013: A Heart of Repentance
My husband and I went see the Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because, long after we got married, we were still unable to conceive. To my surprise, my wish came true; within only 3 to 4 years, I had given birth to a boy and a girl. My Dharma brothers were simply amazed that my wish had been fulfilled in such short order. Considering myself a convert to Buddhism, I took it for granted that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and my Guru would look after me; therefore, outside of making sure I was on time for pujas, I did very little. I didn’t do charitable works, abide by precepts, or make offerings; I seldom followed the teachings of my Guru and never re-listened to the audio recordings of my Guru’s teachings at home. Rarely did I do the daily practices my Guru instructed. My husband handled everything involved with the Buddhist center; I simply hid myself in the back, thinking I was secure and would not have to worry about being scolded. So foolish I was! I didn’t realize that it was the merits and virtues of my Guru that provided refuge for us disciples. When our wishes were fulfilled and worries dissolved, we could then joyfully accept the sublime Buddhist teachings and set our minds to the study of Buddhism under our Guru. As time passed, however, I went the opposite direction. I started to complain to my husband about our intense life at the Buddhist Center and the lack of entertainment in our lives. Furthermore, I constantly argued with my husband over the amount of offering he wanted to give to the Center. Greed, anger, delusion, arrogance, doubt, and laziness were the emotions that motivated me at that time. In fact, even to describe myself as lazy would be too good for me—I was nothing but a believer who attended pujas in hopes of immediate comfort and gain.
My halfhearted efforts at the Center continued for several years and the relationship between my husband and I finally reached a breaking point. Suddenly, the Guru instructed my husband to return all documentation related to the Center and asked him not to attend any more affairs involving our Buddhist center. Finishing, our Guru then added, “That goes for his wife too.” I felt like a student who had not done her homework and was then caught by her teacher. Unsettled, I steeled myself and paid several visits to the Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company to see my Guru—in hopes that my Guru could forgive us. Each time our request to meet our Guru was turned down, and as I stood to the side and watched other Dharma brothers go before the Guru, tears rolled down my face. My tears came not because our request had been denied, but because I was witnessing the Guru’s infinite patience while receiving his visitors. When several Dharma brothers, one after another, came to offer their repentance for a similar kind of mistake, my Guru still made painstaking efforts to point out their mistakes in a way that made sense to each person he was talking to. I was touched by the great compassion my Guru bestowed upon sentient beings and felt sadness over my past ungratefulness; in the previous years, I visited the Guru only when I had trouble. I neither cared for my Guru and other Dharma brothers, nor thought of applying myself to the activities of the Buddhist center.
Recalling everything that had taken place, I finally understood that the compassion and wisdom of a genuine great practitioner far surpasses that of an average person. My Guru’s refusal to see us, paradoxically, gave me a chance to seriously reflect on my actions. Returning home, I began to listen to the audio recordings of Guru’s previous teachings repeatedly. One day, I suddenly realized that the most precious treasure in the world was already in my hands! My guru, who had foreseen all the obstacles and troubles that would manifest before me, had bestowed on me beforehand the various means to deal with them. Being a teacher myself, how could I not know that following and carrying out the instruction of one’s own teacher is the best way to repay a teacher’s grace?
I was such a selfish, foolish, and inferior disciple. Not only did I not repay my Guru for his grace, I even became his burden and exhausted him in the process. However, at a critical moment, it was again the great wisdom and compassion of my Guru that prevented my ignorant self from falling of the cliff; thus I was allowed to continue my study into the wisdom of the Buddhist teachings. When I finally had the opportunity to express my repentance before my Guru, my Guru simply listened until I finished—he neither rebuked nor told me to leave. At that moment, in my heart I knew that genuine repentance is complete submission to a Guru’s teachings and the modification of one’s own conduct.
I now live a busy life, but feel stable and secure for the first time. I feel fortunate to have been able to meet a great and merciful Vajra Guru.
By Li Cui-qiong, a disciple
Updated on November 25, 2009