463: The Phowa Dharma

Greetings to Most Venerable H. H. Kyabgon Chetsang, Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, all dharma brothers, and honorable participants. We are Su-Hua Lin, Xin-Wen Zhang, Se-Fang Zhang, Chong-Kai Ji, members of Group 4, and Ling-Wei Zhang who is a member of Group 5. On Sunday September 19, 2010, our father, Xiu-Liang Zhang, was able to obtain the Phowa Dharma performed by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It is all because of the profoundly merciful blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. My father is 80 years of age this year. Since he suffers from several chronic diseases, his lungs have not been functioning well. He has taken medicine for his lungs for 40 years. During these years, he has regularly returned to the hospital for a check-up every month. In recent years, he has to visit the hospital every month. During 2009 and 2010, he was frequently sent to the emergency room, often appearing to be in critical condition. As soon as he left the emergency room, however, he seemed to be healthier than usual. Consequently, we thought that he must be overindulgent. How terribly unfilial we were! We have greatly repented for such a horrible thought! Our father was not too respectful toward the Buddha Dharma and did not behave in accordance with its tenants. The most Venerable Vajra Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once taught that if one has diligently striven to practice and follow what is taught in the Buddha Dharma, why would one’s family interfere with one’s learning of such an auspicious practice?

On Saturday September 18, 2010, our whole family went to implore the help of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the hope that Rinpoche would help our father in not suffering any further medical pains. Repeating the question twice, Rinpoche asked our mother whether she could let our father go. Our mother nodded saying “yes.” Rinpoche said once again “Let it go so I can begin to recite mantras!” After giving his blessings, Rinpoche then said, “The vascular functions of the top of his lungs are already destroyed. Of course he can’t breathe in any oxygen.” Here we would like to say to all our dharma brothers that even our doctors didn’t clearly explain the conditions of my father’s illness. They just kept reminding our father that he should take care and be careful. In the end it was because only 30% of his lungs were able to function normally. Every single thought of Rinpoche concerns sentient beings; every single thought of Rinpoche grants mercy to all sentient beings. Rinpoche always strives to create the best arrangement for all sentient beings.

We implored the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to conduct the Phowa Dharma for our father after his passing. Rinpoche told us, “I can promise you now, but whether it happens or not depends on the later causes and conditions.” Immediately after, Rinpoche instructed us three sisters to make 108 full prostrations individually at the site. After the blessings were bestowed on our father, we went back to the hospital to see our father who was eating his dinner and calmly said to us “I’m alright. There is nothing to worry about. You should go home.” That night, our father couldn’t fall asleep and keeping tossing and turning in bed. We asked him, “Do you not feel well?” Our father responded, “I’m not sure.” The situation didn’t improve till it was nearly dawn. Whether or not our father had been too exhausted because of not getting sleep the night before, we didn’t know. But seemed so tired that he eventually fell into a deep sleep. The next day, Sunday, at 8:33AM, our father died without any painful struggles. We only witnessed the figures on the heartbeat monitor dropping from 80, 70, 60, 50 to nothing. We are grateful for the arrangement as was set up by Rinpoche. During the last period of his life, our father has to rely on oxygen tanks to breathe. He had to suck in a mouthful of oxygen in order to swallow a spoonful of rice. Yet how was it that he had not experienced any painful struggles while dying? The doctor even said, “I don’t even have time to conduct any resurrection procedures, he died so quickly!” The attending doctor also felt it was amazing and kept saying, “It’s so nice to die so peacefully.” Our mother explained to the doctor, “We prayed to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform a dharma for him.” The doctor replied “That’s good. That’s good.” Because our father still wanted to inhale his last breath, his mouth was wide open after passing away. After he died, we stupid disciples, began to recite the Mani Mantras for two hours. The shape of our father’s mouth turned from shocked and fearful to smiling. As stupid as we are, we self-righteously thought it was the auspicious signs of obtaining the Phowa Dharma. So we went ahead and felt the crown of his skull. It was warm! As a matter of fact, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told us that the father’s crown was warm because my father’s consciousness was still at the crown, waiting for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help for liberation. At 12:00 PM that day, we received a dharma brother’s call informing us that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would begin to conduct the dharma. At 12:10 PM, the dharma brother informed us that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had completed the dharma conduction. We then quickly went to touch our father’s crown; it was warm. Though our father’s hands and feet were cold, they were still flexible and could be moved. Father’s facial complexion became rosy, not like the pale complexion he had had when he had just passed away. On October 4th, the day when our father was cremated, we saw that our father’s skull had a toothpick-sized hole which was very smooth and neat. The angle of the round hole was 45 degrees, and it went straight through the skull. Most of the other bones were snow white, with some being green, orange, purple, and pink as well. As disciples we actually knew very clearly in our mind that we did not have any merit or ability which could lead to our father receiving the rare and precious Phowa dharma. It was all because of the compassion of Most Venerable Vajra Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who uses the mind of great mercy and great compassion to sympathize with and liberate every sentient being.

We, as unfilial disciples, repent once again. Though we have been disciples for seven years and eight months, a very long time, we are still reluctant to make offerings and are very lazy in our practice of Buddhism. However, what the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has given us is bigger than the sky, higher than the mountains, deeper than the sea—it is simply indescribable! To our Most Venerable Vajra Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, we are sorry and feel much gratitude to you. My whole family did not feel the slightest grief with my father’s passing, but only a feeling of remembrance and blessing. This foolish disciple only knows that all matters will see best results only if I can truly follow and practice the Guru’s teachings, practice Buddhism diligently, be obedient and not be lazy, and completely believe in the venerable Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. I am very grateful to Most Venerable Vajra Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Thank you Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for letting us learn Buddhism and be able to listen to the auspicious Buddha dharma every Sunday and also for introducing us to our many dharma brothers who were closer than our relatives during this period. Thank you! We, as unfilial disciples, really need Rinpoche’s teachings. We are grateful over and over to the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Disciple, Se-Fang Zhang
October 13, 2010

Updated on November 16, 2010