133: I Could Not Survive Without Buddhism

I grew up in a family whose financial situation was not the best, and my parents frequently argued or even fought about money. Back then, I often lamented why I’d been born into such a home. I hated that I’d been born in this world, and thoughts of suicide were never far from my mind. A teacher who led our school group therefore advised me to sign up for individual counseling in the guidance office. After a year of individual counseling, I discovered that it still had not solved my problems; my heart was still filled with hatred. Deeply concerned after learning my predicament, Dharma Brother Yang urged me to go to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

When I got there, the guru asked amiably, “How may I help you?” I answered with a question: “Why is my family so messed up?” The guru asked, “What do you mean by ‘messed up’?” I replied, “Our financial situation is terrible, and the atmosphere between family members is really bad; they’re in constant conflict with each other.” As soon as I’d said this, a very serious look came over Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s face. He admonished, “You shouldn’t focus only on the faults of others!” Hearing these words, I immediately felt very ashamed and wished I could find a hole to hide in. Just as suddenly, however, I sensed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s gaze soften. Like a kind elder, he told me that people find themselves together in the same family as a result of their causes and conditions from past lives. Even though my mom and dad quarreled, causing us children to feel sad, it was their causal conditions that the quarrels occurred. As their child, it was none of my concern. After I listened to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s guidance, the fury and resentment that had been festering in my heart for so long disappeared. I realized that my attitude had been outrageously wrong, and that the guru’s compassion had shown me how to let go of those emotions and accept the situation at home.

This made me feel quite surprised, because after more than a year of psychological counseling, apart from the sense of comfort I felt in the guidance office, I always left there feeling in the exact same predicament. It is fair to say that it hadn’t helped me at all. With just a few brief comments, however, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was able to turn my attitude around one hundred and eighty degrees. This experience gave me the profound realization that I could only resolve my suffering with the guru’s assistance. It also hit home that I very much needed a master practitioner such as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to correct my mistakes. Afterward, I continued participating in the general pujas at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, and took refuge in the guru.

Early one quiet morning, not long after taking refuge, I was still asleep, dreaming, when I suddenly heard a very urgent, electrical ringing sound. I hurried over to open the door to find two rather mean-looking men. In a vicious tone, they barked that my father owed them a debt, and that his payment was overdue. If it wasn’t paid, they said, they would take me and sell me to serve as a hostess for entertaining men, and paint a warning across our house’s wall telling us to be more careful…. At the time, there were only three of us at home, including my younger sister and our elderly grandfather. Seeing that they were not going to get any money out of us, the two men said a few more harsh words and then vowed to return. I naturally felt very frightened and when my mother got home, I reported to her what had happened that morning. However, because tensions between her and my father had been extremely high for years, she simply told me that this was my father’s problem, and that she did not need to pay his debts for him. Moreover, at the time, we had no idea where he even was.

Over the next few days, the younger brother of the creditor who worked at the debt collection company made several threatening phone calls a day, as well as frequent house calls to put more pressure on me. During that time, I recalled the compassion of which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had spoken of. The guru had taught that we should treat our enemies with compassion, because we owe them. I therefore communicated with the debt collectors with an attitude of utmost sincerity, promising to pay the debt myself, and asked them not to harass my family anymore. Strangely enough, the creditor’s younger brother’s attitude softened, too. Even though his job was to scare me every day until he could get money out of me, he began to treat me like a friend, and would even tell me stories about his experiences as he struggled in society. I was still a student, though, and only earned three or four thousand NT dollars per month doing a part-time job. After basic living expenses, I could only pay the creditor a thousand a month—and my father owed him more than two hundred thousand. It would take me seventeen years to pay it back. After hearing of my plan to pay back the money, the creditor got very angry and refused to accept such a measly monthly amount. The phone calls and threatening visits did not stop, and I continued to live in a constant state of fear.

With nowhere else to turn, it occurred to me to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. As I knelt in front of the guru, he smiled and asked, “How may I help you?” I said, “My father owned a restaurant….” Before I could finish my sentence, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche let out a big sigh and said, “And then what happened?” I said, “Well, it’s gone bankrupt already….” The guru chuckled and cheerfully said, “Oh! In that case, congratulations are in order! Am I right?” As I looked at the warm expression on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s face, I smiled and nodded my head, because I knew that he was unwilling to stand by and allow me and my family to suffer the ill consequences of the evil karma. Next, I reported to the guru my family’s predicament. He told me that those debt collectors were part of the criminal underworld, but because I had already promised to pay the debt, I had to follow through even if it meant my death. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked me whether or not the creditor had two young children, and I answered that I did not know. The guru said very affirmatively that the creditor did indeed have a couple of kids, and told me to ask the creditor if I could serve as a private tutor for them as a way of paying off the debt. He then instructed me to go home and immediately contact this creditor and relay the guru’s suggestion. I was not to wait for the creditor to contact me, he said, and I must make sure to mention that my guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, had told me to do this. He then bestowed blessings upon me, and said, “Don’t be afraid; I’m blessing you. Remember, no matter what you do, do not work as an entertaining hostess! Otherwise, I would not allow you to come here to learn Buddhism!” The guru’s compassionate, wise words and fatherly instructions had instantly calmed my frightened nerves, and I no longer felt helpless.

Later, I faithfully relayed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words to the creditor’s younger brother. After listening, quite shocked that this guru had somehow known his brother had two children, he said, “I know what your guru is saying. He wants me to stop pressing you so hard. I won’t bother you again.” After he hung up, I had a hard time getting a grip on my emotions. I never would have guessed that carrying out Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions could resolve my problem so impeccably. Furthermore, after a day or two passed, my father, who had been away, showed up to handle the situation. I knew deep down that this perfect solution had only come about as a result of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, so I went back to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to thank him. In response, he said casually, “Now the pressure’s off, yeah? Your problem resolved itself as soon as you did as you were told, right?” I am so grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings; they gave me a profound realization of his great powers and the importance of acting in accordance with his teachings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said during a puja that many of the people present would not be able to survive without Buddhism. I am a prime example of this; were it not for the guru and the Dharma, I would not be here today! I am so grateful for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Respectfully written by Disciple Pan Yuhua
on December 27th, 2008
Updated on August 6th, 2016

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Updated on December 3, 2017