[Shramanerika Jin Bai was born on February 9, 1965 and passed away because of cancer on November 17, 2004. Her Dharma name was Chin Yu, and she left the home-life in 2001.] On the afternoon of November 16, the silence of the Chan Hall was broken by the sharp grating sound of the hall’s grille. We suddenly became aware of an uncharacteristic activity on a normally quiet afternoon. We learned later that Dharma Master Jin Bai had been admitted to the emergency room. Those who knew her recoiled at the news and said a silent prayer for her. The Dharma Masters who had not left for the hospital, together with lay disciples, recited the Buddha’s name throughout the night.
Just after lunch on the 17th, a Dharma Master came into the Chan Hall and asked for volunteers to clean up the classroom next to the car park. Later Dharma Master Chih informed us that Dharma Master Jin Bai had passed away at 12:10 p.m. Some Dharma Masters had stopped by the hospital to recite Amitabha’s name for her and she passed away a few minutes after that.
The hospital granted an unprecedented hour’s grace for the Dharma Masters to recite the Buddha’s name before sending her back to the monastery. Back at the monastery, lay disciples were at hand to help out. As soon as the late Dharma Master was settled in the classroom, the wake began. Disciples contacted others to inform them of Dharma Master Jin Bai’s passing. Disciples started streaming in. The Amitabha Buddhist Association also sent a group over. The recitation of the Buddha’s name continued from the late afternoon of November 17 to November 19.
Later we learned that a branch of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA) would set up a plaque for her during its Emperor Liang’s Repentance and other DRBA branches pledged to recite the
Earth Store Sutra on each weekly anniversary for the 49 days. The Bodhisattva Precepts for the Deceased would also be transmitted to her.
Dharma Master Jin Bai had touched many hearts in her lifetime with her good temper, love to serve others, vigorous work and diligent cultivation. Now all turned up to pay their last respects and to join her family, friends and relatives in praying for her.
On the 18th at around 10:30 p.m., a bright glow penetrated the dark night. It grew brighter by the minute, and curious disciples went out to investigate. They saw a white, warm glow over the classroom, which lit up the surrounding area. Those who had digital hand phone cameras started to click away, determined to record the phenomenon. Later, disciples who had gone to get a drink in the Five Contemplations Dining Hall reported seeing a cloud formation which resembled a white lotus in the night sky. Disciples rushed down to record the sight using their phone cameras. Afterwards, there was a light shower lasting just a few seconds.
Throughout the day and night disciples and friends went up to the coffin to take a last look at Dharma Master Jin Bai. She looked very serene and radiant, with an unusual rosy hue on her face, which prompted one disciple to wonder whether we had used make-up on her. Students from the Dharma Realm Young Learners’ Meadow also came to pay their respects. They were fascinated by the sight of her and were not deterred by the fact that she was dead.
On the 19th the funeral was held after lunch. Dharma Master Chih gave an eloquent eulogy and advised family members to restrain their emotions and let the late Dharma Master go in peace. However, Dharma Master Jin Bai’s sisters were distraught with grief. She had been the youngest member of the family and dearly beloved by all. The family had just come to terms with her decision to leave home this year, on Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Leaving Home Day.
At 12:30 p.m. the cortege made its way to the crematorium under police escort. When we reached the crematorium, disciples lined up to lay white roses on her coffin. The Dharma Masters then recited the
Heart Sutra followed by 49 rounds of the Rebirth Mantra, the Transference of Merit, and the Buddha’s name.
During this time, many commented that our allocated area seemed very adorned and those who had attended other ceremonies in and around the complex itself were drawn towards us. They lingered for a while before leaving, somewhat awed by the proceedings.
The next morning a group of Dharma Masters, a few disciples and family members gathered at the crematorium to collect her remains. A small handful of
sharira [relics] of various hues of green, orange, purple and pink was discovered. A tooth burnt black was shining and translucent. It looked glazed.
Thus she came and left...。
Her wholesome practice brings her near the Bodhisattva Way.
She hopes to save countless beings—whether far or close.
From Ultimate Bliss with its white and red lotuses in array,
Her vows to propagate the Pure Land will spead throughout