050: My grandfather

This year, (2008) my grandfather who was living with my third uncle in Taichung turned 96 years old, after having been quite healthy for most of those years. However, before the Lunar New Year holidays, he fell down in the bathroom and was not discovered untill his family heard his crying. In the past few years, my grandfather had taken several falls, but he was always all right. After this most recent fall he was taken to hospital, yet the doctors could find nothing wrong with him. However, upon returning home, he became confined to his bed and was unable to get up. When we went to visit him during the Lunar New Year holidays, we realized that he had become quite feeble; he said that he felt pain whenever he moved his body. At that time, my third uncle was very busy; consequently, my grandmother was the only one to take care of my grandfather. Being elderly and ailing, she could not really look after him.

Afterwards, my grandfather moved in with my second uncle. One day my second uncle told my mother that there were two wounds in my grandfather’s back which had not responded to any of the medicinal balms he tried to apply. Hearing this, my mother became aware that something was not right and urged my second uncle to take my grandfather to the hospital. There it was found that the two wounds were bedsores; they were as large as a human palm and over five-centimeter deep, such that the bones were already visible.

We returned to Taichung to visit my grandfather at the hospital on April 4th. Seeing him helplessly curl up in the hospital bed was almost too much for us to see. Although he was nearly unconscious and the doctor had given him a morphine shot, his pain was so intense that he twitched and groaned in bed. Knowing my mother’s deep affection toward my grandfather, I again mentioned to her Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s work of helping all beings and that only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help my grandfather. At first, my mother did not believe me, but since she hoped to alleviate my grandfather’s pains and the next day was Saturday, she finally agreed to go with us to Taipei to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Glorious Jewel Jewelry Company.

My mother knelt down and described my grandfather’s illness to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, beseeching his help in relieving my grandfather’s pain. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately said: “On his behalf, you should come to a puja in the hope that he can be liberated sooner.” In these few, simple sentences, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche removed a heavy burden from her mind, as of the idea of “liberating him sooner” was exactly what my mother had been thinking, but, as a daughter, did not have the heart to say such words herself, despite the fact that she could not bear to watch her father suffer.

By clearing expressing what was on her mind, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took a burden off my mother’s shoulders and from her face it was obvious to see her sense of relief. Afterwards, my mother attended pujas several times, including a Chod puja and the auspicious empowering puja of Vajrasattva. But since traveling between Taichung and Taipei become quite tiring for her, she stopped coming. Even so, my grandfather had already been blessed by the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. According to my mother, my grandfather’s wounds began to heal—this was truly unbelievable! Earlier, when Dr. Xie had heard about the size and the depth of the wounds, he shook his head saying, “They probably will not heal as the blood circulation has been cut off.” Therefore, it was truly a miracle that his wounds could grow flesh again!

A few weeks later, my elderly grandfather passed away at the end of April. On the morning before his death, my mother saw from several signs that it was about my grandfather’s time to go. She first put a nectar pill into my grandfather’s mouth and told him: “Don’t worry, don’t be concerned. When the Bodhisattvas come to lead you, follow them with assurance.” Since we had signed DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) agreement my grandfather did not experience the suffering of being revived and before he exhaled the last breath, we sent him back to my uncle’s home where he died in peace.

My mother did not inform me of my grandfather’s death that day, but coincidentally, my cousin called up my mother that night. Upon hearing the news of my grandfather’s death, she suggested that my mother call me up. My cousin, having taken refuge under a different lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, understood well that it was only my Guru that could help my grandfather. My mother did not tell me the news until next morning. I hoped she could come to Taipei and seek help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in transferring my grandfather’s consciousness. As the eldest daughter, my mother was very hesitant to leave my grandfather right after his death, yet I insisted she should come, telling her that it was useless to stay by his side and only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help my grandfather. My mother said she needed to think about it. About half an hour later, she called and told me that she would come to Taipei to ask for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help.

As it turns out, during that period of indecisiveness my mother prayed to my grandfather. She asked: “Is it alright that I go to Taipei and ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help?” She then threw the bua bue, but received a noncommittal response. Pondering this, my mother remembered how my grandfather disliked being a bother, so she threw the bua bue again and asked: “Don’t worry about me being tired. If going to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is helpful, I will go.” This time she received a positive answer. So off she went to Taipei. There she met Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, to whom she reported the news of my grandfather’s death and asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to transfer my grandfather’s consciousness.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche inquired about the time of his death, his name, and the animal of his birth year. Following, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to recite mantras. Moments later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stopped and told my mother that my grandfather’s youngest daughter (my aunt) was in poor health. “Don’t let her assume too many responsibilities for the funeral,” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also mentioned some things about my uncles—all of which were accurate. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then went back to chanting mantras. After chanting for a period of time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told my mother that my grandfather had received his blessings. His consciousness was protected and would be transferred during the next Chod puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also reminded my mother that we should consume a vegetarian diet during the funeral and should never use meat to worship my grandfather.

That night, we went back to Taichung with my mother to pay our respects to our grandfather. Although his remains had been kept in the icebox for an entire day, I found his complexion was still rosy. The facial muscles appeared plumper and more flexible than before—it was as if he had been peacefully sleeping. He looked much better now, compared with the time when he was tortured by the illness. The funeral ceremony took place two weeks later. The day before the ceremony, his remains had to be defrosted; surprisingly, his body was quite soft and could be dressed easily, while his face still looked very nice. His remains were sent to the crematorium and the ashes claimed on the next day. I did not see the ashes, but according to the staff at the crematorium, they had never witnessed ashes with such beautiful colors.

All these auspicious signs were the result of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s immense merit and compassion. As my grandfather’s consciousness was transferred to a virtuous place, so his face maintained a pleasing appearance. His ashes revealed beautiful colors because his karmic obstacles had been removed. And instead of feeling sad and grieving, our family simply missed him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vows of mercy and compassion are inconceivable. We will never be able to repay Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s immense kindness. We are deeply grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Respectfully written by Wen-Der Wang in June of 2008

Updated on April 1, 2009