023: The Suffering of My Wife Guided My Whole Family into Taking Refuge

In August, 2001, my wife who was not even fifty, began experiencing numbness in her hands, a pulling at her face, and general feeling that something was wrong. We quickly took her to the major hospital for some tests. The tests indicated that she had a brain tumor and would need surgery to remove it. The doctor added that that there was a possibility that she could be left paralyzed on one side of her body. My God! All these events left me at a loss; however, I was determined to make sure my wife would avoid that tragedy and that we would remain a happy, normal family. Using my contacts, I did everything that was in my power to get my wife transferred to the best hospital and be seen by the best neurologist. I hoped that under this doctor’s skilled hand, my wife’s condition would turn around for the better. However, the future is hard to predict and not everything goes the way you hope. In October, we had already discussed with the doctor about taking some brain tissue from my wife to further diagnosis the cancer. However, what happened next was completely unexpected. Without consulting me, the doctor went ahead and preformed the surgery on my wife. To make matters worse, my wife was left paralyzed on one side of the body. She needed someone around to help her take care of day-to-day things and now needed a wheelchair to get around. Having two further operations in that week did nothing to improve her health situation; instead she became even more disabled. The most miserable thing was that following the surgery, my wife had a sequela of hydrocephalus leading to comas. When this happened, my wife had to be taken to hospital for an injection. As her comas became more and more frequent, my wife grew ever skinner and weaker. Every time I saw her attached to all those tubes in the hospital, I felt extreme sorrow in my heart; especially since I, who was closest to her, could offer no practical help. My whole family also shared my sorrow and was sunk into a cloud of depression.

In March of next year, through a friend’s introduction, I went to the Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the first time. I implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s to bless my wife and release her from the torture of her illness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately told her, “Your body is too destroyed to be of use any more. It is like when one has to move into a new house after the old one is destroyed.” It was also apparent that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew of the deep hatred in our hearts towards the two doctors on account of their decision to operate on my wife. In view of this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche further taught us, “Not hold on to a hateful, resentful heart. All phenomenon and experience follow the law of the causes and conditions. The negative results of surgery are also one’s own karma. Learn and cultivate Buddhism, attend pujas for a long time and the future will certainly become brighter and better.” I asked my wife whether she understood what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche meant? She answered in a quiet voice, “Yes.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also told her that if she had any pain or suffering, she could think of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and her discomfort would be released. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened my wife that she had once hit an animal on the head with a blunt object. My wife admitted doing so and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that it was that action that resulted in her present condition. The most marvelous thing was that although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not say my wife would recover nor her longevity would be prolonged, she became much more peaceful in her heart and her eyes of hatred became soft and calm.

Thereafter, we started to attend Chod pujas and the regular pujas conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In June 2002, my wife and I took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Until her body was unable to move any more, my wife attended pujas unremittingly, always in a wheelchair being pushed by me, regardless of the weather or her health condition. During the last period of her life, she stayed in the hospice of National Taiwan University Hospital, unable to attend puja any more. Most of the time she was in a coma due to hydrocephalus.

Those suffering from the last stages of a brain tumor suffer from a lot of pain and need morphine to get it under control. However due to blessings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my wife’s situation was very tranquil. In the afternoon of Mar. 10, 2003, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to the ward bless my wife in person and prophesized that my wife would pass away tomorrow, March 11th, around noon. It was exactly as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche predicted, the next day my wife passed away at 12:03 p.m. finishing her journey of this life. According to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s explicit instructions given beforehand, my family kept reciting Mani Mantra by her side.

In the meantime, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, with great compassion, immediately performed the Supreme Phowa ritual for my wife at the Buddhist venue. Around 1:00 p.m., we got a phone call from a Dharma Brother informing us that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already completed the Phowa. We were also told to touch my wife’s head to verify if the crown of her head was warm. Indeed, while her palms became cold, her crown was warm, which was the auspicious sign indicating that the consciousness of the deceased had been transferred to the Pure Land as depicted in the Buddhist textr Until the day of the funeral, my wife’s face remained peaceful and ruddy as if sleeping; while the other deceased bodies beside here were all pale faced and looked like corpses. My two daughters and I admired the sublimity of the Dharma practiced by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped us pick a date for my wife’s cremation. Once done, he asked us how it had gone. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s care for his disciples exceeds even their parents! After the cremation, we saw my wife’s bones were very clean and white; within the skull were several jade green saris. During the process of Phowa conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my wife’s consciousness was summoned to the mandala and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew her unfulfilled wish was that our two daughters could follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn and cultivate Buddhism so to obtain care and protection from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Hearing their mother’s dying wish, as well as seeing the undisputable results of the transference of my wife’s consciousness, my two daughters agreed to start attending puja. Finally, in November 2004, they took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Before I took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, I thought my wife’s suffering was the doctors’ fault. I blamed everyone and everything, felt sad and grieved, disappointed and scared. I lived a miserable life with all kinds of the negative emotions. After taking refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and listening to Buddha Dharma, my mind and thoughts gradually changed, becoming broad and open. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said, “Some kinds of diseases are the result of the law of cause-and-effect and are incurable by any doctor.” A disease will not get better until the afflicted’s karmic creditors—those sentient beings hurt by him in the past—have their debt paid. The hope of a doctor is of course to cure and save people not to hurt. After all, everything that happens, no matter if good or bad, is the fruit growing from the seed sowed by us—our karmic effect. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also gave teachings on the “The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas” which mentions that even those who hurt us should be treated as important guests; this is the true behavior of a Buddhist.” Only then, did I start to appreciate the thoughts and intentions behind Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teachings. How blessed are my daughters and I to be able to seek refuge under a Vajra Guru, one no different from the Buddha. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche strictly teaches and directs us to modify our body, speech and mind at all times. The purpose is for us to obtain liberation from the suffering of repeated incarnations. Let’s make efforts together to become true disciples of the Buddha.

Liu, Zhen-Gang

Updated on November 25, 2009