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May 27, 2017

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Talking about almost dying can reinvigorate love of life

TAIPEI -- A Taiwanese foundation sponsoring a center that studies near-death experiences has urged those who have had such experiences to tell their stories openly and encourage people to "love this life and have respect for the next life."

The Chou Ta-kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, which established the center in July 2002 to study the impact of near-death experiences, made the appeal during a gathering in Kaohsiung on Sunday of people who have seen death.

Many people who have near-death experiences are reluctant to talk about them with others because they are afraid of being laughed at, according to the foundation, but the group's founder, Chou Chin-hua, said his organization was willing to serve as a platform for them to speak out.

He encouraged people to open their minds, love this life and have respect for the next life.

Lin Keng-hsin, a psychiatrist who serves as the research center's chief adviser, said he found that most of the people he has studied for more than a decade had very positive aftereffects after nearly dying.

Many of them began to love life and nature passionately, and suddenly adopted simple diets, respected the environment, took to helping people, advocated environmental protection and put a higher priority on their spiritual sides, Lin said.

Some people even developed special sensory powers after having had been pronounced clinically dead or having had been very close to death, said Lin, who published a report in 2000 chronicling the ordeals of 37 people titled "Do You Believe In Near-Death Experiences?"

All of these people on the brink of death experienced dramatic changes in how they viewed life, and "they all turned into good people," Lin said.

At the gathering, foundation CEO Chao Cui-hui said there have been several times when she was so sick she felt she was going to die. At those moments, she had out-of-body experiences that freed her from her fear of death and left her more willing to help people in need.

Tung Yi-pu, a single mother of four, said she has had three near-death experiences, which led her to stop complaining about life and start dedicating herself to promoting the public good.

She recalled that on the brink of death, she was drawn into a whirlpool of bright light, in which she heard voices chanting prayers. "It's wonderful and peaceful," she said.

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