The couple living next door to me are both Amitabha-reciters. They had a son who had been taking drugs for more than seven years. As a result, the family fortune was completely squandered.
At the end of April this year, the son was released from a detention center. On seeing his parents, he immediately knelt down in front of them for more than ten minutes without saying a word. His mother said to him, “Go to Mr. Wei’s house and prostrate yourself before Amitabha Buddha.”
Thanks to his virtuous roots, the young man went straight to the Amitabha shrine at my home, offering incense and doing prostrations in front of the Buddha. He also recited Amitabha’s name for a while before going home, where he continued his recitations.
In the evening of May 3 (lunar calendar), he suddenly fell to the ground in a fit due to withdrawal from his drug-taking. His parents could not afford to send him to hospital for emergency treatment. So I went to sit by his bedside and recite for him. I advised him, “Your only way out now is to recite the name of Amitabha Buddha, who will not desert you. Reciting will ensure your rebirth in the Pure Land. Otherwise, you will end up in hell.”
Repeatedly, I explained to him in simple terms the meaning of Amitabha’s 18th Vow. I also recited together with his parents and stressed over and over the importance of his joining us in the recitations. Although he was unconscious, his breathing became more and more even as he heard our recitations. But whenever we stopped reciting, his breath became rapid again. I also saw his lips move a few times.
At 6:40 p.m. on May 5, his breathing stopped. His posture was relaxed and his complexion good, just like normal. What was truly amazing was that when his sister, a medical student, arrived, she found his pupils to be just like those of a living person.
Fellow recitation practitioners started to gather to recite for him. At about 8 o’clock, when the recitations began, the room was immediately filled with a wonderful fragrance.
Around 10 p.m., one reciter witnessed Amitabha Buddha and the sacred assembly appearing, and saw a lotus flower in the air. He then saw the deceased walk up to that flower. Later on, he also spotted two small lotus buds hovering in the air.
Two days later, the father of the deceased dreamt of many people dressed in Buddhist gowns sitting on lotus flowers. He heard his son speaking to him: “Father, I have been learning the Dharma and practicing Amitabha-recitation.”
After another two days, the mother also had a dream in which she saw two lotus flowers, one big and the other smaller, floating in the air. She told me about the dream and asked me its meaning.
I said to her, “It may be Amitabha or it may be your son himself trying to tell you that he has already been reborn in the Western Land of Bliss. The lotuses for both you and your husband have also bloomed, though I have no idea which one is yours and which one is his. As long as you keep on reciting, small lotuses are sure to blossom one day!”
– Recounted by Householder Beifu, May 2000
(English translation by Foyi)