544: Encountering a Meritorious Mentor: Naturally Learning to Be Compassionate and Unlock Wisdom in Daily Life

In July of 2001, my five years of life as an immigrant drew to a close, and I came back to Taiwan to be with my family. At the time I felt my career had gone smoothly, I’d traveled to several different countries, and that I’d experienced just about everything this life had to offer. There didn’t seem to be any more to it, and I had no idea what I wanted. I disagreed with a lot of things, and had an overbearing personality and an explosive temperament. My husband was very good to me; he was both filial, to his and my parents, and caring. Nevertheless, I was always really annoyed at how he did things, and treated him very harshly. The words he spoke to me most often were, “You’ve got no idea how fortunate you are.”

In January of 2004, because my father had passed away, I had the causal condition to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, during which I was compassionately granted permission to participate in the Chod Puja. That was the start of a new life for me. The guru’s weekly teachings struck me like a bolt from the blue and dragged me out of the muddy chaos of my life in which I’d been wallowing. I found that before then, I’d never truly lived! How would I have sufficient time to re-live my life then? From that point onward, I made a firm resolution to practice Buddhism for the rest of this lifetime, only to find that my husband was very opposed to my fervent wish to take refuge. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “If your husband is opposed, then you must not take refuge.” No matter what I said or did, I was unable to gain my husband’s approval, so I again asked the guru if it were okay for me to make the decision on my own. At the time, I thought to myself, If he weren’t my husband, I’d be able to do it, wouldn’t I? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told me that no matter what I decided, he would not take me on as his disciple. I therefore kept waiting patiently, and finally, with my husband’s consent, I took refuge in H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in July of 2005.

After I took refuge, nothing was the same anymore. Now that I had the guru’s blessings, I was finally able to be freed from various hindrances to my cultivation. After listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Buddhist teachings for many years, I very much wanted to amend my ways, but I was never able to completely rid myself of the resentment I felt toward my husband. That was a knot that I simply had not been able to unravel, and on occasion I would still lose my temper at him. I treated my mother very well, yet she was always dissatisfied, causing me to think her very greedy. I therefore often lectured her, and failed to exhibit the filial piety expected of a disciple of the Buddha. Later, however, I dreamed several times of receiving Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings, and this allowed me to cultivate smoothly and without any fear. Afterward my mother, who was in her eighties, also took refuge in the guru.

In April of 2005, a serious mistake was made by an employee of the Glorious Jewel Group, giving me the sense that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s company needed a helping hand. I therefore took the initiative to seek an audience with the guru, during which I told him that my expertise was in financial management and implored for permission to do volunteer work for the Group. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Let’s wait and see; this is not important!” Right then and there it dawned on me that the most important thing I could do was to diligently practice Buddhism. One day after that the guru said from the Dharma throne, “You have to have good fortune before you can work for the Order or the Group.” I gained a profound realization of how severe my hindrances were, and knew I must throw myself wholeheartedly into my practice and accumulate good fortune before I’d be able to accumulate resources for further Buddhist cultivation. Without further ado, I began to enthusiastically participate in the pujas, work as a volunteer at the Buddhist Center with my fellow Dharma brothers, and comply with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings. My goal was to implement the Dharma in my daily life so that I could amend my evil habits.

Since 2004 I had served as a financial management consultant for an international conglomerate based in Mainland China. My boss was very good to me, and only required that I fly over from Taiwan and work five days out of each month. I therefore went from needing to refer to books written by the great masters of management, to later being able to handle work-related matters with ease simply by listening carefully to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings and putting them to use.

Just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught, “everything in the mundane world is cause and effect.” For eight years I flew back and forth to the Mainland once a month, all the while following the guru’s teachings, implementing the Dharma in my workplace and daily life, and using it to amend my evil behavior and habits. Not once did I miss a single puja. However, I really wanted to quit my job and devote myself to my Buddhist practice, but I had always lacked the courage to tell my boss. He knew how resolved I was to practice, so he always told me how happy he felt whenever I came to work. I knew in my heart that he would not let me go easily.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s wisdom-filled Dharma teachings were of practical use in the workplace, too.

In December of 2010, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche granted me the opportunity to work in the Group as a part-time consultant, working half day each day. This lasted until December the following year, when the guru instructed me to fill a supervisory vacancy. I therefore made arrangements as a contractor to go to the office everyday a bit after ten o’clock in the morning, and to get off work with everyone else. During this period, I continued working in the Mainland one week a month, and this lasted until one day in April of this year (2012). Because I hadn’t handled some things very well, I was severely scolded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; he said I had been working at the Group with a part-timer’s attitude, and that I needed to take responsibility for the harm my negligence had caused. Right then and there, I decided to focus exclusively on my work with the Group, and do the best job I could. To this end, that same day, I informed my company in the Mainland that I was quitting. I then repented to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having dragged my feet and not made a firm resolution to practice. I had allowed things to get worse and worse over time, and I resolved to spend the rest of my life cultivating Buddhism diligently.

Xie Lifen’s cancer diagnosis certificate.

The week I quit my job in the Mainland, I discovered a protrusion in the left side of my chest. I got it checked out immediately, and was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. As I listened to the doctor tell me that my breast cancer cells were “numerous and aggressive,” I felt very amused, for it seemed that even these cancer cells knew of my past temperament; in order to succeed, I used to carry out multiple, aggressive attacks against other people. I felt that this really was a manifestation of cause and effect and karmic retribution, and because it had appeared in this lifetime, I wished to repay my karmic debt sooner by practicing Buddhism in earnest. Thus, I did not worry or feel any angst at all over the fact that I’d gotten cancer; nor did I feel any bodily discomfort.

One day, my husband suddenly told me that he wished to participate in the Grand Puja. After so many years of being unwilling to do so, the fact that I’d gotten cancer had caused him to let go of the resentment and dissatisfaction he’d harbored against me. I am very grateful for how well he has cared for our family, and for accompanying me to the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic each week to get medicine so that I could concentrate on my work. When I told my former boss in the Mainland that I had cancer, he urged me to get more rest and not to worry. My illness caused many people to spare me, and for a time, it let me get away with what I wanted.

I reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that I had stage II breast cancer but that I still had my strength, and implored him to give me the opportunity to continue working. In his compassion, the guru consented, and had me fill out a form for a staff ID card and join the Group’s health insurance plans. At the same time, he told me that I did not act in accordance with the Dharma, said that I still needed to repay my karmic debt for having loved to eat seafood in the past, and instructed me do grand prostrations.

I felt so grateful to the guru for providing me with a place to settle down from then on. In Tibet, practitioners wishing to go to a monastery to cultivate have to make arrangements for their own living expenses, but because of my job in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Group, not only was I able to utilize his auspicious Dharma teachings in my work, but I was also being paid a salary. I was grateful beyond words. When I returned to have my tumor re-examined the following month, it had shrunk from 2.8 centimeters in diameter to only 1.5. Even the doctor was surprised.

When it comes to all of the Group’s customers, suppliers, employees, and so on, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is extremely conscientious and meticulous. The first time I heard his beginning-of-the-year address to his employees, I was deeply moved. The guru described his business philosophy to us in detail. He gives no consideration whatsoever to profit or sales performance; instead he thinks about how to provide the best service and products to his customers. He gives the same level of care to his suppliers. Even when they make mistakes, as long as they maintain integrity in their business dealings, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would rather eat the loss in their stead. Furthermore, Rinpoche teaches in person to every Group employee about the business. He treats us all equally, regardless of our religious beliefs, and has the attitude that if a boss shows concern for his employees, those employees will work hard. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also teaches us the sort of attitude we should have on the job as well as the correct values and outlook on life. Not only are these lessons useful in the workplace, but in our lives as well. In addition, the Group upholds the guru’s consistent teaching method: Strictness, with no toleration for slacking off. With such a boss, and such a company, I wanted to keep working there forever.

Xie Lifen is grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great, awe-inspiring power and compassionate blessings. 

When I look back on my youth, I recall that every five years I changed jobs because I felt that after having done my part perfectly, the work would become repetitive, and I might as well leave it to others to do. For this reason, I would move on to a new, more challenging job. At the time, I knew that no matter how good you think you are, there is always someone better out there. Only later, after listening to Rinpoche’s Dharma teachings, did I learn that this was true on a deeper level as well, like the saying, “there are skies beyond this sky”. After all, in addition to the mundane path, there is a supramundane path as well. I must not waste any more time and should quickly grasp this opportunity to learn Buddhism and gain an understanding. All things in the entire universe and void arise and cease according to causes and conditions; everything is in a state of cyclic existence, and we cannot avoid that fact no matter where we go. To be able to encounter H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in this lifetime really has made me very happy that I even smile in my dreams! Nothing in this world is worth remembering or attached to other than that I should do my best to practice Buddhism in the guru’s footsteps. Finally, I again would like to thank His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Respectfully written by Disciple Xie Lifen on August 12, 2012.
Updated on August 19, 2016.

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Updated on August 19, 2016