The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Nine: Sending on Spirits in Transition


As a dharma instruction for sending on the spirits in transition, the Founding Master composed the “Dharma Talk on Guidance to the Path to the Next Life before and after Death.” “Oh dear [name of the deceased], focus your spirit and listen well to my words. Whatever you have received in this life, whether wholesome or unwholesome, is the result of what you did in your past lives, and whatever you have done in this life is what you will again receive in your future lives. This is in fact the heavenly karma of all of nature. Because the buddhas and enlightened masters have awakened to what is original in their self-natures and have attained freedom of mind, they break through this natural karma and are able to enjoy as they please any of the six rebirth destinies and the four modes types of birth. However, ordinary humans and sentient beings have attained neither what is original in their self-natures nor freedom of mind; hence, being dragged about by natural karma, they end up receiving immeasurable suffering. Whether you become a buddha or an enlightened master, or are an ordinary human or a mere sentient being, whether you receive high or low status or blessings or punishments, whether you are long-lived or short-lived, this all is created by you and no one else. Oh, dear [name], are you now certain that it is you who have created all of these myriad events? Oh, dear [name], listen further. Whether it is a buddha, you, or all sentient beings, the principle of birth and death is the same for all and the realm of their natures also is all originally pure and clear, perfect and complete. The nature is like the moon in the sky: the real moon is by itself in the sky, but its reflection shines on a thousand rivers. Likewise, the root of this universe and the myriads of things are also originally that pure and clear realm of the nature: it has neither name nor form, neither coming nor going, neither birth nor death, neither buddhas and sentient beings nor empty nonexistence and calm extinction, there is not even the word ‘not’; it is what is neither being nor nonbeing. However, that which exists in that realm arises naturally by manifesting itself through nonaction; the universe is transformed through formation, subsistence, decay, and extinction; the myriad things transform amid the six rebirth destinies and the four modes of birth by following the cycle of birth, old age, sickness, and death; and the sun and the moon change day to night as they move across the sky. In the same manner, the birth and death of your physical body is also a transformation, not a real birth and death. Oh, dear [name], are you listening? Now, have you definitely awakened to the realm of this nature? Listen again! When you discard your old body and receive a new one, you will receive it in accordance with what you are most attached to and what you have typically enjoyed. If in what you have most enjoyed the world of the buddhas and bodhisattvas is predominant, then you will receive a body from that world and obtain immeasurable happiness. On the other hand, if greed, hatred, and delusion were stronger, then you will receive a body from such a world and obtain endless suffering throughout infinite kalpas. Are you listening? Oh, dear [name], listen again! At this moment, fortify your mind even further. If you do not extinguish even a hair’s breadth of attachment to desire and clinging, you will naturally fall into baleful destinies; and once you have fallen there, when will you ever receive a human body again to seek out the congregations of sages and saints, accomplish the grand enterprise, and receive immeasurable wisdom and blessings? Oh, dear deceased [name], have you been listening well?”