My Dad was Skeptical about Buddhism
My dad passed away in April 2012 at the age of 95. He was not well educated, and had only finished primary school in a rural village. He was a simple family man who retired at just over 50. For about 10 years before he passed away he lived in a senior care home in Hong Kong, together with my mom while she was still alive. My mom recited Guanyin’s name daily, but my dad had no religious beliefs.
As a Pure Land practitioner myself, I sincerely hoped my dad would come to accept and believe in Amitabha. I knew that it would be the greatest way to repay him. Unfortunately, he always turned away whenever I talked about Buddhism and Amitabha. I moved to Canada in 1992, but visited my parents in Hong Kong roughly twice a year.
In November 2011, just before I returned to Hong Kong for a visit, I prostrated sincerely before Amitabha and prayed: “Amitabha Buddha, I really want my dad to believe in and accept you. I hope he will recite ‘Namo Amitabha’ with me. Namo Amitabha!”
Something Special Happened
The day I arrived in Hong Kong I immediately went to visit my dad. He was sitting quietly on his bed. He could not see me clearly, but he recognized my voice. After we had chatted for a while I suggested to him: “Let’s recite ‘Namo Amituofo’! Can you follow me? I will recite it one line at a time and you follow suit. Is that OK?”
Surprisingly, he nodded with a gentle smile. Cautiously, I recited “Namo Amituofo” and he followed me. We recited it about ten times. Then I asked: “How do you feel? Do you feel good?” He said: “I’m fine!”
After that, whenever I visited my dad, we recited “Namo Amituofo” together. When I asked him whether he recited it every day, he replied: “I sometimes recite it in my heart but not verbally.” Thank you, Amitabha Buddha!
The following April, my brother told me that dad was in hospital and that he was very weak. I asked my brothers and sisters to recite “Namo Amituofo” when he was nearing the end, and not to cry. I knew that Amitabha Buddha would receive him to the Land of Bliss. He took his last breath in hospital on the morning of 22 April, with my brother at his side.
Recalling the sad moment, my brother said: “I was very emotional. I am so surprised that I did not cry at that moment. Instead, I recited ‘Namo Amituofo’ gently as you suggested. I noted that dad passed away peacefully, without any pain or anxiety.”
My Dad was Received by Amitabha Buddha
Right after I heard that my dad had passed away, my Buddhist friends in Vancouver and I came together to recite Amitabha’s name on his behalf. There were about a dozen of us. The recitation was divided into three sessions of about half an hour each.
After the first session, Mrs. Hui, who was sitting on my left, told me that she had had a vision of an old man seated on a lotus throne. As she had not seen my father before I was not sure whether the old man was him, so I simply responded “Hmm!”
However, Mrs. Hui continued: “I don’t know why a lady was wiping the old man’s face? Was his face dirty?” I did not understand what she meant, and so I just responded with a nod.
Suddenly, as if to herself, she said: “Who was that lady?” I thought that it might have been my mom, but before I could reply she asked me: “Alan, do you have an older sister?”
“Yes, I do,” I replied.
Mrs. Hui said: “That’s it. It was a middle-aged woman!”
I was really shocked as I was suddenly sure that the old man sitting on the lotus throne was my father!!! Namo Amituofo!
When we visited our father in the senior care home, my elder sister was the one responsible for bathing him. She would take a dry towel and go to the washroom to clean and wet it. While we chatted with him she would wipe my dad’s face and eyes, and then his hands. Over the years, this became a routine. I could clearly see the scene in my mind.
Mrs. Hui and Our Group
Mrs. Hui had been a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. When she first joined our Amitabha-recitation group, she was not a Buddhist. However, she soon became one of our most devoted members, and developed an extraordinarily strong faith in Amitabha. During the Amitabha-recitation she saw Amitabha amid lotus flowers on many occasions, and described the scene to us after the recitation.
Mrs. Hui took Refuge in May 2013 under Master Huijing, a pristine Pure Land teacher who lives in Taipei. She passed away in October the same year on a visit to Hongyuan Monastery in China, and was clearly received by Amitabha Buddha as there were almost no signs of her impending death.
Since the establishment of the Amitabha-recitation group in Vancouver in 2010, most members have encountered auspicious signs. Half have seen Amitabha Buddha in different circumstances. We now have about 30 people in the group, which is called the Vancouver Shandao Study Group. We are all very happy to be Pure Land practitioners, and have great confidence in our rebirth in the Land of Bliss in this very lifetime. Namo Amituofo!