Master Jingyi’s Passing: a Short Account
By Master Jingtsan
Jingyi Fashi (Fashi, a respectable way of addressing a Buddhist master), a bhikkhuni, was born in 1967 and passed away on April 4th, 2023, at the age of fifty-seven.
She became a monastic in 2016. Five years before her ordination, she suffered from an inoperable cerebral hemangioma that she had to live with. This condition is like a ticking time bomb that could go off at any time. She got motion sickness easily and that prevented her from driving and taking long car rides.
Her life was in peril and she had a pressing sense of impermanence. This motivated her to single-mindedly recite Namo Amituofo and earnestly aspire to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land. She then settled down in Yongming Temple which is a cultivation center dedicated to the Pure Land school of practicing Amitabha-recitation. She chose the Dharma name “Jingyi” for herself. This represented her entrusting her life to Amitabha, her dedication to reciting the name of the Buddha exclusively and her unwavering determination to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
Fashi was gentle and easy-going. She was content with her lot and had no conflicts with others. Apart from reciting the Buddha’s name, she focused solely on reading the Pure Land school’s publications, which strengthened her resolve in reciting Amitabha’s name and her faith in the rebirth in the Pure Land.
Last Thursday, three days before her passing, Fashi told me that her brain hemangioma had enlarged, and that she often felt waves of splitting headaches. She was psychologically prepared for rebirth any second!
Two days later, she asked Householder Caihua, a cook in the temple, to take care of a small cornfield she had planted, saying that she would be reborn in the Pure Land in the next few days.
At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, Fashi felt extremely unwell in the reception room and collapsed onto the table. She then slid off the chair and lay on the floor face up, clearly suffering from a sudden rupture of the tumor.
Someone nearby saw what happened and notified me immediately. I rushed to her and, instinctively, using my limited knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, pressed the acupoints on both of her hands, trying to save her. That lasted for about three to four minutes. She brushed off my hand gently, and said feebly but firmly, "Don't touch me, don't touch me, don't touch me at all, just recite the Buddha's name." She repeated this twice.
I said to her, “We’ll start reciting Namo Amituofo with you.” She gave a frail reply, “Good.”
A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived, and I asked her, "Would you like to go to the emergency room?"
Fashi waved her hand and said adamantly, "No, I won't go, I won't go, absolutely not. I want to recite the Buddha's name. I want to go to the Land of Ultimate Bliss!"
I asked her again: "Should I notify your brother and sister?" (Both her parents had passed away, and she only has these two siblings.)
Fashi was resolute. She said, "No! Don't alert anyone! Just ask Householder Rijing to come quickly and help!" (Rijing is her very close female Buddhist friend, whom she had known for 20 years.)
I then asked her, “Has Amitabha come yet? Have you seen him?”
She immediately replied: "Amitabha Buddha’s always by my side!” With that, she recited "Namo Amituofo" loudly and quickly six or seven times, her voice particularly clear. After a while, she said: "Amitabha Buddha exists, and there is truly the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Recite the Buddha's name, you will be there!"
At about three o'clock, Fashi closed her eyes and whispered to everyone, "I love you all very much!"
I responded, "We love you too."
Fashi said, in no uncertain terms, "No, no, we should love Amitabha Buddha."
In the end, Fashi said, like a teacher : "Everyone must recite Namo Amituofo. I will go first, setting an example for you. We will all reunite in the Land of Ultimate Bliss!" At times, with both hands raised and palms joined, or, making a lotus hand sign, her legs crossed into the lotus position.
Fearing that the floor was too cold for her, we gently moved her to a nearby table. After lying down (still with her legs folded in the lotus position), Fashi clasped her hands together and said feebly to those who were reciting Namo Amituofo for her, "Sorry to have troubled you, Namo Amitabha!"
During the whole process, the monastics and lay disciples alike followed the rhythm of Master Huijing’s Amituofo recitation recording, recited earnestly and without any break.
At 5:10 p.m, Fashi straightened her neck, shifted her body a bit, exhaled her last breath lightly, and passed away peacefully.
Thanks to Master Jingyi, we witnessed first hand that “reciting Amituofo’s name will surely lead to rebirth!”
(Recorded by Shih Jingtsan, Abbot of the Yongming Temple of the Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Association,
on April 5, 2023)
Commentary by Master Huijing:
All living beings fear death. It is natural. When facing death, ordinary people may either feel great distress due to illness, or feel lost with uncertainty and dread. Some may even see Death coming to get them. (Death in the form of the two guards of King Yama from Hell, as portrayed in Chinese mythology.) They are overwhelmed by a sense of regret over past actions and great fear of the unknown. Such affliction is beyond words.
However, Master Jingyi, though ill in body, was not troubled in mind. She was determined to gain rebirth in the Pure Land and refused emergency treatment. When facing death, she wasn’t sad, did not panic, and remained calm and composed. How did she do that? All because of her faith in, and exclusive practice of, the recitation of the Buddha's name. She was embraced and protected by the light of Amitabha who never left her. Although she did not feel or see the Buddha during her lifetime, she could naturally see him when nearing death. Consequently, she could confidently say, "Amitabha Buddha exists, and there is truly the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Recite the Buddha's name, you will be there!" and , "No, no, we should love Amitabha Buddha." or, "Everyone must recite Namo Amituofo. I will go first, setting an example for you. We will all reunite in the Land of Ultimate Bliss!" She could raise her hands and join her palms, sitting in a lotus position as she shared with us those teachings.
Every Amitabha-reciter will naturally feel such calm and joy on their deathbed, like looking forward to a wedding banquet.
I hope that all of you will do what Master Jingyi did: take refuge in Amitabha, recite the Buddha’s name single-mindedly, and wholeheartedly aspire to be reborn in the Pure Land. Your rebirth is assured in this lifetime, without having to wait till you see the Buddha at your deathbed to get that assurance. You also don’t have to wait till you are reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss before you know you have attained non-retrogression.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
- Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
- Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
- Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
- Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime
The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha
If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings