Transcending the Cycle of Birth and Death

By Herbert Entote

The following is a topic that has recently been discussed a number of times at the Sian Tian Temple at Cebu City in the Philippines (pictured right). I would like to thank Tao Brother Herbert for sharing his notes with us.

As humans, we find birth and death to be the most significant events in our life time. These are the events that we don't have the ability to resist. From the moment we are born into this world, our life, fate & destiny are determined. It may be filled with happiness or bitterness. These events are determined and scheduled based on our conducts in our past lives. Death being part of this schedule is indeed unavoidable.

Everything in this world can be related to the following phenomena: Formation, Existence, Change and Extinction. In other words, after we're born, we age, then sickness follows which lead us to death. All emotions and desires in this world are merely a facades.

Sakyamuni Buddha was born in the year 565 BC as a prince of royal descent in India. At the age of 16, he saw through this phenomenon of birth & death, this iteration where humans are only to suffer and suffer again. He found no way of escaping this cycle, so he left the palace at the age of 19 in search for the path that would end all suffering. He was enlightened to this path when he received Tao from Ran-Deng Buddha (Old Lamp Buddha) and later attained Buddhahood.

Tao is not a substance, but a level of spiritual consciousness. We realized that life is not just a conjunction of several decades, but rather a continuum of many lives. So, from the Buddha's experiences, we realize that the only way to end all sufferings is to receive and to cultivate Tao. Hence by receiving Tao, we can transcend birth and cease death.