His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – October 12, 2014

Before the puja began, a disciple thanked His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for bestowing upon him the opportunity to share with the attendees an account of the causes and conditions that had led him to take refuge, and of how the guru had helped him and his family.

Early on the morning of January 30th, 2010, while undergoing an operation for late-stage liver cancer, the disciple’s mother had gotten an infection that had led to septicemia and caused her to pass away. Having never before organized a funeral for a loved one, the family had not known what to do, so he’d chanted for his mom for more than an hour in accordance with the Rebirth Mantra he had learned. He had continued chanting until the people from the funeral service had come, and he and his family members had then chanted the Buddha’s name following the chant from a chanting recorder and folded paper lotus flowers. The funeral service had even arranged sutra recitations and such rituals as the Seven Day Ritual, but the whole time it had felt to him that they were just doing it for appearances’ sake, and that it would not help the deceased. Later, a neighbor had asked them whether or not they wished to go to a nearby Buddhist center to write their mother’s name on a memorial tablet in order to transfer her consciousness. The disciple and his younger sister had decided that they were willing to do whatever it took to help their mother, so after entering the Buddhist center, they had joined the other attendees in their sutra recitations. He and his sister had both felt that the recitations there were much more solemnly and auspiciously organized than had been the ones arranged by the funeral service. Afterward, they had therefore participated in the pujas of a few other Exoteric Buddhist centers in order to perform the Seven Day Ritual for their mother and have her consciousness transferred.

After returning to work at his company, a colleague who had learned of his mother’s passing had sent a text message expressing his condolences and asked if there was anything he could do to help. The disciple had answered that he was fine, and that this wasn’t the sort of thing that anyone could really help with. For some reason, however, he had suddenly added, “I’d love to hear your views on the matter.” As it happened, this coworker was a Dharma brother of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. That same day, he had hurried over looking for the disciple. After gaining an understanding of his situation, the Dharma brother had told him, “My guru is an extremely capable master practitioner; he can transfer your mother’s consciousness.” After sharing with him a few of his personal experiences, the Dharma brother had given him a copy of Happiness and Suffering and said that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche received believers on Saturdays; if he felt the need, he could sign up to seek an audience. He had added that while imploring Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to liberate his mother, he must do so in a respectful frame of mind. The disciple had gone home and discussed this with his family. Seeing the Dharma photo of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in Happiness and Suffering had made his younger sister very happy. She had said that the guru looked quite dignified and compassionate. Right then and there the two of them had decided to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche together.

After they had arrived at the Buddhist Center, and while they knelt before His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had very compassionately asked, “What can I do for you?” The disciple had answered, “We implore you, Rinpoche, to please transfer our mother’s consciousness.” After asking them their mother’s name, zodiac sign, and the cause of her illness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had meditated for a while and then told them, “Your mother suffered a great deal before passing away.” The guru had then said that when their mother was little she had been very naughty, and had once played with the head of a Buddhist figurine. In addition, she had very heavy karma from killing. At the time they had not understood this very clearly; they had thought that their mother had not particularly been involved in the business of killing! Little did they know, in order to make a living and take care of the whole family, their mother had run a business and done household chores including cooking many dishes. There was no telling how many sentient beings she had harmed.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then asked, “Did your mother ever have an abortion?” He had answered that she had not. The guru had asked, “Well then, did any of her children die prematurely?” He had answered that his younger brother had died in a car accident at the age of two. Next, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “There are other members of your family who did not come today, correct?” He had answered, “My older brother said he was going to take our dad to another Buddhist center.” His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then explained, “The transference of consciousness is a very serious matter—one which should be done with extreme caution—and it involves some very complex factors. In the sutras it is written that we must ‘extensively participate in Buddhist activities on behalf of the deceased,’ but that does not mean running around from Buddhist center to Buddhist center. The word guang, or ‘extensively,’ means your mind must be vast; shi, or ‘activities,’ refer to acts that help sentient beings leave the suffering of reincarnation. Only if you can do this are you ‘extensively participating in Buddhist activities on behalf of the deceased.'”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately said, “First I will protect your mother’s consciousness so that she does not fall into the Three Evil Realms. You are welcome to go to other Buddhist centers to seek liberation for her; if you end up feeling they haven’t done a good job and that you still need help, then come back with your family and seek an audience with me together.” As they were about to leave, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had added, “Someone in your family is involved in a conflict over property. This is bound to make the deceased unhappy.” The disciple had wondered, How can this be? After all, his family members were few and unsophisticated; there wasn’t any family property to fight over. After he had returned home and made some inquiries, it had turned out that his dad had been hoping that the disciple’s older brother would move back in, and only then their father would give him the deed to the apartment. However, his older brother had had a different opinion on the matter. Then and there the disciple had asked them to not bring it up again. After thinking about it carefully, the disciple had realized that although the sutra recitations and Seven Day Ritual performed for his mother had all seemed very auspicious, no one at any of those Buddhist centers had ever been able to explain the details of liberation so clearly. The following week, he and his younger sister had taken their dad and their older brother with them to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

He had reported to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “This week I have brought my dad and older brother here with me to implore you to liberate my mother.” Smiling, the guru had said, ” I completely forgot about this matter.” After chanting a mantra in meditation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had explained, “The thing your mom is worried about is your dad’s and sister’s health.” After hearing this, the disciple’s younger sister had felt quite moved, because while still in hospital their mother had said that his younger sister should take good care of herself after she was gone so as not to get such a terrible illness as she had. Next His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said that their mother had only been able to find the guru for help with transferring her consciousness because she had previously participated in pujas. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then instructed them to sign up to participate in the Chod Puja.

His mother’s cremation had happened before the Chod Puja was held. Afterward, in accordance with the folk custom agreed upon with the funeral service, he had taken his mother’s memorial tablet home. Thus, he had told his sister to pay special attention to how their mother’s skull looked after the cremation. She had said that she could see two small, round holes on the top of it, and that the bone was pink, just like the photographs on the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s website. He was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate liberation and for the arrangements made by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He was also grateful to his Dharma brother. Only by way of his introduction had he—an ordinary person, both ignorant of the Dharma and lacking in good fortune—been able, despite his circumstances, to meet such a genuinely meritorious, compassionate grand practitioner and obtain help for his mother. He would spend the rest of his life trying to repay the debt of gratitude he owed His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Ever since he was little, he had often pondered the meaning of life. After his mother’s death he had gained an even stronger sense of the impermanence of life and the faults and torment of reincarnation. After participating in the auspicious Chod Puja and carefully listening to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s propitious and profound yet easy to understand teachings, he had felt even more that practicing Buddhism was life’s most important and precious undertaking. After participating in the Chod Puja for a year, the Dharma brother had told him that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would soon be presiding over a Refuge Puja for believers, and that he could implore to take refuge if he wanted to. He was grateful to the Dharma brother for always sharing the guru’s merits with him so enthusiastically. That very week he had gone to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche so that he could implore to take refuge. When the guru had asked him why, he had responded, “I want to learn the Dharma so that I can become liberated from life and death.” With compassion, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “Go register then!” And so on January 16th, 2011 he had formally taken refuge as a disciple of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. He was grateful to the guru for having been willing to take him on as a disciple despite his ignorance and low root capacity.

Next, the disciple shared an account of his participation on New Year’s Day of last year (2013) in the auspicious Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja presided over by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Kyoto, Japan. Before the trip there, a Dharma brother had informed him that arrangements had been made for him to be a volunteer whose job would be to stand in the little corridor separating the outer gate and the main gate of the Buddhist Center. There he would maintain order before and after the puja, guiding the participants so that they could enter and exit smoothly. The Dharma brother had told him that all personnel must go in and out through the side door next to the main gate, and that the large door of the main gate generally should not be opened. That day he had followed his Dharma brothers in through the side door and taken up his duties, showing the puja participants the way in. However, he had not noticed that at some point the large door of the main gate had been opened and people were coming in through it one after another. As the puja was about to begin he had hurried over to shut the main gate, and had entered the Buddhist Center. He then had happily participated in the auspicious Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja.

After His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne, the disciple had run over and opened the outer gate, completely forgetting the Dharma brother’s instructions that everyone should enter and exit via the side door next to the main gate After a while just about everyone had left; it was getting near dusk, and the one or two remaining Dharma brothers had been about to go. However, the light inside the Buddhist Center had still been on, but no one else had come out. At first he had hesitated a moment, but after thinking it over he had decided that his ushering duties were over. He had then walked with the remaining Dharma brothers down the hill and boarded the tour bus. That evening, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had paid a visit to the hotel to eat dinner with the disciples. Before the meal, a Dharma brother had asked about the large door of the main gate not staying closed. The disciple had said, “It was my responsibility; I didn’t keep it closed.” Just then he had wondered what he had done wrong. Later, after turning it over in his mind, he had realized that if it had been his own home he would not have left the door open like that even for a minute. He had felt regret for having made such a mistake, and wondered how he could have been so careless.

After returning to Taiwan, he had gone to seek an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and to repent. After the guru asked what the matter was, the disciple had reported what had happened at the main gate, and repented for not having been conscientious enough. In the blink of an eye, the kindly expression on His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s face had become stern as stone. In a loud voice he had scolded, “It’s not that you weren’t conscientious; it’s that you do not respect your guru. You thought someone behind you would close it. Do you know what your karmic retribution will be? It will be that in the future, no one will close any doors for you.” The disciple had not dared to say a word. All he had been able to think was, Please don’t kick me out. Please don’t kick me out. After a long moment, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told him to kneel off to the side. After returning home that evening the disciple had turned the events over in his head and realized that he did indeed lack respect. If he had been respectful, he would have handled things with the point of view of the guru and the Buddhist Center instead of just thinking, Okay, my job is done!, and hurrying down to board the bus. Nor would he have assumed that someone behind him would close the gate. Furthermore, he not only had disrespected the guru, but had disrespected others as well. All along he had acted according to his own feelings, likes, and dislikes. He had done only what he felt he should, and then considered his job complete. Because he had also been disrespectful toward his Dharma brother, he had forgotten the instructions he had been given by him. He had also neglected to ask for advice when he had encountered a problem. When it came to other people, he was truly unconscientious; he was only careful and attentive when it came to his own affairs.

The following week he had again sought an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and had repented for having disrespected the guru. He had also implored the guru to punish him. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately permitted him to repent by performing grand prostrations. During his audience with the guru he had wanted to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to teach him how to accumulate good fortune and causal conditions for his elderly father, but he had not dared to ask. However, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows everything. During the general puja held the next day, the guru had taught how to accumulate good fortune and causal conditions for one’s parents. The disciple was extremely grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After returning home he had ridden his bicycle out to go shopping. After riding and riding, his eyes had suddenly brimmed with hot tears. It had been a very unique sensation, like a current of warmth that had completely filled his body and mind. It had dawned on him that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was constantly looking after his disciples, was aware of all their problems—even those that they have kept completely to themselves—and was already helping them despite their mistakes. With gratitude, he said that he really was extremely fortunate to be His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciple and to have such a guru who is always bestowing blessings.

Because of having given rise to a newfound respect, during the pujas over the next few weeks he had been better able to concentrate while listening to the Dharma. Once, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was testing the monastics, the disciple had suddenly thought, Isn’t this the exact same way in which Bodhisattvas come to Earth such as the Sixth Patriarch Huineng, the old monk Guang Qin, and so on taught their disciples? This thought had further strengthened his feelings of respect. Sure enough, just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once taught, by viewing the guru as the Buddha, he could obtain the Buddha’s blessings; by viewing the guru as a Bodhisattva, he could obtain a Bodhisattva’s blessings; and by viewing the guru as an ordinary person, he could only obtain an ordinary person’s blessings. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught all of this before; the quality and number of Buddhist blessings one could receive depended on his or her degree of respectfulness.

He, his girlfriend, and his father had all experienced some problems over the past year. First, after New Year’s, his girlfriend had suffered from hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal pains. She lived in Taoyuan, and ordinarily he lived with his father in Zhonghe. However, during the holidays he would go and stay in his own place in Taoyuan. During the Qingming Festival his father had gone back to Mainland China to sweep his ancestors’ graves. After the general puja held on April 6th (Sunday), the disciple had returned to his home in Zhonghe, quickly gotten some things together, and then driven to Taoyuan. That Monday he had taken his girlfriend to work in Taipei. On Monday evening, while taking his girlfriend back to Taoyuan, she had suddenly said she did not feel well and wanted him to take her to his place in Taoyuan first so that she could use the toilet. While having her bowel movement there she had excreted a blood clot and abruptly fainted. After waking her up, he had immediately taken her to the hospital emergency room. On the way there a neighbor in Zhonghe had phoned to inform him that the door of his apartment had been left open all day long. The neighbor had poked her head in and hollered, but no one had answered, and she had not dared to go inside. Later she had called the neighborhood official to go over and take a look, but it was evening before anyone had gone into the apartment to confirm that no one was home; so she had hurried up and called the disciple to let him know. Because he had to take his girlfriend to the hospital he had been unable to return to Zhonghe; he had therefore asked the neighbor to shut the door for him. He knew that this had been an instance of exactly what His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said would happen while admonishing him for leaving the main gate of the Buddhist Center open: That in the future, no one would close any doors for him.

After checking his girlfriend over, the doctor had been of the opinion that she had fainted due to anemia and excessive hemorrhoidal bleeding. After she had received blood transfusion and been released from hospital, the disciple had hurried home to Zhonghe. Nothing inside the apartment had looked out of place; he had probably neglected to close the door when he had left the night before. This apartment was in Zhonghe and on the first floor of the building; anyone walking by could easily have walked straight in. However, even though the door had been left wide open all night and all day, nothing had gone missing. All of this had been thanks to the blessings and protection of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. Furthermore, this incident had given him a profound appreciation of the fact that everything that happens to sentient beings has a cause and effect; any cause planted in the past is guaranteed to come to fruition one day in the form of karmic retribution. He was grateful for the auspicious teachings of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that had guided him through his ignorance.

After her hemorrhoidectomy, his girlfriend had continued to feel a great deal of discomfort, so in June she’d had a colonoscopy and had been found to have colorectal cancer. In July, an examination had revealed fecal occult blood in his father’s stool, and his colonoscopy had shown him to have colorectal cancer, too. Under the blessings and protection of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, both of them had made it safely through their surgery and treatment. During the examinations and operations, the disciple had frequently visualized His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowing blessings upon his girlfriend’s and his father’s head, as well as all of the sentient beings they had ever harmed. His girlfriend had taken refuge at an Exoteric Buddhist center, so throughout her treatment regimen she would often chant Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s name. Still, she had not been able to bring an image of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to mind; instead the Dharma image of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had kept popping into her head. They were very grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.

His father had always implored blessings from traditional folk beliefs. Although he still worshipped the gods and his ancestors, after his operation he had expressed his willingness to eat vegetarian with the disciple and his younger sister. When their father was young, he had sold pig stomachs at the market wholesale to restaurants. Later, while selling oyster noodle soup, he had cut piece by piece off of pigs’ large intestines and put them in the soup. In addition, while running a noodle stall with the disciple’s mother, his father had harmed many sentient beings. The suffering his father had endured during his medical treatment had been akin to the suffering felt by all those sentient beings he had harmed. The disciple wished to repent to these sentient beings on his father’s behalf.

As for himself, he had been diagnosed with thrombocytosis. In recent years his blood platelet count had grown higher and higher, and a doctor of Western medicine had said that he had to start taking medication for it or else his body would be liable to produce blood clots which could lead to strokes or even osteomyelofibrosis. If this worsened, it could become leukemia and so on. The disciple had known that there must be a reason for his having this sort of illness, so he did not want to take medicine to combat the sentient beings living within his body. He had therefore gone to see a doctor at the Glorious Jewel Group’s Chinese Medicine Clinic—Doctor Huang—who had felt his pulse and asked whether or not he had felt any sharp stabbing pains in his body or suffered any insomnia. The disciple said that if he ignored the blood platelet numbers, he was no different from any normal person. Doctor Huang had sighed and said, “This is thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.” After asking about it, he had learned that people suffering from thrombocytosis often experienced sharp stabbing pains and had trouble sleeping. The disciple had then understood that without knowing it, he had always been under the care of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.

He was grateful to the guru for always taking care of him. Lately his blood platelet count had fallen to 810,000, and the doctor of Western medicine had stopped insisting that he take medication. He was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having compassionately established the traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic so that all who attended could be given good medical care. He was also grateful to Doctor Huang’s careful and attentive treatment. These recent problems had given him a profound sense that impermanence really is always with us. Without the guru and the Dharma, he truly would not know how to face the many difficulties of the mundane world. He had also discovered that if he did not have a guru to follow he was truly inadequate, and even more helpless when faced with the suffering of the people whom he held dear. He wanted to repent for not having praised the guru for his merits very often; this had prevented his relatives from having faith. Because he had not changed his ways, his friends and family had not had a chance to get close to Buddhism.

Next, he repented for the various evil acts he had committed in the past. He repented that ever since he was little, he had caused his parents and others to commit countless acts of killing for the sake of his desire to eat good food. He repented for having gone fishing for fish and shrimp. After catching shrimp, he had cruelly jabbed bamboo skewers through their bodies, roasted them over coals, and eaten them. Later on, despite having made a vow never to take the life of a sentient being again, in his ignorance he had continued to eat meat and seafood, not knowing that this was no different from killing sentient beings. He repented for having intentionally and unintentionally harmed many of them. He repented for stealing money when he was a child, for stealing stationary, for not being sincere at his job, for not putting his all into his work, for wasting his company’s time, and for having broken the precept against stealing. He repented for having read and watched pornographic material, and for having had frequent sexual fantasies about other people. He repented for having uttered words that had often been sharp and unkind. He had spoken nonsense for his own amusement, harming others both on purpose and accidentally. He repented for having lacked respect for the Dharma and the guru.

When he recalled all the evil acts he committed before taking refuge, he truly felt that his only possible fate was to fall into the Three Evil Realms. He repented for not having kept a close watch on his acts of body, speech, and mind since taking refuge. Often he would think about something, say something, or do something before he understood it was wrong, and then he would regret it to no end. He is a vile sort of disciple, with the lowest of root capacities. He knew that without the causal condition provided by his mother’s liberation, and had he not started following His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, then to this day he would still just be floating along at the whim of his karma without the slightest opportunity to become liberated from life and death. He vowed to control his thoughts, words, and acts from that point on, to conscientiously keep the Five Precepts and practice the Ten Meritorious Acts, to believe deeply in cause and effect, to listen to and act in accordance with the guru’s teachings, and to diligently practice the Dharma. He wanted to go a step further and become liberated from life and death, and benefit sentient beings. He also sincerely implored the guru to continue teaching him and correcting his mistakes. Finally, he prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have good health, maintain an eternal presence in the world, and keep turning the Dharma wheel so that the Dharma would be spread far and wide and the Drikung Kagyu Lineage would flourish forever.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Refuge Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei, during which nineteen believers had taken refuge, and bestowed precious Dharma teachings.

“Today some believers from overseas implored to take refuge, so before they do, I’ll talk briefly about the Dharma and about what taking refuge means. In this age of human history, before Shakyamuni Buddha was born, people felt very uncertain about the future and lived in constant fear. Because of this, and still before Shakyamuni Buddha was born, humans placed their future hopes in the protection of ghosts, deities, and ancestors; even so, they continued to live in fear. This lasted until Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in this world, an event that marked the beginning of Buddhism.

“Did Shakyamuni Buddha only attain Buddhahood after having spent a lifetime in this world as a human? According to what was recorded in the sutras, Shakyamuni Buddha spent many lifetimes in continuous practice, cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, before coming to this Saha World to liberate sentient beings. The ‘Saha World’ refers to humans on Earth who, according to the sutras, are the most difficult sentient beings to liberate in the universe. The Buddha used two phrases to describe humanity: ‘obstinate and conceited’ (stubborn and self-righteous, in other words), and ‘difficult to tame and difficult to teach’ (which means it is very difficult to adjust our attitudes and subdue our minds). Before Shakyamuni Buddha arrived, while in Bodhisattva Maitreya’s Pure Land, the Tuṣita Heaven, many Bodhisattvas advised Shakyamuni Buddha not to come here because the humans of Earth are so difficult to handle. However, the more difficult to tame and teach people were, the more Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to go there, so Shakyamuni Buddha was reborn into this world.

“According to history, Shakyamuni Buddha was born in a part of India very close to what is now known as Nepal. Shakyamuni Buddha’s father was the king, so Shakyamuni was born a prince, the heir. When the king brought in a fortuneteller to tell his son’s fortune, the fortuneteller told the king that Shakyamuni would be a practitioner who would abandon everything to go practice. Because of this, the king forced Shakyamuni to grow up inside the imperial palace, and never allowed Him to leave. Shakyamuni married and had children, so was not born a saint as you might imagine; Shakyamuni Buddha, too, experienced life as a human.

“One day, when Shakyamuni Buddha was about twenty years old, he snuck out on the back of a horse. As Shakyamuni Buddha passed through each of the four palace gates, He saw with His own eyes the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death, as well as a woman giving birth to a child. Medicine might be very advanced in this day and age; many people think having a child is quite a simple matter—but it is still very painful. For example, not long ago a disciple who has taken refuge for many years got pregnant and had a child, and suddenly began to suffer from a condition unique to recent mothers—pregnancy-induced hypertension.” Right then and there, a disciple who was a doctor explained in medical terms that pregnancy-induced hypertension was also known as ‘pre-eclampsia,’ a condition in which the pregnant mother developed high blood pressure, edema, kidney malfunction, the possibility of suffering a stroke, and so on. Furthermore, this stress tended to affect the child still in the womb, and if serious, could cause convulsions, death, or birth defects.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued. “This disciple’s father was a fortuneteller and a feng shui diviner. In 1997, after seeing me, she and her sister wanted to take refuge. This made their father uneasy, because it was his opinion that the world was full of religious fraudsters. So he brought an army of friends with him to check me out. At the time I was running a tea house, so it was my duty to take care of any customers that might visit. Their father brought with him a person with supernatural powers, a person who could speak Tibetan, and a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine; furthermore, being that he himself was a fortuneteller and physiognomy reader, he wanted to test me.

“The minute the one with the supernatural powers saw me, he was at a loss for words, because he saw that a bunch of Dharma protectors were standing behind me. I didn’t ask them to be there; they were following me because they had been called forth by my cultivation. The person fluent in Tibetan spoke a heap of Tibetan at me. I told him I couldn’t understand Tibetan, but he knew nothing about the Dharma, so he became speechless as well. The third one was the traditional Chinese doctor, and I knew he wanted to put me to the test. So I asked him to do me a favor and check my chi¬-channels and tell me if I was healthy or not. After feeling my pulse, he said he had only felt chi¬-channels like those twice in his entire life: Those of the old monk Guang Qin, and mine. What this meant was that my chi¬-channels are not those of an ordinary person.

“As a result, the fortuneteller relaxed and thought, This fellow is okay after all, and left his daughters here to learn the Dharma from me. However, from the time they took refuge to today, he has continued to think he’s the best fortuneteller in the world, and is still not convinced that I am more capable than he is. When I saw him recently he had white hair, even though he is younger than I am. He looked so old I did not have the heart to admonish him. Thus, on the day that disciple sought an audience with me, I asked her, ‘Isn’t your father really good at fortunetelling? He should tell your fortune for you so that all your problems would go away!’

“No matter how good you might think you are at fortunetelling, nothing that you do can tell the future as well as cause and effect. After I blessed her, her blood pressure immediately returned to normal. After that, she gave birth just as she had wished. The day they brought the child here with them I explained that I would not help change his name, because from ancient times the custom has been for people who make a living from fortunetelling to be lonely, poor (unable to save money for the future), and crippled. You yourselves have seen that many of these people are blind, lame, or missing a hand. In modern times people don’t believe in this sort of thing; they all think it’s just something that is said in order to seek luck and avoid calamity. Why do these things happen to fortunetellers? It is because everyone has his or her individual karma. Once karma matures, one should face it; it is bad to teach a person how to avoid it. Even if you succeed in teaching this to someone, it can only be avoided temporarily—not forever. Wouldn’t all those karmic creditors from past lives get angry about that? If someone were fated to have something happen to him tomorrow, but then as a result of a fortunetelling he figured out how to hold off catastrophe for a month, then on whom would his karmic creditors from past lives take out their resentment? On the fortuneteller, of course.

“I told them I would not help this child change his name, because half his genes were from the man who had raised his mother with money made from fortunetelling. As a result, the child began to have problems, too, such as jaundice and so on. He was supposed to go into an intensive care unit, but I chanted a bit and his bilirubin levels returned to normal. They called to say the disciple’s father wanted to come over and express his gratitude, but I said he didn’t need to. I don’t practice the Dharma and propagate Buddhism in order to be your friend; I don’t need you to come and thank me. No amount of money—ten million, a hundred million, or even all the wealth in the universe—is enough to express your gratitude for the Dharma. A truly grateful person is one who practices Buddhism. For this reason, I did not see him. I can be quite stubborn and blunt.

“For example, a few days ago a very important political figure suddenly called saying he had been thinking about me and wanted to meet with me. I told him that I don’t often think about people like that, so if he had suddenly thought about me and wanted to seek an audience, then unless it was a matter of national urgency, he would have to make an appointment. Why do I mention these things? It is because the only thing that can truly help us to change the future is Buddhism. Despite having taken refuge for more than ten years, that disciple still had more faith in her father than in the Dharma. Between her and her sister, her sister is the one without any problems, because she listens. This one didn’t listen; the result was she suffered in childbirth. There were problems with the child too. As parents, people could suffer a great deal.

“Shakyamuni Buddha witnessed the pain of childbirth and the suffering humans go through while being born. Why do we cry when we are born? Everyone cries at birth, first of all because living for nine months inside your mother’s womb is very hard. According to the sutras, being in a mother’s womb is as difficult as being in jail. By the time we are reincarnated—that is, after our consciousness has formed an affinity with our parents and entered the womb—we have already begun to be conscious; consciousness does not begin at birth. When a child is born, even if it’s a Caesarean birth, the child will feel like he or she is jammed between a pair of mountains and is being pulled out forcibly, so will cry immediately after coming out. Then the child will feel miserable, because he or she has to begin a lifetime of suffering all over again. Children remember what happened in their past lives; why is that? Anyone who has ever had children knows that in their first few years of life their skulls are very soft. As a result, they are very sensitive to ghosts and other things, because their heads are not completely sealed up.

“Children are born crying because it was very warm in their mothers’ tummies. When they are born they come in contact with a different temperature, so they cry; this is therefore the beginning of suffering. As Shakyamuni Buddha approached another gate of the palace, He saw an old man struggling with everything he tried to do; even when people helped him and gave him things, he still needed to rely solely on himself. Upon reaching another gate, Shakyamuni Buddha saw a woman suffering from a terrible illness. After riding to the fourth gate, He saw a person die, and witnessed all the pain and suffering he went through prior to death. As a result, upon returning to the palace, Shakyamuni Buddha sat down and thought, Why must humans endure the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death? Is there any way to make them not to have to suffer so all over again?

“For this reason, Shakyamuni Buddha abandoned the kingship He was to inherit and his household, and led six attendants deep into the mountains. There He engaged in ascetic practice, hoping to find a way to relieve the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death that all humans faced. Shakyamuni Buddha practiced in the mountains like this for six years. I don’t know whether you have ever seen a Buddhist statue or not, but because Shakyamuni Buddha did not eat or drink during that time, He practiced until He was very skinny. After six years, Shakyamuni Buddha felt that despite having practiced so diligently He still had not discovered a way to resolve the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death. Shakyamuni Buddha therefore left that place and came down from the mountains. After reaching the bank of a river, He saw a shepherdess leading a flock of sheep. When she saw how Shakyamuni Buddha’s skin clung to His bones, she offered Him a bowl of sheep’s milk. After drinking this, Shakyamuni Buddha sat beneath a Bodhi tree and meditated. In this case, meditation meant the cessation of all thought; not a single distracting or wandering thought entered Shakyamuni Buddha’s head. There He sat, deep into the night. Shakyamuni Buddha stared up at the stars in the sky, and only then did it suddenly hit him why humans must endure such suffering.

“Thus, in the instant of Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, He said, ‘Like me, all sentient beings possess the conditions for attaining Buddhahood. However, they insist on wandering through life completely lost; as a result, they cannot attain enlightenment.’ The day after attaining enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha left the Bodhi tree and saw the six attendants. When they saw that Shakyamuni Buddha was no longer an ascetic, at first they wanted to turn around and ignore Him. Shakyamuni Buddha walked over and spoke to them then, and this was the start of turning of the Dharma wheel with teachings of Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. After listening, the six attendants knew they had misjudged Shakyamuni Buddha, so they began practicing the Dharma that Shakyamuni Buddha taught them. From that point onward, Buddhism began to be propagated in the human world.

“Over the past two or three millennia, many sects and Dharma methods have grown within Buddhism. However, no matter which sect you belong to, the ultimate goal is to become liberated from life and death in this lifetime. In order to practice Buddhism you must hold the Refuge Ritual. What does taking refuge mean? In terms you would understand, to learn anything you must submit yourself before a teacher; this is the equivalent of having to register for school. Some people would ask whether or not they can still practice Buddhism without taking refuge. According to what is written in the sutras, you may not take refuge in the sutras and in Buddhist statues unless there are no practitioners within a circumference of five hundred miles of you. These days in Taiwan, however, such a condition does not exist. That is, if you think you can attain enlightenment by watching television and staying at home, then you are going against what the Buddha said.

“The most important meaning of taking refuge lies in what sort of life we live from the time we are born into this lifetime to the time we die. Whether or not you are hard-working, rich, or healthy, you still must go through the processes of birth, old age, sickness, and death; these are unavoidable. However, not even all of human knowledge accumulated up until now and even into the future can solve this problem, so we must learn a method to enable ourselves and sentient beings to leave this suffering behind. To that end we must rely on the teachings of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the guru; in other words, we cannot do it alone. On what in life do people now rely on? Some people think they can rely on academic learning; they think that after getting a degree and earning some money, they have something to rely on. Some people only feel at peace if they have a lot of money, and some people feel the same way about fame. None of these things is stable; no matter how much money you have, you still must suffer through birth, old age, sickness, and death.

“The purpose of taking refuge is definitely not to pray for a tranquil life or a healthy body; to have these does not require taking refuge. If you want peace and quiet, then stop interacting with people; your life will be more tranquil if you hide in a cave. Even there, however, you will not have complete tranquility, because many insects will come to visit you at night. Actually, complete tranquility does not exist anywhere in the universe. If you want to be physically healthy, then all you have to do is stop acting so recklessly; however, you still will suffer from birth, old age, sickness, and death. Prior to practicing Buddhism in this lifetime, we tend to allow our attitudes to grow lax so that we can do things that would benefit ourselves. However, once we go and do those things, we will harm sentient beings both directly and indirectly. As a result we have sown seeds for negative karmic retribution that we will reap in the future.

“The reason we have come to this world in this lifetime is that in our past lives we owed sentient beings, or they owed us. We have been reborn so that those debts can be repaid. Once they are cleared and this lifetime is finished, we will go on to the next lifetime. Many people think they won’t have a next lifetime, and that everything will end when this one does. Their only hope is to pursue happiness in this lifetime, because they cannot see into the next. In the sutras it is written that people who do not believe in cause and effect all have false views. Cause and effect were not invented by the Buddha; they are a dynamic law that exists throughout the universe. Any action is bound to have its resulting effect. Without the promise of a future lifetime, why should we toil so hard in this one? There would be no need for us to go to school, get married, or have a career. The next life might seem to you like a time and space of which you have no understanding, but can you possibly understand today what will happen tomorrow? Even if you have made thorough arrangements, the situation will often change so that all of those arrangements completely disappear. Are our future lives indeed a time and space that we cannot understand? Not at all.

“By the time I have finished saying these words, the future will already have happened and the past will be finished. As the future arrives it becomes the present, and the present becomes the past. Time is therefore a very fast-paced and complex thing. You might think you won’t have any future lives, and that this lifetime is your only one. If you’re right, then what if I told you that you only had twenty-four hours left to live? If that were the case, then wouldn’t your next hour be one of your future lives? You might as well count it as such! We don’t necessarily need to live for several decades before we reach our future lives; we might die tomorrow.

“From a Buddhist point of view, we die and are reborn every single day. When we go to sleep we are like dead people. From a medical point of view, human cells completely die and are replaced every seven years; is that not like leaping into the next lifetime? Do we look the same now as we do in those photographs taken of us when we were little? If you don’t say that person in the picture is you, no one will know or believe it. Has your appearance changed? It most certainly has. So doesn’t that mean that within this very lifetime you will have many future lives? There are many instances in which you are standing on the brink of your next ‘life.’ If you do not practice Buddhism, you just keep putting this theory of future lifetimes off to infinity, that’s all.

“Thus, what sort of concept is Buddhism? It involves preparing for the future; it means changing in the present, doing it right now. It means breaking away from all evil and doing good deeds so that you can have a better future. We humans try to manipulate and control everything that happens to us, but can we manipulate our future? Is there a way to gain control over the process of our death, or over our body in order not to get sick? Can we manipulate the chemical reactions within our organs so that we can do whatever we want? No, we cannot. Can you stop yourself from feeling hungry? Can you keep yourself from getting sleepy? If you think your body is yours and that you have 100% control over it, then as soon as the weather turns cold you should be able to keep from shivering, and whenever the weather turns hot you should be able to keep your body from sweltering, right? No. You cannot do any of this, unless you practice Buddhism.

“All we humans have learned from a few thousand years of culture is how to face our own lives; that is, how to get out of bed, wash our faces, shower, put on our clothes, earn money, cook, and find people to chat with. This is all part of living, but none of it will help us at all when it comes to our future. We understand very clearly that we all have to face the day of our death, but nothing we have learned can tell us, either practically or conceptually, how to do it. Therefore, we spend this lifetime doing everything we can to snatch up some kind of sense of security so that we can feel safe, and we avoid talking about death. Even though we choose not to discuss or face it, however, death will still come. Does Buddhist practice’s focus on preparing us for death make it a very negative religion? The contrary is true, because people without courage would not choose to face death. Being courageous means knowing full well that one day you must face this event, and that no one can help you do it; all you can do is help yourselves by relying on the Dharma. Thus, on the day that you take refuge you begin to prepare so that you will not suffer at the time of death by taking very great and positive efforts to change your ways in order to have a better future.

“Cowardly people, or people who are pessimistic, negative, and tend to dodge responsibility, have a very hard time practicing Buddhism. Why is that? It is because they refuse to acknowledge and face their own lives; they hope to rely on all sorts of theories and tools invented by mankind to help them cope with the process of death. I have many disciples who are doctors, but as advanced as medicine might be these days, not a single medical theory can tell us what death is.” A doctor-disciple responded, “That’s because science does not understand life and death very well, let alone grasping the important aspects of them.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked, “Wherein lies the reason for this?” The doctor-disciple answered, “We just don’t know.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the doctor-disciple, “But you can’t say you don’t know. Otherwise, why do you take your patients’ money?” The doctor-disciple replied, “All I can do is reduce my patients’ suffering a little bit, but we truly understand very little about life and death.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously, “I won’t scold you, so go ahead; I want you to talk about this to satisfy their curiosity, because you have medical certificates and I don’t.”

The doctor-disciple said, “Actually, nowadays science is encountering great difficulties especially when it comes to studying humans, and this includes research on the human body. To take a tissue sample you must put it through many checks and verifications; performing experiments on animals does not always yield sufficient information. For example, these days there are many treatments for tumors. We might be able to make them seem to disappear, but after a while a new tumor will often crop up that is even more severe on the cellular level than the first one was. I myself am in the field on inflammation; using drugs to treat those bacteria might be effective, but over time such treatment can go wrong and can even cause the patient to die. Sometimes surgery is used to remove the tumors, and then the body might seem completely clear of the cancer. After a period of time, however, another tumor will start growing. Because of this, contemporary medicine can only help us by slightly delaying or alleviating the symptoms; it is often unable to solve the fundamental causes. Even the most basic form of bacterial inflammation or infection is frequently explained confusedly.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings. “Thus, in Buddhism we are taught many different ways to face ourselves, to face all our hardships, and to change our future. Prior to taking refuge, many people are afraid they will not do a good job. A simple explanation of people with this sort of attitude is that they are fearful that people will find out about their mistakes, so they worry about messing up. In other words, these people are not prepared to change themselves. I have often said that changing oneself is the most difficult undertaking in the universe. Since childhood we have grown accustomed to doing whatever we please from day to day. We have created a lot of evil karma without even being aware of it; as this gradually accumulates, it causes us to have a very difficult time later on. You don’t even have to think as far as the next lifetime; go have a look in any hospital, and you will see that everyone encounters the suffering of illness and death before passing away. Is this suffering inevitable? No, it is not; by way of diligent Buddhist practice, you can avoid it. Why? It is because by breaking away from all evil there will be no evil causes, therefore, you will not experience evil effects. Although your body still must pass through death, your consciousness and mentality will not experience death’s pain.

“Therefore, taking refuge means making a firm resolution to begin a new life. But does it mean that after you start practicing Buddhism your life will be different from that of ordinary people? No; it will be the same. When you practice Buddhism you will not be engaging in a bunch of weird, eccentric, illegal, and immoral activities; on the contrary, when we take refuge, we must follow some very clear rules with regard to what we should and should not do. These allow us to really live calmly and without fear. I have done business for so many years, but practically no one has ever complained or tried to sue me. Why is that? It is because I conduct my business according to the rules of Buddhism. I don’t do it to make a profit; I do it so that I can provide people with good things. Why have so many bad events happened this year? It is because people have stopped caring about anything except making money.

“Many years ago I told some believers who wished to go into business that they could, but that they must first be prepared to lose money; if they did not have such mindset, then they should not go into business. Who doesn’t want to make money? Taking refuge means not being able to use things that people learn to convince yourself where your future lies. No matter how much money you have or how capable you are, it is often the case that once you calm down, you will think to yourself: What would I do if all of this were to suddenly disappear? The reason people in the entertainment business are particularly afraid of the future is that they might suddenly say the wrong thing and not be accepted anymore, in which case they would lose everything.

“A lot of actors might think that if they were to follow a Living Buddha, they would remain famous forever, but that is not possible. Why not? The reason you have the affinity with sentient beings in this lifetime is that you gave alms and frequently praised other people in your past lives; as a result, people in this lifetime accept you. However, people are all very strange; we have forgotten what we did in our past lives, thinking that everything we obtain in this lifetime is the result of our own efforts. Thus, once we have money, we start to forget it was given to us by sentient beings; we think we earned it ourselves. Because of this, there are only a handful of people in the entire entertainment industry who are successful in their entire career. It’s not a question of whether or not they are able to do what they do; rather, they have forgotten to give back to sentient beings. They think that if they donate enough money to a Living Buddha, the Living Buddha will continue to protect them. Such a thought is slanderous to the Dharma.

“Is cultivation very difficult? For me it is neither difficult nor exhausting. The reason is that although I am a lay practitioner like you, and have my own career and children, these sorts of things do not affect my Buddhist practice. This is because I understand very clearly that only the Dharma can safeguard my future and that of all sentient beings. Because of debts owed in the past, I must live out this lifetime in a body of flesh and blood and endure life’s mundane affairs. As such, I do my best to maintain a responsible attitude while doing the things I should do; however, I do not worry about whether their results are good or bad. People often come up and tell me their businesses aren’t doing so well, and that they want me to perform a Dharma for them. I often respond to them by saying, ‘I have never performed a single Dharma for any of the more than ten companies I own, nor have I ever asked Bodhisattvas to help my businesses thrive.

“I should be performing the Dharma for the sake of my own businesses. Since when did I start having to perform it for you? I don’t even perform the Dharma for my own business; why not? It is because I think that if my business is going to thrive, then it will; if it isn’t, then it won’t. Many people come running to tell me that Tantric practitioners can perform the Jambhala. I am indeed able to perform this Dharma, and the Jambhalas I perform are ultra-powerful, for not a single of my disciples has ever starved or died in poverty. Mysteriously, they all have jobs. This is thanks to the Jambhalas I perform. Why don’t I perform a Jambhala for myself? It is because the purpose of the Dharma is to benefit sentient beings. I know all the Dharma methods, but I very rarely perform one for myself, unless it involves something that would be useful to the Order.

“What does this signify? It means that one should not take refuge in Buddhist practice for the sake of certain mundane affairs; one does it to learn how to leave the suffering of reincarnation—the anguish that continuously leads to life and death—and to be able to help other sentient beings do the same. Taking refuge is akin to studying in a very large school. Once you have taken refuge, you must follow this school’s regulations just as you would at any school; however, these rules are not meant to punish you, nor will they cause you to do anything that you shouldn’t do. Buddhist precepts are different from the rules of other religions; they were not built upon the concept of punishment. Rather, if you stop breaking them, then you will have a brighter future; what this means is that they provide you with tools and parameters within which to live your lives. If you do not follow them, and you end up having a darker future, then that is your business. If you do choose to follow the precepts, however, then you are certain to enjoy a better future. Thus, the precepts of Buddhism do not involve being punished if you believe in the Buddha and the guru yet refuse to do as they say; they will not punish you. They will simply teach you a set of parameters within which to live.

“One you are the Buddha’s disciples, your thoughts, speech, and actions must be somewhat different from those of other people. This does not mean you have to hold a string of prayer beads in your hand and chant eccentrically, ring bells, and beat drums all day long; it just means that as a disciple of the Buddha, you naturally will refrain from harming any sentient beings. This is therefore a parameter set forth for you to operate in. If you cannot succeed, it’s okay; not keeping the precept just means that its benevolent power will not appear for you, and that the evil karma you created in your past lives will have a very high chance of coming to fruition in the future. Many people are afraid of keeping the precepts. Actually, there is no reason to be afraid. For example, to live in Taiwan or certain regions you must live by the rules, too. If instead you break them by stealing, misconduct and so on, then you might get away with it for a while, but not for your entire life.

“Take the things happening with oil right now, for example. These problems have persisted for many years already; at the beginning of the year, I even said that a lot of safety issues to do with food items would crop up this year. I also once stated that people in Taiwan have no good fortune; even the things we eat contain poison. I guess you haven’t thought before that this would become such a big issue! Why do I force everyone who seeks an audience with me to go vegetarian? It is because if you do, then you will greatly reduce your risk of eating such poisonous foods. The same is true in Japan these days; a lot of food with meat is full of all sorts of strange and dangerous things. Why are you less liable to get poisoned if you eat vegetarian? The reason is quite simple; it is because if the food contains pesticide, you’ll know as soon as you’ve tasted it. For oil, it can be mixed with food by frying or adding condiments, and you won’t be able to taste the poison.

“Thus, I absolutely will not help those who seek an audience with me yet are unwilling to go vegetarian. My reasoning is really very simple. If they cannot even quit having such a cruel desire as to eat the flesh of sentient beings, then how can they possibly believe in the compassionate methods taught to us by the Buddha? Without compassion, there is no Buddhism. If they do not even have this most basic form of compassion, then sooner or later they are bound to commit evil at some point in the future. Are vegetarians guaranteed not to commit evil? Not necessarily; a bull might trample a person to death, after all. The concept behind our vegetarianism is to cultivate compassion within ourselves. This is especially true when one is to learn Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. In the sutras, it is written that eating the flesh of sentient beings plants the seed of breaking away from compassion.

“Many people think it is okay to eat meat in Tibetan Buddhism. This is not true, because that was not written in the Dharma texts, so you must not keep spreading nonsense. The founding father of the Drikung Kagyu Order, Lord Jigten Sumgön, ate vegetarian, and many famous gurus who went into retreat did as well. If a region has no vegetables and there really is no way to eat traditional vegetarian cuisine, then they subsist on sampa—a Tibetan powder made of barley—and yak butter. If even these things are not available, they make jerky out of yak meat that is so hard it will make your head bleed if it is thrown at you. They will not take life. Thus, the purpose of the precept against killing is to stop us from owing any debts to sentient beings. If you harm sentient beings, you owe them. These days a lot of people get leukemia from having harmed insects. I have helped many such people; they tend to be gardeners, farmers, and so on, because people in those lines of work often use insecticide and kill a few hundred thousand bugs at a time. White blood cells are extremely small, so tiny they cannot be seen, so all together they turn into a blood malady.

“Actually, being able to keep the five lay precepts is good for our health, our future, and can even bring us luck. If you do not kill, then sentient beings will naturally stop bothering you. Of course, you still must pay the debts you owe to sentient beings you have harmed in the past. Don’t think that after you take refuge only good things will happen to you, and that nothing bad will happen; if such were true, it would run completely contrary to the law of cause and effect. Taking refuge will allow you to use the Dharma to earn enough good fortune in this lifetime to repay the debts you owe to sentient beings from all of your past lives. All your past debts must be repaid in this lifetime. It’s like when I got skin cancer. A disciple who was a physician, who had a great deal of respect for me, urged me to undergo surgery. But I wouldn’t. It was not that I did not believe in doctors; rather, I knew that I had eaten too much seafood in this lifetime, and that all that debt must be repaid. If I were to die because of not having done a good job of practicing Buddhism, then so be it!

“I’m going to instruct that doctor-disciple to tell everyone about my condition. He is an authority on infectious diseases who has published papers in international medical journals, so don’t focus on the fact that I often scolded him; he is an expert.”

The doctor-disciple explained, “One day more than a decade ago, while standing next to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, I noticed that one of the guru’s moles seemed to be spreading. It looked like it could be a pathological change associated with skin cancer. At first I didn’t dare call it cancer, so I said I would just take a look, because if it continued to transform it could threaten the guru’s life. Actually, there are many different types of cancer, but the type Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had gotten was melanoma, because it was spreading and changing.

“Melanoma is the most malignant sort of skin cancer there is. The older brother of one of my Dharma brothers had skin cancer and had it cut off four or five times; the skin on his legs has practically all been cut off. Later when I went to visit him in the hospital he works in, he was constantly vomiting blood, which was how they discovered that this cancer had been growing in his stomach, too. This happened because such cancerous cells would transfer into one’s stomach or bones. This made me worry that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s melanoma might spread outward which would be very frightful, so I advised the guru to have the skin cancer removed or dealt with by other means. At the time, immunotherapy was an option, so surgery might not be necessary. As it turned out, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just smiled and ignored my advice. I probably brought it up two or three times, but then I didn’t dare to mention it again. A few years later I discovered that the cancerous discoloration had left Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s skin, and the original handsome skin pigment had returned.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued bestowing teachings. “The reason I brought this matter up today was not to say how good I am at cultivating; rather, I am trying to tell you that if you are willing to listen to the Dharma your guru teaches you, and apply it in your daily lives, then you can change anything. The heavy karmic retribution caused by eating fish in this lifetime appeared in the form of skin cancer, but because I practiced Buddhism with great diligence and acted in accordance with everything my guru told me, its effects were lightened. Actually, what that doctor-disciple did not mention just now is that the mole I had grew large, tall, and stiff, and it even turned grey.” The doctor-disciple said, “It was absolutely correct; the cancer was spreading and metastasizing.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “At the time I completely ignored it, but it was not, in your words, ‘to liberate it and live with it.’ Rather, its existence provided me with a very good direction in which to practice. In Tantric terms, I ‘transformed my disease into a tool of Buddhist practice.’ What that means is that only after I found that I was sick did it dawn on me how terrible all the evil acts were that I had committed throughout my past lifetimes. I realized I needed to work even harder and diligently to implement the Dharma into my everyday life. I also needed to face my future with even greater fearlessness, for given that everything that had happened to me was of my own making, what was there to fear? After I stopped being afraid, my cancer cells stopped being afraid, too; as such, they quit harming me. In 2007, after I went into retreat on Mt. Lapchi, the moles had all completely fallen off of my scalp.

“My purpose in telling you this story is so that you understand that the Dharma can definitely be manifested in each and every one of you. However, it won’t happen overnight. We spend a dozen or twenty years in school, so what makes you think your life will change for the better after practicing Buddhism for a year or two? That can only happen to one sort of person—those with mental disorders. Apart from them, I have never seen anyone attain enlightenment after only a couple of years, let alone the day after taking refuge. That would be impossible. Even His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, who was genuinely confirmed as a reincarnation of a throne-holder in this lifetime, had to practice continuously for a decade or two before this happened, starting from the time he was five years old. What rubbish are you to think that you can understand everything after learning for just a year or two? Why do you need a guru? It is because a guru will constantly supervise you using his or her experience gained from cultivation. By supervise you I don’t mean observing your every move on a day-to-day basis; I won’t have the mind to ask, and besides, it is none of my business. My supervision involves making sure you have not taken any wrong turns in your Buddhist practice.

“The first of the five lay precepts is ‘do not kill,’ and the second is ‘do not drink alcohol.’ What this means is that you absolutely must not drink excessively, but Tantric practitioners do not even touch the stuff, and Zen practitioners are not allowed to drink at all. In certain areas the weather gets very cold, and it is necessary to drink a small amount of alcohol, like medicine, in order to keep warm. That doesn’t mean it’s okay; they only do it reluctantly, because they have no choice. The precept against alcohol includes all narcotics such as drugs and nicotine. The most important thing about this precept is that its goal is to keep you physically healthy. In the sutras it is mentioned, and modern medicine agrees, that if a child’s parents are in the habit of getting drunk often, then the child is at a very high risk of being born an idiot.”

The doctor-disciple said that this was indeed true, and that some children were born with relatively low intelligence and slow mental and physical development. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued. “The reason the child is born like that is not because the alcohol consumed by the parents gets the child drunk in the womb. As is mentioned in the sutras, people who like getting drunk are at a high risk of going to the Hell of Excrements after they die. You might think this quite strange; why would drinking alcohol excessively send you to such a place? If you pay close attention to alcoholics, you will notice that they often become incontinent. As a result they are often incontinent on their deathbeds, and this is a sign that they are headed for the Hell of Excrements. Actually, you can see where a certain person is going to spend the next life just by observing him or her prior to death. You don’t have to wait and ask after the person stops breathing; you will already know.

“Once you have served out your karmic retribution in the Hell of Excrements, you will be reborn as an orangutan. Orangutans’ DNA is only about 1% or 2% different from that of humans. What is the reason for this difference? It is because they drank alcohol; they were too ignorant to believe in cause and effect, so were reborn as orangutans. After living as an orangutan, if you have the good fortune to become human again, you will come back as an idiot. Your consciousness will travel to the household of a couple that drinks alcohol, because you will have an affinity with them. All three of you are heroes of an alcoholic country, so you will all come together. This is how a child is born an idiot. If young people drink too much, then they will have a 100% chance to get dementia when they get old. You can ask those people with dementia; most of them loved drinking alcohol when they were young. For Buddhist practitioners, and especially those who practice Zen and Tantra, the precept against drinking alcohol is one that absolutely must be well kept.

“Next is the precept against stealing. What is the main point on this? Why do so many people get cheated out of their money? Why do other people make a profit from their investments, but when you invest your money you lose it? I did not lose anything during the 2008 financial crisis, because I had not invested in those things. What on earth could be that easy? If you drop your money into those people’s hands, will they really help you make a profit without your having to move a muscle? I did not fall for that nonsense, so it did not affect me. How many people came from the banks to meet with me? Some even came to visit me at my company. Now they are all handsome or beautiful salespeople, but I won’t meet with a single one of them. It’s not that I am afraid of being tempted; it’s because I don’t want to do business with them. Why should I waste their time?

“Thus, if you break the precept against stealing, you are quite likely to lose your money. If someone else can’t lose, then you will. It is very easy to make mistakes when investing, and some people will cause you to lose your wealth, etc. Not stealing means not taking things that are not yours; anything you did not earn through your own efforts is considered wealth that does not belong to you. To speak in greater detail, even a blade of grass by the side of the road has an owner, because a ghost might be attached to it. If you pick the blade of grass, you are taking it from that ghost. I have told you in the past that you should not pick flowers to give to a girl, running over to her in slow motion the way romance novels describe; doing so would be breaking the precept against stealing, because if it is not your flower, you should not pick it. If you commit an act of killing your health is bound to suffer and your family members will have problems.

“The next one is about speech. Whenever we speak, it is very easy to open our mouths and say what is on our minds. Many people defend themselves by saying, ‘But that’s not what I meant!’ If it wasn’t what you meant, however, you would not have said it. Don’t constantly use this excuse to explain that you did not mean what you said. Even if we were to use a tape recorder to broadcast its contents we would still have to push the right button. A tape recorder is not a living thing; if you do not find the right place, it most certainly will not play the correct section back for you. People are like this, too; if you do not have these thoughts and concepts in mind, then you will not speak them out loud. Thus, the saying that ‘speech is born of the mind’ is absolutely correct.

“Why must we practice about speech? It is because with a single word you can harm or kill a person, or cause someone to make a mistake. Thus, the first thing I teach everyone is not to engage in divisive speech. Do not sow discord between people, and most importantly, do not say anything that might drive a spike between a pair of lovers or a married couple. Even if you are the woman’s mother, and think that this man is bullying your daughter, you still should keep your mouth shut. These days a lot of women are being murdered by men, and I’m sure these tragedies were caused by someone inciting disharmony. At first, either the mother or the father did not do a good job of teaching his or her child; later, when the parent tried to get involved, it was already too late. Many people think people are very liberal in this day and age, but parents these days actually don’t have the mind to remind their children of how to act. Thus, divisive speech occurs. At the very least it can result in a dog losing its life; at worst, it could cause the demise of an entire nation. For this reason, we must be very careful.

“You might think you are correct in helping someone with something, but your good intentions will not necessarily benefit that person. For example, some married people might have lovers on the side, and all along their spouses have been completely in the dark about it. Meanwhile, they continue to live together in complete harmony. Some of you might seem to act heroically in a just cause after seeing the husband with someone and you might say to the wife, ‘I saw him with that person, so you should be careful around your husband and tread lightly.’ As a result you’ve stirred up trouble from nothing. No matter how many lovers a person might have on the side, it has to do with his or her individual karma accumulated through past lives. I am not telling you that you should go have a bunch of affairs; I am simply teaching you not to cause trouble between other people. If you see someone do something, so what; it’s his business, not yours. Just because you tell someone about it does not mean you are helping this person. If he has sufficient good fortune, he naturally might gradually stop his behavior; if you suddenly go and tell his wife about it, however, what something that was actually disappearing might suddenly get revealed and cause the husband and wife to fight. You should all guard your tongues a bit better, because divisive speech is a very serious matter.

“Thus, we’re coming up on Election Day very soon, but you need to refrain from speaking too much about it. Look at the candidates’ morality, not their level of intelligence or their financial wealth. You must all pay close attention to matters of divisive speech. Some people will think about the situation when they are asked what they think of a certain person. If they voice their opinion, it could harm that person; if they don’t, it could harm the one asking. The one asking must be worrying whether or not that certain person has engaged in any wrongdoing. A lot of girls tend to bring two or three guys’ names and ask me about them. How can I help you choose? If I say this one is good, there is no guarantee you will be pleased; if I say that one is bad, it might be your favorite one. Therefore all I’ll do is analyze a guy’s personality; you decide yourself.

“For example, some of you might ask me whether or not it would be good to get a certain person to do a task. I won’t help you pick; all I’ll do is analyze that person’s personality for you. I’m not fierce enough; if you ever met His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, you would understand what fierce means. One time I had a Taiwanese believer with me. I had just implored His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang to propagate the Dharma at a Drikung Kagyu monastery in Yunnan. After hearing of this, the believer went there with me. This was more than ten years ago. As soon as he saw His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, he made an offering of RMB10,000. Afterward he held out two business cards with both his hands and implored the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang for advice on which of two people he should do business with. At the time, the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang did not say a word. That person pleaded with his hands held out for nearly five minutes, but His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang still did not say anything.

“As I watched from the side, I began to feel awkward, so I started to say something and told him, ‘His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang will not answer, because if he were to say one of those people is better than the other, the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang would be creating verbal karma by criticizing someone in response to your question. If you had asked about those businessmen’s personalities, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang might have bestowed some advice. However, it’s too late now, because your causal origination was to ask which of them is good.’ There is no such thing as a completely good person in this world, nor is there such thing as a completely evil person. In Taiwan, if you made an offering of NT$10,000 but were given no advice in return, you would immediately be offended. You would go out and say religions rake in the money by cheating people out of it. Thus, these days being a Rinpoche is very hard work; it is not a good position to be in. Therefore if you do not understand what divisive speech entails, then you need a guru; the guru’s job is to give you an analysis of the matter at hand. However, don’t come telling me about quarrels between your family members, or I will never hear the end of it. After all, ‘it is difficult for an honest official to pass judgment on family affairs.’ These affairs are yours; they are none of my business.

“Thus, refraining from creating verbal karma includes not engaging in frivolous talk. In Exoteric Buddhism this means not talking about anything immodest. You should not say anything that would stir up anyone’s desires. This does not necessarily refer to sexual desire between a man and a woman; it also includes causing people to feel greedy or inclined to do bad things. Sometimes when a man chases a woman or vice versa, if her family tries to keep a tight leash on her, the man might say some things that cause her to think her family is no good, so then she will go with him. This is an example of frivolous talk. What it means is that you should not cause other people to have presumptuous thoughts. Verbal karma also includes harsh speech; that is, you should not curse people. This does not refer to using certain ugly words when you talk; rather, it means you should not say anything that is very venomous or cruel. If someone offends you, and you can’t do anything about it, then you might secretly hope that person will die an early death. This, too, is a type of harsh speech. Harsh speech can also cause people not to believe anything you say in this lifetime; it can also give you bad breath.

“In addition to harsh speech, you should also refrain from making false speech. There are two levels of false speech. Ordinary people often tell lies to cheat others in order to benefit themselves; this is a kind of false speech. Should we always be completely honest in everything we say? In this commercial society of ours, that would be impossible. Some things can be said as long as they will not harm anyone or cause you to benefit at anyone’s expense. The Buddhist precepts are not that inflexible, because in certain situations if you are completely honest, you might cause something bad to happen. ‘Do not make false speech’ mainly refers to not claiming you have achieved attainment of a Dharma that you have not yet learned. For example, these days a lot of people like to tell others to chant a certain mantra or recite a certain sutra; this is an example of making false speech. Why? It is because you are not a guru, so what gives you the right to tell people how to practice Buddhism? You might say it’s really good to recite this, but though it might be useful to you, it might not be useful to someone else, because no two people have the same karma and wisdom. Many people love to be a teacher and lecture others; after gaining a bit of knowledge, they run around telling it to everyone. This is a type of false speech. If you have attained enlightenment and someone implored the Dharma from you, and if you do not transmit it despite that person having the correct root capacity, then that, too, is an example of making false speech. But this is none of your concern.

“The last precept is to not engage in sexual misconduct. Many people are prejudiced when it comes to this precept; they think it only applies to monogamy. However, monogamy is a Catholic system. Buddhism has never been a proponent of polygamy or polyandry, but the precept against sexual misconduct is mainly meant to tell men that they cannot be with women who already have husbands or who have men who look after them (people who take responsibility for them on a monthly basis). It is also not okay to be with a woman who has a fiancé or a guardian, nor is it okay to be with a woman who is in the midst of suffering. If a woman runs to you right after breaking up with someone and tells you her woes, you must not swoop in and take advantage of the situation. In the news recently there was a woman who had just split up with her ex, and immediately asked a guy out to chat with her. She ended up getting slashed. Therefore, you must be a bit more careful; don’t think just because you’re like a sister to someone that it’s safe for you to listen to her vent her frustrations. Who knows; someone might get the wrong idea and cut you. All the precepts set by the Buddha are for our own good. Not engaging in sexual misconduct also means you cannot lie with animals, your mother, your sister, or a monastic. You also cannot cause anyone to suffer by raping her, and this includes date-rape. What happens if you break the precept against sexual misconduct? Your family will be unhappy through lifetime after lifetime, and you will have a very high chance of getting kidney disease.

“The main purpose behind all of these precepts is to keep you from making any mistakes that would ruin your health. If you have bad health, it will be very difficult to practice Buddhism, for you will not have the strength or energy to do it. If you think you can keep the precepts, then come up and take refuge; if you can’t, don’t worry about it. These days, people keep asking a certain question. Many religions do not accept homosexuality, and monastics in both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism cannot be gay. However, with regard to ordinary believers, Tantra does not differentiate between different kinds of love; no matter what, the Dharma will help you as long as you are in need. Your love life is your business. You can keep on loving, but one day you will stop; one day you are bound to no longer be moved by love. As for whether or not the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would dislike people who engage in such behavior, they would not. Any differences in sexuality that we exhibit in this lifetime are the result of our actions in previous lifetimes. Our being born as male or female has to do with the instant of our reincarnation into the womb; it has to do with the vows we made and the things we did in our past lives.

“It is written in one section of the sutra that anyone who makes money off of females (that is, people who run bars, dance halls or brothels) are very likely to go straight to hell when they die, and when they get out they are certain to join the ‘Yellow Order’ (in other words, they will become eunuchs). The country with the most eunuchs in Asia also has many so-called transgendered people. These people have spent all of their money on their bodies in order to have a sex change. It means in a past life they made money from women, so in this lifetime they are spending that money on women too. They will not live a long time and will encounter many health problems; furthermore, they will castrate themselves. This is how cause-and-effect works.

“Whatever your sexuality is in this lifetime, the Buddha will neither criticize nor ostracize you; there also are no special rules around this sort of thing. If one day you stop being moved by love, fine; if you continue to love, that’s fine, too. Where is the good in this? It is in knowing that one day you can rely on the Dharma to change yourself. All people who take refuge are equals in the Buddha’s eyes, because all sentient beings possess the conditions for attaining Buddhahood. As I mentioned earlier, this is exactly what the Buddha said upon attaining enlightenment. Why haven’t we attained Buddhahood yet? It is because we have the conditions but have not learned how. This is why we must take refuge. After you take refuge, if you practice Buddhism step by step according to the sequence your guru teaches you, then you will not need to worry about whether or not you do a good job; the most important thing is whether or not you lose your faith in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

“Many people, after not succeeding in getting what they want, feel that the Buddha’s teachings are not effective or that the guru has ignored them. I have never been wrong on my predictions. Once, more than a decade ago, I berated a person—the father of one of my disciples. The disciple had brought her father with her to seek an audience with me, and he said he wanted to go into business. I scolded him over and over, telling him not to for fear that he might harm his daughter. He grew very angry and stopped allowing his daughter to come here practicing Buddhism, and she bawled her eyes out. Later she got married and her father no longer had a say in the matter, so she came back. Yesterday her father came seeking an audience. Sure enough, just as I predicted so accurately, his business had folded and he had lost so much money that he was still in debt. When I tell you not to do something, I mean it. Why did I scold him? It was because I pitied him. His greed had caused him to do something he knew he shouldn’t do. If he had had respect for Buddhism and not thought of me as a fortuneteller, then he might have avoided disaster.

“Why am I always teaching you to be respectful? It is not that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or I need you to; rather, it is that only by being respectful will you be able to listen to these words. If you think back, at some point in your schooling you probably encountered a teacher you did not like, and you probably didn’t listen to a word that teacher said. If you had liked the teacher even just a little bit, you would have immediately understood everything he or she said. It’s the same with learning Buddhism. Thus, if you are disrespectful toward me, then no matter what I say it will just go in one ear and out the other. If I scold you, I definitely have a reason to; I’m doing it to target your maladies. This is because I am not a practitioner in search of fame or gain; that being the case, why would I be afraid of you? I really don’t fear you at all; if you decide not to come here, I’ll still be fine.

“The reason I am speaking so straightforwardly today is that some foreigners do not understand; they think the Dharma is quite a scary thing. If I had walked out without any Dharma vestments on today, then who among other people would have known that I’m a Rinpoche? They just would have thought, This guy’s pretty cool! Practicing Buddhism is a very peaceful activity—I wouldn’t say it will make you happy, but it really is very peaceful and auspicious. It depends on your mentality. If you are hoping the Buddha will grant what you desire, then of course you will suffer. If your attitude and motive in coming here to practice Buddhism are to become liberated from the great problem of life and death, then you will be very comfortable. This is because everything that is going to happen in the mundane world will happen anyway, regardless of what you think. Just let it happen and it will pass. It’s not a big deal, so all you have to do is be diligent and do what you should be doing. If you do, then one day your efforts are bound to pay off, although there is no telling when that might happen.

“Mundane affairs are too infinitely complex and varied for us humans to comprehend. Only the Buddha’s wisdom is enough to see them clearly for what they are. Why is a guru able to see this, too? It is because a guru’s mind is immovable; as such, he can gain a relatively clear view of your future. Today you have come here to take refuge in Buddhism. If your motive is correct, then your guru—especially if you take refuge in a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra—will take care of you through lifetime after lifetime, every day until you attain Buddhahood. This vow is not made in Exoteric Buddhism. There are many different types of refuge; one is taking refuge in accordance with your causes and conditions. Actually, there is an infinite amount to say on the subject of taking refuge; today I’ve just given you a brief overview of its crucial points.

“We take refuge in the Buddha. The Buddha represents enlightenment, and after taking refuge in the Buddha we gain good fortune and wisdom to perfection. Why do we practice Buddhism? What exactly are we cultivating? First of all, we cultivate good fortune. What is good fortune used for? It is not used to get rich or make you healthy; these are good fortunes of the mundane realm, and can be exhausted. We must cultivate the good fortune of the supramundane, which we can use to become liberated from life and death. If we accumulate good fortune, many different things will begin to change for us; if we do not, then all our practice will be wasted. How do you accumulate good fortune? Your guru will use various methods to help you do it. You will be unaware of much of what your guru gives you and does for you; you will think nothing has happened. How can that be? Would you say nothing has happened to you if you’ve been living a peaceful life? If nothing good had happened to you, then how could people such as yourselves have lived this long? It is the fact that you have good fortune that has allowed you to practice Buddhism in the first place. The other thing we gain is wisdom. Once we have sufficient good fortune and wisdom, people will naturally respect us, because they need our help. It is not that we need their respect; I mean we will not get involved with anything that might cause harm to anyone. This will come naturally to us; we will not even need to think about it.

“‘Take refuge in the Dharma, relinquish all desire, and reveal pure nature.’ When we take refuge in Buddhism, we are taking refuge in all the methods of attaining Buddhahood taught by the Buddha. However, after taking refuge to attain Buddhahood, many of your desires will naturally leave you. I don’t mean you will stop eating and earning money or that you will not get married; the important desires are those that arise from greed in living longer and fear of death. We all want to live a bit longer. People frequently implore me to keep their parents from dying, but nothing can stop that from happening. Suppose I were to prevent your parent from dying this time: Then the next time, you might tell me you want your parents to live to see your son get married and have children, and then see those grandchildren marry, and so on and so forth. These are all desires.

“Proper desires, or those that we call needs, are fine. Because we possess these bodies, we must eat, drink, sleep, and buy clothing for them. These things are all desires, but this is how we humans live. The meaning of ‘desire’ is something that causes us to covet life and fear death. After taking refuge in Buddhism, the Buddha will teach you how to face your time of death. You will then leave this kind of desire behind and understand with certainty that the purpose of this lifetime is to repay your debt. Once it is all paid, you will go to Amitabha’s Pure Land, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will be poor and so on in the future.

“‘Take refuge in the Sangha and learn from practitioners, and to be respected.’ The Sangha does not refer to monastics; if the Buddha had wanted us to take refuge in monastics, then ‘Bhikkhu’ would have been written here instead. Bhikkhu is a very special word; a lot of people think monks are Bhikkhus, but that is not actually true. Bhikkhus must keep the Purity Precept; only those who are completely prepared and have not broken a single Bhikkhu precept can be called Bhikkhus. They are practitioners who have left behind all the various desires of the mundane world. According to the sutras, the Sangha includes Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Upasakas (male lay practitioners), and Upasikas (female lay practitioners). When these four groups learn and practice the Dharma together in order to become liberated from life and death, they are called Sangha. Whether you are a monastic or a lay practitioner, if your purpose in learning Buddhism is to seek fame and profit in your mundane affairs, or if you give a lot of donations and engage in a lot of charities, then you are not a Sangha. We take refuge in the Sangha, because we do not have the good fortune to see the Buddha and the Buddha will not come over and teach us in person. The Dharma includes the Buddha’s experiences from cultivation; this is something you don’t have. If you try to rely on common sense to understand what is written in the sutras by yourselves, then your lack of experience will cause you to misunderstand. For this reason, you need an experienced practitioner to teach you. This is why we take refuge in the Sangha.

“‘Take refuge in the Buddha, in the Dharma, and in the Sangha.’ In Tantrism, another part is added to this line: ‘Take refuge in the guru.’ If you ‘take refuge in the Sangha and learn from practitioners, and to be respected,’ it means people in the masses will see that you are different. Some people say I look different when I go out. Actually, I’m not particularly tall, nor am I a ‘muscle man,’ so why would anyone notice me? It is because after you begin to practice Buddhism, you will start emitting a different sort of aura from other people, who in turn will sense it. This is what is often referred to as magnetism and energy. What causes this energy? Once you learn the Dharma and begin to practice it, you will start to feel very confident in your own future, and will naturally stop fearing and flinching from it. Wherever you go you will stop trying to take advantage of people. If you naturally stop showing any aggression toward others, then how can they help but notice? Some people, whenever they go somewhere, act all bossy like they actually own the place. If you do this, then of course people will be afraid of you; however, this is an attitude that you exhibit intentionally. It is not something that you naturally exude.”

In an act of great compassion, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Refuge Ritual for the nineteen believers who had already registered to participate in the ritual. The new disciples lined up in an orderly fashion next to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma throne. The guru then led all of the attendees in a chanting of the mantra and performed the haircutting ritual.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples in a performance the Dharma Protector Achi ritual and dedication prayer. Upon the perfect completion of the puja, Everyone thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in unison and stood to pay reverent homage as the guru descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on December 1, 2019