014: Simply Because I believe

My family and I didn’t have any specific religious beliefs for a long period of time and just lived an ordinary life year after year. However, drastic changes came to this peaceful and worry-free life after my father developed liver disease and had a car accident.

In 1999, my 85-year-old father started to manifest symptoms such as spitting blood, bloody excrement and ascites sarcoma. He was diagnosed with esophageal varices and liver cirrhosis and had to make several visits to the hospital. After being discharged from the hospital, he got hit by a truck which was making a turn while crossing the street, and this resulted in several open fractures. For this he was sent to the Songshan Armed Forces General Hospital for yet another surgical operation. A young person running into  such a chain of diseases and accidents would have a difficult time dealing with it, let alone my father, a man of considerable age, as such this increased both his physical and psychological suffering.

In the mean time, my family was also suffering in various degrees both physically and psychologically. The lives of my family and I couldn’t help but be centered around the hospital during this period of time. Such a sudden change brought about a life that was totally different from the previous regular and comfortable one our family had enjoyed and our family’s normal harmony was crippled due to the constant quarrels on minor issues. The worse my father’s medical conditions got day after day, the more worried and anxious my family felt. We didn’t have a single idea as to how to deal with the future to come and merely lived as each day passed by, unwilling to face and discuss frankly the inevitable.

Noticing our agitation and desperation, Dr. Xie, my father’s attending doctor at the time, told me to attend an auspicious puja performed by Drubwang Rinpoche. Attending the pujas was the first contact I ever had with Tibetan Buddhism in my life, and this allowed my family and me to have the opportunity to meet the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who had organized the puja. From that point on we began to attend the Chod pujas performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on Friday nights. Although we didn’t specifically ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help relieve my father’s medical condition, our agitation and restlessness were calmed after listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Buddhist teachings during the weekly pujas. Nonetheless, my family still could not be completely cool about the matter. After all, we previously had had an ordinary and comfortable life without the need to follow or rely on any spiritual beliefs, and had never once thought that this could occur in our family, especially not so suddenly. I merely gave the pujas held by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche my contingent belief and tried to attend them as often as possible.

At the request of believers, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche constantly makes visits to hospitals to bestow blessings upon patients. During that time, whenever Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to the Songshan Hospital to bless and help patients, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would visit my father. Even when we were not present, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche showed up many times on his own initiative and blessed my father. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never mentioned this to us, and we didn’t know about it until the nursing aide told us about it afterwards. Thereafter, as my father’s medical condition declined, he had to be admitted to the intensive care unit more often. Gradually, my family and I accepted the fact that my father was about to pass away and became mentally prepared for it. Therefore, I went to the Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company with my family to ask for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave us an estimated time of my father’s death. There were several times when my father’s condition became critical and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and during these times Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still spared time to bestow blessings upon him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always placed a vajra on my father’s head, recited mantras while granting his blessings and kept saying to my father, “I will help you.” These blessings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche relieved my father’s physical discomfort and thus enabled him to stay calm psychologically. At that time, my family and I had not yet converted to Buddhism, despite this Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still provided us with such invaluable help. This help was a great fortune that not even a large amount of gold could buy, and my whole family is still immensely grateful for it.

At the end of the year 1999, my father passed away at the age of 86. On the night of his death, my father was fortunate enough to receive the auspicious Phowa Dharma performed painstakingly by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Originally, we didn’t have much understanding of the Phowa and had merely known that it was an extremely auspicious and rare practice. If the deceased can receive the Phowa Dharma conducted by a practitioner within several hours after his death, he will be able to attain rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitabha. When my father’s condition became critical, we were worried that the causes and conditions needed to allow him to be transferred would not be enough because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche happened to be in Mainland China at the time. Nevertheless, everything was settled in the end as if it had been arranged previously, for it was only after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche returned to Taiwan that my father passed away in the intensive care unit at the Songshan Hospital. We reported this to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche through a Dharma brother, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to conduct the practice right away. My family did what they had been told and stayed beside my father, reciting the Six Syllable Mantra and the names of Avalokiteshvara. Approximately an hour later, we were notified that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had completed the ritual. We examined my father’s body and found it most miraculous. My father’s body had turned cold, but, after the ritual was completed, his crown felt warm and sunken, his body became flexible, and his face appeared to be serene, all of which were successful signs of the perfect completion of the Phowa Dharma practice indicated in the Sutras. These signs showed that my father had indeed attained rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitabha. Afterwards, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened us so that we were able to make orderly arrangements for the funeral, accompanying my father to pass through the last moments of his life peacefully.

After meeting with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my family which was in chaos started to accept Buddhist teachings, and everything became stable and calm. Although we were sad about the death of the head of our family, we no longer felt any agitation or desperation. Such a sudden and unexpected event was eventually turned into a peaceful process. Had it not been for the guidance of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, my family and I would not have managed to live through these years of utmost suffering.

I had believed in the law of cause and effect before knowing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and had constantly held to the creed of ‘immediate karmic retribution’ as a reminder to myself to abide by the law and behave. After I took refuge and listened to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings for a long period of time, I got an even more firm belief in the law of cause and effect, and my faith in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has thereby grown to the fullest extent. It is such faith that has initiated and sustained the causes and conditions between Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and me to this day. What’s more, there were several occurrences when I found myself in an emergency situation and was about to get out of danger because of the refuge provided by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s merits.

One year, I flew a helicopter to the Baolishan Range in Hengchun, Pingtung on a mission. Due to lack of knowledge about the landscapes, my helicopter turned over to the left at the very moment I landed. Unable to respond to this, the military instructor sitting on my right and I didn’t get out in time and were held upside down in the cabin. The helicopter body was twisted and distorted. The main rotor blade still rotated rapidly and forcefully with the remaining horsepower. We two didn’t have any chance to escape and could only sit in the cabin waiting to die. That was a minute that felt as long as a century. It turned out to be only frightening instead of life-threatening because in the end the helicopter didn’t explode. As the horsepower was exhausted and everything came to rest, we two were miraculously able to unbuckle our safety belts and climb out of the cabin. That we both were fortunate to find ourselves safe and sound can be attributed to the blessings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

At the end of the same year, I again flew a helicopter to a place near Wanda Bridge at Gaoping River, Pingtung for a rehearsal event. At that time, I gave up my first attempt at landing because the terrain around the landing zone was narrow and unpredictable. When I decided to make a second round, I made a turn into the cross-wind leg. Suddenly, there was a change in wind direction and the speed of the main rotor blade declined rapidly, so the helicopter body could not retain enough lift and speed to ascend. In the end, I had no choice but to make a forced landing onto the river surface in order to protect myself. I sat in the cabin, watching the rotor blade and the helicopter body hit the water. The splashes dispersed, and the cabin was surrounded by thick smoke and engine oil. The moment before the helicopter body sank to the bottom of the river, I unbuckled my seat belt successfully, freed myself from the pilot seat, and opened the cabin door. Additionally, I helped my copilot in the right seat escape and pulled him up to the water surface and both of us were safe without any injuries. Again, thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

No one can always be lucky, and people cannot live on sheer luck. Having faced calamity several times, but always falling on my own feet, I know perfectly that this was neither luck nor a coincidence. We are looked after by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas every second around the clock. These personal experiences have enabled me to maintain a firm belief without any doubts. As long as I have absolute faith in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, this will serve as a safety guarantee and everything will always be arranged in the best way.

I have lived through the suffering of my father’s death and survived two dangerous accidents. In the face of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, my family has taken far more than it has given. We are ashamed of our arrogance and ignorance in the past, and often reflect on our laziness and dangling faith in studying Buddhism. May my family and I together show true repentance and resolution without any doubts in this life time, and always follow our father in the Dharma Realm—Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Disciple Ji-Ming Lu

Updated on November 25, 2009