Submitted for your approval, the day before Halloween is the lost chapter from the original manuscript of “Modern Buddhist Healing.” It was not included in the final version because the nature of its message did not move the message of healing forward and was therefore cut. It has mysteriously reappeared, just in time for the festivities.
For those who read my e-book, “Mokuren,” on BuddhaJones, you’ll notice that a couple of the chapters were an adaptation from this missing piece. Isn’t it interesting that the Buddhist celebration of Urabon in October has some parallels with All Hallows Eve that we observe here? As you know, Urabon is based on Mokuren visiting his miserly and coveting mother in the afterlife, only to find her wracked by unquenchable desire in the Hell of Hunger. The Urabon Sutra is known as “The Sutra of the Dead.” The dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts has an apt description on page 496. “When Maudgalyayana asked Buddha how to save his mother who had fallen into the world of Hunger, he was exhorted to offer one hundred kinds of food to monks on the fifteenth day of the seventh month…and his mother was relieved of her suffering. Later the festival of the dead became an annual Buddhist ceremony held for the benefit of the deceased.
Urabon is consistent with Halloween in that it too suggests that the spirits of the dead are close at hand during this time. The following was my observation of the interim existence.
Memories of the Afterlife
When I woke from the near death experience my body tingled from head to toe with an effervescence that can only be described as being spiritually aroused. My respect for all life and the lessons learned knew no bounds. For days, weeks and even months after the experience I could still smell the sweetness of that world. The inside of my body felt like it was glowing with light and radiant energies. Although my body was extremely weak, my spirit was now super charged. The foremost remnant was being infused with an enormous dose of mission for the future. The message burned into my very soul was the need for advancing in an all out effort to fulfill my purpose and exalt the healing powers I had used.


MEMORIES OF THE AFTERLIFE
Submitted for your approval, the day before Halloween is the lost chapter from the original manuscript of “Modern Buddhist Healing.” It was not included in the final version because the nature of its message did not move the message of healing forward and was therefore cut. It has mysteriously reappeared, just in time for the festivities.
For those who read my e-book, “Mokuren,” on BuddhaJones, you’ll notice that a couple of the chapters were an adaptation from this missing piece. Isn’t it interesting that the Buddhist celebration of Urabon in October has some parallels with All Hallows Eve that we observe here? As you know, Urabon is based on Mokuren visiting his miserly and coveting mother in the afterlife, only to find her wracked by unquenchable desire in the Hell of Hunger. The Urabon Sutra is known as “The Sutra of the Dead.” The dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts has an apt description on page 496. “When Maudgalyayana asked Buddha how to save his mother who had fallen into the world of Hunger, he was exhorted to offer one hundred kinds of food to monks on the fifteenth day of the seventh month…and his mother was relieved of her suffering. Later the festival of the dead became an annual Buddhist ceremony held for the benefit of the deceased.
Urabon is consistent with Halloween in that it too suggests that the spirits of the dead are close at hand during this time. The following was my observation of the interim existence.
Memories of the Afterlife
When I woke from the near death experience my body tingled from head to toe with an effervescence that can only be described as being spiritually aroused. My respect for all life and the lessons learned knew no bounds. For days, weeks and even months after the experience I could still smell the sweetness of that world. The inside of my body felt like it was glowing with light and radiant energies. Although my body was extremely weak, my spirit was now super charged. The foremost remnant was being infused with an enormous dose of mission for the future. The message burned into my very soul was the need for advancing in an all out effort to fulfill my purpose and exalt the healing powers I had used.
Attaining the Buddha’s promise and entering nirvana is earned the hard way and is not indiscriminately bestowed or easily achieved. Until my goals were accomplished, I couldn’t die again. I had to first survive cancer, and then teach other people how to overcome their illness, leading them expediently toward their own enlightenment.
It is impossible to get a near death experience out of your mind. Explaining it to others is compounded by the fact that it is too overwhelming for language. Every moment that vision, its images, and the unexplainable symbolism colored my worldview. Events and words constantly remind me of how precious life is and how profound the nature of the human being is in relation to the cosmos.
Saturated by disrespect for life on every front and faced with the supposed cheapness of life, I am deeply troubled by the careless disregard for life demonstrated by our species. Common euphemisms like “you only go around once” make me want to get up and shout, but it would do no good. I have been bestowed a marvelous vision shared by others in a world that ardently believes that life first appears on our small planet as an original soul and with death goes directly to heaven or hell.
The human fear and aversion to death is well founded. Men of courage and even wild beasts fear death for good reason. What awaits us after death cannot be known but must be experienced firsthand or be realized in the meditation of samadhi. The experience of others who have gone before and who have returned to share their tales of an afterlife tell their story as they have seen it. There are common threads of consistency that run through their experiences. But they only tell the very most beginning of the story.
Without malice toward the afterworld description of any other religious teachings, philosophies, or people who have given heartfelt, firsthand accounts of their own near death experience, I will explain in detail observations from the moment of death to my return to the present life. My experience favorably corresponds with such treatises as the Kusha Ron, written by Vasubandhu in the fourth century, and with the teachings of Nichiren and Shakyamuni.
What happened was so overpowering that words could never adequately describe it. Sweet fragrance abounded in the light. Possessed with all my senses I could hear and feel Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as its rhythm began to fill my senses. My spirit felt like it was vibrating with a sound frequency similar to effect of a tuning fork that resonates at a particular pitch or octave; my spirit became synchronous with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. From the light I beheld countless Buddhas coming toward me at tremendous speed as if emerging from great golden thunderheads. Glorious sound, music, sharp purple, red, and gold banners were everywhere gently waving in an astral breeze. Flashing color and radiant light in kaleidoscopic, pulsating panoramas seemed to illuminate the entire universe.
“Thus Come One” is an honorific title of Buddha. The vision of thousands of enormous transformed Buddhas radiating holy light like binary suns in the dark of space defies words and comprehension. In an instant the Buddhas fused into me and we raced through the tunnel in a flash, ascending through discernable layers of spiritual realm that were at first dark and foreboding, then became more refined and beautiful, until I seemed high above my point of origin in an ethereal landscape of eternal light. With an incredible domain of tranquil light before me I could also clearly see the mysterious workings of the interim existence beneath me. I could vividly see the Buddha’s nirvana beyond and the eight distinct worlds of hell through Realization encompassing life from everywhere in the universe, not just our world. My sense of vision enabled me to see in all directions at once.
The realm I approached was not a physical world but a heaven of energy that moves the universe by its mere exhalations. I never entered that place and woke up back in the world of the living. I was encountered by great Buddhas of the universe that exist on the highest heavenly planes. Their appearance conformed to my expectations for what a historical and transformed Buddha should look like. They were of glorious stature, radiating holiness and deserving of honor.
I knew then why one of Buddha’s honorific names is, “Thus Come One”. The central Buddha who led the thousands of other Buddhas was pure white and soft blue light and appeared to me several times larger than a big man. He floated through the ether upon a great lotus with arms outstretched. His garments were golden robes. Behind him forming a sort of “V” shaped wedge were other awesome Buddhas of similar size and enlightened stature. Great banners of vivid red, sharp purple and white gold waved in the heavens above them. Their function was to greet me, protect, and guide me.
Although unworthy, what occurred moments after my death was not the same thing that happened to others who had died. The reason for that is because those who have managed to attain the Buddha’s promise are instantly carried on the shoulders of those Buddhas to the pure land between life and death. Those of unquestionable evil are immediately swept into hell. For the great majority of those comprising the six lower worlds characterizing sentient life in the world of humans (saha world) on our planet, they must travel the long procession of death within the intermediate existence that eventually leads to rebirth. All interim beings are possessed of nine aspects, which enable them to move through the various stages of death until rebirth.
From my vantage point at the very threshold of the stratum of nirvana, and the good fortune afforded me from a swift journey that bypassed the usual path followed by the dead, I was able to observe the soul’s procession through the intermediate existence and its eventual rebirth. I feel uncontrollable gratitude being able to share this experience and have a renewed determination to return on that same direct path one day.
After physical death, the spiritual body still remains possessed of five components that embody the five senses and the mind. At death there is a veritable discharge of energy from the deceased. Like peeling off the skin of an onion, a part of the five components remain on the earthly plane slowly degrading into the air. When the image is very strong those residual five components are known as ghosts.
As the deceased moves further into death the entity shifts from their usual consciousness, then beyond the unconscious realm towards the sphere of the alaya- consciousness or karma repository. An analogy would be coring an apple and keeping the seeds. Moving through the universal psyche, the deceased encounters a thousand billion flashing images that replay the history of personal and collective life. At this moment saviors, angels, and dead relatives may appear. The apparitions seen are actually real because spiritual life forms can descend, move laterally, or in some cases rise through the planes.
Because time is a relative phenomenon, the deceased can be visited by someone long dead and already reborn. The light seen by people having a near death experience is from the realm of the initial separation when synaptic nerves are firing off and brain cells are dying. It is the most preliminary stage. Those images and visions do not truly depict what lies in the deeper states of death. What exists beyond the tunnel and the light is the beginning of reflection and renewal.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was my protective robe of honor, my impenetrable amour, my brilliant lamp that showed the way; the lode stone that attracted a host of Buddhas. It was the Law that mercifully saved me from the forty-nine day or indeterminately long journey required of the dead. Like looking down a mountain with binoculars I could see that when the deceased became an interim spirit they manifested nine aspects or quasi-powers to move toward the beginning and the realm of rebirth.
The first aspect is visibility; although comprised of extremely subtle matter, other beings on the same level can see them and see the lower levels as well. The second aspect is motion. The power of motion endows the interim body with supernatural power to travel unrestrained anywhere that is suitable to its karma; but that force is only active after the procession through all the stages of death.
The third aspect possessed is heightened qualities of the five sense organs, enabling the interim body to clearly experience and perceive what is transpiring. The fourth aspect is being unhindered in penetrating all realms at their level or below. It is the ability to pass through the densest matter. This power appears after the journey of death into the realm of rebirth.
The fifth aspect demonstrates fixity of destination, which is methodically determined along the journey. Nothing can stop or impede the interim body from its true destination, never veering from its course even when the deceased protests that they are going in the wrong direction. The sixth aspect is feeding on aromas existent on their level. Beings in the afterlife sustain themselves on odors, with the evil nourishing themselves on foul orders, and those of good fortune obtaining pleasant odors for their sustenance.
The seventh aspect is duration. Duration of the interim body in the intermediate existence is subject to the gravity of ones karma, but there is no fixed duration in the afterlife. The normal procession of death lasts for forty-nine days but may last longer depending on how difficult the journey proves to be for the deceased and the disposition of their rebirth. Regardless of the duration of interim body, it is forever compelled to rebirth.
The eighth aspect is securing rebirth in the most suitable form for its karma. Securing rebirth is accomplished after the deceased has finished their procession past the so-called Ten Kings and finds the corresponding form and environment that will allow for rebirth. At the precise moment when the sperm enters the ovum and the zygote is formed, a new expression of that life entity is created. The ninth aspect is locomotion. Locomotion means that the interim body can move into its own acquired level or below to secure rebirth without the slightest impediment. Nothing can stop it.
Once the deceased moves beyond the mind-bending visions of the universal psyche and the great light, they move forward to the influence of currents and eddies that naturally draw them forward toward the first barrier. Even if there were a billion-billion dead souls at this first barrier there is no waiting or delay. There is no way to move according to willpower and there is nowhere to go. There is no up or down, nor front or back or sideways. There is only deeper and deeper; a solitary wandering or going toward a beckoning unknown.
The heavenly vision of the deceased enables them to see through matter and into this world, where they can see their family but can’t do anything for them, only to move further away by the moment. After seven days of our time they reach the mountains of death which they are now obliged to climb. Perhaps a way of explaining this phase in death is to suggest that the interim body struggles with formidable spiritual forces that prey on and torment souls on the journey of death, sweeping them into evil worlds, and reinforcing the dangers that remain ahead.
There is nothing to fear for those who lived compassionately, with pure faith, and acquired a high life condition. Without treasures of the heart and a mighty spiritual sword to defeat evil, duly serving as a sturdy walking stick over the treacherous mountains, one might be delayed and experience protracted suffering or fear before traversing the first barrier. But it is not difficult to cross for many, children and animals climb those mountains with the greatest of ease. For some it’s as if a well-lit and safe path has unfolded before them.
Finally reaching the other side of the mountains of death, the deceased moves without hesitation to court of King Shinko, the first of the Ten Kings who judge the souls of the dead, urging them to renounce evil and pursue good. Metaphorically these forces are called the Ten Kings because they represent a process for self-reflection, direction, and atonement orchestrated by the universe itself. But the Ten Kings are far beyond personifications of anthropomorphic guardians and judges. They are forces of the universe that serve as filters, purifying and preserving the universal order. These Ten Kings function like lymph nodes in the human body. They are the lymph nodes of the ultimate spiritual aspect of the universe.
The second king, King Shoko, oversees the dead proceeding through the rivers of the three crossings. The third king, King Sotei, inquires to the deceased’s sexual conduct. The fourth king, King Gokan discovers the extent of the deceased’s lying. The fifth king, King Emma, judges the degree of evil and exacts immediate punishment with iron rods, exhorting the deceased to perform virtuous deeds. The sixth king, King Henjo, admonishes the dead and commands them to perform good deeds. The seventh king, King Taizan decides where the dead will be reborn in their next existence. The eighth king, King Byodo passes an impartial judgment and directs the dead to remember their promise to do good. The ninth king, King Toshi, and the tenth king, King Godotenrin evaluates the deceased’s desires and predilection toward greed, anger, and stupidity.
When the deceased reaches the First King the relative degree of their good and evil deeds is established. Like being investigated by an auditor who is all seeing and all knowing, the deceased passes through the court, leaving through a sort of turnstile that directs them precisely toward their next destination, separating and sorting according to karma. Still completely alone in virtual darkness, the deceased moves to the pull of mysterious magnetic forces that direct them to their next destination. With their heavenly eyes the deceased can see, but for many they see only darkness. Faith and good fortune provide whatever light guides them. They can only move in their predetermined course at the speed they are pulled. Still in possession of their earthly mind, which is now phased, with the higher levels of consciousness, the interim body cannot truly fathom what to do, or what happens next.
Tradition tells us of guardian angels that watch over human beings for their entire life. Guardian angles are highly evolved and rarified spiritual functions of the Law that observe the good and evil of that being and serve as witnesses as they are judged before the Ten Kings. In general, on the journey of death there are no angels to keep the deceased company as they come upon the river of the three crossings. Specifically, angels and guardian spirits may descend through the planes to comfort the deceased but they are unable to alter the procession. Angels rarely guide the deceased through death but instead appear later in the court of King Emma to testify.
At this phase the dead encounter a great river of tremendous breadth, some two hundred miles across in places. This is the first of three crossings. Depending upon where one arrives at the great river they must cross there or choose another place. There are no mistakes. Barriers, guardians, and forces prohibit the deceased in taking the easy way out. The weight of ones sins determines the place of crossing. The shallow depths are the paths for those of reasonable good and minor evil. They are able to wade through the water never becoming submerged or marooned, eventually gaining access to the other side of the river.
The second crossing is a forbidding place where those who have committed great evil must cross. It is dark as crude oil, freezing cold, and deep. There are gigantic waves, swells, powerful undercurrents, waterspouts, and whirlpools. The waters of the second crossing are filled with demons, evil spirits, and poisonous serpents. Those unfortunate enough to make this crossing experience horror and anguish. Some are swept into the freezing depths of terror, subjectively prolonging their journey until they make it to the shore.
The third crossing is a golden bridge that spans the waters. The deceased who have performed virtuous acts and great good cross there. Innocent children who have lost their lives cross there. They may look down at the waters and see the perils of others crossing, but the deceased of the third crossing look away toward the next barrier, filled with joy and anticipation.
Eventually they all arrive to stand before a large tree of life surrounded by one male and one female demon that strips them of their clothing and hang them on the tree to determine the weight of their sins. This is the phase where the dead are stripped of all ego and their soul’s naked form is exposed for all its good or evil.
On the fourteenth day the deceased arrives at the court of King Shoko where an inquiry to that entities good and evil deeds takes place. Giving a visual description to the Ten Kings might be best explained as concentrations of light. They measure in precise terms the essence of the deceased and initiate reform of their soul by the method of causing self-reflection and understanding in the most merciful way. Trying to give human form to these forces may be natural for man, but the preponderance of life in the universe is not human.
Natural forces like the Ten Kings are the emanations of the Buddha and bodhisattvas and have more in common with gravity, light waves, or radio waves than they do of our idealization of the human form. The Ten Kings take on the form most conducive to the interim body passing before them. Their function is to awaken the deceased to the wrong they have committed while alive and to move them toward enlightenment. The Ten Kings appear wrathful but are actually filled with compassion and mercy.
Beings are judged on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, thirty-fifth, forty-second, and forty-ninth days, and if their disposition is unsettled, on the first and second anniversary of death. Our life entity is more precious than all the treasures in the entire universe. Intrinsically possessing Buddhahood, the Ten Kings serve as a potent remanding force of the universe to guide life to its full realization and enlightenment.
Each King judges the good and evil of the interim life. The fifth barrier is the court of King Emma, the barrier where the guardian spirits or angels finally appear to reveal the entire record of every single good or evil deed that the deceased made during their previous life. These messengers, guardian angels, or guardian spirits are related to the person from the moment of birth, following them through life.
Intercession by guardian spirits in our mundane world is a very hot topic among people today. Although such things are possible, they are extraordinarily rare. The guardian spirits usually appear for the first time to the deceased at the court of King Emma, where they testify to every thought, word, and deed of the deceased’s previous life. Not even the slightest offense is missed. Everything that person was in their former life means nothing as King Emma interrogates them for their misconduct. Even the title of King or Emperor means nothing and the former leaders, societal masters and the once famous are no different than the average person.
At this juncture the deceased may try and justify their evil because their fear of what lies beyond is so great. At that time the deceased is shown what is termed the johari mirror or an instantaneous replay of their entire life. When faced with the truth of their actions they can do nothing but look in the mirror, cringe, and lament for their evil deeds.
Every barrier idealized as the Ten Kings forces the deceased to review their previous life and karma they created. The intention of the Ten Kings is to prepare them for the next incarnation. The Ten Kings are actually specific Buddhas grooming their children through expedient means. At the court of King Emma the deceased realize the importance of prayer on their behalf to raise their level. If the family or others offer sincere prayer for the repose of the deceased, then favor from King Emma may be obtained. When prayers are offered for the deceased who have created hell, hunger, or animality as their dominant life condition, even those beings can be uplifted, and possibly spared from a birth into the evil worlds. The deceased gain immeasurably from sincere prayer and are filled with inexpressible joy. How difficult and painful are the scenes of the deceased’s family fighting over their inheritance, embroiled in greed and squabbling over petty matters, rather than offering up much needed prayers for the deceased’s benefit.
What is at work in the intermediate existence is the strict law of cause and effect as it relates to the true-life entity. On the forty-ninth day of the journey the deceased comes to the seventh barrier and almost the last phase or opportunity for the “self” to establish its rebirth according to the residual causes of the alaya consciousness.
The court of King Taisan has six gateways that represent entry into the worlds of hell, hunger, anger, animality, tranquility, and rapture. According to their fate each interim body passes through a predetermined portal and melts into that stratum of the universe to find rebirth. At that moment the latent powers of volition, locomotion, non-hindrance, and fixity become manifest. The Ten Kings cannot alter the karma of the deceased or change their destined place of rebirth. The worlds of learning and realization move unencumbered to rebirth as easily as a sword cuts the air. The world of Bodhisattva and Buddhahood provide instantaneous rebirth and operate from a different dimension that sees all the worlds and moves their inhabitants toward enlightenment.
The Great mantra is the means whereby beings of the six worlds and nine worlds may be protected along the perilous journey of death. Even if they have embraced the Law for only a short time, the effect is so great that the deceased will have created the cause that pleases the Ten Kings and lessens their evil deeds, altering their dominant life condition taken into the intermediate existence. With the Great mantra in one’s heart the deceased are able to lessen their burdens and quickly find favorable rebirth to continue their quest for enlightenment.
The Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is rare and difficult for beings to encounter. It is rarer than finding a vast ocean of water on the sun. The Law draws the benighted life of beings into the world of Buddhahood, without a single exception.
If by the seventh barrier the deceased’s world of rebirth is still undetermined they proceed to the Eighth King, the Ninth King, and tenth King. Those who create ultimate evil or ultimate good do not go before the Ten Kings. They are either whisked away to the lion throne of eternal nirvana and instantly reborn, or they are cast into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. Those who merge into nirvana acquire instant rebirth anywhere in the universe that will best suit their karma of exalting the Law and fostering enlightenment. Those who descend into the condition of hell endure agonies in subjective time until they acquire enough energy to be reborn into a hell world, which corresponds to their karma. Only prayers for the deceased benefit and an incalculable number of rebirths can free them from their suffering. Even the condition of hell can be transformed into enlightenment with the Great mantra.
Since waking from my near death experience I have felt both blessed and pressured. Everywhere I see people who believe they live only one life: the present one. Religious professionals and people of faith heralding an afterlife existence that did not parallel the Buddhist view or mine saturate the airwaves. From my perspective, I now understand without the slightest doubt that the spiritual energies that are revealed in nature and animate our body, giving rise to consciousness, are neither created nor destroyed. This true entity of life that is ours has lived an infinite number of lives in an uncountable variety of worlds, in a myriad of forms. The interim of death is as common to us as the life we are now living. Forgetting the duration of death is as crucial as being unfettered by the details of a trillion previous lifetimes.
The overall feeling of my near death experience is the importance of life. I fully comprehended the depth of suffering of the chronically ill and now had a golden opportunity to contribute something important to their lives. First it was necessary to regain my strength, and then it was time to find a way to teach others what I had learned.
*This subject and this chapter are subjective, metaphorical, and not able to be proved. But it’s what I experienced. Happy Halloween. Charles
Ten Kings: Ten kings of the other world described in the Juo Sutra (Sutra of the Ten Kings), popularly believed to take turns trying the dead, from the seventh day after a person’s death until the second anniversary – every seven days for the first forty-nine days (7 weeks). Their true identities are said to be those of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Johari mirror: A metaphorical mirror where the deceased reviews the thoughts, words, and deeds of their previous lifetime.