His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings

March 25, 2012

Before the puja, a family of six disciples along with another member, who did not take refuge, went up in front of the mandala to express their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping the family. First of all, the male disciple told the attendees that all six of them took refuge on March 22, 2009. His third elder sister has been ill till now and was facing the gradual disintegration of the four cardinal elements of the earth, the water, the fire and the wind, and was wishing that she could express her gratitude to the guru and praise the guru before passing away so that she might accumulate enough causal conditions to be liberated and reborn in the Pure Land. But since oral cancer had eroded much of her mouth, she was unable to speak clearly and her brother was speaking on her behalf.

The origination of their intention to take refuge occurred as the eldest sister – a well-known cartoonist – passed away. At that time, none of the family members had taken refuge. In spite of that, their eldest sister still got the help from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who performed the Phowa compassionately to liberate her. Thereafter, the six family members unanimously took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and began learning Buddhism. They were very grateful to the guru. His eldest sister had been the core of the family but was gone no more than a year since becoming ill. He still remembered that after his eldest sister passed away and their wish was granted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform the Phowa for her, they came to thank His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who said to the family that was barely returning to normal after the devastating loss of an important family member, “In order for the family to avoid falling apart, you must learn Buddhism diligently.” This came as such a thundering inspiration for them all that until now it was still echoing in their ears. Unfortunately, none of them really listened at that time.

The following year, his 2nd elder sister, who had not taken refuge, fell ill as well. The whole family went again, weeping and wailing, to implore His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for blessings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche criticized them, “You have no faith in, or reverence, for the ‘Three Treasures.'” And the guru forbade them to make offerings. During the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche tried to make this family, with heavy karma resulting from killing, realize the seriousness of the situation by telling them about his own family’s karmic retribution resulting from cause and effect, and how they could learn Buddhism and transform the karma. After that, they went to repent to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and expressed their desire to make offerings. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took the mother into his arms and blessed her for a long time after descending from the Dharma throne. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew more about the sufferings that she had to go through than they – with the eldest gone, followed by the 2nd eldest who was now ill, and the pain that this all would have caused their mother. His mother kept saying until now, “You don’t know. Only the guru knows my suffering.” His mother was unable to understand Mandarin well. Recently, she got infected with herpes zoster that resulted in enormous pain similar to that brought about by last-stage cancer. So she often went, weeping, to implore His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help her.

After another year, his third elder sister who had taken refuge fell ill too. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had stated that her illness was already there before she took refuge, and it could not be transformed as she did not have the right mindset when she was taking refuge. She used to be a nurse, but left the hospital in which she had been working for many years to focus on taking care of his eldest sister full-time. During the days before she took refuge, she was full of frustration and depression – life seemed to her as if it were grey and hopeless. After taking refuge, she listened to the guru’s teachings and gradually was learning to change herself. It used to be that she was not willing to interact too much with others. After she returned to work, she started to enjoy helping and caring for others, and her life began to lighten up.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma teaching was like nectar nourishing his third elder sister’s life. The puja on each Sunday was the only thing that she looked forward to in her life, which began to show changes. But her relationship with her husband was still not going anywhere but stuck, though it seemed that the affinity between the two had come to an end. As time went on, she failed to truly apply Buddhist principles to her daily life, unconsciously turning her Buddhist practice into just some efforts for blessings, with impermanence coming to her quietly.

About two years ago, his third elder sister could not recover from a stubborn cold that gave her a sensation of a foreign object stuck in her throat, and it refused to be cured no matter what kind of treatment was used. This dragged on for a few months until the biopsy confirmed that she had lymphoma. They reported the situation to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who revealed, “Your illness had been there before you started learning Buddhism; and you did not adopt the right mentality for learning Buddhism even after taking refuge.” The guru continued, “It’s up to you whether you should have a surgery or not. Go home and discuss this with your family and decide by majority vote. And then tell me about the decision!” They repented that they had never really made any auspicious offerings or done anything to the liking of the guru since they took refuge; and now they were dumping the troubles to the guru when they were ill.

After going back home and examining herself, his third elder sister was particularly regretful and repented that she had only been looking for blessings instead of earnestly acting in accordance with the guru’s teachings, failing to show to her family and friends any effective change as a result of learning Buddhism. She had rarely shared anything with her family, not to mention praising the guru! But due to the advice given by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which went straight to the point of her problems, it opened up the causal conditions of her children to learn Buddhism. After discussion, all the kids supported their mother’s decision! That same day, the hard-to-swallow condition of her throat was immediately improved as a result of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.

When his third elder sister went to seek an audience with the guru after being ill for about two months, the guru instructed her to “implore for the Phowa.” These four words were the prescription given by the guru. They held it in their trembling hands, without courage to take it. They only knew to throw their problems the guru’s way. Now the guru had responded with a real test – this prescription was rather for the whole family instead of just for his third elder sister – and only with that did they begin to seriously face life and death. Everyone was thinking, “Why is it so soon that she has to go?” They were having many family meetings, and his third elder sister also put forward the question, “Why is it so soon?” Though she had lymphoma, with the conditions at that time it was no more than just a sore throat and she looked like a normal person, still able to go to work. She was even planning her future life and was thinking about retiring after working for another six months.

Soon after that, his third elder sister implored and got the privilege of making grand prostrations so that she could truly repent and pay earnest respect to the Buddhas. She also made offerings with a heart of reverence and with her most favorite jewelry and property. Her karma started to turn. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her, “Your cancer has been reduced to about one centimeter. This illness has warned you that from now on if you have but a little doubt or disrespect in learning Buddhism, it would come back immediately.” The guru turned to her children, “Whether you believe it or not, what modern medicine cannot handle, Buddhism can!”

Once they accompanied his third elder sister to the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic, the Chinese medicine physician there made a comment on her health conditions, “Your health has improved drastically and it seems that you may live a long life.” She told the nurse about the teachings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “The guru’s blessing is not meant for you to plan your life or enjoy your family. Rather, it is meant for you to have more time to learn Buddhism so that you can be liberated from the suffering of life and death.” At that time, they became somewhat alert. After a few discussions, the disciples in this family wanted his third elder sister to quit from her job and focus on learning Buddhism and her health. In addition, the rotating shifts in the hospital would be too hard for her health. Her only concern was that her financial situation would become difficult once she quit. She could not make up her mind even though her family kept urging her resignation from her job, failing to truly apply to life the guru’s teaching, “The priority of life is learning Buddhism with the thought about sentient beings.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught, “If you can learn the supramundane Dharma well, naturally you would learn mundane Dharma well. But if you are learning Buddhism with the mind to have good health, to have nothing happen to your husband, to increase wealth and life span, you wouldn’t be able to truly learn it.” During the Chinese New Year, 2011 when his third elder sister made up her mind to quit her job, her health started to deteriorate rapidly. Besides feeling uncomfortable all over her body, she had pain from the four limbs’ joints that had become stiff.  With the fever, difficulty in walking and in making a grand prostration, she didn’t even have the strength to go back to the hospital to hand over for transitioning her job. Impermanence occurred time and again at that time, and her alienated husband kept pressuring her for a divorce. His third elder sister now was listening to the teaching of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “Live by adapting to each rising condition and keep calm despite what happens in life!” She thus accorded her husband’s causal condition and agreed to the divorce. Upon signing the divorce paper, she even gave him a well-wishing note.

His third elder sister thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for making the hindrances to her Buddhist practice appear and end quickly. In fact, if she had not been divorced, she believed that the hindrances associated with the family would appear, possibly causing her to commit the vice of slandering the Buddhas through speech and acts. As she was imploring for the Phowa, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated, “The biggest problem that your family have is having no faith! From now on, whether you’re chanting the mantra or doing whatever else, you need to focus on aspiring to be reborn in the Pure Land and follow the advice of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.” She thanked for the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and repented profoundly: She still cannot let go of her attachment to her kids; all problems in life are her own problems; when her mind was set right, there would be no problems with others; and she should be strengthening her confidence. After a few rounds of self-examination and repentance, his third elder sister, dragging her body weakened by illness with a walking cane in hand, once again made a prostration and implored His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the Phowa, which the guru granted compassionately.

Along the way, they dared not take the medicine of “imploring for the Phowa” as prescribed by the guru, who had said, “When you can accept death, there would not be anything else in life that would become your hindrance. When things happen they just happen. You should know that this is just a process, which will come and go, unlike resolution that you talk about. This way you would not suffer due to your attachment.” How can an ordinary person comprehend the way His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches? The only thing that they could do is to abide by the teachings and follow the guru closely!

Since she became ill, his third elder sister had been following His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche closely, attending pujas abroad. In May of last year (2011) the four in the family enrolled in the Acalanatha Fire Puja held in the Buddhist Center in Japan. Two weeks before the group left Taiwan, his third elder sister was hospitalized due to a stubborn high fever, and was unable to step down the bed during her hospital stay. She kept praying to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Dharma Protectors to allow her successful participation at the puja in Japan. Thanks to the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Dharma Protectors, she actually was discharged two days before the touring group’s departure and was able to fulfill her wish in attending the puja in Japan. His mother was also in the same group. The family of four had to manage two wheelchairs among them – his mother in one and his third elder sister in another. On the day of the Acalanatha Fire Puja, his third elder sister had recovered so well that she could do away with the cane and receive the offering items with both hands just like a healthy person, going upstairs and downstairs without difficulty and even running around the Buddhist Center. They appreciated all the help from the Sino Travel Services and the participating Dharma brothers, and attributed all this to the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Last September he and his third elder sister participated in the pilgrimage trip to Tibet, with her travelling in a wheelchair. When they were passing Sichuan, many Dharma brothers treated her as if she were in a palanquin, carrying her up and down so that she was also able to visit all the historic relics where they went. Upon reaching the Plateau of Tibet, some of the Dharma brothers who had been taking good care of her all along got the altitude sickness. But his third elder sister, on the other hand, could cast her wheelchair aside and walk on her own. When they had reached the ancestral Drikung Thil Monastery, she knew that this would be her first and last pilgrimage to the monastery and was determined to climb every step of the stone stairway – from the parking lot all the way to the Shrine of Lord Jigten Sumgon, and then to the Shrine of Dharma Protector Achi. It felt like that these stairways added up to more than 20 stories in height. With the help of her Dharma brothers, his third elder sister, filled with gratitude, exerted great effort in climbing every step and managed to reach the Cannon Library with the gilded roof, whose reconstruction was all funded by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. There, tears were running all over her face – had it not been for the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, where would she have been now? Would she have been going through the terrible chemotherapy or experiencing the horrible wait? Or would she have been treated with all types of intubation over her body in the hospital’s hospice care unit, weeping and sobbing endlessly in the middle of the night, lying in bed with confused but helpless eyes looking at her desperate family? She sincerely wished that sentient beings and she would suffer no more from reincarnation.

Upon returning to Taiwan, the guru was using his third elder sister’s experience as an example in teaching and blessing other Dharma brothers, by saying that his third elder sister was supposed to die at the beginning of last year (2011) but was able to survive until now due to her faith in the guru! Grace and gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! As she was experiencing a sudden deterioration in her condition, she was feeling that her life was giving up on her quite soon. Had it not been for the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, how would she have been able to survive until now? Only till now did they come to realize why the guru wanted her to seek the Phowa toward the end of 2010.

Currently, she had a tumor of nearly 10 centimeters on the right side of her throat, and the ulcerous condition inside of her mouth had almost claimed half of the surface area. The cancer had caused two big cavities in the joints of the upper and lower gums of her mouth. The doctor said that from the perspective of western medicine it was incredible – had the cancer moved a bit closer to the artery in the neck, it would have caused the artery to break and she would have bled to death. If the cancer had invaded the nervous system nearby, it might have paralyzed her.  An oncologist commented that the tumor would grow bigger without treatment and would make it impossible for her to eat anything, which in turn would cause her to die of starvation. But though the tumor was growing, and caused a big cavity on the right side of her mouth, she still had a small but open channel on the left side of her throat through which food that she ate could still pass. If she used a pain-killing spray on the throat before the meal she could still take liquid food with her head tilted on one side. Painful as it was, the cancer had been controlled in such a way by the blessings of the guru as well as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that its symptoms were within the scope of tolerance of her body. Her cancer seemed to be subdued by an invisible force, growing slowly as if ordered to do so without spreading outward. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told his third elder sister, “As a Buddhist you should not be afraid of pain. When pain can save you from falling into hell, you should let it be! When death can set you free from the suffering of reincarnation, then you should let it be as well.”

Recently, his third elder sister had been praying to the guru that she could be gone and be reborn in the Pure Land without any hindrance. She hoped that she could get away from all the karmic retribution that she had to repay from her past lives, but she had not dared to implore the guru face to face. As an alternative, she had been praying in front of the Dharma photo of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche during the morning and evening prayers, for sentient beings and herself to be liberated from diseases and suffering sooner so that they could be reborn in the Pure Land. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, on the other hand, knew her inclination of trying to get away with it all, and told her, “There will be no hindrance as long as you have faith in the guru.”

Since they took refuge, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had never stopped creating causal conditions for the disciples, no matter how poor their root capacity was. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bless the disciples in different ways compassionately, never leaving the sentient beings behind or abandoning them. The disciple hoped that everyone would learn their lesson and avoid repeating the same fault by closely following His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in learning Buddhism so that they could be liberated from life and death.

His mother also expressed heart-felt gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, thanking the guru for taking care of her whole family particularly her daughter. In the end, the female disciple with lymphoma thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by saying, “I didn’t have the right mindset in learning Buddhism. I hope that everyone would learn from my consequences that such mindset had caused. I’d like to thank His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving the disciples limitless blessings and care. Sentient beings need you, and the disciples need you more.”

Then, a few disciples came onto the stage to report about the auspicious signs shown on the leading ordained disciple who just passed away when she received the auspicious Phowa and was liberated by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on March 24, as well as the help that she had received from the guru all along. Among those who were sharing these experiences were those ordained disciples who used to share living quarters with the deceased disciple. They not only witnessed the incredibly great capacity of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but were also amazed at his great compassion and Bodhicitta – a grand practitioner that they had never seen in the dozens of years in which they had been ordained to practice Buddhism.

The disciple who had just passed away had been ordained for 33 years. She took refuge under His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on January 28, 2007. In less than three months after that, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to the holy place – the Snow Mountain of Lapchi, of some 4,500 meters above the sea level in Nepal, for a retreat that lasted for three months. When His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche returned to Taiwan upon perfect completion of the retreat, the guru went directly from the airport to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei to preside over the puja as soon as he stepped off the airplane. After the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche summoned all ordained disciples and considerately asked them if they had any problems in learning and practicing Buddhism as well as in life. The guru also asked this ordained disciple to first go and check out the dormitory that was provided for the disciples free of charge, and that she might move in there so that she could practice Buddhism well with physical and mental stability.

Back then when the disciple became ordained in central Taiwan, she moved to the north of Taiwan to live in a Buddhist temple, where her second elder sister was the abbess. In her family, besides her, her second elder sister, her eldest sister-in-law and her eldest brother’s son were also ordained. Her mother, who was living with her, was more than 90 years old with limited mobility. She hesitated and did not move to the new environment immediately for fear that it might be difficult for her mother to adapt to it, which in turn might also affect others sharing the living quarters.

She did not seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche until after one year, to report to the guru that she had decided to leave the Buddhist temple in which she had been living to move to Taipei. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately agreed to her request and said: Now she is His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciple. If she doesn’t have a place to live in, or clothes to wear, or food to eat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would take care of her. She implored the guru to allow her old mother to move in with her, and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also agreed with compassion. So His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been taking care of her mother as well. It used to be that she was in rather poor health condition. After she and her mother moved into the dormitory, which was a more peaceful environment than where she had been living before, both of them saw their health steadily improving. When her family came to visit her mother, they also expressed with pleasure that not only was it better than their former residence, but also they did not need to worry about them and it was convenient for them to visit their mother any time. The ordained disciple also commented that her previous concern was not necessary. All this was attributed to the compassionate blessings and help of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who always provided the best environment and opportunity for the disciples to learn Buddhism, reducing their hindrance so that they could follow His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in learning Buddhism peacefully.

From August or September of last year (2011), the disciple was experiencing continuing cold and coughs and could not recover. She went to check it out with different doctors in different places, while taking the Chinese medicine irregularly, leading to the recurrence of her old illness in the form of lupus erythematosus. Her condition soon deteriorated. Since her condition was complex, no doctor knew how to deal with it after consultation of multidisciplinary medical specialists. So they recommended that she be transferred to a larger hospital. Before the Chinese New Year of this year (2012), she sought an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who told her that her illness was caused by her previous acts in polluting the water and harming the dragon species in the water and in accepting undeserved money for reciting the Buddhist sutras for others. The guru said that her cold would be gone but her lupus erythematosus would stay with her. As to when to be hospitalized, it would be decided after the Chinese New Year. And with the blessings from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, her coughs were gone right there. But since she was so eager to get a quick recovery, she went to get injections in the hospital two days later only to find later that her cold and the coughs came back to her. She went to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again the next week and ask for permission to make an offering to the guru. But His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche refused to accept it. Instead, the guru instructed her to make grand prostrations in the Buddhist Center right away and deeply repent.

At the puja held on the first day of this Chinese lunar year (2012), as the leading ordained disciple, she was scheduled to usher His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to ascend to the Dharma throne on behalf of sentient beings. But she thought she would be unable to kneel and complete the ritual properly, so she decided on her own and asked someone else to do it for her. On the third day, feeling sick, she went to the emergency room of the hospital. During the two-week hospital stay, she went to the Buddhist Center to implore His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the blessings by kneeling down. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded her harshly: How can you practice Buddhism if you care so much about your body? Why is it that on the first day of the Chinese New Year it was impossible for you to kneel down on behalf of sentient beings, but now you could since you are imploring for something on your own behalf? Since you don’t have enough faith, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not give you the blessings.

Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that he would not give the blessings to her, a meritorious vajra guru’s every glance and every move were as a matter of fact giving the blessings! The criticism that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave her made her realize deeply that she needed to examine her problems. After being discharged from the hospital, she, reminded by other disciples, went to the Buddhist Center to thank His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the blessings that made it possible for her to be discharged so soon. Due to her absence of two weeks when she was hospitalized, she was disqualified to participate in the morning and evening prayer sessions. But when she was in the Buddhist Center to express her gratitude to the guru, she did not ask for permission to attend those sessions again for fear that it would not be convenient for her to participate in it as she would be required to use her wheelchair when coming to, and leaving, the venue. A week later, she decided to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and implore for permission to again attend the sessions. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still gave her the opportunity to accumulate her blessed reward, and compassionately agreed that she might continue with her participation in the morning and evening prayer sessions.

After being discharged from the hospital this time, she wasn’t able to walk very much and spent most of her time in bed or in the wheelchair. During this time, she still wished to recover through means of the medical treatment, but on the contrary her health condition kept deteriorating. Her attendance of the morning and evening prayer sessions were possible only with her Dharma brothers’ help with her wheelchair. At the beginning, when she returned to the dormitory, she could still manage to climb the stairway on her own, using the handrail. Later, she would require one person’s, and still later two persons’, help supporting her while she climbed the steps. And in the end she couldn’t do it at all, and the only remaining option was that she be carried up and down in the wheelchair. The skin on her limbs started to crack without the possibility of healing, and the tips of her fingers darkened and became necrotic. Her body was building up edema and the ascites increased, causing her to lose mobility and be unable to take care of herself. For her it was a hard task even to eat and sleep, and her breathing was becoming shorter and shorter, with herpes zoster appearing in large areas of her body.

As a matter of fact, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been taking care of all of their needs since she took refuge. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic to provide medical care for all ordained practitioners free of charge, with all the costs paid by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She was taking the Chinese medicine in the liquid form at the Clinic on a continuous basis. Since her finger tips were darkened and her body had herpes zoster all over it, it worried the western medical doctors that her finger tips might develop into a necrotic condition leading to infection. The Dharma brother who was helping to take care of her found that she was applying burn ointment to the wounds carelessly, so the Dharma brother reminded her of the Chinese medicine and the Bao Yuan Gao ointment that were provided by the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic free of charge. The Chinese medicine physician was always ready to change the medicine for her depending on the changing conditions. With continuous and generous application of the Clinic’s Bao Yuan Gao and another green ointment to her wounds, the infection, as feared by western medical doctors, did not occur, and even the herpes zoster started to be under control. In addition, the Chinese medicine physician at the Clinic was giving her any medicine that she needed without any consideration of cost. Unlike the last times when she had the herpes zoster, which brought her a great deal of pain, this time, though the herpes zoster had developed into such a serious state that it almost went all around her body, she didn’t feel any pain at all. This was attributed to the blessings given by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Last Saturday (March 17), she once again was seeking an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as her health condition had been deteriorating quite rapidly. She had not planned to give up and was trying to implore how to save her body. With the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche later, a Dharma brother was sharing with her the story about her mother imploring His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the Phowa and successfully being liberated, as well as the auspicious signs of the Phowa shown afterwards. She shed tears upon hearing this and was going to make true and sincere repentance. She decided to get out of her wheelchair in order to make a prostration to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Though it was only one or two meters in distance, she managed with great effort to stand from the wheelchair, with the help of others on both sides, and struggled to make the steps to the front of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, kneeled down in prostration to the guru. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was waiting for her to complete the prostration compassionately and patiently, while giving her blessings by keeping his eyes on her. As soon as she kneeled, her whole body gave way and spread to the floor softly like a bag of water.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked with compassion, “What is the matter?” She replied, “I’d like to make public repentance.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche inquired again, “What are you going to repent?” She said: Repent all that need to be repented. She repented all the karma resulting from killing that she had conducted, in addition to the faults that she had made and those that were indicated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, including the vice of accepting believers’ red envelopes of money for reciting the Buddhist sutras before. She implored His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that the guru would accept her offerings.

However, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept the offering that she was trying to make. Instead, the guru gave her the following precious teaching, “You should not think about anything now except the aspiration that you had when you were being ordained back then. According to the Buddhist sutras, there are many Sangha in front of the gate to hell. But since you knew to repent today, you wouldn’t be going to hell. There is nobody that you could blame for the physical condition that you have today as it is the result of your own acts! For the days to come, you only should think that all the pain that you are suffering is a way to repay the debt that you owe as you accepted the red envelopes of money without being able to teach others true Buddhism, and every time you feel the pain, you should consider that you are repaying a portion of that debt. Do not worry about your mother, as it would be best if she has her other children to take care of her. If not, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will make proper arrangement for her and will take care of her 24 hours a day.”

Though she did not say it, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew all along that she was most concerned about her mother. But even this had been arranged properly for her. Who else has such great compassion and wisdom besides the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Tearfully, she expressed her most heart-felt gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who had not only helped her, but also her family. As she was sitting back into the wheelchair with the help of others, large beads of sweat appeared on her forehead – a rarity since she started to have the condition with difficulty in draining out fluids from the edema that she had been suffering.

After the Friday’s morning prayer session was over on March 23, other people could not move the ordained disciple. After discussing with her family, she decided to be hospitalized – not for medical treatment but for professional care. On the way to the hospital that afternoon, she started to have short breath and the condition became very critical. Due to her advance statement that she did not wish to have intubation on her body before leaving for the hospital, the condition was really bad upon her arrival at the emergency room. Tests showed that her blood oxygen level was 17 instead of the normal range of 98-100, and heart pulse rate of 140 as against the normal rate of 60-70. The condition was very critical and with her wish of having no intubation, they needed to find a hospital which was willing to take her in. The hospital where she was rushed to the emergency room did not have ICU and was unable to accommodate her, so it recommended that she be transferred to another. At that moment, her Dharma brothers were reminding to her ear to visualize that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was blessing her on the top of her head. She nodded to show clear understanding. At this time, the vital sign sensor was showing that the blood oxygen kept rising, at one time to as high as 95.

So they started the process of transferring her to another hospital. The first hospital they contacted agreed to accommodate her, on the condition that she must spend one week in the emergency room before a bed would become available to her. During this intense period of her being transferred from one hospital to the other, a lot of examinations and procedures had to be taken care of. She remained clear even though the oxygen mask kept her from speaking clearly, and she was imploring His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the auspicious Phowa so that she could be liberated to be reborn in Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately informed her Dharma brother to tell her that he had agreed to perform the Phowa for her. While she was nervous during the wait for a smooth transfer, she had the luck of having enough causal conditions with regard to the human and other factors; so she was transferred to a nearby hospital, and it was so smooth that she was directly admitted to the ICU, thus saving her unnecessary suffering resulting from medical treatment before she completed the last stage of her life peacefully there. Had it not been for the blessings and arrangement of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, it would not have been possible.

That night in the ICU, she remained clear-minded and could nod her head to express her consent, though her blood pressure and blood oxygen were quite unstable. She asked her visitors to take her refuge certificate out of her Sangha bag, show it to her, and then put it on the top of her head, so that she could visualize that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was blessing her by shedding light from the top of her head. Her eyes semi-open, at times she was looking in the direction of the end of the bed, and at other times looking up, tears glittering at the corner of her eyes. When visiting time was over and visitors had to leave the ICU, the ordained disciple was able to nod her head seeing them off. At this time her limbs were very swollen, and her abdomen in particular was significantly protruding. The skin on the back of her left hand showed grains like the cracking of soil as a result of a long time without water, revealing a reddish brown color like that of pork liver.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche showed great concern about her funeral arrangements, as well as how to obtain the news of her passing away in a timely manner. The guru also told others to tell her family not to worry about anything, as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would take care of everything including all the costs of her funeral arrangements. At the time, the guru stated that she would not die on Friday, the 23rd, but would pass away early next morning on the 24th. The guru further instructed the funeral home to reserve the largest hall for the farewell ceremony of this ordained disciple, as there would be a large number of people attending it. Her older sister, upon hearing about such arrangements, commented that all her family members were of old age and they would have been very helpless in this respect had it not been that her sister took refuge under His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and was able to get the fastest and best help during the period she was ill and after she passed away. Other disciples told her elder sister that all this should be attributed to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as all the help that she had was the result of receiving the guru’s great blessed reward and blessings.

Just as everyone was worrying that if the ordained disciple had to pass away at home, it would be too painful for her 97-year-old mother to see her go, no one was expecting that she could smoothly be admitted to the hospital on Friday and, as predicted by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, passed away the next day on Saturday at 12:57 a.m. Upon receiving the notice from the hospital, her roommates immediately drove to the hospital. It was a short drive of only a little bit over 20 minutes. But they learned even before arriving at the hospital that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already finished performing the rare and auspicious Phowa for the deceased ordained disciple. After their arrival, they saw her serene face as if she was asleep; they touched her aperture of Brahma (in the top of her skull) and it was warm and concave, with the skin on the top of her head still flexible. Most incredibly, her limbs were soft and the swollen condition in her limbs, face, abdomen and other parts of the body was gone. The abdominal edema had been most obvious but now it was flat. The cracked grains on the back of her left hand had also disappeared, and the reddish brown color on her skin had faded away and now was showing pink. As her family had not yet arrived at the hospital, her mouth was still covered with the oxygen mask and her mouth was still open for now because of that.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had remarked: the edema on the body was a result of sentient beings that had been harmed residing in it. After the performance of the Phowa, all sentient beings that she had hurt had been liberated along with her to the Pure Land and thus the edema naturally was gone too, as nothing was discharged. A doctor-disciple had confirmed that such a phenomenon could not possibly be explained from a medical perspective; and there would be no way to make the ascites disappear except draining the fluid from the abdomen by means of extraction. But if such a method was used, then it would leave holes of extraction in the body. But what they saw was that, after His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finished performing the Phowa for her, the ascites had disappeared naturally and the abdomen was now flat. The ascites was gone through no known means and nothing like draining was involved, leaving the bed clean and dry, unlike in the case when stool or urine was discharged when some people die.

When her second sister-in-law and fourth elder sister arrived at the hospital, the disciples who were already there told them that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already performed the Phowa for her and that she had been liberated to Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land. They also told them about the auspiciousness of the Phowa and how difficult it was to obtain it, implore for it, and perform it, as well as the various auspicious signs from the Phowa. Her second sister-in-law, who was practicing Buddhism at an Exoteric Buddhist temple, said that she had never seen or touched the aperture of Brahma at the top of a deceased person that it would feel warm while the rest of the body was cold, that the limbs were soft and the edema was gone, with the face having better complexion as if the deceased was asleep and seemed to be younger. Both of them gladly expressed that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was indeed very compassionate and the Phowa that he performed was very auspicious. They were very grateful to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Her family was asking how her open mouth could be closed. The other disciples told them that for the time being this was caused by the oxygen mask that she was wearing, and as soon as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finished the Phowa, it would close up on its own. Sure enough, when her body was moved from the hospital to the funeral home, her mouth closed on its own. This made her family feel even happier. When an abbot of a Buddhist temple whom her second sister-in-law knew learned about this later and called her to offer his service in assisting with the reciting of the Buddhist sutras, she declined with confidence, because His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already performed the Phowa and liberated the deceased to the Pure Land.

After performing the auspicious Phowa for the ordained disciple, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche handed over NT$200,000 from his own pocket to the funeral home and told them that he would cover all the costs and expenses relating to the funeral, including those that were for the burial at sea. If this amount was not enough, the guru would pay them more later. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche directed the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and a Dharma brother to go to the funeral home and see to it that everything was fine with the family of the ordained disciple. At the funeral home, her family told of the ordained female disciple that since she was ordained at the age of 22, her mother had always been living with her no matter which Buddhist temple she was in, for fear that she would not know how to take care of herself. So when the ordained disciple passed away, none of her sisters, brothers and their wives knew what to do. When they learned that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was paying for all the costs and expenses associated with the funeral arrangements (including the burial at sea) as well as all the living costs, accommodation and medical care of their mother afterwards, they all expressed their profound gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for being so compassionate.

Then they went to visit the Buddhist temple which the ordained disciple had once lived.  The disciple’s second elder sister, who had passed away, used to be the abbess of this Buddhist temple. After her second elder sister died, her second elder brother, though not ordained, had been helping with some administrative work for the temple for over 20 years. When the general director told him, who was hard of hearing and lost part of his mobility, in a loud voice word by word, about the auspicious signs shown on the body of his sister after His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had performed the Phowa for her, as well as the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was paying for all the costs and expenses of his sister’s funeral arrangement (including burial at sea) and all the living costs, accommodation and medical care for her mother afterwards. Her second elder brother’s face turned from being quite solemn and sad to a happy smile upon hearing all that, and with the eyes reddening, he said that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very compassionate and he thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for all the help that the guru had been giving his sister all along. Her second sister-in-law, meanwhile, couldn’t wait to tell her husband happily about the auspicious signs that she had witnessed, as well as the arrangements that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had made with the funeral home for their sister and their mother’s future care. Her second sister-in-law kept praising and thanking His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the Phowa that was performed, as well as the funeral arrangements and how the guru was to take care of her mother-in-law afterwards.

When His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned that her family had expressed that they were unable to take care of their aged mother, the guru instructed her former roommates to share the responsibility of looking after the old mother, with all costs and expenses paid by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and told them that none of those living there should pay any money for her. The guru also instructed them to check her everyday items, and if some of them were found to be unusable, then they should all be replaced; that they should not save on the food for her; that they should take her to the doctor when she falls ill; and that they should take care of her as if she were their own mother. The guru also would try to find a detail-oriented caregiver to take care of this grandma, all costs to be paid by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who, on the other hand, worried that the old lady at this age of 97 would not stand to hear the news about her daughter’s death, and told everyone to not tell her about it for now, until Saturday when they bring her to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This morning they brought a bowl of rice soup to the old grandma, who then asked where her daughter had been. So her roommates replied: Your daughter is being taken good care of by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as the doctors and is living a good life now. The old lady smiled and finished the whole bowl, thanks to the great compassion of Most Venerable Rinchen Dorjee and the arrangements of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

One of the ordained disciples reported that she had only heard it before that a great practicing sangha with great merits would be able to liberate the deceased with only one sentence of the Dharma, now she was able to witness that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had this great capacity to bring benefits to sentient beings and enable them to be relieved from suffering and attain happiness. She admired and praised the guru from the bottom of her heart. She came to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Buddhism and truly witnessed the reality of birth, aging, sickness and death. Life was full of uncertainties and impermanence, which cautioned her to be always vigilant and prudent. It was a must to truly believe in cause and effect and make all efforts to follow the guru to learn Buddhism in order to be liberated from the suffering of life and death. It was here that they were able to see with their own eyes Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche – a fatherly figure who was just like a Buddha and a Bodhisattva, and who tirelessly kept teaching them. Yet, the disciples were still not following the teachings, thereby they continued to have endless repentance to make. Nevertheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would never abandon them and sentient beings. Furthermore, the guru still met with believers and helped them solve their mundane suffering even when he was under the weather, providing them with Buddhist teachings and assistance – Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is really a compassionate Buddha and Bodhisattva.

The ordained disciple who just passed away had everything taken care of for her by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche before and after she died, and even her old mother was being taken care of by the guru. Since she was ordained, she had never seen any guru who had achieved such true realization through genuine cultivation and who was like a Buddha and Bodhisattva. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took care of all his disciples indiscriminately like his own family. Such was the meritorious guru whose application of the Buddha Dharma to daily life was excellent example that all disciples should follow. On the other hand, the disciples were so fortunate to have met such a meritorious guru that they should treasure all the teachings of the guru, and practice and act in accordance with them. This would be the great offering, which would be more to the liking of the guru than offerings with money or property. The less the guru had to worry about the disciples, the more sentient beings he could bring benefits to. That would mean a great deal of filial piety to the guru and father, as the guru was fatherly.

One female disciple shared that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said: Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche regards every disciple who took refuge under him as his own most precious child. After going through all this, she deeply felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche dedicated all his life to take care of the disciples’ present and future lives, creating various causal conditions for them. It had been over 30 years since the deceased female disciple was ordained. She couldn’t have had the blessed reward to be liberated from the suffering of reincarnation in the Six Realms to be reborn in the Pure Land, if she had not followed a meritorious guru who achieved true realization through genuine cultivation. The guru’s compassion and wisdom were no different from those of a Buddha. With the nature of emptiness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously helped the disciples accumulate the resource so that they could go to the Pure Land. The hands of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as that of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, had been reaching out all along to help sentient beings. Even with the twists and turn on the very last day before the ordained disciple was transferred to another hospital, the guru still helped her create precious opportunities so that she could pray to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the auspicious Phowa. All in all, they were arrangements made by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as the Dharma Protectors. Whether it was the deceased ordained disciple, or the people who had been with her all along in the process, all of them had deeply felt the immense compassion and care given by Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to the disciples and sentient beings without expectation of anything in return. Every time she thought of this, she could not help it as her tears of gratitude kept streaming down.

Recently Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not teach the Buddha Dharma as the disciples failed to act according to the guru’s teachings. The guru stopped speaking with and teaching them because the disciples failed to follow the teachings, but he was still willing to accept offerings from them. That presented the disciples with an opportunity by which they should make offerings with their best efforts in body, speech, and mind, so that they could accumulate the resource of virtues. It is difficult to attain the human form but now they are living as humans; it is rare to be able to listen to true Buddha Dharma but now they are able to listen to it; and it is difficult to meet a meritorious guru, but they have already met one! With this, they should be even more resolved to mend themselves and focus on learning Buddhism. Only by doing so could they repay the debt of gratitude to the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as the sentient beings.

This whole experience made us realize how important it was to follow a meritorious guru. It also allowed us to learn about His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassion and the Bodhicitta, which were no different from those of the Buddhas, and the continuous blessings and help the guru has given to all sentient beings. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was the most precious treasure in the universe, who had been dedicating all his life to promote Buddhism and benefit sentient beings. Once again, she thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for letting us have the causal conditions and blessed reward to realize the auspiciousness and greatness of Buddhism, and to receive the guru’s continuous blessings and tireless teachings. The disciple wished that all sentient beings have the affinity to receive help from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and even follow him to learn Buddhism and be liberated from the suffering of reincarnation. In addition to showing her gratitude to the guru for all that he has done, she prayed for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to keep the Dharma wheel turning and to have eternal presence in the world. At this time, the general director also made an announcement, “In the past two weeks, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been ascending to the Dharma throne without teaching the Dharma. Everyone of us, including myself, should repent deeply and should act and mend ourselves immediately in accordance with the teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. During these two weeks, the amount of money offerings made at the puja had been drastically reduced, and we should make profound repentance as well.”

Then, the attendees sat there quietly until the end of the puja.

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Updated on June 22, 2012