A Monk’s Story

Three years ago, an astonishing story was published of a Buddhist monk in Myanmar, who rose from the dead during his own funeral, three days after his death. The report was initially distributed on cassette.

"We first heard of the events from a number of Burmese church leaders, who investigated the reports and have no doubt as to their authenticity. The monk, Athet Pyan Shintaw Paulu, has turned his life around, and suffers and risks much to tell his story.   Nobody would undergo such hardship for nothing. He has already led hundreds of monks to Jesus, has been imprisoned, despised by his relatives, friends and colleagues, and been threatened with death if he does not tone down the reports. His current whereabouts are not certain: one Burmese source claims that he is in prison and may have been murdered, another that he is free and preaching."

"My name is Athet Pyan Shintaw Paulu I was born in 1958 in Bogale in the Irrawaddy Delta, Southern Myanmar (Burma). When I became 18 years of age, my Buddhist parents sent me as a novice to a monastery. At 19, I became a monk, entering the Mandalay Kyaikasan Kyaing monastery, where I was instructed by probably the most famous Buddhist teacher of the time, U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw, who was killed in a car crash in 1983. I was given a new name when I entered the monastery: U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya. I tried to deny my own selfish thoughts and desires; even when mosquitoes landed on my arm, I would let them bite me instead of brushing them away. I became very ill, and the doctors diagnosed a combination of Malaria and Yellow Fever. After a month in hospital, they told me that they could do no more for me, and discharged me so that I could prepare myself for my death. Back in the monastery, I became ever weaker, and finally lost consciousness. I only discovered that I had died later: my body started to decay and smelled of death, my heart had ceased beating. My body was put through the Buddhist cleansing rites.

But my spirit was wide awake I found myself in a powerful storm which blew everything away. Not a single tree, nothing was left standing. I was in an empty plain.  After some time, I crossed a river, and saw a terrible lake of fire.  I was confused, because Buddhism knows no such thing. I did not know that it was Hell until I met Yama, the King of Hell. His face was that of a lion, his feet like snakes, and he had many horns on his head. When I asked his name, he said 'I am the King of Hell, the Destroyer'. I then saw the saffron-coloured robes of Myanmar's monks in the fire, and upon looking closer, saw U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw's shaven head. 'Why is he in the lake of fire?' I asked. 'He was a very good teacher; his cassette "Are you a human or a dog?" helped thousands of people recognize that they are worth more than a dog.' 'Yes, he was a good teacher,' said Yama, 'but he did not believe in Jesus Christ. That's why he is in Hell.'

Buddha in Hell

I was then shown another man, with long hair bound in a ball on the left side of his head. He also wore a robe, and when I asked who he was, I was told 'Gautama, who you worship (Buddha).' I was distraught. Buddha in Hell, with all of his ethics and moral character?' 'It is not important how good he was. He did not believe in the eternal God, so he is in Hell,' answered the King of Hell. I also saw Aung San, the revolutionary leader. 'He is here because he persecuted and killed Christians, but mainly because he did not believe in Jesus Christ,' I was told. Another man was very tall, wearing armour and carrying a sword and shield. He had a wound on his forehead. He was larger than anyone else I could see, around 22 feet tall. The King of Hell said 'That is Goliath, who is in Hell because he mocked the eternal God and his servant David.' I had never heard of either Goliath or David. Another 'King of Hell' approached me and asked 'Are you also going into the lake of fire?'. 'No,' I said, 'I am just here to look.' 'You are right,' the creature said. 'You only came to look. I can't find your name. You'll have to go back to where you came from.'

On the way back, I saw two paths, one wide, one narrow. The narrow path, which I followed for about an hour, was soon made of pure gold. I could see my own reflection perfectly! A man calling himself Peter told me 'Now go back to tell the people who worship Buddha and other gods that they will end up in Hell if they do not change. They should believe in Jesus. He then gave me a new name: Athet Pyan Shintaw Paulu (Paul, who returned to life).

The next thing I heard was my mother crying. 'Son, why are you leaving us now?!' I realized that I was lying in a coffin. When I moved, my parents cried out 'He's alive!', but the others around them did not believe them. When they saw me, they were frozen with fear, and started shouting 'It's a ghost!'. I noticed that I was sitting in about 3 1/2 cups of an odorous liquid, which must have come from my body as I lay in the coffin. I was told that they were about to cremate me. When a monk dies, his name, age and the number of years of his service as a monk are inscribed in the coffin. I had already been registered as dead, but as you can see, I'm alive!"

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