proportional dose of pain. From the invisible perspective, I had contracted an illness called the Splitting Headache, or Head Splitting Syndrome. I doubt most people would understand what this splitting headache was all about. You could say I went through the mother of all suffering and pain. I believe no one has ever had the experience like the one I had gone through, for what is more painful than the splitting of one`s head?

I once read the story Journey to the West, where it described how Guan Yin Bodhisattva had placed a golden band around the head of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong. When the band tightened, Sun Wukong would drop to the floor and roll all over the place, screaming painfully as he grabbed his head. This is the Head Tightening Syndrome.

What I contracted was literally a splitting headache, which split my head into eight fragments, cracking a fraction of an inch at a time. Good heavens! It was like the crumbling of a mountain and the splitting of the earth, much like a volcano erupting! My blood and bodily fluids simply oozed out of the head, and it felt like a chilling wind had cut right into my bones!

I was dying. I was really on the brink of death. My pain and suffering were beyond the description of any common adjectives, and certainly beyond the understanding of most people. I realized it was painful to die. `The Opening of the Eight-Petalled Lotus` was such a beautiful phrase, yet in reality it was deadly horrifying.

I really prayed to my three principal deities, `Compassionate Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, Amitabha Buddha of the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss, the One of Great Vow, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, please receive and deliver me to the Pure Land!`

`I have no wish to live. Let me die at age fifty-eight. I am all too willing to go! I wish to be reborn at the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds!`

`Homage to the 36 trillion, 119 thousand, 500 Amitabha Buddhas, please receive and deliver me!`

My once traditional view, a typical traditional Chinese viewpoint, was that a man should live to the age of one hundred to be considered to have lived a long life. One sexagenary cycle of sixty years is considered a good life span. Now that I am fifty-eight, only two years short of sixty, how could I be looking forward to death and rebirth so soon?

Yet, are you aware that after I had experienced the splitting headache, my will to live was gone? I wanted nothing but death. Just think about it. I had asked to die, and I had no wish to go on living. The pain and suffering were simply unbearable. This is why birth, old age, sickness and death are included among the eight sufferings.

At the time of `the Opening of the Eight-Petalled Lotus,` during which the four elements were disintegrating, I had not the slightest hesitation to die, for I was determined to swiftly seek rebirth. While going through this torment, I had once sought the blessing of the Buddha to radiate his light upon me. The Buddha`s light was shone on me three times, and each time I had a temporary relief of ten minutes. But the suffering brought forth by this splitting headache was persistent, and it lasted day and night, for 49 days.

My taste buds became dull, and I had insomnia. It was as if I was put through the punishments of hell. I finally knew why certain hospital patients would choose to climb up the window and jump from the building. Why? The pain brought forth by illness was simply too much to bear! I finally knew why Ernest Hemingway, Kawabata Yasunari, Sanmao and others decided to commit suicide. Having ended up in this miserable state, if I had not been Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu, I would have yelled, `I too want to commit suicide!`

But I must not kill myself, for killing oneself is tantamount to killing a Buddha. I am a master cultivator, and I have to deliver sentient beings. I practice patience, and must tolerate the worst torment, which includes the suffering of both mind and body. They are the eight sufferings which I must bear! So I must not kill myself!
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