091: Before Learning about the Buddha Dharma

Before learning about the Buddha Dharma, whenever I tried to repair the termite infested timbers of my house, I always directly burned those decayed timbers, as well as the termites within them. Moreover, to protect my vegetable garden and fruit crops, I sprayed pesticides to get rid of apple snails that liked to eat them. However, after studying Buddha Dharma, I have come to realize how much bad karmas I was creating by hurting sentient beings.

In addition to repent of what I have done, I try to remind myself to be more attentive in the future, and hope that my family and I will not make the same mistakes again.

Since, at that time, my father had not had much contact with the Buddha Dharma, nor did he have much belief in it; therefore, in order not to give him a chance to bad mouth Buddhism, I didn’t dare directly suggest that he ‘not kill sentient beings.’ Instead, I tried an indirect route. I told him: ‘If we used pesticides to kill those apple snails, their sharp shells will remain after their deaths. Since we often work here, we could get badly cut. Furthermore, those bleeding cuts could get infected and inflamed. So, let’s stop using pesticides and pick up the snails instead, afterwards I will place them somewhere else.”

At that time, my father was silent. From that day on, however, whenever I was finished with my garden work, I picked up any apple snails that I had collected from the garden and put them somewhere else. At times when I was unable to be at the garden, my father worked alone. After returning home, he would tell me, ‘There were a lot of snails today, I picked them up and left them under the tree.’ Understanding what he meant, the next day I quickly moved the snails somewhere else.

After a long while my father one day suddenly told me: ‘You thought I didn’t know that you have been going to listen to the Buddha Dharma and that you don’t want me to kill sentient beings! ’ I was shocked and felt quite uneasy; I didn’t know how to respond, but seeing that my father was not displeased, I felt a sense of relief. At that moment, I was really moved. I felt deep appreciation for the blessings extended by the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche—blessings that gave my father the chance to refrain from evil actions, thus fulfilling my wish.

Some time after, my eldest brother passed away. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, in his mercy, helped him, while also allowing my father and my second elder brother to attend the puja and listen to the auspicious Buddha Dharma. My family and I are, without us being aware of it, unceasingly blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Recently my father was working on our vegetable farm and was planning (in order to prevent flood damage) to elevate the farm. My father, at his own volition, carefully moved the nesting materials of the sentient beings that had stayed on our farm in such a way that the animals could smoothly, and without too much trouble, find a new home. At the same time, he also asked that I be careful and not step on them.

Without Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mercy and divine intervention, my family and I would have continued to do evil, and my father would not have been able to develop the root of virtue so quickly. As a disciple, I not only feel deep gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but also regret my lack of diligence and obedience. I must strive to practice what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightens.

These words are written in thanks and respect to my Guru, the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and in encouragement to all my dharma brothers.

Yang, Jing-Zi

Updated on November 25, 2009