Inmates on Death Row
By sister initiate Lin, Taichung,
Formosa (Originally in Chinese)
will listen to that cry from the innermost?
That intense yearning for life,
Longing to live on
For a chance to be initiated
And to practice spiritually,
Because they know there is a
In March 1990, during a time when Master and all the monastic disciples were on retreat in Houcha Village in Formosa’s Pingtung County, Master quietly visited two inmates on death row at the Taichung Detention Center, whom the contact person and I had met previously. From their relatives and friends, the two brothers had come to know that Master was imparting a method that could bring liberation in one life. Still in their prime, these two were young and daring, but one misstep had regrettably cost them their lives. Though they yearned to follow Master in spiritual practice, their lives were coming to an end. We felt very sorry for them but did not know how to comfort them. All we could do was to relate Master’s message to them: “They cannot be initiated by me and practice spiritually in this life, but I guarantee that they will reincarnate as humans next life.”
One early morning that month, the contact person suddenly
called and told me to meet Master at the detention center, and
he informed me of the location of Her car. Although I had time
to meditate for an hour before going there, I felt restless and
my intuition told me that I must go right away. Arriving there,
I found a comfortable spot and closed my eyes to meditate. Suddenly,
a bright light appeared before my eyes. I thought that it was
my inner vision, but when I opened my eyes, I found that it was
the headlights of Master’s car. I was both surprised and
delighted to see that She had arrived early, as well as grateful
that I had trusted my intuition.
Originally, it was not convenient for Master to go out during the retreat. However, She felt the anxiety and yearning of the two brothers awaiting execution, so She came Herself to visit, offering loving solace and promising that they would reincarnate as humans and have the chance to practice spiritually. Master also gave some blessed food to the prison staff in appreciation of their efforts to care for the inmates. In addition, She earnestly reminded the superintendent to get more rest and not to overexert himself. Master’s visit lifted the somber atmosphere at the facility. When the wardens walked out with Her, their faces were aglow with warm and peaceful smiles as they chatted courteously with Her. They looked completely different than when we first arrived.
In the eyes of the masses, the two brothers were murderers whom everyone would avoid, but Master saw them in a totally different way. She has always been very much concerned about prison inmates, many of whom are very intelligent people. It is because they are unable to fully access their intelligence and abilities that they fall victim to circumstance.
Master once said, “Most bad children are actually
not that bad, neither are most murderers and outlaws. They turn
bad only because no one has taught them good things; they have
only been taught bad things. In school, moral conduct is seldom
taught. Children are taught to memorize mathematics, history and
so on, so that they can graduate quickly, find a job and earn
money. They are not imbued with ideas about morals, responsibility
and contributing to society.” This trip to the detention
center showed me how Master is such an example of what She teaches
by always giving unconditionally. I thank Her deeply for letting
me witness the immense, undiscriminating love that a living Master
has for all sentient beings.