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Black Sect Buddhist leader dies

The man known as “His Holiness Grandmaster Professor Yun Lin” of the California-based Black Sect Tantric Buddhism and Yun Lin Temple passed away on Wednesday due to multiple organ failure.

Lin, 80, was a Tainan native who founded the Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Temple in 1986 in Berkeley, California. Scholars of religious studies yesterday said Lin created the religious sect and his teachings were independent from traditional Buddhist studies.

According to the sect's spokesperson, Lin first experienced discomfort in late July, when painful hemorrhoids bled profusely and forced him to seek treatment at the hospital.

At Sequoia Hospital, Lin's heart and lung functions continued to decline. By August 9, he suffered shortness of breath and fell into a coma. Doctors tried their best to resuscitate him, but to no avail. On August 11, at 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time (EST), Lin was pronounced dead from multiple organ failure.

The sect spokesperson said that Lin had suffered from heart disease, lung disease and anemia for the past 20 years. When he was in his hospital bed, many of his disciples surrounded him, comforting him with Buddhist chanting. Lin passed away peacefully, the spokesperson added.

The sect will hold a memorial service for Lin in California on August 21. A Taipei memorial is also being arranged.

As news of Lin's death reached Taiwan, scholars of religious studies came forward to discuss the grandmaster's sect.

“Black Sect Tantric Buddhism” was a religion created by Lin, said Chiang Tsan-teng, associate professor at the Center for General Education of Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan.

The sect's religious expressions and content cannot be traced to Tibetan Buddhism, Chiang said, adding that through the course of religious history, there was no Black Sect Tantric Buddhism before Yun Lin.

Chiang said Lin may have felt the need to create the sect due to the fact that Buddhist concepts like “feng shui,” “ying and yang,” and the “fu lu” book of prophesy have a hard time registering with the common middleclass.

According to Chiang, Lin's sect basically fused Buddhism's esoteric elements with knowledge acquired by his own higher education and entered the secular world, becoming “His Holiness Grandmaster Professor Yun Lin” in the process.

Information regarding Yun Lin and the Black Sect Tantric Buddhism can be found on their website at: http://www.yunlintemple.org/index.htm.

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