Why do I say that? The first transmission of the Precepts for the Deceased took place at the CTTB in 1987, at the conclusion of the Great Water, Land and Air Dharma Assembly. One laywoman from Banqiao, Taiwan was in the profession of slaughtering chickens and ducks. All the restaurants in Banqiao and Taipei purchased chickens and ducks from her family. Therefore, her karma of killing was extremely heavy, for she had killed so many chickens and ducks. She had dreams of chickens and ducks pecking at her. She had dark circles around her eyes and couldn't sleep at night. She asked the Venerable Master what to do. The Venerable Master said, "You have to wake up. You may request to receive the Precepts for the Deceased." She asked, "What are they?" The Venerable Master answered, "Don't worry! We'll try it. You just be sincere." Then the Venerable Master told us Sangha members to organize this ceremony. The Precepts for the Deceased are typically transmitted at night and the ceremony is very, very moving.
After everyone, including Dharma Master Zhengchan, Dharma Master Mingyang, Dharma Master Mingzhe, and many other virtuous ones, took a group picture on the steps of the newly constructed Five Contemplations Dining Hall, that laywoman came over. The Venerable Master asked her, "Well? How many chickens and ducks were liberated?" She said, "Venerable Master, I saw lots of chickens and ducks fly away from me." The Venerable Master said, "Not all of them have fled. You still have a lot. You have killed too much. Do you understand? You might have to be more sincere! Be more diligent!"
Another individual said, "Venerable Master, I saw lots of people in the air while you transmitted the precepts. They were wearing clothes from an ancient era. Their attire was not that of commoners. They wore lots of jewelry. What was strange was that each one was holding a chopped off head in his or her hands. There were several thousand of them. It was very scary! What was that all about?" The Venerable Master answered, "Yes, what was that all about? What language did they speak?" The person said, "They seemed to be speaking French." What happens with the Precepts for the Deceased is that you invite a particular member of the underworld by carrying a plaque with his or her name on it.
The deceased individual so named comes to receive the merit and virtue that you have cultivated for him or her. The brilliance from that merit and virtue also shines upon some poor, lonely souls. That results are significant. The Venerable Master then said, "Does anyone know who that group of French-speaking people were?" Someone said, "Are they King Louis and his queen during the time of the French Revolution?" The Venerable Master said, "Probably. No one had done any merit and virtue for them all this time. They had been in purgatory for several hundred years." Everyone was at a loss. That group of aristocrats had been massacred in eighteenth century France and had been roaming the underworld since their deaths. Could it be that they were rescued from the underworld only now, with the transmission of Precepts for the Deceased at the CTTB? That's a possibility. I don't know either. But I heard this conversation with my own ears. It's truly inconceivable.
Hence, no one must be stingy. Since you have come to request the Precepts for the Deceased with sincerity, the wondrous functionsare very, very wonderful indeed. For this reason, whenever a Buddhist requests the Precepts for the Deceased at a location that
has been struck by natural or man-made disasters, the precept transmission turns the bad energy in the universe into proper and efficacious energy.
( The End )
Venerable Master's Dharma Words
In our daily cultivation, we should maintain an attitude of calm equanimity, meaning we should be placid and serene at all times, without any ripples or waves in our natures. That's what's meant by "afflictions are bodhi" and "birth and death are nirvana."