After the burial chamber was opened, it was discovered that the Patriarch was still sitting in the up-right and crossed meditation position, his hair had grown long, and his skin retained its usual elasticity.
The venerable Xu Yun (who lived to 120 years old) was in attendance of this meeting when these monks arrived and made their case. He listened quietly to these monks and then hit his palm on the table in an angry manner. He stated that a Buddhist monk and his robe cannot be separated, and that in China, a Buddhist robe signifies the practice of both strict celibacy and vegetarianism – without the Vinaya Discipline – Chinese Buddhism simply would not make sense.
Shen is the realisation and permanent identification of consciousness with universal ’empty space’ to such a degree that when the physical brain ceases to function, the ‘practitioner’ becomes the state of ’empty space’ – which is the universe that includes all things. This is why advanced Daoist practitioners are able to enter this state whilst still in their bodies, so that the actual ‘act’ of dying becomes a formality whereby ‘breathing’ ceases altogether and qi energy permanently integrates with ‘jing’ and ‘shen’ – leaving the physical body behind forever.