Throughout history and across cultures, people have been deeply curious about the world after death. In medical terms, this phenomenon is known as a “near-death experience”. This term was coined by Dr. Raymond Moody in his 1975 book titled “Life After Life”.
This term refers to the extraordinary experiences individuals describe when their lives are at extreme risk, such as being critically ill or after a severe accident, and are on the brink of death. Upon regaining consciousness after such a harrowing brush with death, they recount indescribable impressions and sensations. Although these individuals may differ in skin color, religious beliefs, or education level, their experiences before the gates of the underworld are strikingly similar. For instance, they often speak of seeing a bright light, witnessing their soul leaving their body, observing their physical body lying in the hospital bed, and even clearly hearing the conversations within the hospital room. After awakening, they share these experiences with their families. The big question remains: are these near-death experiences merely physiological reactions, or do they provide evidence of the existence of the soul?
Zhao Cuihui had such an experience in 1999, when she was suspected of having lung adenocarcinoma. She described feeling as though she had left her body and observed various scenes involving her close friends and family. She saw her husband sitting by her bedside and her friend, Xiumin, kneeling on the ground crying. Additionally, she saw the housekeeper, Chunlan, sitting on the stairs holding a vacuum cleaner and weeping. Chunlan was astonished when Zhao Cuihui vividly described the scene from her near-death experience.
Recalling the experience, Zhao Cuihui said, “At first, I felt like a few of my ribs had fallen off, but there was no pain.” She thought she was dying. Suddenly, she saw herself lying in bed and watched as her own figure stood up and left. She then “headed towards a very, very bright light. What I saw was a screen filled with intense light, which was a thousand times brighter than the sun.”
As she moved towards the light, she remembered wanting to come back and share her experience with everyone. So, she took a deep breath, and her body and soul reconnected. When she awoke, she was surrounded by close friends. She told her sister that it felt as if she had come back to guide them to the other side. After that, her friends began to avoid her, fearing she might “come back to take them with her.”
After her illness, Zhao Cuihui gained a “special ability”. After her near-death experience, not only did she develop a love for reading, but she also remembered every book she read. Psychiatrist Lin Gengxin cited another case of a truck driver in the U.S. who, after a near-death experience, constantly saw a symbol he couldn’t understand. It wasn’t until he visited a library that he found out it was a mathematical equation. This truck driver eventually earned a Ph.D. in physics. Dr. Lin Gengxin mentioned that about 5% of those who experience a near-death phenomenon “develop some special abilities, but we don’t know why or how.”
When individuals have near-death experiences, psychiatrist Lin Gengxin noted that these phenomena are known as “shared experiences.” “Some might see a bright light or pass through a tunnel, while others might review their entire life,” he said. However, Dr. Lin also emphasized, “Not everyone will have the same experience.”
– Shared by a cancer patience in Taiwan.