067: Terrifying Cause and Effect

In 2002, six years after my wife and I got married, it was our great joy to fall pregnant a second time. Our first pregnancy had happened in 1998. The eighth week prenatal examination showed that the fetus had stopped growing, though, so my wife had had to have an abortion. While they were at it, the doctors had done some further tests and discovered an abnormality in the fetus’s twenty-first pair of chromosomes. In our ignorance at the time, we thought we were lucky the fetus had passed away; after all, what would we do if it had been born after the tenth month with abnormal chromosomes? My wife and I went ahead and had our blood tested, too, to see whether or not there was anything wrong with our own chromosomes. Results showed that everything was normal. This made us assume that our next pregnancy would be problem-free, but the fates decided otherwise for us. In the fourth month of the second pregnancy, results from an amniotic fluid test hit us like a thunderbolt: This time it was the thirteenth pair of the fetus’s chromosomes that were abnormal. We sought counsel from several obstetricians, and they all suggested that my wife definitely should abort. Our hearts ached with anguish, and in our suffering, we really had no idea what to do.

Ultrasound examination results from 2002/2/25 (taken at around the second month of pregnancy)

We were able to obtain a causal condition to meet His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche through Director Xie, with whom I had served at Songshan Military Hospital. When we were faced with my wife’s prenatal examination results, we had felt helpless and at a loss of what to do. Should we follow the obstetricians’ advice by terminating the pregnancy? Or was there another way to deal with the problem? If my wife were to undergo an abortion, then what would happen to the fetus afterward? We had been torn by a plethora of questions and confusion, and felt so horribly sad. Suddenly, the thought had occurred to me to seek our Director Xie and ask whether or not we could ask his guru for advice. After listening to us describe our situation, he answered that of course we could, and then told us the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s address.

On April 9th, 2002 (a Saturday), we sought our first audience with H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Upon seeing the guru, we immediately reported our purpose in being there. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “You’re asking a practitioner to agree with your decision to have an abortion. That is no different from killing, so I cannot condone it. People are all so greedy; they want all the good and none of the bad. If everyone gets the good things, however, then where do the bad things go? What good deeds have you done that make you deserve to have a child? Once a child comes into this world, he or she will fulfill one of the four goals: To show gratitude, to take revenge, to collect debt, and to repay debt. Most children come seeking revenge and to collect debt. If revenge breeds revenge, there will be no end to it, so it is best to treat them with benevolence. If you terminate this pregnancy, your next child might be completely normal. Even if you never have another child again and think you are safe from retribution, he or she will still manifest in another form to torment you. For example, you might get gravely ill, your career might suddenly fail, you might stop getting along with your in-laws, and so on. In any case, this aborted child is certain to come back and haunt you. You should go home and think this through. If you need the help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, come back and find me in two days’ time. However, if you decide not to keep your baby, then don’t bother.” The guru then told my wife, “Stop crying. The problem is not with you; it’s with your husband.” After listening to the guru’s precious counsel, I felt as though I’d been struck on the head. Everything he’d said was true, and I realized to my core that I’d been wrong, and was extremely despicable. That same day, we decided to keep our baby.

Two days later, we went back to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center for another audience with the guru to ask for help. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said to my wife, “Last time your husband did not believe, so I didn’t mention it, but if you’ve decided to implore the Bodhisattvas for help, then listen to my advice: Your circumstance absolutely has to do with cause and effect. Now that you have decided to have this baby, for better or for worse, the outcome has to do with your affinity. Accept your child, and believe that the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas will certainly help you. Your ancestors were farmers for many generations, and had no choice but to raise livestock to survive, so they cannot be blamed for the karma they accrued from killing. However, raising and slaughtering animals in this day and age is not the same; it’s done purely for the satisfaction of the desires of one’s taste buds. First, you must stop engaging in acts of killing. Go home and explain to your parents that whether they are buying live animals to bring home and slaughter themselves, or having someone else slaughter them at the market, both count as acts of killing. Likewise, you must not kill any chickens, ducks, or other animals you might be raising at home. Just keep them as pets from now on.” Right then and there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed blessings upon Mingli, and told us to buy a Dharma CD of Repentance and listen to it at home. He said we should register to participate in the Chod Pujas held every Friday, and that when we had time, we should participate in the general Sunday pujas as well. The guru reiterated that if we participated without hoping for anything in return, it would help us to accumulate good fortune.

After our first audience with the guru, and thirty-five days after being born, our infant died. She received the Phowa performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, one of the Eight Sadhanas of Tibetan Buddhism, and thanks to help from Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, everything went auspiciously and smoothly. While my wife had still been pregnant, the guru had often asked about her prenatal examinations, how the fetus was developing, and so on.

A prenatal examination taken during my wife’s seventh month of pregnancy had shown that the fetus had a cleft lip and palate, making her look like a lion; the nose and mouth were not visible. Furthermore, there were problems with her brain and heart. When we reported this to the guru, he entered samadhi awhile and then told us he had already helped her repair it a little. The birth went very smoothly, and my wife did not suffer. Our daughter’s cleft was less than two centimeters in width, and to the doctor’s great surprise, she weighed 2.6 kilograms. The doctor had said that medically speaking, most children like this were born weighing less than two kilos, and tended to be born prematurely. Adding the fact that my wife had a uterine myoma, she should not have been able to have a full-term pregnancy. Natural childbirth had been very risky, because the uterine myoma could have blocked the birth canal. When it was time to deliver the baby, the doctor had not even expected that it would survive, and he had also thought it would be a waste of society’s resources. However, the outcome was a great surprise to all of us.

Li Mingli, six months pregnant at the time, did not suffer any adverse health effects or feel ill at ease over her baby’s condition. This was thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s protection, blessings, and teachings.

A few days after our infant was born, I went to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his help. The guru asked what time the Taipei Changgeng Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was open to visitors, and I reported the times to him. He immediately said that he would go there that same evening at 10:00 to bestow blessings upon our baby. He then told a Dharma brother assistant to telephone the lamas to reschedule their appointment from that evening to another time. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude, and was blown away by the fact that the guru would put off an important meeting with some lamas so that he could get to the ICU by 10:00 all in order to help a suffering sentient being.

After hearing of this, my wife, who was still convalescing in the hospital, felt both deeply moved and extremely grateful. She wondered who, other than one’s parents, would ever do such a thing for somebody. As soon as she saw the meritorious guru arrive outside the ICU, Mingli kneeled down on the floor to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help our suffering daughter. Like a compassionate parent, the guru told her to focus on getting well, to not cry, and to keep her neck and head wrapped against the wind. He then told her to have faith in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

After bestowing blessings upon our child in the ICU, the guru stopped next to the crib of a premature baby and chanted mantras. At the time, this baby and ours were the only patients in the ICU. When I later asked the guru about it, he said that he was there, so he might as well bestow blessings on the other baby while he was at it.

October 13th, 2002 (a Sunday) was the thirty-fifth day after our daughter was born. As usual, I went to the pediatric intensive care unit at 11:00 in the morning to see our child. As soon as I entered, a nurse told me that the breathing tube running from our daughter’s mouth to her lungs had shifted position, causing her to have a critically low blood oxygen level. The nurse said that our child could die at any time, and asked whether I wished to have her re-intubated. I was stunned, and suddenly my heart was torn with indecision. I knew that if they did not re-intubate, our daughter would die, but if they did, she would suffer, too. On the day our daughter was born we had signed a do-not-resuscitate form, as H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had often told us that resuscitation would put a patient through an enormous amount of suffering. After thinking it over awhile, I therefore told the nurse there was no need to re-intubate, and that we would let nature take its course. Presently, I looked into our child’s eyes one last time and said, “Little Xuanxuan (the name bestowed upon her by the guru had been Liu Jinxuan), don’t worry; the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas will help you.” I then quickly informed Mingli, “Our daughter is dying. Hurry over to the ICU.” As soon as she got there, the kindly nurse said to our child, “Little Xuanxuan, you haven’t been held by your mommy even once since you were born. Here, let me wrap you up so mommy can hold you.” Little Xuanxuan whimpered a little while Mingli held her, as if saying goodbye, and then appeared to fall asleep peacefully in her mother’s arms. By then her blood oxygen level was down in the thirties, and she still hadn’t passed away. All we adults could do was to bite back our tears and chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had often told us, “Do not cry or wail next to people who are dying, or shake them; doing so is very bad for the deceased.” At 12:20 p.m., our daughter finally passed away very peacefully.

Lying securely in her mother’s arms, our child left this world peacefully as if falling into a deep slumber.

We are so grateful to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the auspicious Phowa for our daughter. After the Dharma had been performed, her crown chakra was warm to the touch. A few hours after she passed away, the nurse helped us wash her body, and it was supple and easy to clean. As I was rubbing my daughter’s tiny arms and legs, they suddenly felt like the legs of a chicken or duck. Everything the guru had said was correct. What right did we have to eat meat? Thirty-five days after being born, our daughter had passed away, and we were devastated. It would have taken those chickens and ducks at least a few months to grow that big, so when we slaughtered them alive, their parents would have felt even sadder. We simply had not been able to understand their language. Why had we felt justified in eating meat? Thereupon, we went home and told ourselves that from that day onward, we would never eat meat again, and became vegetarians on the spot.

On October 13th, 2002, the guru had said that the reason these things had happened to us was that in some previous generation, our ancestors had killed an ox and cut off its head. This ox had suffered enormously, so had come back in this lifetime to take revenge. As you can see, cause and effect are terrifying! Finally, I wish to thank H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for all the help he has given us through this journey. The guru has taught us the severity of causality, thus allowing us to eliminate the past enmity between this ox and the Liu family.

We are grateful for all the help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, and we also wish to thank Director Xie and our daughter Liu Jinxuan for allowing us the causal condition to meet the guru and teaching us how frightening cause and effect can be. We thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas for letting us see with our own eyes a guru who is no different from the Buddha, and watch how he uses the Dharma to help sentient beings leave their suffering and find happiness. I hope you all heed our experience with cause and effect as a warning, and that all sentient beings can stop committing evil and do good instead. May we all practice diligently in accordance with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings on behalf of all sentient beings, and renounce the home of reincarnation so that we can all attain eternal bliss.

Respectfully written by Disciple Liu Jiasheng & Li Mingli
Updated on August 5th, 2016

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Updated on December 3, 2017