Buddhism's View on The Wheel of Rebirth
A Speech by Venerable Master Hsing Yun
"Today, I am going to discuss with you a very important, but
difficult to affirm, question. When we talk about rebirth or
reincarnation, some people laugh at the idea. They consider such
belief is passe and obsolete. Others may think such question is in
arena of religion. After all, it concerns what is after death. It is
not practical and very distant. There is a saying, 'If I don't even
know about living, why ask about dying?' Thus, this question should
not be an urgent concern. To be sincere, the setting of a grand
lecture hall is not very suitable to talk about the subject of
rebirth. If we could discuss this question on a battle field, where
death confront us, then we can all sincerely and solemnly discuss
our next stop upon death.
Most young people today slight and look down on the question of
rebirth. These disbelievers of rebirth are not necessary living in a
higher level. They are actually shallow and ignorant. Denying the
existing of rebirth does not obstruct others, it only limits our own
life. Without rebirth, there is no past and there is no future. A
life without future, existence is so short and vain. The future is
so hopeless. When we face a great obstacle, we can encourage
ourselves, 'It is okay, another ten years then it will be my turn.'
Even when criminal steps on the execution chair, they can still say,
'Another twenty years, there will be another tough man'. With
rebirth, human existence has maneuvering rooms. With rebirth, pledge
and wish can eventually be fulfilled. With rebirth, life has the
next train available.
The phenomenal world cannot be separated from rebirth. Good or
evil existences in the six realms are rebirth. Life and death are
rebirth. The physical world changes naturally. There is the change
of the four seasons. There is the time cycle of past, present and
future. There is the twenty four hours a day. They are rebirth in
term of times. There is change of directions. There is the movement
from here to there. These are rebirth in term of space. Everything
around us is the product of rebirth. The wind gathers the clouds.
Rains fall to the ground. It evaporates back into clouds again. This
is a phenomenon of rebirth. Automobile burns gasoline. It generates
energy and produces carbon dioxide. It is absorbed by plants. Plants
decay back to natural oil deposit. This is also rebirth. The light
comes on, and then turns off. It then turns back on again. This is
All physical changes in the universe are rebirth. A person's
birth, mature and death are also rebirth. According to scientific
research, the human body is renewed every seven years. In another
word, the seven-year metabolism has given us a total new body.
According to Buddhism, all creatures from advance to rudimentary,
all their perceptions and cognition, are changing constantly.
Physical changes are birth, age, sick and die. Mental changes are
forming, stay, change and vanish. Existence is dynamic. It is like a
wheel. It is therefore called the wheel of rebirth. Besides, even
family relationship, economic association, emotion up and downs,
they are all just phenomenon of rebirth. Buddhism is to teach us the
truth of rebirth in the six realms. Human existence is dynamic and
with in rebirth. The pace may be different. The slow changes are
called 'existing and extinction' or 'changing and differentiating'.
The fast changes are called 'cycle of rebirth'. All beings create
karma as a result of their thoughts. It forms the connection between
cause and effect. It forms the endless and beginningless river of
life. It gives rise to the life form of celestial, human, spirit and
animal. Master SOUND-YIN in his 'Inspiration to pledge for
Bodhicitta' said, 'I and all beings, from time since eternity, trap
in rebirth and cannot be liberated. Heaven and earth, here and
there, in many forms, rise and fall.' Yet, this profound and
important law of rebirth is not accepted by so many ignorant beings.
No wonder ancient masters exalted, 'Only the Buddha and scriptures
could expose such profound truth.' Rebirth is a religious theory. It
is not an escape for psychological comfort. It is a precision
science that explain our existence from past into the future. With a
correct understanding of rebirth, we examine our life intelligently.
Buddhism's view on rebirth and reincarnation can be summarized into
the following four points.
1. The value of rebirth
If we accept and believe in the idea of rebirth, what value does
it bring? What meaning does it add to our existence? Rebirth extends
our existences. Life is beyond only a hundred year. Life is full of
hope and possibility. In rebirth, death is the beginning of another
existence. It is like a torch. When one stick of wood is exhausted,
there will be another, one after the other. Each stick may be
different in component. Yet, the flame will continue to burn.
Rebirth is also like a lamp. The oil may be exhausted. Another lamp
can be lighted. One lamp after another, it gives brightness in the
darkness of existence. We exist with in the six realms, as Henry or
Jack. We may be in heaven or earth. We may have many different
forms. Yet, the flame of life is eternal. The lamp of wisdom is
endless. Rebirth connects us with the universe. Our existence is
also timeless. Rebirth is the meaning of existence. We passed our
experience, wisdom and history from one generation to the next. If
we cannot hand down our experience, then work has no meanings. If we
cannot pass down our culture, history will be very short.
Some people said, 'Everyone is equal in front of the law'.
Yet, even the strictest law has loophole. Buddhism believes only
in front of rebirth that all are equal. King and noble, commoner and
beggar, everyone must face the cycle of rebirth. There is a poem,
'The greatest justice of in the world is white hair. It will appear
even on the head the noblest.' Time is the fairest judge. Birth,
age, sick and death are the most just jury. Cause and result,
rebirth and reincarnation, are not controlled by the Yama judge, nor
the creator god. Event is determined by a being's confused deeds. It
reacts with the ripen conditions according to the stored karma. It
effects a variety of happy and painful rewards. Therefore, it is
written in the scripture, 'Millions of millennium may passed. Karma
does not vanish. When the condition is ripened. One must bear one's
action.' In the rebirth of the six realms, being intelligent or
dump, rich or poor, they are all the products of our past deeds.
There are people attending college as children. They are what the
society called talent. Talent is not a product of this life. It is
accumulated from past lives. It too is a form of rebirth. Rebirth
liberates us from the hand of divine power. Our karma controls
rebirth. Heaven and gods cannot give us fortune or bring us
disaster. We are our own master. We taste our own medicine. From the
viewpoint of rebirth, every being is free and equal. Happiness and
fortune are the products of our own hands. Misery and tragedy are
also self made. A creator cannot protect us from crime. God cannot
take away our merits either. In front of rebirth, cause and result,
there is no luck. We are our own creator.
Live must be spinning like a wheel. We must progress forward.
Sins are also like the spinning wheel. With time, we can repent and
amend. Rebirth, it can give us so much hope. The winter may be long
and cold, the warm spring will come. Rebirth is not a word game for
argument. It is not a matter of belief it or not. Rebirth is all
around us. We can examine the universe, nature, society, science,
even you and me, everything is within the swirl of rebirth. How can
we understand rebirth calmly? How can we escape rebirth and the
three realms? How can we change the wheel of rebirth to the Dharma
wheel of the Buddha? This is all a matter of wisdom.
2. Some questions regarding rebirth
Rebirth may have such a profound value and meaning. Yet, many
people still strong doubt on its existence, it's phenomenon and it's
purpose. I will summarize the questions and give answers as the
2.1 Is rebirth good for us?
People may think life is suffering. It is best death is final and
everything is concluded. Buddhism said death is not final. It is the
beginning of another life. We must learn to treasure each life, and
not to waste it away. With rebirth, existences never end. There will
be always hope to build a bright future. Without rebirth, death is
the end. All our hopes and dreams will not be able to fulfill. It is
such a grief. It is not a pretty sight at all.
2.2 Why am I not aware of rebirth?
If rebirth really exist, how come I cannot recall anything in my
past life? The scripture said, 'Human are pitiful. Grandson marries
to grandma'. Why are we so ignorant, that we would even marry our
grandmother? In Chinese folklore, it is said a person must drink a
bowl of soup before rebirth. It causes one to lose all previous
memory. Plato also believes a soul must venture through a hot desert
to rebirth. The journey leads to a river. Drinking the water to
quench thirst will cause a lost of all previous memory. In Roman
folk tale, there is also similarly stories.
Buddhism teaches that people lost all memory of previous life
because of 'confusion through rebirth'. Rebirth must passed through
a stage of 'intermediary body'. It is the 'soul' that go on to the
next birth. The intermediary body is like a three feet child. It has
supernatural power. It can venture anywhere except for a mother's
uterus and the Buddha's diamond throne. The intermediary body dies
and born every seven days. The longest existence would be
seven-seven or forty nine days. During this time, it would chose
rebirth into another realm. It is because of this intermediary
existence, we forget our previous lives. Some of you may say, 'How
regrettable, would it nice if I know my past life'? Do you really
think those have supernatural power will necessarily be happy? Do
you think it is nice to know that you were a cow or pig before? If
you know you have only three more years to live, would life be
great? If you can read mind, you know others hate you, is it really
that joyful? We do not have magic power. Everyday is great day.
Everywhere is a great place. Life is free and liberated. Universe
and life have their rules. Everything has its appropriate place. We
forget our past existences. We get a new body and forget all the
past bad experiences. It is also a very good thing.
2.3 Could prayers affect rebirth?
If rebirth is real, then when we read scriptures to pray for
deceased love one, would it has any benefit? Can it liberated them
from rebirth? According to the Ksitagarba Sutra, the merit from
reading scriptures are as following. The deceased will receive about
one-third of the total merit. The rest will go the one reading the
scripture. Therefore, it would be best we recite scripture by
ourselves when we can. Instead of bothering our relatives when it is
too late. Besides, the merits of reading scriptures are limited.
What is then the value of reading scriptures for the death? It is
like you have a wealthy and famous relative. It is like a passport
during our trip. The merits allow one to born into a Buddha's Pure
Land. If we throw a rock in a river, it quickly sinks into the
bottom. If we tired it to a ship, it can arrive the other shore
safely. Our sins can use the merits of reading scriptures as the
ferrying vessel. We can be liberated from the sea of rebirth. If a
wheat field is full of healthy and strong seedlings, then a couple
weeds would not affect the harvest. The merits of reading scriptures
promote the growth of our virtue. It buried the seed of sins in
soil. It lessens their effects.
2.4 Would horoscope and fortune telling help rebirth?
In Chinese popular culture, people usually hire a fortune-teller
to check the time and location for wedding, funeral and special
occasions. The house has wrong alignment. It will effect your
descendants' future. The couple's horoscopes do not match. They
should not be married. Wedding must be on the best day. Funeral must
pick the best locale. Our life is controlled by divine power and
superstitions. Actually, many weddings are on the same day. Some end
in divorce. Some build happy family. It is obvious the time is not
important. Relationship and communication are the basis for happy
marriage. If we can establish ourselves by helping others, friends
with others, then everywhere is great, all times are good time. If
we believe in rebirth, we should accumulate more merit. They will be
reborn with us. We should build more good relationship. They too
will be reborn with us. Accumulating merit and building relationship
are sources of success and happiness in life.
2.5 How about some real examples as proof?
If I cannot know the past and future, then can there be some real
example to prove rebirth is real? For example, people wear a silk
blouse. Silk worm spin a cocoon. Silk moth break off from the
cocoon. Are they three or one? Can we say the worm, cocoon and the
moth are same, or are they different? This is a living example of
rebirth. Once, a person steals a coconut. While enjoying his catch,
he was caught. The owner scolds him, 'How can you steal my coconut'?
'No, I did not'.
'How can you deny? I planted the coconut tree'.
'Well, your coconut is in the ground. I am eating the one that is
on the tree. What is that have to do with you'?
The coconut on the tree and in the ground has the connection
through rebirth. Our existence is like this coconut. It is like
lighting a torch. Birth gives rise to birth. The cycle never ends.
2.6 Is rebirth in conflict with no self?
The fundamental teaching in Buddhism is 'all phenomenon has no
self'. If there is no self, how can there be rebirth? Are they
conflicting each other? No self does not mean no life. No self means
our bodily existence of the five skandas and four elements. Its
existence is effected by cause and conditions. It does not has a
self nature. Thus, it is said to have no self. It is like a piece of
gold. It can be made into ring, earing, bracelet. They are a variety
of forms. Yet, the nature of gold is unchanged. Our existence is the
same. We become Henry or Jack, donkey or horse, heaven and earth.
The truth rebirth is not the body. It is the master inside our body.
2.7 Who then is doing the rebirth?
If the body is reborn, it is the body's master, then who is this
master? In Buddhism, Alaya-vijnana is this master. In the scripture,
it is described as, 'It is the teachings in all of the Tripitika. It
is influenced by external environments. It stores, affected and
determine the next body. It is last to go, first to come and it is
the master'. Alaya is the main source that gives life. It perceives
different environments. It reacts and creates karma. The karma is
store as future seeds in this giant warehouse. According to the good
or bad, dominate or minor karmas in stock, the next rebirth is
determined. When the body die, the Alaya is last to go. When reborn,
the Alaya is first to arrive. It is the master that determine
2.8 How does karma related to rebirth?
The master of rebirth is Alaya-vijnana. How does the direction of
rebirth get decided? Everyday, we create new karma of deeds,
speeches and thoughts. They can be good or bad. They are the two
dominating and competing forces. If the good forces dominate, we
born in to the three good realms of celestial, human or asuna. If
the evil force win, we born in the three evil realms of animal,
ghost and hell. The good or evil of karma decide the future
direction of rebirth. To prepare for our future well beings, it is
important to go all good and refrain from all evilness.
2.9 What is the final destination of rebirth?
All religion has the idea of rebirth. Their purpose may be
different. Taoist seeks everlasting life and constant youth.
Christianity seeks entrance into the kingdom of god. Popular
religions seek to live forever. Buddhism's goal is to enter the
realm of non-birth. The realm of non-birth is liberation from
rebirth. From a Buddhism perspective, everlasting life, forever life
and heaven are still in the painful cycle of rebirth. Only non-birth
can emancipate us from the suffering of existence. It is the
ultimate serene, joyful, comfort or pure living.
3. Proofs of rebirth
There are many records and stories in history that proves the
existence of rebirth.
Famous scholar HUANG-YEN-MING visited the Gold Mountain temple
once. The scenery was very familiar as if he was there before. He
walked around to a closed and sealed door. The room looked very
familiar. He just could not control his curiosity. He requested the
reception monk to show him the inside of the room. The monk replied,
'I am very sorry. Inside the room is the body of our master who
passed away fifty years ago. His words were that it should not be
open to the public'.
'If the room has door, it cannot remain shut forever. Please, let
me go inside to take a look.'
With persistence, finally the monk let him inside. Inside, there
was a monk's body in meditation posture. Oh! How could the face look
so familiar? On the wall, there is this poem, 'The HUANG-YEN-MING in
fifty year. Same guy opens and closes the door. The consciousness
leaves and returns. We now believe in the Ch'an teachings of the
HUANG-YEN-MING is the reincarnation of the old monk. He closed
the door before. He returned to open it today. As a proof for the
future generation, he wrote another poem, 'The Gold Mountain
awakened me like a fist strike. It breaks open the sky under
HUI-YEN's lake. Looking at the moon from a high platform. The flute
is playing and dragon is sleeping'.
In the record of KAN-HSI province SHI-SHU county, there was a
story of a woman reborn as a county commission HUANG-SHAN-GOO.
HUANG-SHAN-GOO was a famous scholar. He became a county commissioner
at twenty six. One day, he dreams that he was in a room. He saw an
old lady. She was making offerings of celery noodles. He smelled and
it was so nice. He ate up all the noodles. He was awakened and still
tasted the favor of celery. HUANG-SHAN-GOO thought it is all just a
dream. The next day, he had the same dream again. He was getting
disturbed. He took the day off and went for a walk. He was strolling
around. Suddenly, he walked by a house and saw the same old lady in
the dream. She was praying and making offering of a bowl of celery
noodle inside the house. HUANG-SHAN-GOO was very curious. He walked
up and asked, 'Madame! What are you doing'?
'Yesterday is the twenty-six anniversary of my daughter's
passing. I am praying for her'.
HUANG-SHAN-GOO was alarmed. Strange! How come it's is the same as
my age? So he asked further, 'What did your daughter like to do
'She was a devoted Buddhist. She liked to read Buddhism
scriptures. She specially took delights in celery noodles.
Therefore, I am specially making a bowl as offering for her'.
'Well! Can I look in her room'?
The lady showed him inside. The room was full of familiar books
and scriptures. In the corner, there was a giant chest. HUANG-SHAN-GOO
asked, 'What is inside the chest? Can we open it'?
The old lady replied that she did not know either the content or
the key. HUANG-SHAN-GOO thought for a while. Then, he seemed to
recall. He found the key and opened the chest. Shockingly, it was
full of his essays and writings. He realized the lady was his mother
of previous life. He sincerely pleaded, 'Madame! I am your daughter.
I will take you home to care for you.'
He wrote a poem for memorial, 'Like a monk with hair. Like a
mortal without dust. Dream with in a dream. I see the existence
This is to say, 'He may be a lay person. His heart is with the
way of clergy. He may live as a mortal. His heart is not corrupted
by the dust. Life is like a dream. Beyond life there is another
existence.' It is as the saying, 'In my dream, there are clearly the
six realms. Awakened, the entire universe is vanished.'
The Fifth Patriarch of Ch'an HUN-YIN also has a famous rebirth
story. It was said HUI-YIN was an old gardener. He wanted to become
a disciple of the forth Patriarch TAO-SHUN. TAO-SHUN thought that he
was too old and could not carry on the missionary work. He consoled
him, 'If you reborn now, I may be able to stay on couple years
longer for you.'
The old gardener bid the forth Patriarch farewell. He went by a
stream and saw a young lady washing cloths. He asked, 'Lady! Can I
borrow your room for a while?'
'You should ask my parents. I cannot decide.'
'I must have your okay, before I dare to go.'
The young lady saw that it is getting dark and for a poor old
man, so she nodded. Strangely, she was pregnant. The family was very
upset. They chased her away. Later, she gave birth to a young boy.
She was thinking about abandoning him in a river. Miraculously, the
baby flows up stream. Without support, she goes around begging to
bring him up. Since no one knows of his father, he was called the
kid with no name. Six years went by. One day, master TAO-SHUN was
preaching in the area. The young boy followed the master and asked
to be taken in as disciple. The master saw that it is only a young
boy, so he replied, 'You are too young, how can you be my disciple?'
The kid with no name replied, 'Master, in the past, you
complained that I am too old. Now, you say I am too young. When are
you going to accept me as disciple'?
Master TAO-SHUN was puzzled. He asked further, 'Kid, What is your
name? Where do you live'?
'They call me the kid with no name. I live in the ten miles
'Everyone has a name. How could you lie and say that you have no
name? Come on, tell me the truth'.
'Buddha nature is my name. Of course, it has no name'.
TAO-SHUN was very astonished. A young kid can said such
impressive words. Later, the kid with no name became the Fifth
Patriarch of Ch'an school with countless disciples.
In 1942, a commoner TIN-SAN-OU of SIN-SHI-PAN county was living
in a cave. During a storm, the cave collapsed and buried him alive.
He passed out then feel himself climbing out of the cave. He saw
everyone was crying. He asked around but no one paid him any
attention. He was getting upset. He left the area and walk by a
house. He entered the door and suddenly hear, 'Congratulation! You
have a new son'.
TIN-SAN-OU was reborn as a son of the CHEUNG family named
CHEUNG-YU-SHIN. The mid wife is looking around for a scissors. He
replied, 'Hey! The scissors was hanging on the wall'.
Everybody was shocked. They thought that he was some sort of
demon. They were thinking about abandoning him. Because of the love
of his mother, he was spared. For seven years, he did not dare to
speak one word. Yet, he remembered everything of his past life.
Anyhow, slowly the news spreaded. One times, the TIN's family had a
dispute with their neighbor on land boundaries. They could not find
the deed. In desperation, they invited the CHEUNG kid to their
house. Strangely, the kid knew everything about the family. He also
found the deed and resolved the argument. This story was told by the
assistant director of social service Mr. MU-NIN-KON. It was
witnessed by the deputy minister of fiance Mr.HUANG-FO-CHOU. In this
modern age of science, there are still many unanswered mystery
stories of rebirth.
SO-SHI has close association with Buddhism. He befriends many
clergies. In the 'Record of Lamp Passing for Laity', it was recorded
that he is the rebirth of Fifth Patriarch master KAI. His mother
dreams of a skinny elderly monk just before giving birth to him.
Many years later, his brother SO-CHI was the commissioner in KAO-AN.
SO-CHI be friends monks JEN-JIN, MIN-SEN and SHU-CHON. They like to
discuss Ch'an and Dharma together. One day, these three monks all
dream of a visit from the Fifth Patriarch KAI. When talking about
the dream, SO-SHI came over for a visit. They thus tell SO-SHI their
dream. SO-SHI replied, 'He once dream of himself as a monk living in
SIN-FA at seven'.
Master JEN-JIN added, 'Master KAI was from SIN-FA, and passed
away fifty years ago'. Coincidentally, SO-SHI was forty nine.
There is this famous Chinese proverb, 'A relationship lasted for
three lives'. Behind the proverb, there is a rebirth story. In the
book, 'The Legend of Monk YUAN-JYE', it described a friendship
between master YUAN-JYE and scholar LI-YUAN. Once, they planned a
pilgrimage to O-MEI mountain together. YUAN-JYE wished to travel by
land. LI-YUAN insisted to go by river. Master YUAN-JYE signed,
'Everything is in cause and conditions. It is beyond human control'.
They travel by river together. While passing by NAI-POO, they meet a
pregnant woman getting water along the river. YUAN-JYE signed, 'I
was afraid that I would meet her. I am supposed to be his son. For
three years, I have been hiding from her. She been pregnant for
three years and cannot give birth. Three days later, go over to her
house to visit me. I will check it with a smile. Twelve years later,
we can meet again in the TIEN-CHU temple in HAN-CHU'.
That evening the master passed away painlessly. Three days later,
LI-YUAN paid a visit to the lady's house. The newborn baby gives him
a very warm and friendly smile. Twelve years later, he traveled to
the TIEN-CHU temple. He saw a young herder riding and singing on top
of an oxen, 'On the boulder of three lives the soul is old. Enjoy
the scenery and let's not argue. I am happy an old friend come visit
from afar. This body is different, but the nature is eternally
LI-YUAN yielded, 'How is Ch'an master YUAN-JYE doing'?
The young herder waved backed and replied, 'Mr.LI is indeed
someone who keep his promise'. He kept playing his flute and slowly
ride off into the horizon.
4. How can we raise above rebirth?
We have understood the value and truth about rebirth. Now, we
should talk about rising up above rebirth. The understanding in the
reality of rebirth is only a method, process and way. Our purpose is
to escape and rise above rebirth. Many people consider Buddhism is
superstition because it talked about cause, result and rebirth.
Actually, all of the Buddha's teachings are method to escape from
the suffering of rebirth. It is the ultimate purpose of Buddhism.
Buddhism is the religion that truthfully and wisely separated us
If we want to escape rebirth, we must first know the reason for
rebirth. Mortals have to suffer from rebirth. It is because of the
traction of karma. The karmic forces have good, evil, heavy and
light. The rewards and results are all different. It is written in
the scripture, 'Cutting a tree but not the root, the tree still
grows. Cutting desire but the origin. There still be painful
rebirth. It is like making an arrow, then striking it on yourself.
The flesh arrow is the same. The arrow of desire hurts all beings'.
The craving and greed for desires is the arrow. It makes us drowning
in the sea of rebirth. We must burn the fire of diligence to
incinerate the forest of desires. We must use the radiance of Prajna
to break through ignorance and evil karma. We must use the sword of
wisdom to free us from the chain of rebirth. These are our hopes and
our directions. Buddha once said, 'This is my last rebirth'. With
the countless teachings inherit from the Buddha, we all can be break
off from rebirth with certainty. We can realize the emancipation. We
can live in the realm of total freedom.
Knowing rebirth, rise above rebirth, the next step is not to be
afraid of rebirth. We can live in rebirth and not corrupted by
rebirth. Mortal's rebirth is controlled by karma. Arhats only wish
to escape rebirth as soon as possible. Bodhisattva has the mighty
power of vows. They chose to participate in rebirth. Avalokitesvara
comes back to emancipate all beings. Master CHI-HANG also has the
same vow. Many masters may wish to born in Pure Land. Their ultimate
goals are still reborn in this world to help others. When a Tibetan
Lama nirvana, it will be reborn to this world. Dalai Lama and
Panchen Lama both have historical trace as proof. All the masters
have a Bodhisattva's compassion and pledge. They wish for the well
beings for all. They are not seeking comfort just for themselves.
They are not deserter of humanity. They are the life boat in the sea
of misery. They are lotus blossoming from dirt. They reborn in this
evil world of Saha. Yet, they suffer no pain of rebirth. They are
voluntary participate in birth courageously. They have the
compassion to bear the mire of rebirth. This action truly rises
above the no rebirth of an arhat. According to the Jataka tales of
the Buddha, he was a deity, an animal, a monk and king. He never
rested. He diligently practices the way of Bodhisattvas. He busily
works for the salvation of all beings. All the time, he was also
completing the path to Bodhi.
The founder of JYE-YEN school, Ch'an master JYE-SHAN-LIN-YU was
about to enter nirvana, his students gathered around and asked,
'Master, with your cultivation. Where are you going to reborn after
'Oh! I will be a water buffalo in a farm nearby'.
His students were shocked, 'You are such are great practitioner.
How can you possible be reborn as an animal'?
'You guys don't believe me? Okay, under the buffalo's left
shoulder, there will be monk JYE-SHAN-LIN-YU five words'.
After the funeral, they did discover a new buffalo was born in a
farm nearby. They also discovered their master's name on the
buffalo. They saw the buffalo, or their previous master, was working
very hard under the sun. They bought the buffalo. They gave him good
hays to eat, but did not dare to put the buffalo to work. Strangely,
the buffalo refused to eat or drink. Hopelessly, they took the
buffalo back to the farm. The buffalo worked, and then happily
chewing on his hays.
Master JYE-SHAN-LIN-YU's compassion of 'beings an oxen and horse
for all beings, before become a master in Buddhism', is beyond the
shallow understandings of his disciples. This attitude of cultivates
in the sea of rebirth, at easy in the city of reincarnation, are the
Bodhisattva's ultimate truthful realization and liberation from
Today, I have talked with you on the Buddhism's view on the wheel
of rebirth. My main goal is to wish all of you would face future and
live full of confidence and brightness. We must believe in the
unending of life. Death is the decay of a house. We will select
another comfortable and good house. Death is a torn old clothes. We
can change into a beautiful and fashionable wardrobe. In the swirl
of life since timeless beginning, all of us should work to complete
the grand temple in us, and the beautiful Dharma robe in us. I wish
all of you would rise above rebirth, would be liberated from
rebirth. In the countless swirl of rebirth, you will attained the
wisdom life of Bodhi."
From a Speech by Venerable Master Hsing Yun on November 21, 1982
at The CKS Cultural Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
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