180: Gratitude to Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Gratitude to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

The reason why I paid my first visit to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was because I often felt that I could not do anything for my mother who had been suffering from senile dementia for more than three years, and I was also reluctant to give her up. Without any knowledge of Buddhism, I followed the suggestions of Dr. Xie and Dharma brother Hsu, both of who counseled me to visit Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and I also became a vegetarian as well as started cultivating a Buddhist path.

When my mother passed away, I had not taken refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yet and, therefore, my mother experienced much suffering and pain at that moment. Even today, I still feel remorseful  and blame myself that I did not help my mother on time to eschew the suffering from the medical procedure of emgerency. Fortunately, a week after my mother passed away, I came across Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and Dharma brother Wei at a restaurant. Before I reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about my mother’s death, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already told to Dharma brother Wei about it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also mercifully and compassionately granted my request to transfer my mother’s consciousness during next Chod Puja in the following week. Upon hearing this, I felt inexplicably moved. I asked myself, what good had I done to be deserving of such help from such a Guru? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche indeed has been liberating sentient beings in any conditions at any time!

Even more fortunately, I have taken refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to cultivate Buddha Dharma. After practicing Buddhism, what I have learned is:
To get along with my father and no longer oppose to him; to be filial without conflict;
To be more introspective, admit my mistakes, and repent.
To face my own karma without rancor and try hard to accept it;
To live a more substantial life.

Afterwards, my father fell ill too. Karma, it seems, is testing us at all times. I was extremely grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings compassionately given to my father many times when he was bed-ridden. These blessings helped my father, who had possible lung cancer, not suffer too much pain till the day he passed away. I feel deep gratitude for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings and guidance, showing me how to be filial and pious at the appropriate junctures. These teachings allowed me more time to make up for my oversights and un-filial behavior in the past.

I must also give thanks to Dharma brother Wei for urging me to carry my father to the Glorious Jewel Jewelry Company to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; thereby my father—a person who did not believe in the Buddha Dharma—could have the causes and conditions to make offerings to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and obtain Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. I will remember such causes and conditions for the rest of my life since it initiated another causes and conditions allowing my father to obtain Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings to transfer his consciousness.

Since no one in our family had practiced Buddhism, it was impossible to accumulate and possess sufficient merit and virtue, as well as causes and conditions, to ask family members to implore Richen Dorjee Rinpoche to help my father attain rebirth in the Pure Land one hundred years hence, thus my worry of where my father would go after his death was understandable. I often prayed to the Protector Achi for help. Not long after, my younger sister said she was willing to accompany me to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Glorious Jewel Jewellry Company. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately told us that it was all right for me to pray to the Protector Achi requesting the Phowa for my father. Afterwards, when practicing the Protector Achi every day, I repented on behalf of my father as well as repented for myself for my own oversights and un-filial behavior. Every time I completed the practice tears ran down over my face.

Thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mercy and compassion, my father, unable to move because of his illness, was given a dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to look at.  I continually asked my father to keep Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s dharma appearance in his mind. At the beginning of his sickness, my father could not accept the fact that such a healthy person as himself could get so seriously sick. Deep inside his heart, he was extremely afraid and not at all willing to accept the fact of his death. I did my best to help him lessen his suffering and to convince him to accept his karmic effects. As a result, he was willing to listen to the audio recording of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teaching regarding repentance. Finally, he expressed that he had seen changes in me since I had started learning Buddhism. During these last days together, I found that the barriers existing between my father and my sister and myself due to his resentment toward our ailing mother had finally disappeared—a fact that made me very happy.

My father once said that he dreamed that my mother is already waiting for him in the heaven. I felt so happy that my father was no longer afraid of death.

Two days before my father passed away, we took him to the hospital due to blood in his urine. Leaving at midnight, I saw the way my father gazing at me was different from that at the time of his hospitalization. It seemed he was telling me to not worry and he was no longer afraid.

The following day, father entered a deep, almost comatose-like, sleep. He had previously told the nurses not to wake him up. He never awoke again. At that time, not being aware that my father was close to death, I suddenly had a strong wish to go to the Glorious Jewel Jewelry Company to do prostrations. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was away in Nepal on a retreat, I faced his photo and prostrated in prayer. I was fearful, but my heart was at the same time tranquil. My daughter and I prayed in hopes that my father’s symptoms could be alleviated. If my father’s life was to end, I prayed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would guide him not to fall into the three evil realms. And my father could directly attain rebirth in the Pure Land.

That evening in the hospital, as I looked at my sleeping father, I kept contemplating that Richen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed blessings on him. Although I was up the whole night, I didn’t feel the least bit tired. The next day around noon, as I was preparing to leave the hospital to go to the venue of the Buddhist Center, I had a premonition that my father would pass away very soon. I told my younger sister that she had to hurry back here from Kaohsiung, and I wanted her to whisper to Father what we always tell her to say. Afterwards, I whispered into my father’s ear that I had to go to the venue and that he should not be afraid. Suddenly, his whole body began to shake, as if having spasms. I could not bear it and yet was not willing to leave him. I then contemplated Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings on my father and my father immediately became peaceful once again.

My father passed away at 1:00pm. At that time I was in the venue of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Dharma brother Wei suggested that I stay in the venue to recite the Mani Mantra for my father. I told my family members that they must wait for my return before they could transfer my father’s body to the funeral parlor. I hoped I could buy more time to recite mantras for my father. When my younger sister arrived at the hospital she told me that our father’s facial color was extremely good; his body was supple thus making it quite easy to change his clothes. When I arrived, my father’s mouth was slightly open and his face auspiciously peaceful. It was just like my younger sister had described that he looked “very nice.”

At the urging of other family members, my father’s body was sent to the funeral parlor at about 6:30 pm. As they were getting ready to send my father’s body into the refrigerator, my younger sister and I both stroked his forehead, a motion similar to the kind that he enjoyed when he was alive. When stroking my father’s forehead, I subconsciously felt the crown on the top of his head. To my surprise, I found that the area around the crown and all the way to the back of his head was unusually warm. Seeing my surprise, my younger sister also felt his head and found it incredible that it would be so warm. Being completely unprepared for this turn of events, I could not control my astonishment at seeing these auspicious signs on my father’s body.

The state of my father’s passing could not have been more different than my mother’s death.

The following funeral arrangements went unusually smooth, while many coincidences I encountered was unbelievable. All in all, everything was completed in one week. It was as if some invisible hands were assisting us.

After the cremation, I saw that there was a small round hole in father’s cranium. On the spot I was almost crying! All those miracles that I had heard about from my Dharma brothers were now all manifesting before my eyes! From my introspection I saw we did not possess sufficient merits and virtues, which would allow my father to obtain such auspicious dharma to transfer his consciousness.

I hurried to take a picture, but the camera battery was dead. I was very annoyed at myself for not having replaced the battery. Yet when the pictures were later developed, that photo came out crystal clear! (Many thanks to my Dharma brother for reminding me!)

Upon seeing the photo of my father’s skull, my sister-in-law who was the only family member familiar with Tibetan Buddhism asked in astonishment, “Did you pray for this?!”

Although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in a retreat far away, his dharma photo was still empowered with the same vow; thereby giving all sentient beings something to pray for and rely on.

I give thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving us the opportunity and time to accumulate the merits and virtues as well as causes and conditions, and also to accompany my father till the day he passed away, both in the hospital and at home. Beginning with knowing nothing about Buddhism, my father accepted and surrendered to it. If not for the help of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, how could this be possible?

Whether in our daily life or in facing matters of life and death, the guidance and help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cannot be forgotten and repaid. In spite of this, I hope that in this life I can do my best to learn Buddha Dharma and perhaps someday repay the kindness of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Respectfully, Repentant Disciple, Yao Yong-Yi Jan 7, 2009

Updated on November 25, 2009