• Gregory Shushan

A Hellish Buddhist Near-Death Experience from 7th Century China (Historical NDE of the Month)

This month's Historical NDE of the Month involves the distressing but redemptive experience of a young Chinese administrative officer named Cheng Shih-pien, who “died of a sudden illness before coming of age.” During his NDE he is taken prisoner by afterworld officials, and he learns the hard way about the importance of accepting the precepts of Buddhism!


The account appears in a mid-7th century CE collection of extraordinary experiences called the Ming-pao chi, or Records of Miraculous Retribution. The book contains no fewer than 21 accounts of people visiting the nether world during NDEs, in trance states, and even divine guided tours in the body. It was compiled by a government official and devout Buddhist named T’ang Lin, and the accounts very much reflect his motivation of promoting Buddhist teachings and ideals.



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