021: Just Having Faith

The company I work for was established in 1990 and is a business conglomerate. The CEO was an ordained master of Esoteric Buddhism, while I was in charge of our company’s real estate department. However, in 1995, due the CEO’s the inability to run the multiple businesses within the conglomerate, the partnership was dissolved and each business became self-operated. Accordingly, the number of employees was reduced from more than sixty to two—Mr. Yang and I. This was the lowest and most helpless period in my life. Our company owed over NT$ one million dollars in back salaries and more than NT$ one million dollars in Labor and Health Insurance Premiums. On top of this, I personally were more than NT$5 million dollars in debt to my friends and relatives, along with an unpaid NT$ 8 million home loan for the two houses I owned. Facing with this predicament, I had no choice but to sell my house in Taipei and move into a rental. By taking this drastic step, I was at least able to keep our family’s ancestral house (located in Hsinchu) from being affected by my financial disaster.

Around that time, an old classmate from senior high school happened to hear about my problems. Enthusiastically, he took me to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Once there, I implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for instruction and help and, in his kindness and compassion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche promised to help me. Later on, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted a puja and purification ritual in my company. After the completion of the puja, Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s arms ached for one whole day, for, hidden in my company, there had been a powerful ghost that had been very hard to subdue. I saw that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had used his utmost ability to help me and strongly felt how his mercy and compassion extended to all sentient beings. Consequently, a firm faith in the words and deeds of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to well up in my heart.

After conducting the puja and purification ceremonies for my company, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proceeded to re-arrange the furnishings in my office and give me some business advices. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told me the office should not move, but stay at the present location. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also urged that I not engage in improper or illegal activities when conducting business (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was clearly aware that I had ties with organized crime even thought I had never mentioned it). Despite the fact that I was quite good at using shrewd or “unorthodox” ways of conducting business— taking usury, collecting debt, illegal lobbying, etc—Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, time and time again, exhorted me to follow the correct path rather than the road of retrogression. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then told me directly that I would not earn a cent in the following 7 months and would need to borrow money to make it through. At that time, however, I did not have a thing to my name and was heavily in debt. The rent on my office—over 300 pings (992 square meters)—was NT$ 205,000 per month, not including management and administration fees, and was a considerable finical burden. Yet without any further thought, I began to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instruction to the letter, as I saw that my present situation was the karmic outcome of previous actions. I still remembered something that Rinpoche had said to me around that time: “When weak, whether you are ready to rise above it or not depends on if you are prepared.” During those seven months, I had had several chances to make money by improper means; however, following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions, I resisted the temptation. Not surprisingly, in the following months there was no income coming in at all: just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had predicted. After somehow making it through those seven months, the following half a year, however, saw me conduct several large business deals which profits covered all my previous losses, and then some. I made over NT$ 20 million, part of which I used to pay off NT$ 6 million in debt and NT$ 1 million in taxes. In ddition, I also could deposit NT$ millions of cash into my banking account. Due to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’ s teaching and instruction, I was given the chance to practice patience and to pay off my karmic debt to sentient beings, thus reaping the benefits of the resulting merits. For this I offer my deep gratitude and thanks.

Since, at the time, His Holiness had not officially ordained Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept me as his disciple; however, he still taught us how to do right by personal example. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a great master—strict in his observance of the precepts and, as such, a model for us walking the Buddhist path. The events of that year proved that there is a sure-fire way to solve our problems: total faith in our Guru while acting in accordance with his teachings. My experience has highlighted several important points—one, the importance of firm faith in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and second, the importance of Buddhist percepts that aid us in holding the terrifying aspects of greed, anger, ignorance and desires for fame and wealth at bay. Most important of all, however, is to have a heart of gratefulness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that the reason I so quickly bounced back from my failures was because I held no hatred for my previous guru, hence the merits and virtues accumulated in helping him propagate Buddhism had not disappeared. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often reminded me to be grateful to my previous guru. “More tolerance equals more merit,” he once said. As a result of the events I went through, I was able to pay off a big debt owed to sentient beings. In addition, because my previous guru had instructed me in the Buddha dharma, as well as showing me the importance of percepts when it came to reducing the chances of doing evil, the conditions were ripen for me to meet the good and virtuous Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Thinking back to the kindness and enlightenment of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my heart is filled with admiration that will never pass; and as for his emphasis on the importance of the percepts, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche practices what he preaches. During a difficult time in both my career and life, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche offered immeasurable assistance to see me through—he gave me a fresh start, all without accepting a single offering or a cent. In fact, during that time I noticed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not receive offerings from anyone. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche usually had no money on him, sometimes he accepted his disciples’ invitation to get a quick bite to eat at a weigh n’ pay cafeteria—usually costing less the NT$100. Yet when meeting those of incorrect behavior or thought, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would tell me to pay in advance rather than give them the opportunity to pay for him. The Buddhist path of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, like ours, started as a believer and then went forth from there, step by step. In April of 1999, after being officially ordained by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to allow believers to take refuge under him and started to accept the offerings of his disciples. As the above was carried out in complete accord with what is written in the Sutras, with what His Holiness taught, and with complete compliance with the percepts and relevant rituals, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was able to attain the accomplishment and Bhumi today. I remember Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught us disciples that, “A guru and his disciple have to inspect each other for 3 years; the disciple inspects by looking if the guru on the dharma seat teaches about the impermanence of life and believes deeply in cause and effect.” In the future, I am sure I will reform my bad habits: self-pride, arrogance, lack of tolerance and consideration for others, etc. As long as we continue to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and act in accordance with The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattva every day, we can definitely change our bad habits and be a true disciple of the Buddha.

Xu, Xiao-Yan

Updated on November 27, 2009