Huang Li, my mother was born in 1935 in a traditional farm family in central Taiwan. She was the eldest one among her 8 siblings. She has been too ill to work at the farm since she was young. Still she worked at a plant to help her family and respected parents and grandmother.
My mother was married, following her parents’ order, with a 20-year-older man who lived far away and spoke different language. I have 4 siblings. I don’t recall any hugs or compliments from Mom for she was a serious woman.
Once I spilled a pot of boiled water and was punished to kneel. My sister was asked to wipe it. However, she wrenched the water on the floor and was blamed. I was giggling.
She took our school study seriously and watched us doing homework every night. I was hit badly once my midterm ranking was from the 3rd to 6th place. I was in a famous, competitive school out of our district. On contrary, my father bought us many books and encouraged us to read and joined most of the parents’ events at school. Under their pull and push, we all kept good scores.
My mother had hospitalized often and had two surgeries. My father told us after the 2nd surgery, the doctor asked him to take his wife back for they couldn’t do anything to save her life. Surprisingly my mother survived. She became a vegetarian soon after she received Dao right after the surgery. She then seemed healthier.
My parents didn’t get along not only because of the culture, language but also value differences. My Dad always hung out and had affairs that brought my mother a lot of pains. But he cooked, washed clothes and took care of children when he was home, like all the good fathers do. Fortunately, the church had comforted her for two years before she received Tao.
1963年冬歸寧，小舅帶媽去斗六崇修堂求道，同年臘月開法會，明白道之尊貴殊勝，立刻發心精進。陳大姑介紹她跟著台北李前人修辦，全心投入而且再也沒去過教堂了。這過程好像壇經裡提到六祖惠能大師一聽聞金剛經就堅心求法，終生以弘法為職志，有些雷同。我應該是沒進小學就被媽帶去求道了，雖然過程已印象模糊，但回家路上那種雀躍的心情卻記憶猶新，也許這就是初發心吧。一貫道 (註1) 教義很重視渡人，媽覺得在眷村 (大安新村) 很難施展，於是1967年舉家遷至當時還很偏僻的三峽。
My mother received Dao in 1963 and became very religious right away. It reminds me a similar story of Master Huineng’s pursuing of the truth in a Buddhism book, Tanjing. I still remember the joyful mood after receiving Dao when I was 6 or 7. Introducing Dao to others has been highly emphasized in Yi-Kuan-Dao (**1) so that we moved to Sanxia, a small town in 1967.
After we moved in to the rented house, neighbors told us it was a haunted house. Many former tenants moved out because of illness or death. Well, we had no choice but stayed. Mom rented a bedroom to a newly wedded couple. The wife committed suicide 7 days after moving in and fortunately she was rescued. They left without hesitation. Nothing happened to us until my sister heard weird noises of steps during the midnight.
It sounded like a person who walked through the stairs and hallway, went to the bedroom, opened the door, closed it, turned around and stepped back. Few days later, my mother heard the same noises. In a week or so, my mother was really scared when the down stair tenant told her she was awakened by my father’s steps at the midnight that my father was actually in Taipei office.
We were taken to a neighbor’s home for the night. Mom went to Taipei early in the next morning to a temple. She did as being told to set up a statue at home and pray the spirits of my grandparents. The noise stopped afterwards.
當時兩岸無法通郵故無法求證，玄的是後來媽到泰國傳教，終於聯絡上住在南京的叔叔，才發現祖父母真的是那時間之前去世的。1990年初我陪爸爸回老家江蘇省寶應縣鄉下祭祖墳，才發現文革 (始於1966年) 時墳墓都被剷平，而且的確沒有子孫還祭拜祖先了。這也是我一生當中遇到的第一樁靈異事件。
We couldn’t verify by mail with the relevants in China for the political confrontation until Mom visited Thailand for Dao propagation. Mom then contacted my uncle in Nanjing, China and found my grandparents died before the above period of the weird event.
Mom set up a family temple at home later and became more religious. She introduced Dao to everybody she knew and did whatever she could whenever others needed help to get to the temple. She carried my younger brother with diaper and milk, walked hours to mountain area or did others’ work to save their time. We bought preserved food from a neighbor when Mom didn’t cook for us.
When I was grade 6, the police officers arrested my mother for she invited people to our family temple to study Dao. Mom was taken into custody for one night. A newspaper reported that a bad religion make followers pray nakedly, males and females gathering together. However, I didn’t see any reporter at my place on the day. The absolute government controlled the media then. What a historical tragedy! After that, I hesitated to admit my religion and being a vegetarian for most of the vegetarians in Taiwan are Yi-Kuan-Dao followers.
That didn’t bother my Mom at all. However, police office’s frequent visits did give her a hard time. We then moved to Zhunghe City in 1971. Out of the blue, the local police officer came while we were still offloading the furniture. Fortunately they didn’t come often and the misunderstanding was getting less in the community.
When I was grade 10, we encountered a mystery. Mom introduced Dao to Mrs. H and she became mental disordered after a period of time. She seemed normal at daytime. Her husband took her to many hospitals and couldn’t identify the illness. Mom took her to our home for she thought the temple could comfort her.
When I first saw Mrs. H, she was pale and weak, 150cm height, 40Kg weight. She seemed turning into another person around 11:00 PM. She said Mrs. H killed her in their past live so she wanted to revenge this time. Mom tried hard to negotiate with her with an offer doing good things for her. However, there was no response.
My mother then threatened her that she would go to the temple and burn incenses so that Buddhas would come to drive her away. While Mom was burning the incenses, she shouted scarily and made a sudden thrust to my Mom. We, 5 kids pulled very hard to stop her and found she was so strong at the nighttime.
She then went back to sit on the bed disappointedly and talked to herself again. Seemed Buddhas didn’t drive her away, but she was much calmed down. Unexpectedly she thrust into the window at dawn. Again we, 5 kids pull her back hard, with my mother this time. The screen window was broken. She finally seemed recovered and fell asleep later. Mom escorted her back to her home due to the safety concern. Our condo was at 4th floor.
My mother encouraged people to do good things for her, chanting Buddhism books, having vegetarian food, introducing Dao to others and making donations. She gradually recovered. When I saw her again few years later, she was happy, healthy and 60 Kg weight. She has devoted herself to Dao since then. I met female Dao follower who suffered the similar experience when I went to the university in Hsinchu City 3 years later. But they don’t seem comfortable to mention their bad dream.
Mom introduced so many followers to receive Dao. They set up more than 30 family temples in Taipei County. She became Dao transmittance master in 1973. Mom couldn’t read for she only went to school for two years. She studied Confucius and chanted Buddhism books so hard so that she can read newspaper.
In order to save money, she always got off the bus two stops earlier. Once a man tended to rob her purse by violence. She fought with the man hard and was wounded to keep the purse. She walked back and told us there was donation money in her purse which she treasured more than her own life.
She went to a jail where important criminals stayed to preach religion routinely. Many were touched. The warden gave Mom awards for appreciation.
All she thought, all she said and all she did were Dao. When we heard voices of steps, we quickly turned off the TV and ran. Mom always checked the temperature of the TV to see if we were watching. If it was still hot, she would nag us not to waste time for nonsense. Watching TV made us lost ourselves.
After I settled down in Hsinchu City, I rarely met her. She paid us visit few time a year. Every time she came, she asked if there were anyone she could introduce Dao to. She rushed back for Dao activities if the answer was no.
The illness that had bothered her since she was young was still there. She seemed well when she engaged with Dao related activities. It was another matter when she went back home. Mr. and Mrs. C knew that quite well and tried to convince her to go to see a doctor. She answered she was too busy to see a doctor. Besides, she had no money.
Yi-Kuan-Dao urges disciples to propagate Dao to foreign countries. Mrs. H, our neighbor said one of her relatives lived in Thailand. Mom set out on a journey with three senior women even they hadn’t received responding mail from Thailand. (**1) Auntie Y had a dream the night before Mom arrived. In the dream, Guanyin Buddha told her to look for the four ladies from Taiwan for receiving Dao so that her soul would be saved and back to heaven. Following the instruction, she found them at the airport. Then the very first family temple in Thailand was set up at her place. Few years later, I made my first business trip by myself to Japan and US. I realized and admired my Mom’s courage.
Now a day, the Dao community is so large in Thailand. For my mother’s sake, someone donated and constructed a huge temple that can serve 1000 people event. When our Lao-Qian-Ren went host the opening ceremony, the King of Thailand met him at the airport. Mom told me that even many monks received Dao.
In 1985, before Mom’s trip to New York where her follower set up a family temple, doctor suggested her for an operation. She didn’t reschedule for she was desperate for Dao. It was a cold winter. Mom suffered a lot for she not only introduced Dao but also went to work in the cold to keep from bringing too much burden to her follower. Her health became worse.
She went to Nanjing, China and set up two family temples at my relatives’ places in 1989. A new Dao receiver went back and turned around. She asked why the light came out from the heavenly portal at the dark night? She promised to set up a temple a year later happily when hearing the explanation. Mom then flew to Wuhan and set up another family temple. She continued her journey to Japan, Thailand with a very tight schedule and limited food (because of the inconvenience of vegetarian). Everyone following her was exhausted and barely endured. That was exactly Mom’s spirit on Dao.
She went to Hsinchu to help us when my wife gave birth to the 3rd daughter in Jan. 1990. In Chinese culture, people feel sorry if you don’t have son. My mother comforted us happily and told us girls are sweat and willing to cultivate. She really took very good care of my wife and the new baby for 40 days. Once she told us she wouldn’t come back at the night for a Dao business in Taipei. However, she came back unexpectedly and looked so tired at midnight. We were so touched and sorry, and even felt heart broken when she passed away three months later.
At the beginning of March 1990, she was too sick to read the heavenly table at a temple in Taipei. She was hospitalized and found last phase cancer. The doctor suggested us to take her back. He kindly gave me her anamnesis copy and asked me to show that to the local doctor for final stage treatment, such as morphine. Actually she didn’t take any morphine until she died 17 days later. Thank God that she didn’t suffer too much pain, for a long time. It could be to do with her cultivation. One of my colleagues told me his mother committed suicide twice for the pain of bone cancer.
When she was in Hsinchu from hospital, my siblings took turn to take care of her. She sobbed and said sorry to us for she was too busy to take good care of us because of Dao. Once my brother drove my new car and took her to a Chinese medicine. She couldn’t control her stomach and dirtied my car seat on their way back. She said sorry to me when I got back from work. I was so sad that my mother apologized to me for a tedious thing when she was so ill. If you remember how I described my mother, you’ll learn how much she has changed. She was so nice, gentle and thoughtful in the years before she died. It’s hard for human to change personality or temper. But Mom made it honestly, from the deepest part of her heart.
On the day before she died, she told me Jigong Buddha came to her and chatted with her after I got back from work. I was so nervous and afraid if Mom was out of her mind for the sickness. But she could name everyone correctly and talked with us as usual. I asked what they had been talking. She said it was confidential and asked me to leave her alone. I went to see her on the next morning. She told me Jigong Buddha chatted with her all night and removed her sore for the whole night. Indeed she didn’t moan that was the first time she could sleep well the whole night. Again I asked what had they talked and she replied it was confidential. She didn’t seem out of her mind. I even thought she was getting better from the Chinese medicine.
I was anxious and distracted on the morning at the office. My assistant received a call and informed me that my Mom was at critical condition. I rushed home and sent her to the hospital under her consent. Unfortunately she asked where my elder sister was and then never opened her eyes right after arrived at the hospital. I lost my mother under doctor’s cruel emergency treatment at noon, 19th April, 1990, 57-year-old.
The significance of seeing Jigong Buddha can be confirmed with the cultivation of Jingtu, a branch of Buddhism. In A-Mi-Tuo-jing, a famous Buddhism book, disciples were taught to chant A-Mi-Tuo Buddha’s name repeatedly. The Buddha will come to escort the disciple to Western Paradise should he (she) keeps a peaceful, calm mind and chants the name when dying. What they pursue is seeing A-Mi-Tuo Buddha when dying. My mother did see Jigong Buddha when dying.
As I mentioned the above to my colleagues, Mr. Wang told me his father died of stomach cancer. Few days before he died, he saw his brother who passed away years ago. He blamed his wife for not serving his brother a cup of tea when he waved hand right out of the door. It was daytime. Wang currently works in high-tech industry in Silicon Valley, US. We used to go to the same university, majored in science.
Miss Ho, another colleague told us her grandpa’s story. A week before her grandpa died, she heard noises of steel chain pulled on the ground from the window right next to the road at the midnight. The two men talked. “This is it!” “No, it should be the next door.” She heard an old man next door died on the 2nd morning. A week later she heard the same noises at midnight again. She hid herself in the bed frighteningly and shivered until dawn the second morning. Her grandpa fell into floor and died that night. It’s hard to imagine that her grandpa could hardly move because of a bad stroke.
I’ve heard many similar stories. But what happened to my Mom and my close partners impressed me more. Another little story was from the next door neighbor, Mrs. Yang. Almost at the same time, her father-in-law passed away when my mother died. She told us the atmosphere was cold and scary at her father-in-law’s place. She didn’t dare to sleep there for the night. On contrary, her bedroom at home was right next to the temporary auditorium where my mother’s coffin was. She could sleep well. She even said that our home was warm and peaceful. From the above, I believe where people’s souls go is strongly relevant to what people see when dying.
After we escorted Mom’s body back home, we chanted Buddhism books, Jin-Gang-Jing, Xin-Jing and Mi-Le-Zhen-Jing as per the elders’ request. We were also asked not to cry next to her, otherwise her spirit would hesitate to leave. If we could not hold it, went away. I observed that my mother’s expression turned from painful to peaceful. Her deep wrinkles between eyebrows were almost gone. Her body never turned stiff even when we moved it into the coffin around 30 hours after she died. Rigor mortis didn’t seem applied to her. Her peaceful expression and her soft body are the best witness of what we have been taught in Yi-Kuan-Dao. Please see the picture that we held her body to sit on a chair right before moved into the coffin. Two men from the funeral company couldn’t hold her body because of the softness. Their boss was so amazed and said he never saw anyone like that in his 30 years funeral career. He believes Mom must have cultivated well.
Dao disciples’ royalty and help are touching. They took turn to keep vigil beside the coffin every night from 1.5 hours distance. Besides, it was the raining season. They had to stay at the outdoor temporary auditorium in the windy, heavy rain and cold weather. Mrs. Yang moved to our place and took care of every thing like a housemaid voluntarily after Mom died. My wife and I was worried how much she would charge us after the funeral. They also gathered at the auditorium and chanted Buddhism books for Mom. I didn’t understand why many of them burst into tears sadly when the coffin was loaded into the truck at the funeral. Later I learned that Mom had done so much favor to them. In their mind, my mother is just like their true mother, especially in spiritual point of view.
One of the most touching stories was told by Mr. Cheng. His wife received Dao first. She was so miserable that she had to raise three kids by her own while her husband was gambling, alcoholic and screwed around. Mom decided to move her husband by Dao to save her family. He had not allowed my mother get in to his place for so many times until Mom visited him on a big typhoon day. He looked at the soaking wet old lady and wondering what the lady wanted from a poor, devil and irresponsible man. He then made up his mind to give the lady one chance and followed my mother to the temple. He told himself to flip the pray table over if there were anything against his idea. Unexpectedly he was touched and started his new life afterwards, a good husband, employee and father. He even bought car so that he could give my mother drives when she went out for Dao propagation. Mr. and Mrs. Cheng have appreciated and respected my mother so much since they saw Mom eat single dish for saving money, devote herself to Dao desperately under her bad health, and handle disciples’ donation righteously.
In Yi-Kuan-Dao, a religious disciple’s family can apply to hold a ceremony meeting his (her) soul 100 days after he (she) passed away. On 18 June, 1990, under Lao-Qian-Ren’s blessing, more than 300 people gathered for the ceremony at the public temple in Tu-Cheng City that my mother and other disciples built. Those people are my relatives, Dao disciples from northern, central and southern Taiwan and foreign countries. Those groups are not familiar with each other, not mentioning the three young ladies (San-Cai, similar with psychic **2) who were picked up by Taipei disciple in the morning from 2.5 hours away in Taichung.
My mother’s spirit then wrote a book by the three ladies, San-Cai. In this book, 61 names were addressed, with correct name, role, present or not, category and order. Those 61 people belong to different group. No one else could possibly do that except my mother. The ceremony was held in an hour after San-Cai arrived. They won’t remember this many in such a short time.
There are some rarely known stories mentioned in the book. For example, we called the ambulance to take my Mom to the hospital’s emergency room when she is dying. She died at the hospital that was against our uncles, aunts and the senior disciples’ order. Ancient Chinese culture believes the souls will be wandering if people die out of their houses. We didn’t mean to disobey the seniors and didn’t dare to tell them the truth. But the book tells everything. Actually I frankly regretted that it happened that way. The tortures brought to Mom when doctor doing emergency rescue, the sirens, the expression Mom saying the last words have been on my mind like it just happened yesterday.
Mom travelled to the foreign countries quite often since first visited Thailand. She therefore sought for a substitute to take care of Dao business when she was abroad. She once considered Mr. Chen but gave up due to many reasons. Instead, Mr. Lin took the vocation. This was processed confidentially due to its sensitivity. Only few people know. In the paragraph of mother’s advice to Mr. Chen mentioned the story and asked him to stick with everybody under Lin’s leadership. When the leader Dao Transmittance Master Huang doing the final inspection of the book, he corrected a character he thought it was due to a paronym error. A senior disciple close to Mom then asked Mr. Huang to change it back. Apparently Mr. Huang didn’t know the story even he was one of 5 leaders in Lin-Yin sector. How did the San-Cai know? The advices to Mr. Chen are to do with rebuilding team spirit when someone is promoted as a new leader. It looks like Mom is splitting the team if it’s another character. A sophisticated spirit is not likely to do that.
The words San-Cai wrote are hard to recognize. When KC, my cousin’s name appeared, I could recognize the whole sentence. He was asked to come out to the front. I was thinking he would have waved to me if he came. I was sure he was not there. Surprisingly he came out of the crowd. I understood he was late for the ceremony so that he didn’t say hi to me when he came. San-Cai could hardly know that my cousin was there.
Mother’s was nothing particular, except those sufferings. She never took care of us closely like ordinary mothers. However, I am a straight person without shame because of her. It’s my regret that I didn’t treasure her and express my love to her. But I suddenly admire her virtues after she passed away. I miss her too much to think of Mother’s Day.
**1. Yi-Kuan-Dao disciples cultivate themselves by Confucius’ teaching mainly. A bad person can’t be a Buddha or Saint. We have to cultivate ourselves to be a friendly, respectable person. “Thinking righteously, saying good words, doing good things, introducing Dao to good people” is our slogan. Yi-Kuan-Dao also adheres to “5 major religions have the same origin.” We believe all the Saints were delegated by the mighty truth of the universe. They used the logics, cultivation methods that people surrounding him understood to teach them, pursuing the same final goal even with some different details. So we study books from all the saints and show minimum repellence to other religions.
註2、一貫道不是拜人而是拜佛為師，佛沒有肉體無法言語，所以藉由修煉有術的人(三才，或稱竅手)或口說或以沙筆書寫垂訓、教導門徒。三才一般是十幾歲的女孩，在家長發心鼓勵下，住到佛院中持齋、靜坐、讀五教經典、掃灑佛堂。一段時間後，心靜得下、有佛緣的就會被仙佛附身，即所謂借竅。一種是直接說話，一種就是寫字 (即所謂開沙)。開沙時是三個女孩一組，稱作天、地、人三才。天才扶沙筆在沙盤上閉目橫書 (眼睛緊閉，寫的是草書，而且寫字是轉90度，寫給在側邊的人才看。)，人才負責刮平砂盤及報字，地才負責紀錄。
**2. Our Holy Teacher is Buddha, instead of a person. Ji-Gong can’t talk so he uses San-Cai to write, to speak. Normally a young girl can be trained to be San-Cai through many years cultivation in public temples. They must be vegetarian, live at the temple, study books of Saints, meditate and clean up the temple. When San-Cai writes on the sandy plate, eyes are closed and words are 90 degree rotated. Three girls as a group, one writes, one reads and scrapes the sandy plate, one records.