當天晚上八點半，法界聖城的居士陳老師來醫院看我，問我有沒有好一點？但是當時我的意識還是不清醒，我聽到她對我說的話，但是在我大腦裏呈現的，都只是一個個的字串，我實在沒有辦法理解它們所代表的意義。一直到隔天清晨，Cathi (即現已出家的近歡師) 在旁邊照顧我，我問她幾點了？她說！「快四點了！」「喔！那我要起來做早課。」於是急忙找袈裟。把袈裟搭好之後，我就在病床上做早課；早課做完五點鐘，按照當時法界聖城的時間表，應該是唸〈楞嚴咒〉的時間，所以接著念〈楞嚴咒〉。等我按例唸完三遍〈楞嚴咒〉後，我才完全清醒過來；知道自己在醫院裏，是因為中毒才被送進來的。
3. 這次中毒的三人之中，有人見到了無常鬼；所以這次的經驗，真可說是死裏逃生，也令我們深深地感受到生命的無常。這個娑婆世界，實在不是個可以留戀的地方！想想：縱使在道場裏，這個大家認為最安全的地方，吃的是自己耕種最可靠的蔬菜 (註：此次中毒的植物名字叫「曼陀羅」，是一種毒性非常強的野菜，外型跟平常種的菜很相似，所以會不小心被摘採回來食用)，也會發生這麼嚴重的生命危險。所以大家還是趕緊老老實實的積集往生資糧，求生極樂淨土，才是最究竟之道。
August 20, 2002 was an ordinary day that became unusual because six people at the City of the Dharma Realm (CDR) were poisoned simultaneously. Ambulances took the victims of varying degrees of poison to the emergency rooms of three hospitals nearby.
It was my turn to work in the office the morning of the incident. I took my food to the office at 11 a.m. When I took that first bite of boiled vegetables, I thought it was extremely bitter but didn’t mind it. But it was still extremely bitter on the second bite. I thought I should learn to take what’s bitter. It wasn’t until my third or fourth bite that I felt something was wrong. It was way too bitter. My lips began to go numb and a thought flashed through my head: “There’s something wrong with these vegetables!” I went to the dining hall immediately and told everyone not to eat any more.
When I stepped into the dining hall, Heng Chan Shi was coming my way and told me that something was wrong with the vegetables. I rushed to tell everyone not to eat any more of this dish. At the same time I went into the kitchen to ask for water with dissolved brown sugar. Everyone was to be given a glass to detoxify their systems. Later, I walked back to the office and halfway there I heard someone ringing the door bell. I opened the door; and then I completely lost consciousness. I don’t remember how I got sent to the hospital.
Below is what I learned when we later had a meeting to review this event. People found me in my room. I was sitting by the restroom door and staring blankly. I didn’t react no matter how they pushed or yelled at me. Several people carried me onto the ambulance. During the ride, the medical staff saw that my pupils were turned up and that I was foaming at the mouth, so they rushed to save me with an oxygen mask. When I went into the emergency room, six large men pressed me down to do emergency enteroclysis and intestinal examinations. The doctor also said that I needed to stay in the hospital and under observation for two to three days.
At eight-thirty that night, Ms. Chen, a laywoman at CDR, came to the hospital to see me and asked me if I was doing better. I wasn’t quite conscious yet so I heard what she said to me, but I only saw strings of words in my head, the meaning of which I could not grasp. This lasted until the next morning when Cathi (the now left-home person, Jin Huan Shi) was by my side and taking care of me. I asked her what time it was and she said, “Almost four o’clock.” “Oh, then I have to get up to do morning ceremony.” I rushed to find my sash. When I got my sash on, I was doing the morning ceremony on the sickbed. When I finished at 5 a.m. according to the CDR schedule, it was time to recite the Shurangama Mantra. It wasn’t until I recited the Shurangama Mantra three times, as we typically do at CDR, that I woke up completely. I realized then that I was in the hospital because I had been poisoned.
All of a sudden I thought of a passage in the
Shurangama Sutra that talked about the benefits of reciting the Shurangama Mantra:
During the time when the Dharma is on its decline, living beings who recite or teach others to recite this mantra will not be burned by fire, drowned by flood, or harmed by major or minor poisons. Furthermore, no evil mantras of dragons, gods, ghosts and spirits, goblins, earth gods, demons and ogres can touch them. They will maintain proper feelings. All spells and curses, hateful black magic, poisonous medication, toxins from gold and silver, venomous vapors from grass, trees, insects, snakes and all things will taste like sweet dew in the mouths of these individuals.
I know the Shurangama Mantra has the power to neutralize poison. I also thought of how last night Cathi kept telling me to drink more water and go to the restroom. I sat up and crossed my legs and began to recite the Shurangama Mantra. From 5:00 a.m. until 7:30 a.m., I recited and drank water. I drank several large glasses of water. I started wanting to go to the restroom. I ran back and forth several times. My stool was black and my urine was red.
By eight, I felt that I’d recovered 80 to 90 percent. In addition, I thought about how expensive the medical fees were, so I wanted to ask the doctors if I may leave the hospital. When the doctor came in, I was smiling and looking quite energetic. The doctor saw this and agreed to release me from the hospital.
It was nearly meal offering time when we drove back to CDR. Since other fellow cultivators who had been poisoned were still in the hospital, everyone was busy, so I even came back in time to be the cantor for the meal offering!
After this incident, several things touched me deeply and I wish to share them:
1. The power of people cultivating together in a monastery is amazing. The daily morning and evening ceremonies and other ceremonies in the Buddha Hall after some time become a part of our biological clock. We will be ready to do them whenever it’s time. Even when we’re unconscious, we will do them subconsciously. Naturally, we will save ourselves during critical moments between life and death.
2. I had a profound realization of the merit and wonderful use of the Shurangama Mantra.
The Buddha was indeed someone “who spoke the truth and practiced what he preached.” Not only are the principles of the Shurangama Sutra this way, every Dharma the Buddha taught is true. As long as we cultivate according to the Dharma and the Vinaya, we will naturally turn calamities into blessings, turn disasters into auspicious events, and develop our Bodhi mind.
3. Out of three poisoned this time, there were some who saw the ghost of impermanence. We had escaped the jaws of death and felt the impermanence of life with this incident. The Saha World is not somewhere that we should yearn to stay. Think about it: we were in a monastery, a place we thought to be the safest. We were eating vegetables we planted ourselves, which we thought to be the most reliable (note: the poisonous wild vegetable we had eaten was jimsonweed. It looks very much like the vegetables that we typically plant so it was accidentally picked and eaten.). Despite all that, we faced such a serious threat to our lives. In short, we should hurry up to diligently collect the resources we need for heading to rebirth. Seeking to become reborn in the Land of the Ultimate Bliss should be our most ultimate goal.