001: Life Is Impermanent; All Sensation Lead To Suffering

Without the Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Baoyuan (the daughter of Jiang Meie) would not have survived. For this I prostrate myself and show my appreciation to my Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Baoyuan is my second child. After delivering her, I had always felt that there was something wrong with her. One day about two weeks later, when I was about to rock her to sleep, her eyes looked odd. Therefore, we decided to take our infant to the hospital. However, as the baby showed no outer sign of any abnormalities, we guessed that the doctor on duty would have difficulty making an accurate diagnosis. I felt insecure and made a phone call to my Dharma Brother Wu (an employee of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche), expressing my wish to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help. Dharma Brother Wu asked, “What’s wrong with the child?” I replied, “I’m not sure, but I feel that there’s something wrong with her.” Five minutes later, I received a phone call from Dharma Brother Wu, saying that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would like to confirm if anyone who didn’t live in my house had visited the child within the past three days. I replied that only the child’s aunt had come.

As soon as I arrived at the hospital, I went straight to the delivery room area and consulted with the senior nurses who handle hundreds of infants every day. With their rich clinical experience, they would know infants better than anyone else. When the nurse took the baby from me, she then said that there wasn’t any problem and that babies sometimes would choke a little bit when drinking water. She patted the baby while talking to me, however, as she she increased the force of her patting the baby wouldn’t cry and continued to show no response. Gradually, the nurse lost her confidence, becoming a little hesitant and it was at this moment that my heart became even more tied up in knots. It was then that I received a call from Dharma Brother Wu and the baby burst out crying! I myself also burst into tears! The relieved nurse handed the child back to me, thinking that she was fine. Nonetheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told me the cause of her condition on the phone. He bid me to chant mantras at the baby’s bedside until 11 pm and then call Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. At eleven o’clock that night, I phoned Dharma Brother Wu and she told me that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said that everything should be alright, but we might need to take the baby to the hospital if her condition worsened during the night.

Just as expected, the baby developed a fever late that night and was then sent to the intensive care unit. With the door between the baby and me, I could hear her wail but was not able to see or hold her in my arms, I had to fill out loads of forms for the baby needed to be hospitalized at once. Since it is very dangerous for a newborn to have a high fever but I wanted to take the baby to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the next day, the doctors kept coming out of the unit, stressing how serious the situation was and advising us not to leave the hospital the next day. It turned out to be quite a night of worrying, crying, and struggling for us in that empty hospital hallway.

I implored my husband to let me take the baby out of the hospital, after we saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the next afternoon, I would then bring her back in. At first my husband questioned me, “Why don’t we receive medical treatment just like everyone else?” but as he looked at me, who was then in tears, and although he had doubts about my decision, he believed that no one else cared for the baby more than I did. Therefore in the end, he agreed to my request.

The next afternoon we met with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche held Baoyuan for a long while before saying that the child was now fine, but she would need to go to the hospital and undergo some physical suffering. Buddhas cannot alter the karmic forces and as this is her karma, she would need to accept it. The fact that she would live was already good and worrying about her would just be useless. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that maybe this will serve as a cause for my husband and I to learn and study Buddhism.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche additionally instructed my husband to come see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and receive something for Baoyuan the next day. My husband wanted me to go see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for him the next day, but I insisted on not doing so saying: We have to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions which we could not egotistically change any little. Since you were the one being asked to receive it, I absolutely would not be able to substitute you. The next day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave my husband a protection wheel and bid him to have Baoyuan wear it on her neck at all times. Additionally, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told us to place a dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the head of the child’s bed. My baby was staying in the pediatric intensive care unit of the pediatrics department at that time which merely allowed the parents to visit during limited hours, so we implored the nurses on duty to have Baoyuan wear the protection wheel all times and dharma the photo in the right place. During her stay, although we did receive complaints of inconvenience and pressure from unwilling nurses due to the fact that the constant cleansing of the baby made it easy to lose the protection wheel, nevertheless, everything ended up fine.

Everything was exactly as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said. A series of painstaking examinations followed, all the results showing terribly bad news which however would miraculously turn out to be fine. We felt as if we were taking a roller-coaster ride. For example, an exam showed one hundred living white blood cells in Baoyuan’s brain, which indicated a bacteria intrusion, i.e. meningitis. (This explained why her eyes had looked odd and showed no response. The bacteria must have already intruded into her brain.) However, the germiculture test conducted the next day found only lifeless bacteria. She also had numerous medical complications, such as meningitis, septicemia, ureteral duplication, ureteral hypertrophy, severe urinary reflux, orthotopic ureterocele, a hydronephrotic kidney, bloody stools, etc. Just as the doctor had said, any of the aforementioned medical conditions would make a difficult case, and my child had gotten a complete package.

Had it not been for the blessings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, we wouldn’t have survived those many challenges and even though we would have been able to sustain her life, Baoyuan would not be as naughty as she is today. From the time she was admitted to the hospital to the time she left, excluding the first two days when she had a fever, all the rest of the time she was well-fed and slept well, totally unthreatened by the horrific examinations conducted by the doctors. Even while undergoing major examinations, she just slept through them, feeling no pain nor fear, while other children wailed in distress. Everything served as a proof of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words: “This is her own karma. Once she accepts it, everything will be alright.” Thanks to the extraordinary powers of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Baoyuan’s suffering was reduced and she was then able to go through all this safe and sound.

With Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions as well as help, we then transferred Baoyuan to another hospital smoothly. Additionally, the attending doctor of Baoyuan turned out to be the head of the surgical department, which was a rare case in a pediatric ward. Whether the child needed any surgical operation was determined by this head of the surgical department and he adopted a treatment of two weeks of antibiotic injections followed by the use of a needle to pierce through the ureter water bubble. Therefore, my baby didn’t have to undergo surgery and subsequently left the hospital after twenty-one days. Had our attending doctor been the head of the pediatrics department, he would have insisted on undertaking a surgery which would have been performed only after three weeks of antibiotic injections.

After the baby was admitted to the hospital, I had to travel back and forth between the hospital and my home four to six times a day until she finally left and on each trip I would be notified of bad news. These exhausting trips brought me to tears every day. I hadn’t yet finished my first month of maternity leave nor written a birth journal and yet the days of trepidation kept coming at me ruthlessly. I had no choice but to live with them. When would it all be over? I just couldn’t see the end of it. I deeply realized that this was what karma was all about, this was the suffering resulting from the impermanence of life. When the karmic forces rage on, we are no master of ourselves.

My husband works at a hospital. The Dean, the doctors, and even doctors from other hospitals provided us with various resources and consultation. Nonetheless, the doctors all abided by certain regulations in treating these medical conditions. Therefore, we just received the same information over and over from different hospitals. Whether the doctor was a reputed figure or an enthusiastic friend of ours, all of them had to play by the rules. Consequently, my husband came to realize that doctors had limited abilities and was deeply moved by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s extraordinary powers. Thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my husband along with Baoyuan sought refuge after she left the hospital. Besides saving Baoyuan’s life, my husband’s conversion was another great favor Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon me and I am truly grateful for it.

Just as my husband had asked, many people raised the same question, “Why don’t we receive medical treatment just like everyone else does?” A lot of people think that what everyone does is the best and the safest measure for the patient. Had we followed the instructions of the doctors, Baoyuan’s urinary reflux would have had to be treated by means of a surgical operation, at the very least. She would also have needed to take medication for a long period of time. However, our now four-year-old Baoyuan has not taken any other antibiotics since she took some pills during the few days after she had left the hospital. The pediatrician told me that no doctor would had ever allowed her to stop taking medication. This means that Baoyuan, according to the procedures adopted by the doctors, would have had to take antibiotics starting from two weeks after birth all the way until now and would have had to continue into the future. However, following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Baoyuan is now on a vegetarian diet, not medication. In addition, her severe urinary reflux which had occurred in all four ureters, has now been reduced to only mild reflux in one. It further proves Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words, “Follow a vegetarian diet and attend the pujas and she will gradually recover.”

My Guru, the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, once enlightened us with the following words and I’d like to share this encouragement with everyone.

“Suffering has nothing to do with fairness. It is a manifestation of the effects of karma. Once you are past it, everything will be fine and a new happiness shall begin. Although everyone experiences suffering differently and no comparison should be made, suffering does vary in degrees. If we, living in an upper realm, cannot endure suffering of the lesser degree, then such suffering will be multiplied by the thousands for the lower realms!”

“If you accept all suffering in joy, then suffering will not keep accompanying you. Because your heart no longer suffers, suffering is no more suffering.”

By disciples, Jiang Meie, Li Zijun, Li Baoyuan, and Li Zongde, written with gratitude and respect on October 11th, 2004

Updated on February 7, 2009