Hello, fellow Purelanders, we would like to share our experiences of how instructions in the magnificent ‘Pure Land Passport’ (https://purelanders.com/passport) successfully helped our Dharma Sister Ksin’s Mother’s passing with the most favourable outcome. (Detailed teachings based on the book are taught in the ‘Destination Pureland: How To Have The Best Rebirth’ course: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2017/06/destination-pureland-how-to-have-the-best-rebirth-7th-run)
It all started on 23 June 2017 (Friday), when Shan messaged to inform us, a group of Buddhist classmates, that she met Ksin, and was told that her Mother was in poor health, asking if we are keen to go visit.
As we are having a full-day Nianfo (mindfulness of Buddha) retreat the next day on 24 June (Saturday: https://purelanders.com/2017/08/31/review-of-one-day-nianfo-retreat-1), we planned to visit the following Sat after a regular Pureland Practice Fellowship session (https://purelanders.com/2017/02/03/why-join-pureland-practice-fellowship)
However, on 25 June (Sunday), Serene and Eunice decided to visit to assess the condition first. Hence, they arranged to meet Ksin at 5 pm at the nearest train station. Before, they had messaged her the words of ‘Guidance For The Dying’ from the Pure Land Passport (see section  of https://purelanders.com/2015/12/30/important-guidelines-2-during-dying-pure-land-passport-section-4b to read and understand its message to be used.
When they reached Ksin’s Mother’s house, there were only her elder sister and caregiver maid present. Ksin spent a few minutes to explain about her Mother’s condition before going in to see her in the bedroom.
Her Mother was bedridden, hooked to an oxygen machine with tubes in her nose. However, she was stil breathing heavily through her mouth, gasping for air. She was unable to open her eyes, communicate or move, but able to hear.
Seeing her suffering state, Serene and Eunice wasted no time, starting to prepare for support-chanting (助念 Zhunian). Eunice set up the Nianfo (chanting) device (as a guide) and placed a picture of Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha) on the wall facing the bed for her to look at. Once ready, they guided Ksin to use the ‘Words Of Guidance’ in somewhat ‘broken’ Teochew.
Ksin also told her Mother not to worry, even though she was unable to communicate, and to let go of everything else, to only focus sincerely on Nianfo along with us. After which, the 3 of us started Zhunian.
At times, Ksin would flash Amituofo’s picture from her handphone near her Mother’s eyes, so that she could see how Amituofo looked like. They noticed that she struggled to look at Amituofo, while tears flowed from time to time.
During Zhunian, her condition gradually improved. No longer gasping for air, she breathed normally, and rested calmly, unlike before. The Zhunian lasted from 7 to 8:30 pm, followed by ‘Verse Of Repentance’ and ‘Sharing Of Merits’, with explanation on their purposes. (The Verse Of Repentance could be better chanted before Zhunian started though, to help settle the mind first.)
Before leaving, Serene and Eunice assured Ksin’s Mother that they will return a week later on Saturday to visit and do more Zhunian. They also encouraged Ksin to be self-sufficient in offering guidance and Zhunian when she could.
The next day, on 26 June (Monday) at around 4 pm, Ksin messaged us to say she suspects that her Mother had passed on, as there was no response when she called her. Our Dharma Brothers and Sisters immediately mobilised to arrange meeting time and place, to go offer Zhunian.
At the same time, Shan messaged Brother Shi’an for a doctor’s contact for certifying death at home. Brother Shi’an immediately responded, and encouraged us to support if possible, 8 hours of Zhunian, by taking shifts as there were several of us.
In total, 6 of us (Shan, Serene, Loh, Wong, Shelia and Eunice) met at 7 pm to go to Ksin’s Mother’s house. Many relatives were already there and it was very noisy. Standing outside, we did not enter as some relatives were upset that Serene and Eunice did Zhunian the day before the passing. (However, it was the Zhunian that brought Ksin’s Mother peace, and she was clearly already dying.) They were questioning who we were, and why we were there. We were not sure if we could enter but Serene bravely went in to explain. Finally, we were allowed to enter.
We immediately entered the room to arrange our seating around her bed. The tubes were already removed, as the family had engaged another doctor to certify death. Her expression was not pleasant. Her mouth was open, her complexion dark and dull, and her expression looked disturbed. Knowing that these are not good signs, we wasted no time by starting to Zhunian.
We followed the 6 steps of BGRAAM, as taught by Brother Shi’an –  [B]owing thrice to Amituofo’s picture on the wall,  offering words of [G]uidance,  chanting Verse Of [R]epentace,  [A]mituojing or the Amitabha Sutra was omitted as it was not as essential at this point, with the words of Guidance substituting in simplified form already,  8 hours of [A]mituofo-chanting, and  Sharing Of [M]erits. (More on the sequence can be seen at https://purelanders.com/2016/07/19/what-should-be-chanted-during-after-a-funeral)
When we started Zhunian at 8:30 pm, it was very challenging to focus sincerely as the house was very noisy, with relatives discussing on the funeral arrangements in the living room with the undertaker, while the 6 of us cramped in the small, warm and stuffy room. When Sam and Kelly joined, a total of 9 of us were in the room. Also, some relatives came in and out to take things, while some opened the door to look at us. These disturbances did not deter our dedicated group. It took us around 1.5 hours to get fully focused.
By around 10:30 pm, most of the relatives, other than Ksin’s third brother and wife, had already left the house. This was when it was peaceful enough for our group to be fully concentrated on Zhunian. Seeing our sincerity, Ksin’s brother and wife also did Zhunian silently in the living room.
At about 12:30 am, some of us noticed that Ksin’s Mother’s mouth had closed, and her facial expression looked calm and peaceful. Also, her left eye seemed to had opened slightly, looking in the direction of Amituofo’s picture on the wall. We saw this as a good sign, that she was at peace.
Not long later, a few of us (Ksin, Shan, Serene, Sam and Eunice) went to take a break in the living room. This was when Ksin excitedly told us that during Zhunian earlier, she saw her Mother happily waving at her, before following a huge Amituofo surrounded by very radiant golden light. Amazed, she could not believe what she saw, and wondered if she was hallucinating at first. However, it was very clear what she saw, and she had never visualised in such a way before. Ksin was very happy that her Mother had followed Amituofo.
(Note: Ksin practised visualisation before, but could never do it with ‘high definition’ clarity. Her experience is proof that the Buddha seen was real, as she was not visualising then, also proof that mindfulness of Amituofo’s name can lead to sight of him, with no need to practise visualisation to do so.)
Ksin mentioned that before, she was unable to concentrate fully on Zhunian due to family distractions, and she was concerned when our group wanted to stay for 8 hours as some had to work the next day. However, Brother Wong encouraged her to concentrate on Zhunian instead, and not bother about anything else. It was after adhering to his advice that the vision appeared.
When we heard this news, we were indeed very happy, as it was another very auspicious sign. Elated, we eagerly returned to continue our Zhunian. At 4:30 am, we finally completed 8 hours of Zhunian. By then, the expression had changed to be even more peaceful, and even radiant, as if glowing. Even Ksin’s brother and wife agreed that she looked much better. We could see that they were very touched by our sincere efforts.
We finally placed the Rebirth Blanket (往生被) on Ksin’s Mother, for offering more protection and blessings. It was not done earlier as when we saw her initial expression, we knew that we should not touch or disturb her body. Any disturbance would cause pain magnified by 9 times as her consciousness could be still in the body. Hence, the blanket was placed after Zhunian. (Usually, the blanket is first used in the dying phase, but the dying was sooner than expected in this case.)
We were at first uncertain if we could accomplish 8 hours of Zhunian, as some had to work the next day, but because of our group’s perseverance and mutual encouragement, we managed to complete 8 hours successfully, with the fruitful outcome of Ksin’s Mother making it to Pure Land with Amituofo. At the end of our Zhunian, we all felt very fresh and energised, not at all tired. This is due to the power of sincere Nianfo, that connected us with Amituofo’s blessings. We even had breakfast together!
At 10 am, the undertaker came to prepare for the wake. Ksin was in the room to witness the changing of clothes. She said that as her Mother’s body was very supple, they dressed her without any difficulty. Her arms, legs and head were soft, not stiff at all. Such gentle suppleness of body and mind are also auspicious signs of peace and bliss attained by connecting to Amituofo.
It is indeed very heartwarming to see that our efforts to offer Zhunian to Ksin’s Mother were so incredibly successful. With our immense heartfelt gratitude too, to Brother Shi’an and other helpers, for all your relentless efforts in imparting the precious Pure Land Teachings to benefit all, without which, we would not have known how to help one and all.
Namo Amituofo _/|\_
Ksin, Shan, Serene, Loh, Wong, Shelia, Sam, Kelly & Eunice