His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 16, 2012

Before the puja, a male disciple shared with the assembly the story of how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped him and his family.

This male disciple took refuge with His eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on July 10, 2011. His sister is also a  disciple of the guru. He expressed his deep gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for allowing his father, now 90 years old, to attend the annual Grand Memorial Puja in Honor of Drikung Kagyu Lord Jigten Sumgon and Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness since 2009. With the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, his father, who is afflicted with various diseases such as diabetes, BPH and digestive disorders, had survived all emergency treatments in hospital. Though a little weak because of the age, his father now enjoys overall stable health condition.

Last month (August 2012), his father sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, where he thanked the guru in person and received compassionate blessings. Two weeks ago, his father fell from the bed to the ground. Although the bed was only about 60 centimeters high, it would have been too much for a 90-year-old to fall from it. However, his father didn’t get hurt and, after a short time lying on the floor unable to get up, he somewhat managed to climb onto the bed and resumed his sleep, half consciously. Even his mother was unaware of what happened, nor did his father show any sign of discomfort. His father related what happened when he and his sister came back home the next day. To their great amazement, they knew even a young person falling off the bed would feel a great pain, not to mention a 90-year-old. To their even greater amazement, his sister noticed that the drawer of the bedside table was opened, meaning that his father, when falling down, did not hit the sharp corner of the drawer. If not for the blessings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the consequence would have been disastrous.

The male disciple then narrated how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped his family – he, his wife and his daughter. There are many reports nowadays about domestic violence, which many people abhor, in the newspapers. In his case, he was not the victim, but the perpetrator. It happened on September 28, 2010 when he dragged his daughter, unwilling to go to school for fear of a teacher, to school and took the anger out on his sick wife who tried to protect her daughter. When his wife and daughter locked themselves in a room, he began to kick the door like a mad man. His wife called the police, who told him to be away from home for some time. Then his wife and daughter applied for a protective order from the court. Since then, his daughter often felt dizzy and had an even greater fear of and objection to going to school. During that time, he did not want to go to his parents’ home and let them know about what happened, so he slept in the car or in the hotel sometimes, with anger still seething in his heart.

Once he and his sister, a disciple of the guru, had the opportune condition to accompany his mother, who had been troubled by asthma for many years, to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. At that time, he foolishly went along merely for the purpose of seeking protection and blessings without true belief in the great power and immense wisdom of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Seeing his mother breathing with difficulty, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche commented that his mother’s asthma was the karmic retribution of killing chickens by cutting their throats and urged her to be a vegetarian from then on and repent. Although his mother did not believe it, in his heart he was stunned by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s power, remembering that in his childhood he used to watch his mother killing chickens by cutting their throats and letting them bleed to death painfully with delight, looking forward to enjoying his favorite chicken drumsticks soon.

The admonition of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the air in which the guru delivered it conquered his pride that had been with him since his childhood, and the question – “whether I should be a vegetarian?” –  kept ringing in his mind. Recalling the whole process of the audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he took the wrong way and a long detour before reaching home. The second day he decided to start to observe vegetarianism. The thought of the countless beings killed as the result of his meat-eating habit and the heavy evil karma created thereby and the karmic retribution his mother suffered for her killing acts all filled him with deep regret. How could he repay the excessive debt?

At the time, he was still full of greed and it did not occur to him that he should repent. He simply wished to attend the pujas presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as a means to eliminate his guilts, with irreverence and discriminating mind. He entertained the fond hope that by attending Chod Puja once a month, he would be able to cleanse the violence and evil karma that he committed in the past. When he sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again, he was awed by the look of the guru, and confessed stutteringly the violence he once committed with his wife and daughter. He was reprimanded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his cruel treatment to a sick person, and ordered to make full prostrations by his side. He did not even know how to make full prostrations then, and asked the Dharma brothers there how to proceed. His foolishness at the time was indeed beyond description. That evening, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, having received all visiting believers, told him to come up and asked compassionately whether he was tired or not. In spite of his heavy breathing, he said he was not tired at all. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said to him, “Now it is very cold outside. With your body full of sweats, you must put on warm clothes on your way home, and must not catch cold. Now you can register for attending the Chod Puja.” The words of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche greatly touched him and immediately relieved him of all fatigue. As a compassionate great practitioner, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had just received so many believers and, now, in spite of the guru’s tiredness, he was still concerned about this vicious believer. After walking out of the Buddhist Center, the male disciple felt warm inside and out, not at all noticing the chilly winter night in late December.

After attending the Chod Puja for the first time, he was deeply touched by the Dharma taught by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He thought to himself, “The teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche are indeed enlightening. It would be great if I could attend the puja every week!” And then he came to Richen Dorjee Rinpoche, imploring the guru for allowing him to attend the regular puja on Sundays. When asked why he wanted to attend the puja, he again became stuttering. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked him straightforwardly how many times he had read the book Happiness and Suffering. He was again astounded, wondering how the guru knew that he had the book. He answered with uneasiness that he had read it only once. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Come back to implore again after you read it ten times!” After he did read the book ten times, he came to the Buddhist Center to implore for attending the regular puja and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed. That made him very happy, like a student getting accepted into a top university. It was the wondrous elation that he had never experienced before and did not know how to describe it.

After attending eight regular pujas, he began to truly respect Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as a compassionate great practitioner and wanted to follow him to learn Buddhism. So he again sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After counting the number of times he had attended the pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “I am a very strict guru. Are you sure you want to take refuge with me?” He answered in the affirmative. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said OK. At that moment, he suddenly felt so touched, almost to the point of breaking into tears, feeling like a person adrift at sea finally seeing a lighthouse, with his heart beaming with delight and gratitude.

After taking refuge, he was grateful that with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s consistent compassionate blessings for him and his family, his wife and daughter gradually accepted him again. He was also grateful for the opportunity to take his school-hating daughter to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. During the meeting, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche granted a vajra knot to his daughter and blessed her, instructing her to always wear the knot. After that, his wife gave the nod for him to return home. One day when he took his daughter to see the doctor, she suddenly said, “Dad, I want to go to school.” At that moment, he felt as happy as having won a big lottery, shouting in his heart, “My deep gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!” At noon of the same day, when he took his daughter to lunch after she finished the morning session of the school, he was so excited that he wrote down his exciting thoughts on a piece of napkin, which his daughter has always cherished and put it in her school bag to this day.

He knew deep inside that without the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, his daughter would not have been what she was like now. After his daughter was allowed to attend the Chod and the regular pujas, his daughter’s dizziness caused by the shadow of domestic violence had also disappeared. Furthermore, his daughter used to be physically weak. When she was in the second grade, she was often mistaken for a kindergartener. With the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had grown very quickly and become able to go to school normally. In spite of a break of nearly one school year, she received a certificate of merit last semester praising her diligence in school. This filled him with gratitude for the blessings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He was determined to learn Buddhism diligently to repay the guru’s great kindness.

He had a colleague who practiced Exoteric Buddhism. This year he invited the colleague to attend the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. The next day after the Puja, his colleague showed him several crystalline objects, saying that he usually found such objects on the site of the puja or in his home after attending his master’s pujas. His master told him before that the crystalline objects are “Dharma-praising relics”, the manifestation signifying that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas praised the merits of the presiding guru. According to his colleague, the fact that he found the “Dharma-praising relics” in his home after attending the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness was a sure sign that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s merits were praised by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and that those treasures should be presented to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

He did not understand the meaning of the matter. So, on Saturday (September 1, 2012) when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche received the believers, he and his colleague presented the “Dharma-praising relics” to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rather than accepting the objects, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked his colleague whether he was benefited from the Grand Puja. His colleague answered, “Yes, the Puja was very auspicious.” Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said peacefully, “what matters is the beneficial effect of the Puja and all the rest are nothing but byproducts and therefore not important! As the Diamond Sutra teaches,‘All Dharma stem from the mind.’ If you think they are relics, then they are, and if you think they are not relics, then they are not; you don’t have to show them to me. Just keep them to yourself. The Grand Puja sees all sentient beings as equal. If I accept them, what are the other believers who do not get the crystalline objects supposed to do? That will generate discrimination.”

After that, his colleague expressed admiration for the great compassion as well as profound wisdom of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because he has only the sentient beings in his mind, always concerned with whether the sentient beings have benefited from the pujas without the slightest thought of his own merits. His colleague said that the male disciple was really fortunate to take refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, the male disciple felt ashamed and repented deeply that while he received such great blessed rewards from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he himself had not done anything worthy of the rewards. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often teaches the disciples to rid themselves of the greed for merits. Moreover, the guru does everything for the benefit of all sentient beings without seeking any merits for himself.

He repented that while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had done so much for him and his family and provided the best conditions for him to learn Buddhism, yet he failed to act according to the guru’s teachings and often indulged himself. He even did not seize the precious opportunity to attend the morning and evening prayer sessions in the Buddhist Center. After taking refuge, he had attended only three evening prayer sessions before he was deprived of the privilege when he was late for lack of discipline. He also repented that he did not explain the things in the Buddhist Center truthfully to his believer-wife and that it was through the great efforts of the Dharma brothers to make patient explanations to his wife so that she did not commit verbal karma due to misunderstanding.

He also repented that as a civil servant, he did not keep what Richen Dorjee Rinpoche taught, “Civil servants accumulate blessed rewards fast, but they create evil karma even faster”, in mind. He did things only for his own convenience with little regard to the impact on others including his colleagues and general public. He always thought conceitedly that without him, his superiors and peers would accomplish nothing and held them with disparagement. Furthermore, he often set traps for others and absolved himself of responsibility, not only failing to accumulate blessed rewards but creating much evil karma. He was the kind of people without proper attitude at work criticized by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche during the regular puja last week, and his vice was even greater given his status as a civil servant living on the taxes paid by the people. He was not only unworthy of the kindness of the guru but also fell short of the expectation of the people. He expressed the determination to, from now on, rectify his body, speech and mind to be a true Buddhist disciple.

At last, he prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche have good health, keep turning the Dharma wheel, and spread the Dharma in the world eternally.

Then another male disciple came forward to express his gratitude for the opportunity granted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to praise openly the wisdom and virtues of the guru before sharing with the assembly how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped him.

During a regular puja two weeks ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness for 2012 was held in Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall on August 26. As the venue was very spacious, after great efforts by the audio service provider and the disciples, the problem of echo produced by the speakers remained unsolved. However, the problem was eventually solved at the instruction of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

This male disciple was responsible for the audio setting of the Great Puja and knew better than anyone else about how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, with his great wisdom, solved the echo problem that all others were unable to. Therefore, during the last puja, when speaking of the problems related to the audio system, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave him the opportunity to praise the virtues of the guru. At that time, in spite of his overjoy at the privilege, he was so nervous that his mind went blank and as a result failed to report the wisdom and virtue of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to the assembly clearly and completely. Given the lack of clarity of his statement last time, he would like to take advantage of the present occasion to praise the wisdom and compassionate aspiration of the guru and the guru’s dedication to benefiting all sentient beings by narrating how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche solved the problem so that the Grant Puja could proceed smoothly, enabling all believers attending the Puja to hear clearly the precious Dharma teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

When the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center held the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness in Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall for the first time in 2010, he was responsible for setting up audio, video and lighting equipment. Before the event, he discussed with the contractors about the audio, video and lighting equipment needed for the Grand Puja.

When he mentioned that the venue of the event was Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall, the contractor for audio set-up immediately chipped in, saying that no one would choose it as the venue to hold a Grand Puja for 20,000 people because, according to him, the hall was designed for exhibition purpose and not suitable for events requiring audio and video equipment. As the venue was very spacious, the echo problem would be very serious. Any contractor who undertook the project would be asking for trouble and ruining his own reputation. According to the experience of the contractor, the largest event they had undertaken occupied no more than half of the total area of Nangang Exhibition Hall, and the echo problem at that event was already very serious. If the whole venue was to be used, the echo problem would be absolutely insurmountable, said the contractor frankly.

He explained to the contractor that there were a constantly increasing number of believers to attend the Grand Puja for Transferring Consciousness presided by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which would benefited countless sentient beings. At present, Nangang Exhibition Hall was the only venue in Taipei that could accommodate more than 20,000 people. There was simply no other option. So he urged the contractor to do the utmost to solve the tricky issue.

He worked with the contractor to consider various methods of reducing echo. One method was to hang sound-absorbing curtains, but because of its high cost and unguaranteed effect, the method was dropped. Eventually, the contractor worked out what they considered to be a practical solution, where they, based on computer simulation, would divide the front, middle and rear zones, with speakers installed in the front of each zone, facing the audience. They considered it to be the most viable solution.

As each speaker would produce a kind of echo, and there were eight speakers, each magnifying in the same direction, so the echo would still be very loud. But the contractor said that it was the best solution that they could come up with according to their expertise. He remained very uneasy but did not know what to do about it.

Fortunately, it was a custom of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to meet with the organizing staff before each Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, where he would listen to the report of each person-in-charge and give instructions. There was really nothing that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not know. He knew better about the various matters even better than those in charge. That was really incredible! And Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche only asked questions about matters that the persons-in-charge neglected or needed to improve.

When he reported the echo problem in the venue, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche motioned with his hand on the map illustration and instructed that the directions of the speakers in the middle and rear zones be adjusted inwardly about 45 degrees, and added, “That will solve the echo problem!” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also instructed him to ask for a discount from the contractor because the method was the guru’s intellectual property rights and could be used by the contractor for similar occasions in the future. So the request for a discount was reasonable.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always makes the best arrangements for all sentient beings. After he told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions to the contractor, the contractor agreed to give a discount of NTD 60,000. The contractor simulated the arrangement given by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and found that it did solve the echo problem, bringing an excellent audio effect in the whole venue. With his profound wisdom, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only solved the difficult echo problem but also saved a large amount of money to support the Grand Puja for the benefits of all sentient beings.

On the day of the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, he walked around the venue to check the audio effect and found to his great satisfaction and relief that everything was verygood. He was absolutely amazed by the great wisdom of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, an omnipotent great practitioner. The method instructed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche confined the echo to the aisles in the middle and rear zones, so that the audience was not disturbed by any noise. That was really extraordinary! He and the contractor never thought of this seemingly simple method.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that the reason he had the wisdom to solve the echo problem in Nangang Exhibition Hall was because of his aspiration to benefit all sentient beings. This put the male disciple who had spent many years studying audio engineering to great shame and he was determined to learn Buddhism from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche more diligently.

He continued to share how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had blessed him and given peace to his mind and his experience from the eight years of following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Buddhism.

In January of this year (2012), during the puja presided over by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in Japan, the guru said, “no one except the disciple, who is responsible for the audio engineering, can operate the audio equipment in Japan. In case the disciple dies, will there be any one else available to do it?” At that time, he had serious digestive problems and therefore mistook what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said as an indication that his life was numbered and he would soon die. He became very distressed and intuitively resisted the idea of death by looking for reasons why he should not die, such as that he had parents and wife and children to provide for. Soon, he remembered what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught all along and became aware of his wrongful thinking. It dawned on him that all those years, including the eight years since he took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the previous many years of learning Exoteric Buddhism, he had been learning Buddhism in the wrong mindset. It was only by this time, when he really confronted the imminent prospect of death, that he realized his long-standing misconception in learning Buddhism. Thereby he appreciated that what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said was meant to give him an opportunity to rectify his mindset in learning Buddhism.

In that period, his gastrointestinal troubles were so serious that it felt as if a knife had cut into his esophagus even when drinking water, which made him think of the suffering in the Hell of Blade Mountain. He felt that his life was being drained of vigor with each passing day, which, coupled his difficulty of food intake, convinced him that it was not long before he died. At that time, he had signed up to attend the morning and evening prayer sessions. With his weak physical conditions and the fear of death, he gave a call to the group leader asking to be excused, but was told that “since you have signed up, you must come no matter what happens unless you are dead”. So he went accordingly, dragging his weak body to attend all morning and evening prayer sessions punctually. During the evening prayer session, he became so weak that it was difficult to recite mantras, but suddenly, he felt a stream of warm flow running from the scalp to his heart and spreading throughout his body, making all his discomfort disappear and his vitality regenerate. That was really unbelievable! He trusted that it was all because of the blessings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Before he took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he was not well due to excessive eating of seafood, and because none of his symptoms were attributed to any physical disease, he was diagnosed with psychosomatic disorder. As a result, he took many sedative medications and antidepressants, which had the side effect of making him unable to think and causing him to have severe headache. After he took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, there were several times that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, while passing by him, blessed him with a special look. Every time when he came back home after being so blessed, he would have headache, and he knew that this was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings at work. After several times, his headache became gradually less severe until one day he suddenly realized to his great surprise that he could remember telephone numbers and the corresponding persons. From then on, he was able to think clearly and no longer troubled by headache.

One day, in his early 30s when he was lying on his stomach on the bed, his son jumped from the window sill onto his back and inured his spine. He did not feel any seriousness of the injury and the pain disappeared after several days. However, several years later, the old back injury came back and rendered him unable to lift anything, and if he lifted anything, he would have to lie in bed, unable to even turn his back the following day. From this experience he came to see that one’s karmic creditors are actually here in one’s own home.

After he took refuge with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he began to make full prostrations according to the teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. One day, he made up to 800 full prostrations, which again triggered his backache, so he was almost paralyzed on the bed the second day and found it very difficult to turn his back. However, he managed to continue to make full prostrations. Gradually, his back pain improved and he did not know when he became pain free. One day he volunteered to help someone lift something, and the next day he did not collapse like before; everything was perfectly normal. He expressed his gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, praising that the compassion, blessings and benefits that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon him were beyond description.

He deeply felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took great care of not only the discipless but also their families. After January of this year (2012), he had a thorough self-reflection and thereby corrected his mindset in learning Buddhism; he attributed it to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s special blessings for this change to take place. All things that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did were for the benefits of the sentient beings and he would follow the guru’s example to do everything with the benefits of the sentient beings in his mind from now on. He told the assembly that it was a great fortune for them to have Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, a great practitioner rarely seen in hundreds of years, as their guru and that they should cherish the precious opportunity and act according to the guru’s teachings. He ended his remarks by expressing the hope that everyone follows Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings diligently in order to be reborn in the Pure Land.

Then the assembly sat quietly until the conclusion of the puja.

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Updated on December 8, 2012