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

Chapter 04: The Destiny of Past Life and Present Life

04. The Destiny of Past Life and Present Life
Written by Sheng-yen Lu
Translated and edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation Team

I live in seclusion at Leaf Lake, away from home in a foreign land. I, the Enlightened Acharya, the Vajra Master, Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu, who was once the spiritual teacher of millions, is now completely hidden away from worldly existence.

Though I went from a much celebrated life to an ordinary undertaking, and remain secluded from the crowd, I nevertheless continue to write so that sentient beings can be succored. Although I may be alone, my views, my activities and my cultivation have remained the same.

I lead a solitary life, suffer from illnesses, and have little enjoyment. I don`t complain or blame anyone, for I am well aware of the line of destiny binding the past life and the present life. I want to reassure my faithful disciples that I did personally see who I was in my past life, and heard his name being mentioned. I truly visited the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. I remembered my past life, and had incarnated to the Saha world to deliver sentient beings in response to the great vows I made. These vows are simply overwhelming:

I will deliver sentient beings even if my flesh and bones are smashed to pieces.

Never will I abandon a single being.

Therefore, as a result of these vows made in my past and present life, I would have to bear great physical and mental pain. I have no regrets about leading a secluded and solitary life, and have no regrets about going through such torments and challenges. I recognize the reality that the mind of sentient beings on earth is subjected to impermanence and change.

I have memories of going through untold numbers of past births and deaths, and I am clear about some of the death sequences that are stored in my consciousness. I am no ordinary man, for most people are unaware of their past lives, future lives, and how they would die. Hence, the one person on this planet qualified to write this book on death is likely to be me.

Life is the opposite of death, and likewise death exists as the opposite of life. It is just one gateway, where entrance means life, and exit means death. During this period, it is important to know how one dies.

Those who read this book will discover that Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu is:

* `A Treasure` - the most precious supreme treasure in this Saha world.
* `A Huge Lamp` - universally illuminating this world, whose light is infinite.
* `An Illuminating Lamp` - driving away ignorance and darkness of the three lower realms.
* `A Holy Sage` - one who possesses all dharma treasures.
* `True Buddha` - A Tathagata who attains the unexcelled perfect enlightenment.


All Buddhas of the Ten Directions and Three Times and all Bodhisattvas once sang these praises:

The huge lamp that lights the whole dharma realm

The illuminating lamp which lights up the three lower paths

With these merits we willingly accept

To watch over and bless the success of True Buddha

The actual experience of life is much like an illusory dream, for the universe is bound to the law of life and death. What appears as a lively and active world of heaven and earth, of material things, joy and pain, science, machines, and the arts, which occur in life, are mere decorations. The true reality of life hinges on cultivation, on enlightenment, and rests in a spiritual plane after death. This is difficult to fathom for most people, but I want to remind sentient beings that:

All material things on earth are really empty. The transcendental cultivation is the big causational event in life. The Buddha appeared on earth in response to this big causational event in life. We must gain response and union with the bodhi of the Three Vehicles.

Everything I have mentioned is true. I have put in a considerable amount of effort in my present life to awaken the people who are deluded by the trappings of this world, to advise them against pursuing fame and fortune, and to keep their minds aligned to proper cultivation and the true reality which it will come to recognize.

The deluded ones are sentient beings, who are concerned with wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. The enlightened ones are Buddhas, who are concerned with bodhi. Life and death is only a gateway. This gateway thus becomes vitally important, for death itself holds great value. A deeper understanding and a clearer insight of death shows that it really is a key that opens the door to the Pure Land. A guide to dying is simply critical.
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