His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings

February 12, 2012

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the regular puja, teaching everyone how to prepare for death.

Before the puja started, a male disciple expressed his gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, along with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, for giving him a chance to repent publicly and to share the experience in which the guru had helped him.

First, he felt grateful for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, because of which he had survived a cerebral hemorrhage on October 4th of last year (2011), and thus could stay alive and continue to learn Buddhism. In the beginning of last October, due to his suffering from a chronic condition of high blood pressure of up to 180, and his refusal to take the antihypertension drug, he suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage in his sleep which led to vomiting. He was sitting limply by the toilet and continually vomited, and experiencing extreme discomfort which made him fearful of being near death. He was very weak after vomiting, so his wife helped him to lie down on the couch to rest in the living room, and he lost consciousness after falling asleep. Because he had never listened, he felt it was now too late for certain things. In his heart he always wanted to say that he was very sorry to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the karmic creditors.

While he was unconscious, he felt as if he was a bullet in the chamber of a gun- his consciousness lying at the tip of the bullet. He saw the clear fluids that filled the chamber suddenly become dark and muddy as if it was about to explode.  On the verge of the explosion, suddenly Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s voice came from above calling his name and said: “You come down here!” And so he came down. He appreciated that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has always been teaching to his disciples the importance of being obedient, and this has made him realize deep down that every word the guru said can save the disciples’ wisdom life in this type of life or death situation. As this incident happened so quickly, he did not have time to think at that moment. Afterwards, he could only be forever grateful to the guru for saving him, and organized this experience to keep a record, hoping to provide references for everyone.

Later on, he came to the Buddhist Center in a wheelchair to express his gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his blessing, by which he was able to stay alive. However, he was greedy by imploring the guru to also bless his eyes so that he can see clearly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said: “You are very greedy!” He immediately felt regretful and started to tear up after hearing that, and he reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche: “The disciple knows that is wrong, and I shouldn’t have done it” Unexpectedly, he recovered both eyes as soon as he wiped his tears away. He then exclaimed “It’s true!” Immediately both of his eyes were fine, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is truly phenomenal.

He then repented that 10 years ago he had had a stroke caused by hypertension, and he was brought to the hospital emergency room; this caused him to be paralyzed on one side. The first time he sought audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, after he was released from the hospital, the guru said there was a dog following him. He did not believe this at the time, but later he remembered that he had eaten dog meat while he was serving in the army; his business car had run into dog while he was on a business trip in Nantou city. He ripped the middle leg off of a cricket with his bare hands and threw it into a pond when he was young. In 1999 his unborn child was diagnosed with Thalasemia (a type of anemia) by the doctor, so he and his wife selfishly induced their five-month old fetus. He also repented for all of the sentient beings that he had eaten in the past, and realized that he had generated a lot of killing karma during this life.

A few years ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated with compassion to him and his family that his maternal grandfather had a lot of killing karma, so between the two brothers in his family, he should be mindful of the problems he will have. He returned home and asked the elders in his family about it, and that’s how he found out that his maternal grandfather had a very successful business when he was a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner- because the abortion drugs that he prescribed were “extremely fatal”. The evil accumulated by generations made their family have a hereditary history of both diabetes and hypertension. However, the condition varies among their siblings, and that proves what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often teaches on the Dharma throne: siblings from one family who share the same background can still have different karmic retributions due to their individual karma from past lives. He was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his blessings and teachings, which gave them a chance to pay their debts in this life.

In the 2 to 3 years before taking refuge, he was constantly in and out of the hospital emergency room due to excessive stress. After taking refuge, although his physical health and mental health were both fine thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, he was not obedient. He also did not follow His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions to practice Buddhism diligently, nor did he make offerings on time in accordance with the methods indicated in the Buddhist sutras from the guru’s teachings. Sometimes he convinced himself that using the money for offerings to buy photographic equipment is still considered making an offering, thinking that being frequently volunteering is enough. As a result, the evil karma of past lives finally led to the rupture of his cerebral blood vessel. His eyes were wide open without any consciousness just as he was transferred from the operating room to the intensive care unit- as described by his wife- and he looked like he was extremely terrified. Experiencing this cerebral hemorrhage stroke made him remember that his mother had suffered the same way in the early stages of her coma. It was more than 10 years ago that his mother was in a coma at the hospital, and she later became vegetative. He expressed gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for letting him still have time to practice Buddhism; for instructing him to listen to repentance tapes; for making him praise the guru’s merits. He sincerely wished that everyone must develop the habit of being obedient in their daily life, because following the guru’s teaching closely is the correct way. Finally, he gave thanks to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his blessings and to the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic for providing treatments and Tien Ma which are truly tasty and therapeutically effective.

Next, a female disciple shared her experience in which His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped her at the school where she works.

On January 8th of this year (2012), in the afternoon, her school had a fire that broke out in the gymnastics hall, underground on the first floor.  At that moment, there were gusts of black smoke, the flames continued bursting out of the basement, and they faced a shortage of water; all of these factors made rescue difficult. A total of 37 fire trucks were called out, and this fire was declared extinguished after almost an hour and a half. Even though the school had experienced a fire of such severity, the entire library, from the first floor entrance to the second floor, hadn’t suffered any damages. There was merely a thin layer of black ashes lying on the surface of objects and on the floor. She was deeply convinced that as a result of having Happiness and Suffering written by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in their library collection, the library avoided being engulfed in flames. Also on that day, all of the students who were studying in the library, along with the badminton team players on the third floor, who were playing a friendly match between Taiwan and Japan hosted by the Activity Centre, suffered no casualties; all of these things occurred because of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious and compassionate blessing and protection.

After that, a Dharma brother asked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about this incident, and the compassionate guru explained: “That’s because there was Buddha Dharma in there.” She was grateful that the guru brings benefits to sentient beings. In conclusion, she prayed for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have excellent health, to keep turning the Dharma wheel, and to abide in this world for a long time.

This was followed by another female disciple who shared her experience in which His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped her.

She and her son took refuge under His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on March 22nd, 2009. For the affinity to meet His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she owes thanks to her husband who has already taken refuge, for often he shared stories with them about how the guru helped many sentient beings. At first, neither she nor her son was attentive to her husband’s words, and they felt as if they were being criticized. However, they have a deep impression that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very remarkable- for if anyone comes in the guru’s presence, he will know their thoughts.

After a while, her husband asked her if she wanted to attend puja. She didn’t dare refuse at the time, so she answered: “Yes!” Her husband then said: “Don’t force yourself, you should only go to implore to attend the puja if you really want to” and after that neither of them had the initiative to bring this up again. On a Saturday when the causal condition was right, her husband called and told her that he had already signed them up to seek audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Her husband told her beforehand to not use impolite words such as  “I want” when requesting His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for her to attend the puja or to have the Dharma tapes of repentance. He also told them that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would reprimand others; but she didn’t quite understand that as she hadn’t had a chance to see it yet. While she was waiting, she heard with her own ears that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded people who sought an audience with him, and she felt that was very unusual. Even though at that time she did not know that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s reprimand toward his disciples was actually a blessing, she felt that this elder person was different from the other smiling practitioners from other Buddhist temples because he had put his heart into teaching sentient beings by pointing out each of their mistakes one by one and by teaching in a way that they could understand.

When they knelt in front of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she raised her head and saw the compassionate guru with a smile asking them: “What is the matter?” She then had an indescribable feeling in her heart as though she had seen Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche somewhere before. It felt familiar to her- as if she had known him for a long time. At that point, suddenly her mind went blank and she forgot her reason for seeking audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She quickly remembered and asked the guru about attending the puja and also the repentance tapes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her: “Why do you want to attend the puja?” She replied after a pause: “I want to learn Buddhism from you!” Then, for some reason, she said with sadness that she wanted to attend because she felt she had generated a lot of evil karma.

She cried for a little while and then His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her if she was a vegetarian. Before that point she was not a full vegetarian, but after she decided to attend puja she had to start being one; therefore she answered yes- and thus she was a vegetarian. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked her that because it was almost Chinese New Year, and her family will prepare a feast with fish and meat when she goes to visit, won’t they ask her to eat meat?  She took a pause and then thought of what her husband had said before: always be honest in front of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. So she answered with honesty that she hadn’t been back to her family’s home for a while- because her family has financial problems and her husband didn’t want her to get involved. But she had secretly called them.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her to come to puja the next day, but suddenly she remembered that she had to go to work.  Shortly after, what her husband had said came to her mind- it is important to do what His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructs you to do. Thus she respectfully expressed her gratitude to the guru and then left. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also instructed the ordained Dharma brothers who were serving by his side to write down her husband’s name. This is why when she went to the counter before she signed up to attend the puja, the ordained Dharma brother asked her to write down his name. She was struggling to decide whether she should out of concern for how this may affect her husband, but the ordained Dharma brother told her to not worry and it will be fine. So she then wrote down her husband’s name. After stepping out of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, she called her colleague to cover for her work, but since it was a Sunday the next day, most of her colleagues on leave would be going out. However, thanks to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, she unexpectedly found a person to cover for her right away.

She was still somewhat worried while attending the puja the next day. Everything was fine until the puja was about to end, and she thought she could finally relax. However just then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche called her husband’s name and said: “It is said that you wouldn’t let your wife go back and visit her family?” Her husband immediately answered: “I am sorry, I was wrong.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated that if this matter cannot be resolved properly, he should no longer come to puja. Afterwards, she was very agitated, worrying that she might get scolded by her husband. However, he not only was not angry, but he also took the initiative to encourage her to go to her family, and thus solved her problem in accordance with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings.

Once, while in a hurry riding her motorcycle to work, she abruptly turned left after seeing no traffic coming from the right side when entering a T-intersection. She however did not notice that there was a car on her left, and she was hit, falling to the ground. She immediately climbed back up, tried to walk with her motorcycle, and then heard someone asking her if she was okay. She turned her head and recognized that it was a Dharma brother from her Buddhist center. She felt sad and guilty for lacking caution which led to the Dharma brother being frightened. She was very grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, otherwise she would not know what to expect from this accident. She later shared this incident, in which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had saved her, with her colleagues when she arrived at her company, and her colleagues said that even if she was fine at that time, she would be sore all over the next day. She was firmly convinced that she would be fine, and sure enough she was perfectly fine without any pain in any part of her body on the following day- and this is all because of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing.

Subsequently, she repented publicly to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that it had been almost 3 years since she took refuge, yet she had not been acting according to the guru’s teachings. The financial problems she had experienced before were caused by her own desires, however she did not realize that it was her fault when that had happened, and she thought invariably that her husband was to blame and nothing was ever her fault. Before she started learning Buddhism from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, her life was miserable and she would rather have been dead. Now that she has been learning Buddhism from the guru, she realized that all greed, anger, delusion, arrogance, and doubt are caused by one’s self, which means you have to pay back; and that is completely acceptable. In order to allow disciples to learn Buddhism well and be liberated from the reincarnation of life and death, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed many Dharmas for them. However, she, as the guru’s disciple, repeatedly took advantage of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche- because she did not follow the guru’s teachings closely and failed to abide by any of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. She owes to the sentient beings that she had hurt, and what’s worse was that she has never really fulfilled her filial duty as a daughter to take good care of her mother and in-laws. She realized that she was wrong, and would be obedient from now on. She will change her evil behaviors and pray for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have excellent health, keep turning the Dharma wheel and abide in this world for a long time.

After ascending to the Dharma throne, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned that last week he had taught about death and how Buddhism is different from other religions in that it teaches us numerous things about how to be prepared for death in the future, and allows us to be liberated from the suffering sea of reincarnation. Therefore, we should often train our hearts to be completely obedient to the guru, and to have no thoughts of our own, as they are mere attachments. The reason Tibetan Buddhism especially emphasizes the importance of the guru is that disciples need to rely on their guru when their minds feel distracted. However, if disciples don’t have enough merits and virtues accumulated, they still cannot be liberated even with the guru’s help. By no means does the guru need you to be obedient to his words, as all of his thoughts, behaviors and words are meant to bring benefits to sentient beings and to help them be liberated.

Yet, you all feel that there exists a dichotomy: assuming that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is only teaching Buddhism when he is inside of the Buddhist Center or when he is saying Buddhism-related terms and thinking that his other words are not related to Buddhism. Thinking like this is wrong. In fact, the guru’s merry laugh and angry curses all fall within the range of Buddhism that brings benefits to sentient beings. Even a look from the guru is a blessing and we should all be 100 percent obedient, as the guru’s every spoken word and action are for the sake of sentient beings to be liberated from the cycle of life and death. Some think that to help sentient beings you must follow specific methods. However, that isn’t true, as each being has individual causes and conditions. The so-called “no set rules for the Buddha Dharma” do not mean it is without boundary or limit, but rather it means one must help each sentient being in the way that they need and according to their own causal conditions. That is also how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche provides help to sentient beings based on their causal conditions. However, you should do some preparation on your own. If you don’t follow the guru’s teaching closely while living and instead use your own thoughts to comment on the guru’s words, then when the situation comes, you will have doubts because you do not have enough confidence in the guru, and therefore will not be able to receive blessings from him. That is not to say that being closer to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is more advantageous, as you will receive help as long as you have confidence in the guru.

This is just like your first day, or month, in the first grade: no matter what the teacher says, you followed all their instructions. But now that you think you have read plenty of books and gained plenty of life experiences, it is more difficult for you to be completely obedient to the guru and to abide by the words he has said or the Buddha Dharma he has taught. Your life experience is merely a conscious influence from your past life and this life, an accumulation of the records of every single thing you have done in your life, and it is completely different from the real nature that originally existed within you. Many peoples’ minds are false, and when they came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche they said that they wanted to learn Buddhism for the benefit of sentient beings. If you intend to help others with Buddha Dharma, all of your minds must be correct and provide help in accordance with each sentient being’s causal condition. You cannot assume that you can help the others by using just one method. It is mentioned in the Buddhist sutras that there are no set rules for the Buddha Dharma. That is not to say there are no rules, but rather that the Buddha Dharma stresses causal conditions. Everyone’s causal conditions and habits from past lives are different. To learn Buddhism, one must completely and 100 percent accept the impermanence of death. Do not assume that you will have better health or a better job after you start practicing Buddhism. These are not-Buddhist thoughts. People who can control their life and death won’t give rise to new attachments or thoughts of greed.

Those who feel resentful and hateful will experience great suffering before they pass away, for they have many attachments and cannot let them go. Why did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teach about death? Because if we do not work in this direction and do not put our heart into accepting the impermanence of death with absolute certainty, everything we do will only help us accumulate the blessed rewards of the Human and Heaven Realms for use in the next life.

According to non-Buddhists, as long as you implore your god or lord to give to you, all the things you have are given to you by your lord. However, Buddhism is different- it lays emphasis on how causes and conditions arise and cease. The Buddha tells us things that actually exist in the universe, and how to be liberated from life and death and how to achieve happiness by staying off the course of suffering- but we are the ones who have to take action. Try to think about when you were in school, and teachers were only responsible for instructing you instead of doing your homework or taking tests for you- you have to do it yourself. The guru, just like a teacher, teaches you about Buddhism, but you must genuinely carry out the practice yourself.

Karma is a force that causes us to be subject to reincarnation. The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows mentions that “every single thought arising from ordinary humans generates karma and vices.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught about this many times, repeating over and over, and yet you all still refused to believe it.  “Vice” here indicates that everything in this world which does not help you on your way to achieve liberation or attainting Buddhahood is vice. The karma here means that since you were born, everything you do is for your own interests and they are all considered part of karma. Karma includes both evil karma and virtuous karma. Do not assume that things will be better after repentance. To repent is to accept the karmic retribution of both the virtuous and evil karma that one has accumulated in the past. There is a need for repentance when evil karma is generated. However, you still need to repent even when virtuous karma is generated. The reason is that if you do not understand the Threefold Wheel of Essential Emptiness when doing good deeds, you will still be subject to reincarnation and come back to receive the karmic retribution of your virtuous deeds. Therefore, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was helping the deceased by performing the Phowa, the Chod, the Fire Offering Ritual and so on, the first thing the guru had to do was repent on behalf of the deceased which you must not have expected. Do not assume that all of your karma will be eliminated and disappear after you have participated and recite the Precious Penitential Rites by Emperor Liang, which says that all of the flowers of vice will be gone after praying. In fact, that is not true, causes and effects most certainly exist and it is impossible for karmic retribution to go away, not to mention that there will be karmic retribution as long as a single flower of vice still exists.

Perhaps you all wonder why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has suddenly started teaching about death for the last several pujas. A disciple with breast cancer in the Buddhist Center passed away a few days ago, yet she did not obtain the Phowa performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This happened because she had never implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when she was alive, even though she knew that the guru’s Phowa was extraordinary. The reason was because she did not believe that she would die so quickly, and did not contemplate the impermanence and the uncertainty of death. For the last several pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche specifically taught about death, mostly for this disciple. However, she thought Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche should be compassionate by helping her get better until she lives long enough that she was ready to die. Who likes death? This is similar to the way many people believe that they will become healthier and their illnesses will disappear after practicing Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always teaches believers of such a mentality: “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself will eventually die someday, so how is it possible for him to help you avoid death? This is irrelevant to your practice of Buddhism. On the contrary, to learn Buddhism you must have the determination to accept mortality.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the Dharma to protect her consciousness when this disciple passed away. Meanwhile, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche noticed that her complexion did not look good when she died, and both of her hands were clutched very tightly. This is because she had neither the correct understanding of death nor did she accept it. After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the Dharma for her, she looked somewhat better, and her tightly-clutched hands loosened up. A disciple who was also there reported that the disciple with breast cancer indeed did not look too good when she had just died, and her hands were ice-cold and tightly clutched. However, when she went back to visit after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the Dharma for her, the deceased disciple looked better and her hands became warmer and softer. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that the reason her hands were tightly clutched was because she had attachments and refused to accept death; the reason her hands became looser and softer after the Dharma was that she knew the guru was helping her and she finally felt at rest.

Some people like to praise the life of the deceased at their side, or to say words to the deceased, such as “they had many sufferings in this life and now they can finally go in peace.” It may sound like you are telling a story, and makes you think that you are expressing your feelings. Actually, all of these will give the deceased attachments, and make them think that there still are many people in debt to them, which would make them not want to die. That does not mean that you shouldn’t cherish the memory of the deceased, but instead that you should not do anything that will cause attachments or annoyance for the deceased. It won’t be beneficial for them. For example, discussing in their presence where the tomb should be located or hiring people to play instruments will make the deceased very unhappy.

A disciple died, and her sister, who never took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, was crying sadly by the deceased. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew about it while performing the Dharma for the deceased. That’s not to say that one should applaud or think it’s a great thing when people die, but in the first 8 hours after someone dies, we should let the deceased maintain a peaceful mind so that they can face death. At that moment, the consciousness of the deceased is still within the body and extremely sensitive. Anyone’s contact with his physical body could cause him to have evil thoughts and fall into the Evil Realms. After one is deceased, there should be no argument or talking about how to handle his estate by his side. At this point, we should help the deceased to stay peaceful and tell them that we will make offerings on his behalf for things he had cherished in life, so that he won’t have any attachments. Also, to argue over the deceased’s property is the worst thing to do.

Do not assume that it is helpful for the deceased to gently touch his hands at their side. In fact, doing so will cause the deceased to suffer severe pain. All the Chi in one’s body stops circulating after he dies, so when you touch the deceased, your Chi will penetrate his skin and enter his body.  Since you have not had any cultivation, your Chi is not good, which will make the deceased very uncomfortable. However, if you are cultivated as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is (the guru can give blessings to the deceased and make them feel very comfortable), then touching them will bring benefits to the deceased. Furthermore, it may feel like a gentle touch to you, but for the deceased, a gentle touch feels almost like you are tearing their skin. Try to imagine that someone keeps touching and bothering you after you have had a fever for several days. Wouldn’t you impatiently tell him to ‘go away’? Once, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was performing the Phowa for a disciple, the disciple had generated resentment because a medical professional had touched her feet, and if it wasn’t for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducting Dharma for her, she would have gone to hell for holding resentment at the time of death.

As a matter of fact, in the very beginning, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that this disciple with breast cancer was running out of time and her life should have ended 2 weeks ago. One day, she dreamt that there were 3 men who came to seize her. She desperately started to recite the Six-Syllable Mantra by herself, but it didn’t work. She then yelled out to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help, and only then did those 3 men let her go. Those 3 men actually were messengers from hell, and this disciple had the cause for going to hell; but luckily she had taken refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche: for all the Vajra Gurus would protect their disciples from falling into the Three Evil Realms as long as they follow the guru’s teachings accordingly. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not conduct the Dharma to protect her consciousness, she would have already been reincarnated in the Human Realm. Is it a good thing to be reincarnated in the Human Realm? The answer is no, as there is more suffering than happiness in the Human Realm. At least after her consciousness is protected she can be liberated and go to the Heaven Realm, as her life will be longer there, which will allow her to have a chance to continue to learn Buddhism. If one can be liberated from life and death and reborn to the Pure Land, then that would be a great thing.

This disciple’s mindset wasn’t quite right when she came to the Buddhist Center to learn Buddhism, for she only wanted her illness to be cured. That’s why when she came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru did not speak much with her and instead he had sent a disciple who also had breast cancer to talk to her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that even if he had given many instructions to her, she wouldn’t have been able to accept them. However, she did not have faith, and wondered why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t teach her in person and instead sent someone else. She didn’t have enough blessed rewards and she was both selfish and arrogant. She also never made any offering to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. A person with enough blessed rewards and faith will accept that anything the guru does would be for her best interests. On the first day of the lunar New Year, she didn’t come to the morning puja, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took this opportunity and did not let her attend the afternoon puja either. The guru also took back the red vest of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and Dharma text books from her. The guru’s intention was to let her become vigilant and eliminate her arrogance. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never scolded her, because the guru knew if he did so then she would run away and never come back. If that happened, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be unable to help her. Fortunately, she kept coming back to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which gave her a chance to extend this affinity with the guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will create many affinities for you, but whether they can continue to extend or not depends on you. When people with enough blessed rewards die, they will immediately be liberated by the guru to be reborn to the Pure Land. Though some may have already implored the Phowa from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, if they did not cultivate it diligently before they die, and didn’t have enough blessed rewards by that time, then they still would not be able to find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform the Phowa for them. The ones who do not have enough blessed rewards should at least try not to create unnecessary situations when dying. Do not hope to rely on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as he might die earlier than you. You should settle your mind and cherish the causal condition of learning Buddhism with the guru. Relying on your own Buddhist practices is what’s going to help you the most. In which life you will be cultivated enough is of no importance: the key is that you are determined to start.

Why had this disciple who had just died never implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the Phowa? That’s because she didn’t dare to do so. She thought that once she has implored the Phowa, she may die very soon. In fact, there’s no such thing: some elder disciples have implored and received the permission for obtaining the Phowa from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and yet are still alive. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche inquired as to which elder disciples present had implored the guru for the Phowa. Many raised their hands; one of which was an ordained disciple who had taken refuge. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that this disciple had had cancer before she came to the Buddhist Center. It has been a few years since then, but she is still alive and doesn’t even look like a cancer patient. In fact some people will have nanometer therapy after they have received target therapy, and still will not be cured of their cancer. However the disciple with breast cancer, who eventually died, thought that she was still young and shouldn’t die this early; also she saw that the older disciple who suffers from the same disease is still alive, and therein lays the comparison. Even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t know this disciple’s name, it doesn’t matter, because as long as you completely surrender to the guru, he would know you. The guru treats all sentient beings equally and compassionately and would not abandon them.

Why do people get cancer? Take Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s skin cancer for example: the guru loved seafood since he was young; he ate seafood almost every day before he took refuge. For the time being, let’s not talk about it from the perspective of cause and effect, instead if we look at it from the traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, we can see that seafood contains “noxious cold”, which is why traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners tell people to stop eating fish, shrimp, and crabs when they are sick. A disciple present, who was a Chinese Medicine practitioner, reported that seafood does indeed contain the “noxious cold”, so it is not beneficial to continue eating seafood. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that from the perspective of Buddhism, eating so many sentient beings and killing countless lives is bound to have karmic retribution. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not start practicing Buddhism, he would have had toxins in every cell of his body because of how much he loved eating seafood.

Those who have killing karma deserve fatal illnesses, because sentient beings will not let you get away, but that does not mean that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are punishing us. It is mentioned in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows that for each cause you create, you get the resulting effect. Once the act is started, the message will remain permanently in the universe, and this is just like what Buddha Dharma says: Once the karma is formed, it will stay in the void and never disappear until the karmic retribution manifests. Buddhism is different from the other religions that punish you for not listening to gods, Buddhism is about teaching you to do things, and if you feel changed after doing so then you can continue until you are liberated from life and death. Even if you don’t like Buddhism after learning it but don’t want to continue, Buddha will not punish you.

For each cause you create, you get its associated effect. Do not assume that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are saying these things to scare you in order to make you obedient. Nor should you assume that going to hell is a punishment from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If Buddhas and Bodhisattvas punish people then they wouldn’t be called Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Non-Buddhists may say that you will go to hell for not believing them, but Buddhas and Bodhisattvas don’t say such things. You may also want to say something like “He is a good person who has never done bad things, why would he be going to hell?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that in fact going to hell is an extremely easy thing to do; the more difficult thing is actually to cultivate oneself to become a Bodhisattva and go to heaven. Therefore, it is very clearly stated in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows that what you will get is based on what you did, and what kind of evil karma you created will determine the nature of the hell you will go to. As long as evil karma is generated, it is very likely for this person to go to hell. For example, people who don’t have filial piety will go to hell, and as long as you hold resentment, you will go to the hell of fire. The difference mainly depends on the severity of each individual’s evil karma, and they will go to the big hell or the small hell accordingly. Even though when you go to the small hell your time spent there is shorter, the shortest time period you have to spend before you can come out is still the equivalent of 1 thousand years in human time. The reason why cancer eventually causes you to have pain is because pain causes resentment, and if you have such resentment, you will go to hell. If you experience any kind of pain in your body, not to mention pain caused by cancer, even headaches can be intolerable. It may be okay for a short time period, but definitely not every day.

Why does China have a much larger percentage of Buddhists when there aren’t as many in other countries? This is because over 2 thousand years ago Confucius of China advocated respect for teachers and their teachings, along with filial piety for parents. The Buddha Dharma is very similar to the laws of this world- it also teaches people to fulfill their filial duties to their parents. To respect teachers is considered a kind of offering, as is fulfilling one’s filial duty. Therefore, when Buddhism was introduced to China, it was immediately accepted by many Chinese and thus had an influence on Chinese culture. Although there are other religions in China, they are in the minority. In our daily life, we often subconsciously use certain words from the Buddha Dharma. The same concept applies to cause and effect: look to Chinese history and you will find that no matter how evil a person is, after he or she has done many terrible things, one day they will reflect on their cause and effect and then will realize that there will be bad karmic retribution for them.

Lately there was news on TV about a taxi driver who was beaten, and it has been broadcasted and discussed many times over. You should not follow these people, as they get paid to curse on TV. Do not imitate that behavior. Because the election is over now and people have nothing to do or talk about, even trivial news like this can be hyped up to this extent. This is not a campaign for all. If you get involved and start cursing also, you will be creating an evil cause. The reason this girl was on the news was because of her karmic retribution; it was also because she had a chauvinist boyfriend who felt the urge to protect his girlfriend. However, their blessed rewards were almost used up, so things were amplified when karma became mature. Otherwise, this incident would only have been considered a fit of rage; I believe many of you here have experienced such things in the past.

Usually a Buddhist practitioner would form a habit of self-examination of behavior, so that when the situation appears, he can think over his own behavior and be less likely to make mistakes. Thus Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches everyone to cultivate The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, and each practice helps to reduce your chances of falling into reincarnation. This celebrity from the news did not have a chance to learn Buddhism nor did she control her actions, which lead to this incident. This also happened because she was out of control due to drinking alcohol, and that’s why Buddhism actually protects people by teaching them not to drink. We need to look at this incident with compassion: today she has created a bad cause, and its negative effect will appear in the future.

A few years ago, there was a scandal in the news about a sex tape that found its way into the market. Because it was secretly filmed, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche strictly forbade disciples to watch it. Regardless if you are the person who filmed it or the person who watched it, you will have planted the karmic retribution of being secretly watched in the future. Even if you are not secretly watched this life, you still have planted a cause of being secretly watched in the next life. After watching the tape, if resentment is generated, you have then planted the cause of going to hell; if lust is aroused, that would be even more serious! If one did things that he shouldn’t have as a result of watching the tape, then he would commit sexual misconduct. So, do not watch the tape!

The disciple who had just come up to the stage reported that he had had a stroke. Although he had taken refuge for many years, due to the lack of blessed rewards and causes and conditions, and also because he didn’t repent and have true sincerity to make offering(s), he could not change the evil karma that he had accumulated from many past lives. Additionally, he ran into the yearly zodiac conflict, and suddenly had a cerebral hemorrhage and almost died before his time. Disciples who have taken refuge will not have an untimely death, yet that does not mean that they will never die. This situation occurred because if one still has life left, but then he ran into yearly and daily zodiac conflicts- compounded with his accumulated evil karma, he may die. This disciple ran into yearly conflicts, and while he was dying, he saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche come to save him; the guru’s tone was very harsh, yet his life was saved because he listened to the guru. Many disciples who have taken refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche have survived car accidents many years after because they still had some life left to learn Buddhism. However because of their arrogance and lack of sincerity for making offerings, they had  car accidents. But they were fine from these accidents due to the lessened karmic retribution, thus they had paid a big debt.

When this incident took place, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t actually go there, because it occurred in the morning when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was supposed to be sleeping. Then why had this disciple seen Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche come to save him? This has something to do with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s aspiration- the guru doesn’t want sentient beings to suffer an untimely death. It also has something to do with the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche usually dedicates the merits and blessed rewards from his cultivation to his disciples. This male disciple had taken refuge for a fairly long time and perhaps he is used to seeing the way Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolds others because he films the guru very often. Although he had been slacking and hadn’t made any significant offerings, he definitely feared Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. As a result, he was able to listen to the guru’s words when he was dying, and had his life saved. If he didn’t respond when he heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche calling to him, he would have been gone and unable to come back to life.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often says that he who is afraid of the guru and cannot endure being scolded is the most evil, because he doesn’t want to change. If he can endure the scolding, that means he is willing to change and repent. That is not to say that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will give you more help; but if you are willing to change, then naturally Dharma protectors and deities will protect you. Those who are afraid of getting scolded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and say things such as “Do not let Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche know about this, the guru will be angry if he finds out,” have a very vicious mind. Last Sunday, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche severely reprimanded the General Director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhism Culture Exchange Association for lacking courtesy. Immediately after this the General Director’s joints around his jaw line, which had been aching for many days, stopped being painful. The General Director himself also reported that his toothache had stopped as soon as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finished scolding him. At first, the guru was not aware of this situation until later when another disciple reported to him. The reason his joints hurt was from him chewing on meat in the past. Actually, to be scolded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a blessing because it helps disciples cleanse their karma. When a disciple accepts reprimand from the guru, it shows that he has repented and his arrogance has disappeared. To repent is to make an offering, and when you make an offering, your blessed rewards are accumulated, and this will eliminate karma. Think back to when you were students and you made mistakes: did your teacher scold you or not? Then why couldn’t the guru scold you when you are learning Buddhism?

Other religions don’t discuss about causes and effects; everything is given and helped by god. However, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will neither grade you, nor make Buddhism into a religion. When you do not listen, you are just like a bad student. Teachers will naturally say more to a good obedient student, and will teach him more based on his ability. For students who don’t listen, they will teach them with only general methods. But Buddhism is different. In Buddhism, you will not be treated differently based on your root capacity and blessed rewards. As long as you have causal conditions, listen to the Buddha, and cultivate, all of the Dharma protectors and deities will provide you protection for your cultivation, and will make sure there are no obstacles in the way of your Buddhist practice. Between Buddhas and Bodhisattvas all is the same; they are just creating opportunities to help us understand that there are numerous unexplainable things in the universe. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche know about the deceased? This is because the guru has cultivated compassion, which is to exchange one’s happiness for the suffering of others. In other words, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses his own blessed rewards and merits in exchange for the pain of the deceased, and thus certainly knows about them.

Buddhism is not a religion, it is an education. We respectfully call Buddha Shakyamuni as the Root Teacher, rather than as a hierarch. Buddha Shakyamuni taught people the experience of practicing and attaining the realization of the truth of the universe. Buddhist sutras mention that the void is extremely large, and everything in this universe is included within it. However, all things can also be included inside of things as small as pores. There are no differences between big and small, nor are things right and wrong: time, space, size and distance are all distinguished by humans. Science also proves that each human is structured exactly the same way physically: they are all composed of genes; each component that makes up all things in the universe is the same at the most basic level. All sentient beings have an equal opportunity to attain Buddhahood, and all share the same nature. We say that self-nature is the same, and the origin of it is also the same. There is no difference between the Buddha and sentient beings. When Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, he said “All sentient being share the same nature as I do”. All beings in the universe are one; only the sentient beings in the Six Realms are influenced by their karma and are subject to reincarnation in the world. They are not able to perceive their inherent self-nature, and lost in the world without being able to attain enlightenment.

You need to believe and be obedient instead of being superstitious; do not differentiate the existences of sentient beings as each one has the opportunity to attain Buddhahood. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help all sentient beings and will not make the distinction of you as disciples and of himself as the guru. This is similar to what The Diamond Sutra mentioned, “Bodhisattvas need to eliminate the four forms: the Forms of Self, the Form of Humanity, The Forms of Beings, and the Forms of Time”. As long as sentient beings have not ended suffering, Bodhisattvas could not end their suffering either. “Great mercy of the void condition, and great compassion based on the essence of sameness” indicates that all sentient being have the same self-nature. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche understand the attachment and suffering of the deceased? This is because the guru and the deceased share the same essence and do not differentiate. Sharing the same essence doesn’t mean that they share the same body; but instead that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gives sentient beings his merits and blessed rewards in exchange for their suffering. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is able to know the suffering and attachments of the deceased and provide help for them. In the guru’s eyes all sentient being are equal, and he will not abandon a single one of them. Instead he will liberate them according to their causal conditions.

However, if all sentient beings possess the nature of Buddha, why have they not yet attained Buddhahood?  This is because they are full of anger, greed, delusion, arrogance and doubt; they are difficult to tame and teach and they are strong-willed and self-indulged. Keep in mind that no matter how smart you are death will most certainly follow you. The ones who are willing to be taught are not afraid of being scolded, because being able to take scolding shows that they are not conceited and are willing to correct their mistakes. All of you have had the experience of being punished and scolded when you were growing up, and it is the same when learning Buddhism. Proud and arrogant people won’t be able to learn Buddhism and be liberated from life and death. Having attachments will make your mind suffer immensely. The guru is helping you secretly and allowing you to not suffer much when you go through the decomposition of four cardinal elements.

One should think about the impermanence of death and the uncertainty of the time of death as the driving force, and it should motivate one’s mind to learn Buddhism. One’s thoughts and concepts are of the most importance; Buddhism is about learning one’s inner world, and learning if his every thought is virtuous or vicious. The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows mentioned that every thought of sentient beings is all vice and karma. The vice that Buddhism is talking about indicates that the thoughts that one has will generate the karma of reincarnation. The reason that they are all considered as karma is because each thought is for oneself rather than for sentient beings; karma also includes the virtuous karma which leads us to reincarnation. Virtuous acts are defined as offering help to others when seeing sentient beings suffer, rather than doing good deeds in the hope that others will praise you.

When helping sentient beings, do not think that they should repay you or owe you anything. To eliminate the attachments is to break away from the idea of “self”. This does not mean that you should disregard anything you are supposed to do; instead, you should carry out acts with the awareness that “everything is empty in nature”. When you feel content for doing a good deed, you are creating karma. The reason we can continuously practice Buddhism is that we are good people and have done good deeds. Additionally, we shouldn’t have the mind of discrimination, as our mindset is extremely important.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once illustrated that when one is doing good, it should be as natural as breathing. No matter if the air is smelly or aromatic you have to breathe; even when you go to a place that doesn’t smell very good: you still need to breathe, and it is impossible for you to choose to not breathe. Even though you may try to hold your breath, eventually you will still have to breathe. This is the same as doing good deeds: do not choose with a mind of discrimination, and only so can you cultivate the compassion of Emptiness. This is what the guru has said in the past: Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will definitely help sentient beings because the guru does not want to owe them.

Liberation is not something that can be achieved by reciting sutras. Liberation helps sentient beings to be liberated to the opposite shore from the suffering sea of reincarnation. Take Tantra for example: it takes the compassion and merits of the practitioners to provide protection for the consciousness of the deceased. However, according to Exoteric Buddhism, reciting the sutra is only a way of advising, and therein lays a big difference between these two. You should cultivate yourself in order to be able to liberate yourself first; then you can help other sentient beings be liberated. It doesn’t mean that you should be selfish; it is because a Buddhist practitioner with the ability to liberate others must be able to liberate himself, and have control of his own life and death. Only then can he help sentient beings to be liberated. It is just like when a math teacher is going to teach students arithmetic, but he doesn’t even know how to calculate himself: how can he teach his students? If you can not cultivate wisdom, then you can not help others. Some people came before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and spoke on how learning Buddhism can liberate themselves and others. However, if you can’t liberate yourself, how can you liberate others? If you can’t cultivate wisdom and continue to help people with compassion of Emptiness, even if you have decided to learn Buddhism in order to bring benefits to others out of compassion, that is merely your thought, and it doesn’t even count for as an aspiration. By observing the Five Precepts, you will have concentration and only then can you attain wisdom.

Why does Buddha ask you to not drink alcohol? You know that alcohol is obviously brewed from grapes, rice and wheat. However, everyone knows that drinking alcohol will disrupt one’s temperament and pure self-nature; it also will make one go to hell after death. Do not assume that you will go to hell for a very short period of time. When you go to hell, the shortest time period is the equivalent of 1000 years in human time. Even after you get out, you will not be reborn as a human, you will be chimpanzees first. Even though chimpanzees are extremely smart with only a 2% difference in genes with humans, they are not able to accept Buddhism and the concepts of morality. Scientists cannot explain the reason, but can only guess that humans have evolved from chimpanzees, which has been a widespread theory since the 18th century. However, if humans are indeed evolved from chimpanzees, then we should have begun domesticating them and observing the process of their evolution into humans to help support this argument.

Now there is medical proof that when you have intercourse after consuming alcohol, the chances of having children who are mentally retarded are much higher. This is not because alcohol has gone into the eggs and sperm, but it is because the child is the same kind as you are. A disciple who is a doctor also reported that after people drink alcohol, their child’s mental ability and other aspects will indeed be greatly affected. Some may say that they had never had alcohol, but why are their children retarded? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that even though they did not drink alcohol during this lifetime, they have done so in the past lives, so their children are thus their drinking friends from their past lives and have come to look for them in this life. People with alcoholism will go to the Feces Hell, as drunken people often say crude words and will vomit and defecate indiscriminately, acting in an extremely embarrassing manner. If some say that business deals can only be made while drinking with a client, then these people are taking advantage of others when they are in a helpless situation. Businesses that attempt to sign contracts when their clients are drunk will not last long, as they make the deal while taking advantage of the others when they are not in their clear state of mind.

Master Gampopa said: “Not a single thing can help us when facing imminent death. All of the wealth that we had accumulated by working hard is not going to benefit ourselves; rich people cannot deceive the black-faced king of Hell with their great wealth. When facing death, they must reluctantly part with these material things and walk away alone with nothing in their hands. Even if we have many relatives and family members around us and carefully looking after us, when death comes, not only can they do nothing, but they will cause us even more harm! ”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once helped the wife of a real estate developer who had constructed many properties in essential locations in Taipei. Her daughter came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and told him that her mother was suffering and she hoped that the guru could help. Her mother was already in a coma for a long time and her life was being sustained by extracorporeal circulation machine. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had no idea that this female believer was the real estate developer’s daughter, and immediately asked her: “Is it because her estate hasn’t been settled, so you don’t want your mother to pass?” The daughter started to tear up and answered very honestly: “Yes.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that she still had filial piety, so he tried to persuade her: “Would you be comfortable if your chest was cut open and you are forced to live by being connected to a machine?” This female believer answered: “No.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her “After giving blessings to your mother, if she still has life left, then she will continue to live. If there’s no life left, then let her end her suffering early. In this situation, do you still desire Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bless your mother?” The daughter answered: “I implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to give blessings to my mother.” Therefore, the guru did so and in fact he had long known that her mother had no life left, he had just not said anything about it at the time.

Every day this daughter would visit her mother at the hospital first and then go home. Precisely 2 days after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma for her mother she went home from the hospital and saw her mom sitting there. Her mother happily told her: “Daughter, thank you for finding Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for me, I am very well and comfortable.” Her mother then disappeared after she finished speaking, and at that moment, the phone rang. It was from the hospital and they told her that her mother had just passed away. The mother’s heart was cut open, and she was connected to the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator (ECMO) which would stimulate her heart to force it to pump as if she was still alive. Yet because she had no life left, this action was very cruel, similar to making raw pork pulsate when receiving an electric shock. If one no longer has blessed rewards, even if he is connected to the ECMO, they will still die. At that time, Taiwan hadn’t imported this machine yet: it was the filial son of the deceased who had specially ordered it from abroad. In the end, when death comes, having too much wealth or too many family members trying to be too good to you is not good for you.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once heard that there was a person whose body was not buried many decades after he had died. There was also a rich and famous entrepreneur in Taiwan, who had too much money and didn’t distribute his estate well. Therefore, he was not buried for a long time.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned another example which was related to a patient of his doctor-disciple. The patient’s son came to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform the Amitayus Ritual for his mother to prolong her life, as his mother was severely ill. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could tell that this old woman had no life left, and so he said to him: “If you really have filial piety, then you should seek to reduce the suffering of your mother.” This person couldn’t accept it and left. He went to look for another Rinpoche to perform the Amitayus Ritual for his mother, and it worked. It made his mother to live for a few more months. Later, this old lady had a fever that would not go away, and the nurse couldn’t find the cause even after she had examined her body many times. Finally, when the nurse was cleaning this lady’s mouth, she found that it was full of maggots. This old lady had had a tracheotomy and maggots were growing out of the area where the procedure was performed, continuously eating her flesh. Eventually the bacterial infection caused her to pass away. So, if a person clearly has no life span left, forcing her to stay will only cause her more suffering.

When a human’s heartbeat stops, we would say that this person is dead. Even if the brain is dead, and other organs have stopped working, as long as the heart continues to beat, then this person is still alive. Why is it that out of all our organs, only the heart has been beating since the moment we started living? Buddhism tells us that the heart is your blessed reward for this life, and it is different from the other organs, so it will continuously work until you die. Blessed rewards are in direct proportion to the condition of the heart: when blessed rewards are used up, the heart will stop beating and one will die. One day, in order to bring benefits to sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed 3 Phowas in a row, and his heart stopped- he had no breath. At that time, his outer Chi stopped, but his inner Chi, which is the life-sustaining Chi, did not stop, and it can protect the physical body from decaying. Because the Chi to maintain life still exists, after a brief treatment from the traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s heartbeat resumed. The inner Chi is your life, and even if the blessed rewards are exhausted, as long as you still have life, you can live.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also experienced death when he performed a retreat in the holy mountain of Lapchi in 2007. At that time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew very clearly that his heartbeat and breathing had stopped. As he had already mastered the Phowa, and had experienced death a long time before, he knew he was entering death. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s retreat room was at that time about 3 to 4 hundred meters away, yet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not cry out for help; instead he just calmly faced the situation. Finally, Protector Achi appeared and gave Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche a nectar pill and saved him. A few years later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw in the news that there were other medical cases like this. When healthy people go to the plateau they may die in their sleep from a lack of oxygen. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had experienced the exact same situation. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are very compassionate for giving Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche such a special death experience, which is difficult for others to have. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows the suffering of death and knows about the attachments before dying, so he can help countless dying people and the deceased with auspicious Buddhism.

Liberation for the deceased is not something that can be achieved simply by reciting sutras. If so, there would not be so many different conditions written in the Amitabha sutra, and Buddha Shakyamuni wouldn’t have needed to practice Dharma for 49 years and just to have someone to recite the sutra would have been sufficient. Reciting sutras for the deceased will at most help him who practiced Buddhism while he was alive feel at peace, but it isn’t real liberation.  It is recorded in the Amitabha Sutra that it is imperative for the good men and women who take the vow to be reborn into the Pure Land to have enough virtues and causal conditions. Blessed rewards and causal conditions are extremely important for those who want to go to the Pure Land. The person who liberates others not only has to be able to liberate himself, but also must understand the casual conditions and attachments of the deceased. If you haven’t achieved this, even if you continue to recite sutras, the deceased will not listen to you and leave. The first and also last time that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped someone recite sutras was for the deceased father of a good friend. At that time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already chanted for a long period, and yet the deceased still wouldn’t leave. Later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned that the deceased was worried that no one would take care of his wife after he left. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked his friend to go to his father’s ear and tell him that he will take care of his mother; only then was the father willing to go with the Bodhisattva.

Master Gampopa stated: “So, upon our death will we have benefits because this body of ours has a root of life? Note that “body” is merely a composite of four elements (earth, fire, water and air) and has no awareness, thus will not bring any benefits at the time of death. Based on the above reasons, we can understand that when death comes, everything, such as the body and other things, will be of no help.”

Though our body has a root of life, it cannot give us any help at the time of death. The physical body is made of the four elements with the appropriate combination of causes and conditions; the unity of earth, air, water and fire created the body of karmic retribution. The disciple who died from breast cancer was feeling very warm at the Buddhist Center even though the air conditioning was very strong; this was because her fire element started to dissolve. However, the majority of things that happen to a person are from the karma based on the causes that one has accumulated from the past, along with the manifestation of this life’s karmic influence and retribution; only a small percentage is newly-generated from this life. Since we share the same elements that compose our physical bodies, then why do some have better motor neuron systems than others? For example, compared to average people, athletes have better motor nerves. Some are extremely skilled with their hands, and their nerves related to this are well-developed. A disciple who is a doctor also reported that this is true. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche illustrated: All of these are related to our past lives, and they all could tell us that different karma will form different bodies of karmic retribution, and the nervous system is the accumulation of one’s karma from past lives.”

Becoming a doctor in this life doesn’t mean that you are more intelligent and successful than others- it is related to your past life. It also indicates that you have suffered from diseases in your past lives; because you want to be liberated from suffering, so it is only natural that you would take up a career in medicine in this life. The ancients considered doctor’s profession one of the many lower-class trades because they made profits off those sentient beings who are suffering. The ones who show ordained appearance should not consider themselves exceptional. The ancients regarded that ordained people are mendicants because there are sentient beings that are suffering and in need of help from the Buddha Dharma, and therefore sentient beings are the ones who are actually helping the ordained people to attain achievement.

When Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help sentient beings, there is no discrimination of religions. It does not matter if one is a Buddhist or not. If there is any discrimination, then they wouldn’t be Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. As long as you need help from the Buddha Dharma, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will certainly give it to you. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also liberated non-Buddhist people before, such as Catholics. Some people were born Catholics or believed in Taoism and they never came into contact with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. So if you insist on talking to these people about Buddhas and Bodhisattvas after they died, they would think: “What are those?” and would not be able to accept this idea. However, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche possesses such compassionate power he can still give these sentient beings help. The ones who believe in Catholicism, Christianity, or Taoism in this life perhaps were also once Buddhists in their past life, or even past 10,000 lives before. Since they had blessed rewards from learning Buddhism in the past, if they had not cultivated themselves and been reborn to the Pure Land, after death they entered the Heaven Realm. Later they would become Taoists and Catholics when they were reborn as a human. Because these religions also practice the way of the Heaven Realm, all of these people are come-back practitioners from the Heaven Realm. It doesn’t mean that you can go to the Heaven Realm only if you have a religious background; some people have never had any religious perceptions when they were alive, yet kept doing good deeds, they can also ascend to the Heaven Realm after they die. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was born in the Heaven Realm in his last life and that’s why he was born into a Taoist family in this life. Sentient beings in the Heaven Realm are very clean, that’s why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche likes to be very clean, organized, and strict with himself. Nevertheless, we can also know that although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche practiced Buddhism in his past lives, one of which being in the Heaven Realm, his practice was not perfect. Perfect practitioners will be born into the family of Dharma Kings and be reincarnated as one of them.

Since childhood, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and his younger brother both practiced martial arts. His younger brother didn’t take it seriously, however Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very interested in learning, but found that it was not useful later in life. After learning Tantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche realized that all of these things were relevant to his past life because he was a general in his past life therefore he had the habit of practicing martial arts in this life.

When Rinchen dorjee Rinpoche gives blessings or performs Dharma for the deceased, even if the guru is aware of his attachment and thought, sometimes the guru would not speak about it. Once, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was performing the Dharma, he realized that the deceased was attached to his mistress and hoped that she would come and pay respect at his memorial service. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not tell his family members about this, as it might stir up family revolution. The guru will apply the compassion of Buddha Dharma to alleviate the attachment of the deceased and then help him to be liberated.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once performed Dharma for a deceased old lady who was sent to the hospital from her home by ambulance. When the guru was performing the Phowa for her, she yelled that her gold ring was missing. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told this to her family, and they confirmed that indeed a gold ring that belonged to the deceased was lost on the way to the hospital, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not say who took it. In another example, some family members had asked Taoists to perform a ceremony by the deceased, and the metal clang the Taoists made caused the deceased very miserable as a result.

Another example is when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was helping to liberate a boy who had died from a car accident. When he was called, he came to tell the guru two things: first, that he hoped that his mother wouldn’t be worried about him, and second that his sneakers were missing. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that because the boy had recently purchased a pair of sneakers and really liked them. The mother of the deceased explained that he had indeed bought a pair of very expensive sneakers and liked them very much. If he hadn’t met a practitioner like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, because of his attachments, in the next life he would have become shoe laces tied to the shoes, or the bacteria inside of the shoes.

Earlier, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was giving blessings to the younger brother of a female disciple who was in vegetative state, the guru knew that he was thinking about his girlfriend and was hungry and wanted to eat dessert. Later, the guru told his family about this and they confirmed that the patient indeed loved eating sweets. They then asked his girlfriend to come to visit, which helped him not miss her any more. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was also a lay practitioner who could understand the type of emotion therefore was able to offer him right help at the right time.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche even knows the thought of people in the vegetative state, not to mention the attachments of the deceased. As family members, what they need to do is to help the deceased reduce their attachments and repent on their behalf. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche especially pays attention to matters concerning death, because the guru knows that everyone has attachments after they die. Perhaps it seems dignified that when someone dies, they are surrounded by many family members, but as a matter of fact, it is not a good thing and it may hurt the deceased instead. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started helping sentient beings to be liberated since 1995 and understands the suffering of the deceased. This is why the guru repeatedly teaches you and lets you know the correct way to treat the deceased, and how to avoid things that were not supposed to happen from happening. There was a famous Zen master in northern Taiwan who was supposed to die in peace; however his disciples were extremely good to him and did not want him to go. They called an ambulance to take him to the hospital for an emergency treatment and finally sent him back even after he had already taken his last breath. Afterwards, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very sad to see the picture of this Zen master when he passed away, and the guru could tell that he had aroused many attachments at the time of death. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that because the Zen master had created such a large Buddhist organization when he was alive that it eventually became the hindrance for him to be liberated from life and death.

A few days ago there were several believers who implored to take refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, so the guru asked a few questions to test them. They all failed and were not allowed to take refuge. Now there are more and more people at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center; having too many disciples could be the beginning of  karmic hindrance, which is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t want too many disciples. The guru also fears those who immediately decide to take refuge, as they could change their minds just as quickly.

”Karmic creditors” are usually from your family or are even the people you love the most, because the things they do will make you feel pain, and as a result you would do evil things. Therefore they are your creditors and will make you suffer before you die. Some disciples’ family members were against them learning Buddhism. Under those circumstances, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advised them to not come at first, but these disciples were able to come back to practice Buddhism after they got their family’s consent. One must have patience, and as long as they are in the right state of mind, they definitely can one day return to learn Buddhism. Do not anxiously ask your family to learn Buddhism with you, and you need not to recite sutras to dedicate to them. As long as you amend yourself and act according to the guru’s teachings, gradually they will stop holding you back. Why would your parents be against you? Because they are the ones who know you best, and they know everything about you since you were very little. How can they not know you? Do not assume that since you are an adult your parents no longer know you and you can do things freely and think that your parents don’t understand you. Do not let your action become other’s trouble. Learning Buddhism is a good thing and you need to implement the guru’s teachings into your life and amend yourself. You must truly listen and accept it.

Any attachments you have are sufferings, so you should live by adapting to each rising condition and keep calm despite what may happen in life. No matter if you encounter good or evil, you should always stay calm, as it is directly related to reincarnation. You don’t need to feel happy when positive causal condition appears, but you should not force it to happen, either. Men and women should not place emphasis on love too much when associating with each other. Do not think that love is so great that it can make you change someone. A man will listen to you at first because he needs certain things from you, and after that period of need, the relationship will turn the other way around. Because of this, it is extremely important to find out about each other’s character, family background, working background, and other factors. Some believe that reciting sutras and dedicating the merits to their boyfriends will make them come back. However, the ancients have said, “A good horse does not graze in the same pasture twice!” This saying came from the fact that if you keep looking back and thinking that the last one was better, then you are only regressing, and how can you make any progress? So one should leave when the causal condition ends and have a clean cut from the relationship to avoid getting back together repeatedly, otherwise they would eventually become very confused. There was a reason that our Chinese ancestors left us with this proverb.

If one is very attached to the idea and insists that the perfect life should be this way which his spouse must never have an affair, or they have to grow old together, then he might become monogamous animal in his next life. There are many animals and birds that are monogamous and they would  not mate with others even if their partner dies. In fact these are all due to causes and effects. If one has had an affair in a past life, then that’s why their partners will have an affair in this life.

Sometimes having too many family members can increase the danger for you. That is not to say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advises you to not get married or have children, or to have no family at all; instead the guru wants everyone to make great efforts to practice Buddhism so that your family won’t become a hindrance to you when you die. When someone in your family dies, accept the fact calmly and do not act stubbornly or try to continue the affinity into the next life with the deceased. That is not to say that you should not cherish the memory of the deceased, but the thought of continuing the affinity will make both of you create karma. There are Eight Sufferings in life: the Suffering of Birth, Old Age, Sickness, Death, Being Apart from Loved Ones, Being Together with the Despised Ones, not Getting What One Wants, and the Flourishing of the Five Skandhas. These are things that would have happened naturally and if you do not accept this then that will bring no benefits to the deceased. When the deceased is liberated and ceases suffering, the family will also no longer suffer; if the deceased is not properly liberated, then the living will also feel their suffering or things will always go wrong in their life. If the living person knows that the deceased has gotten help from the Buddha Dharma and the positive magnetic field, then he feels grateful, with the negative magnetic field disappearing, thereby he will no longer suffer.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often advises everyone not to keep pets because when pets die, and if you can’t liberate them they would only keep following their owners. This is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often sees people with a dog’s soul following them. Some people like to call their pets “son” or “daughter”. Do not call them that. Animals are animals and you should not treat them as a human; otherwise attachments like this would instead be harmful for them because animals cannot understand or learn Buddhism. Therefore, that is why the prayers in the Tantra wish that sentient beings in the Three Evil Realms may be liberated soon and be reborn to virtuous realms so that they will have an opportunity to learn Buddhism. However, if you want to be with each other again in the next life, or wish it to be your child again, then it may not be in the Human Realm. Possibly one of you will become a pet or both of you will fall into the Animal Realm.

The ancients said, “Life is like a drama.” Everything ends when the drama is over, so you should not be attached to anything. To do good deeds or to have attachments in this life are all related to past lives. Attachment to “affection” leads to affliction. When you have afflictions, your mind would not be clear and bright. We need to accept the reality that when there are attachments, there are afflictions; and when are afflictions, there will be suffering. There will be pain when emotion is not stable, as a result one would not be healthy and would have a shortened life, and fall into hell. All of the suffering in one’s life is impermanent no matter how unbearable it is. It will eventually disappear, or one may get help from the mundane world. However, when death comes, your wealth, power, and family are not able to help you, and you can only depend on Buddha Dharma and the guru.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once helped a girl who played an old music instrument. She used to feel fine, yet her well-being gradually got worse, so she came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru immediately asked her after he saw her if she had purchased an old music instrument with a history of a few years, and she answered “Yes”. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then explained to her that the reason she developed such condition was because the original owner of this music instrument was attached to it and had not been willing to leave.

Several years ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to a very famous Jewelry store in France. They took out a very large, beautiful, and valuable “grandmother emerald” for the guru to examine and appreciate. After he held it in his hand, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately said that this emerald was a gift from a man to a woman, and she wore this when she was alive. He also said that she was well-known in Paris at that time. At that moment everyone present was startled. Afterwards they checked and sure enough it was exactly as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had described. It was owned by a woman who was a socialite in the 18th century. The reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew about this was because the owner was still attached to this emerald. Namely, her attachment to the emerald was the reason that she could not leave.

Usually, you can see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teach Buddhism on the Dharma throne for 3 hours without drinking any water until the end. Normally, ordinary people would need to drink water after only 10 minutes of talking. Why is it so? On one hand, feeling thirsty is caused by a lack of Qi (energy), and thus people stop salivating and feel the need to drink water. On the other hand, this also happens because the speaker was distracted and didn’t enter the meditative state when he teaches the Dharma, and that’s why they have to pause every few minutes to have a sip of water. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was expounding Buddhist sutras in the meditative state, even though 3 hours had passed, the guru could have continued longer if he wanted to- at most he would only need some sleep after returning home.

After experiencing the dark and bright stages of death, all of a person’s thoughts, greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt and so on will cease. All that’s left is karma and attachments. If this person doesn’t have any religious understanding or did not practice Buddhism, then he would follow his karma into reincarnation.  “Mind of Qingming” indicates that the mind becomes pure and bright, but that does not mean the same as “Qingming”- as in the Qingming memorial holiday. No matter what you encounter in the future, if you have a mindset free of greed or attachments, then you will have a pure and bright mind, and you can be at peace no matter how things change. This is referred to as “living by adapting to each rising condition and keeping calm despite what happens in life”.

A human’s body consists of earth, air, water and fire, and these elements are your karma. This is why it is mentioned in the sutra that our physical body is called karmic retribution body- both spirit and flesh come from karma, not from your self-nature. The Karmic retribution body is your body and consciousness, which is composed of earth, air, water and fire. However these elements do not have awareness, therefore you do not rely on your body to truly practice Buddhism. Buddhist sutra also states, “Utilize the fake to cultivate the real”. We as humans need to practice Buddhism through this karmic body to stop evil and do good deeds as well as to reveal our undefiled Dharma nature. When you are not settled in your mind, you could not enter the meditative state; as a result, you won’t be able to cultivate wisdom. Only when your mind is able to be unaffected by feelings and stay in the meditative state will your true Dharma nature be revealed. Do not assume that you can practice on your own. The method to attain realization is to rely on the guru in Tibetan Buddhism; whereas in Esoteric Buddhism you must rely on reciting sutras in order to reveal your Buddha nature.

Master Gampopa stated: “Through this way of thinking, and by choosing the correct principle, we should think to ourselves: ‘I most certainly will die, the time of death is uncertain, and there is nothing that can help me when I am dying. How can I still have time to put good deeds aside and ignore them? How can I still have time to be idle? I must grasp every moment and genuinely practice Buddhism!’ ”

This means that when you know about the uncertainty of death and how you eventually will die, then you must also be aware that the rest of your life is meant for practicing Buddhism and repaying debts; how can you still idle your life away? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches all of you to examine and reflect on your body, speech, and mind each day before going to sleep to see if you have done anything evil. If you have, then on that day you would not be considered a Buddhist disciple. Yet not a single person present had done so! When you feel that nothing wrong has occurred that day, then you assume that you have cultivated enough blessed rewards and there is no need for you to reflect on yourself. However, it is wrong to have such kinds of thoughts! You should continuously reflect on yourself and never stop. Before you attain Buddhahood, you should reflect on yourself daily and not look for excuses such as “I’m tired today so I don’t have to reflect on what I have done wrong.” Since you have time to go on the internet, social networking sites, and blogs to see if anyone has left messages for you, how can you not have time for chanting mantra, reciting sutra or examining yourself? Why don’t you think about the Buddha Dharma that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught you? What does it matter even if someone is thinking about you? He can’t give you any help when you die. Doing these kinds of things is nothing but idling your life away.

Master Gampopa taught: “We should contemplate and realize that nothing in this life has any true meaning, therefore we must be determined from the bottom of our heart to practice Buddhism in earnest. For a true practitioner, he should put all temporary plans of this life behind and take refuge with a qualified guru.”

Genuine practice is not about reciting many sutras, chanting many mantras or going to many penitential rites, but rather it is about changing all behaviors and thoughts that will cause you to be reincarnated. The “plans” here does not mean that you cannot plan or think about anything, or that you should just muddle along with no plan for the next day; instead it tells you not to set a goal or plan to achieve a definite result within a certain amount of time. As you have not yet cultivated the Dharma nature, you cannot see the suffering of sentient beings through your Dharma nature and thus will not be able to understand their pain. You should believe everything the Buddha says and the suffering of reincarnation, make determination to be liberated from reincarnation in this life, not to give rise to any attachments, practice Buddhism and whole-heartedly rely yourself on a guru with merits. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often teaches that if the Supramundane Dharma is well-cultivated, then there will be no hindrance in the worldly Dharma. Learning Buddhism neither will interfere your family, nor hinder your work and life; it will only make this life or future lives better. Do not worry and be determined to seize the causal condition to learn Buddhism in this life.

Many years ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always held the Chod Puja every Friday night. There was a disciple that had taken refuge, who was also working in a hospital clinic on Friday nights. For this reason, he implored the guru if the time of the puja could be changed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that he will definitely be able to attend the Puja as long as he has the determination to do so. A year later, the Friday clinic was cancelled inexplicably, and this disciple could then attend the pujas. In 2007, there was someone who sought to take refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru told him that he should not take refuge at that time because his father disagreed, but he definitely will be able to do so in the future as long as he has the determination. Eventually, it turned out to be exactly as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said.

Many people make plans about what they will be doing in a few years and what goals they must achieve. You all wrote down your dreams when you were young, but how many have achieved them? Almost none and why is that? The reason is that causal conditions are constantly changing. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never plans for a goal in business that must be achieved in a few years, and that’s because its causal conditions are intricate and complicated and always changing. This is not advising you to not have any plans for doing things, but rather if you have a goal, go forward towards that goal, and do not have any attachments concerning when you will achieve that goal.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught the children at the Buddhist Center that they should not look for excuses when studying, and should not tell their parents: “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that my exam score is related to my blessed rewards, any extra tutoring will only be in vain.” Also, do not say to their teachers: “Take it as it is”, nor should they say: “Death is impermanent- since we are going to die, what is the point of all this studying?” Those who say things like this have excellent eloquence, but this is witling. Studying is a child’s responsibility, if you have a weak subject and your parents arrange tutoring for you, then you should listen to them, because your parents are not trying to control you, they are only looking out for your future. Refusing to be obedient is equivalent to not being filial, and the ones who are not filial will be expelled.

Everyone has come to this world to fulfill their responsibilities. Buddhism teaches you how to change your behavior in your daily life and not to avoid your responsibilities by using Buddhist practice as an excuse. You must face things that you have done in past lives instead of using Buddhism to separate yourself from things you don’t like. Do not look for excuses to explain your actions. Buddhists still need to work, study, travel, and earn money as usual. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still needs to be filial to his mother, and run his business. On the surface, a Buddhist practitioner’s life is the same as an ordinary person’s life; yet their inner worlds are different.

The practice of contemplating the impermanence of death doesn’t make our life more passive, and instead our attitude will become more positive. The purpose of teaching you the impermanence of death is for you to make it become the driving force of your Buddhist practice. Also, do not say that you will be ordained in order to avoid responsibilities in this world. Look at these ordained practitioners- they exert more efforts and energy than you do, because their job is to practice Buddhism. You should fulfill your own duty, and if you can not even achieve your own duty and responsibility, how can you learn Buddhism? The sutras stated very clearly how people should fulfill their responsibilities between parents and children, couples, mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. All lives will change and eventually disappear. Many parents spend a lot of time educating their children, hoping that they will be successful in society. However, no matter how successful they are, there is nothing they can take with them at the time of death.

You should not think that since we are all going to die, so married couples do not need to treat each other well. To think like this is incorrect. Becoming a married couple in this life means that you have causal conditions from previous lives, for you would not become a married couple if you were not in debt to each other. You should take your responsibilities and treat each other well. Buddha Shakyamuni also once taught about the responsibility between a husband and a wife. Some people think that it is very difficult to get along with their mother-in-laws, thinking that they have already tried their best to treat them like their own mothers, but why won’t they love them as their own daughters? This is also considered an attachment – expecting something in return. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helps all sentient beings and never seeks anything in return. For the Buddha, these matters don’t even need to be mentioned. Yet, the Buddha still compassionately stated in the sutras that as long as you are alive, you have to fulfill your responsibility in this world; and if you are alive for one day, you will have to fulfill the responsibility of that day.

The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows states that sentient beings on earth are obstinate, self-righteous, and difficult to teach and tame. Some who are present still doubt and think, “Is what you are saying true?” Having doubt is the cause for one to fall into the Animal Realm which is a result of committing the offenses of “arrogance” and “doubt” of the Five Poisons. Everything that Buddha Shakyamuni said was completely true; you should not have any stress after learning Buddhism. Learning Buddhism should not cause you more suffering and worries; on the contrary, it should make you feel more at ease. Those who truly learn Buddhism and listen to Buddha’s teaching will cease to create any more evil causes and afflictions. Buddhism does not advocate certain behavior as being correct or not, because everything you do in this life comes from karma and you must know that you will get karmic retribution for what you have done. Once you understand this, you will learn to let go; do not wait until the day you die to let go. Moreover, you should slowly let go of all your attachments- this is called “Putting all affinity to rest.” In terms of Buddhist practice, there is no good or poor cultivation. It is all about accepting and gradually changing your bad habits that have accumulated from many past lives through the influence and teachings of Buddha Dharma. In the meantime, your mind will also be adjusted. In the Buddhist sutras, it does not mention if one cultivates well or not, rather it talks about whether one can be enlightened or not. Emptying out your mind does not mean that there is nothing left, nor does it mean to empty out one’s brain- how could one live with an empty brain? “Emptiness” here doesn’t mean “nothingness”; it means “wisdom”.

The reason we feel pain when we are sick is because we are influenced by our consciousness. Our consciousness or nerves received too much information and made us believe that we are suffering. However, our self-nature, Dharma nature, Buddha nature, True Suchness and Tathagatagarbha will not be affected; there will be no increase, decrease, or suffering for our pure self-nature. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche takes his severe ‘S’-shaped Scoliosis as an example to illustrate to everyone. A disciple who is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner specializing in trauma reported that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s lumbar spine is dislocated and is stuck very tightly, and is basically impossible to change. It will cause incontinence if the nerve plexus of the lower limbs is injured. Also, there is another dislocation in the upper half of the guru’s spine and thoracic vertebra, and it is structurally stuck very tightly together- there’s nothing that can be done to change it either. If it was an ordinary person, they would not have been able to walk normally, not to mention sitting with their legs crossed teaching Buddhism for many hours. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that prior to the year of 2000, this illness still affected him a little and made him feel numb. However, it stopped having any effects on him since 2000. Why is it so? The reason is that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completely accepts this illness. The guru’s heart is at peace and without the influence of emotions. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind is not affected by his consciousness, therefore his physical feelings would not affect his mind; as a result, the guru dwells completely in the state of undefiled self-nature.

Apart from the spinal injuries, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s cervical spine also had an injury. When the guru was 40 years old, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner told him that if it is not treated with surgery, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not be able to lift his head when he reaches 50 years old. As expected, a while later, the guru couldn’t turn his head from left to right. But now it’s perfectly fine, because after he practiced Tantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Chi could open up this hindrance. Although the karmic hindrance is gone, its karmic retribution still exists. To eliminate the karmic hindrance does not mean that you make it disappear; rather it stops the karmic hindrance from preventing us from learning Buddhism. Therefore, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas let Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche practice Buddhism and bring benefits to sentient beings. Try to imagine if the guru had to lie in bed, then how could he teach Buddhism? That would be very disrespectful.

A disciple, who is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, also reported that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s hip joint is very loose and flexible, just like an infant or a small child. When ordinary people reach this age, they would suffer from degeneration of the hip joints which become very tight. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that this is not a miracle, nor was it given by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas- it’s from his own cultivation. When people have a soft heart, their joints will also become flexible. What is a soft heart? When one has no evil thoughts, then his heart will become soft. How is it possible that a 65 year-old man can have such flexible joints? You surely have seen many old people at this age walking stiffly, having difficulties taking even one step. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s condition is different.

Before the New Year, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche caught a cold, and now he already feels perfectly fine. This cold did not make Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche have a fever; it only made the guru’s voice a bit hoarse and made him feel a little tired. If it were you, you would definitely have had a fever. The traditional Chinese medicine practitioner disciple also reported that ordinary people would have a fever, soreness throughout their whole body, and are forced to miss work. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that it wasn’t because he had an extremely good immune system. Though the guru may get sick, his symptoms are not as severe as yours. On the other hand, when you are sick, your mind keeps thinking about the physical pain and thus it is affected and becomes even more severe. If one has a fever that means his body can no longer fight the disease and it will disrupt one’s entire nervous system. To Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, each time he has the sickness, it is helpful for his Buddhist cultivation, and makes him realize again that flesh is not real. This is the example of transforming disease into a tool for Buddhist practice. In the days when Vimalakirti showed sign of sickness, Buddha Shakyamuni sent Bodhisattva Manjurshri and another Bodhisattva to implore teachings, and Vimalakirti explained that his sickness originated from cause and condition.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche suffers from severe ‘S’-shaped Scoliosis, and for this reason, he helped a person who suffers from the same disease. This person was at the Puja presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and saw that the guru was sitting on the Dharma throne with his legs crossed for several hours, and could walk immediately after getting off the throne. This led him to believe that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could do things beyond what ordinary people could and he thus decided to learn Buddhism.

When one practices Tantra, he would have enough time to accumulate blessed reward and causal conditions to help sentient beings. The reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can resolve his own pain from illness is not because he has supernatural power; it is because when he becomes a teacher, naturally he would need to do better. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to be able to solve his own problems. If a guru cannot overcome his own health problems, how can he be a guru? He would not be able to teach Buddhism if he could not solve his own problems. Very often you pay too much attention to your physical body and worry about sickness; however, this is the time you should avoid generating negative energy and review yourself. Diseases would not affect your Buddhist practice as long as you are determined. It is very rare that we have one more chance to learn Buddhism in this life and it will be extremely difficult to come across again if we miss it. We were born in the Jambudvipa Continent in which we have more suffering than happiness, and our life span is shorter compared to those in the Eastern, Western and Northern Continents. This is why we can practice Buddhism and be liberated from life and death; whereas the sentient beings from the other three continents have too much blessed reward. Therefore they are busy only enjoying life and have no interest in learning Buddhism.

When you have determination and faith, and truly accept the impermanence of death, you will not create any more karma to make yourself fall into reincarnation again. This is not asking you to change your life style; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not tell you to not get married and have children, or to not work and make money. Your life will go on just like others with no external differences; what will be different is your mind, mentality, and whether you are determined or not. As long as you are determined, one day you definitely will change. Having the determination to respect the Three Jewels is the start of accumulating blessed rewards and causal conditions.

You trust doctors instead of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. You all believe that doctors have studied extensively, and their words have authority. In addition, people believe in the doctor’s certificate which is issued by the government. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are very compassionate, they know you share this thought so they found many disciples who are doctors to be here. Doctors are typically very arrogant and would not even kneel and prostrate themselves when taking refuge; they would rather go home and pray to their gods. It’s not that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looks down on doctors: if that was the case then the guru wouldn’t have taken any doctors as his disciples. There are entrepreneurs, professors, and people in many other professions in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. This also shows the compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, because they let everyone have a chance to hear what professionals say and hence arouse faith in Buddha Dharma.

All symptoms of illness are illusions, as our pure self-nature has never changed and only our physical body gets sick. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lives his life based on his Dharma nature instead of his consciousness. Because of this, even if he has diseases such as skin cancer, scoliosis, or others, it will not hinder his mind from learning Buddhism. You should turn illnesses into the tools for Buddhist practice, reduce distracting thoughts, have fewer emotional ups and downs, and focus on becoming liberated from life and death. Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches everyone with his own experiences in practicing Buddhism, not trying to prove how great he is. The guru hopes to show everyone that he also started as a believer in the beginning just like you. As long as you are willing to make an effort, you will make it in one of the future lives. You should quietly contemplate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teaching after you go home today.

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Updated on May 29, 2012