072: The Grace of The Most Vernerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

In 2002, my aged maternal grandmother was making frequent hospital visits due to her failing health. Her attending doctor, Dharma brother Dr. Xie, introduced us to meet the most venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s at the Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company for advice. After following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s suggestion of attending Chod pujas over a long period of time and seeking refuge under him, my grandmother’s chronic symptoms disappeared. Beginning in early 2003, however, my grandmother often started leaving her bed to walk around in the middle of the night, while her speech was, at times, completely intelligible. So the night before Dragon Boat Festival, I accompanied my mother and grandmother to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Glorious Jewel Jewelry Company and there I begged Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bless my grandmother. While in the Samadhi of blessing my grandmother, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that the spirits of several deceased family members had been following my grandmother around, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then declared that he will liberate all them in the next Chod Puja. After returning home, all my grandmother’s curious symptoms—talking nonsense and mid-night walks—disappeared.

One morning in September 2003, my grandmother started having trouble breathing and was immediately brought to the hospital where she gradually fell into a coma and was attached to feeding tube. For almost the next two and an half months her condition remained unchanged. However, during her last week at the hospital, her face started to twitch and her eyes began to roll up. Despite these symptoms occurred intermittently, she remained unresponsive to our words. The last three days of her stay at the hospital, the twitching of her face began to extend throughout her entire body, occurring more and more frequently. The doctor injected gallamine and a tranquillizer, but neither worked. I was starting to get worried, and so together with my mother and nephews, I rushed to the Glorious Jewel Jewelry Company to seek Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instruction. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that my grandmother had killed many chickens in her life, and whatever state the chickens went through at the time of their death; so would my grandmother—her karmic debt had to be paid; and if she did not suffer the consequences of her negative karma now, she would go to hell. In his compassion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told us to quickly return home and beg the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to take her when she died. The next day was Sunday and I had switched off my mobile phone while attending the puja. When I checked my phone after the puja, to my surprise, there were eight missed phone calls! Terrified, I immediately called the hospital only to discover that my grandmother had already passed away at 4:12pm that afternoon. Right away I reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, kneeling down I begged Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to conduct a “Phowa” for her. However, because I did not cumulate sufficient causes and conditions, the day that she passed away was the day of last puja of the year and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be leaving for a retreat the next day. That night, all his disciples had already planned to hold a farewell banquet for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in hopes that his retreat would come to perfection; however, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still compassionately inquired into the time of my grandmother’s death and told me to call the hospital to check her facial expression at death. I immediately followed his instructions and reported the results. Hearing the information, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately said that my grandmother had passed away at the time that he was practicing the Green Tara and he had, in fact, already recited for her. After prostrating and thanking Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, together with my wife, I rushed to the hospital to take care of my grandmother’s funeral arrangements with my mother and other family members. It was 8pm when I saw my grandmother’s face, and it had been more than three hours since her last breath. Her facial expression was still very peaceful, as if she was still in deep sleep; her appearance showed no sign that she was dead. When we washed her body, her body was still as warm and flexible as if still alive. There was no stiffness in her body as we changed her clothes. Truly unbelievable! I remembered when my father died of the Parkinson diseases, his body had turned ice-cold and stiffened after only half an hour. The next day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, showering me with even more compassion, allowed me to see him off at the airport as well as accepted my offering to him. In addition to inquiring and instructing us on how to handle my grandmother’s funeral affairs, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told us that if her head was ice-cold but her body was warm after she had passed away, it meant that her consciousness had traveled to God Realm. Whereas if the crown of her head was warm it meant that her consciousness was transferred to the Pure Land of Amitabha. Should her consciousness have traveled downward, it meant she was going down to hell. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lamented that since she had never recited any Buddha’s name she did not have the proper conditions to receive a guru’s Phowa.

When I first met Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the year of 2000—because of my greediness at that time—I asked for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s enlightenment of why I was unable to have a stable career and was always switching jobs within a few years. Because I had yet to seek refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not scold me directly, but just asked what kind of job I did. I honestly told him and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately told me that although there was an economic slowdown, the company I was presently working for would be stable and not withhold wages or fire employees. Being a disciple with limited capacity, I did not fully grasp the meaning of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words at that time. Later, when I started to attend pujas regularly, I heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s dharma teachings on the principles of dealing with people and things. I was then able to understand that our present effects is the result of our causes in the past—the causes we create now will be the effects we face in the future. In mid 2005, I knew a job opening, which offered a better salary. While planning to interview for that job, I remembered the day-to-day teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and understood the bad karma I had created for many past lives and I asked myself: in this life what had I done to deserve the merits of a better job? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often taught us: People should not have too much greed but take what comes and be content, and live according to the conditions. Finally I decided not to change my job. During the recession that began in 2004 and has lasted till today, in which all types of companies, no matter what their sizes were, have either gone bankrupt or laid off employees. My work situation has remained stable. Since the company that I was working for did not delay wages or fire employees, I have been able to continue to practice Buddhism under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in a stable manner.

I, as a disciple, am so blessed to be able to seek refuge under the most Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and practice the Buddha dharma. At all times and all places, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is enlightening us on how to face death and the impermanence of life, as well as helping all beings to release pain and attain happiness. I am grateful to the most Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Disciple of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Xiang-Chen Jia

Updated on May 3, 2009