The ending shows a mythical abbott reaching nirvana, becoming just like Buddha. The most interesting part about this is not that he attains this status but how King Hu shot the ending sequence. It's confusing at first but then becomes very clear, yet still opens it up to interpretation.
After a prolonged final fight with the film's most dangerous villain, Hsu Yang, Abbott Yuan is fatally stabbed and proceeds to walk away. During this sequence Yuan experiences extreme hallucinations including hearing abnormal sounds, seeing spectacular colors, mistaking his own men for something else, and eventually throwing himself to his own death against his will.
Personally, I love endings like these because they create conversations and discussions about its subject matter. There are many movies that seem like they are going to have a predictable ending, but catches you off guard with an ending from left field.
Here are some examples.
2001: A Space Odyssey