561: Praising the Guru’s Wisdom and Merits

I am grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for bestowing me this opportunity to publicly praise the guru’s wisdom and merits and share an account of how he helped me.

During the general pujas held over the past couple of weeks, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned that despite the efforts of disciples and sound system engineers, there had been an issue with the acoustics at Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall—the location in which the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness was held on August 26th of this year. Due to the venue’s enormous size, there had been constraints with regard to echoes and so on that had been difficult to resolve. In the end, however, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions helped us to find a solution.

I was in charge of the team that oversaw all hardware installations related to audio, video, lighting, and so on during the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. Prior to the event, I had discussed any relevant details with the sound engineers and asked them to configure various audio, video, and lighting equipment, which, in their professional opinion, would meet the needs of the grand puja. As for how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had used his great wisdom to resolve those acoustics and echo problems that the group of us had been unable to figure out, no one knows more about it than I. During the general puja that week, while talking about issues related to acoustics, he bestowed upon me an opportunity to praise the merits of my guru. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche singled me out by name, a wave of refreshing coolness washed through me, but at the same time I was so nervous that my mind went completely blank. As a result, I was unable to give the attendees a very complete report of the guru’s wisdom and merits. Feeling that my account lacked comprehensiveness, I have the opportunity now again to praise Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s wisdom and compassionate aspiration to help sentient beings, and would like to give a detailed description of how the guru had solved the acoustics problems posed by holding the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness in such a large venue as Nangang Exhibition Hall. The guru’s efforts had enabled the puja to proceed smoothly, and allowed all of the attending believers to hear his precious Dharma teachings more clearly.

Back when I told the contractor that the grand puja would be held at the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall, the head of the team contracted to handle sound engineering immediately reacted by saying that we must be crazy to have chosen Nangang Exhibition Hall as a location to host over twenty thousand puja participants. His reasoning was that the venue was only designed to handle various sorts of exhibitions, so was not suited to audio-visual-related activities. Due to its enormous size, the acoustics were such that sounds would echo quite severely. He then declared that any sound engineer daring to organize such an activity in Nangang Exhibition Hall would be shooting his own business’s reputation in the foot! In his experience, we should be using only half of the room at most, and the resulting echoes would be severe enough—even worse if we were to utilize the entire venue. He said frankly that the acoustics problems posed by such an enormous room were simply unsolvable!

The location of one of the Nangang Exhibition Hall’s loudspeakers used during the grand puja.

I explained to the sound engineer about Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassionate vow to benefit countless sentient beings, as well as how it had inspired more and more believers to attend the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness each year. I also mentioned that currently, Nangang Exhibition Hall was the only venue in the Taipei metropolitan area that could accommodate more than twenty thousand people; there really was nowhere else we could use. I begged him to help us think up a solution to this thorny problem.

The sound engineer and I discussed various ideas about how to reduce the echoes in the venue, such as hanging sound-absorbing curtains. Such a project would cost too much, and the sound engineer said that he could not guarantee the result either, so the subject was dropped. In the end, using a computer to simulate speaker output from various locations, he said he believed it would be best to divide the venue into three sections—front, middle, and back—and set up SPKs (loudspeakers) in the front of each section, facing the attending believers. It was his opinion that this would be the most appropriate way of doing it. 。

Because a single SPK would produce an echo all on its own, the echoes produced by eight sets of SPKs placed around the venue, all facing the same direction, would be very severe indeed. However, based on his professional knowledge, the sound engineer believed that this set-up was the best we could do. Deep down, I still felt very uneasy, but I myself had no idea how else to resolve the echo problem.

Luckily, prior to holding each Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always calls together all the disciples responsible for organizing the grand pujas so that he can hear reports about various aspects of the preparatory work and give guidance accordingly. There is nothing the guru does not know; he has a clearer idea of their jobs than they do! He really is amazing! Every question Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asks points straight at something they have overlooked or neglected to make sufficiently meticulous arrangements for. Such revelations inevitably lead to their being blessed with the guru’s reprimands.

When it was my turn to report our acoustics issues to the guru, he pointed at the diagram I was using to explain the situation and instructed me to set up loudspeakers in the middle and back sections facing inward at a 45° angle. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said, “This set-up will fix your echo issue! You can’t even solve such a simple problem! How can you call yourself an audio-visual professional?” The guru went on to instruct me to demand a discount from the sound engineer, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s proposed solution was his intellectual property. In the future the sound engineer could continue to use this method to resolve acoustics-related issues in Nangang Exhibition Hall, so it was only reasonable for him to give us a discount.

As per Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions, the loudspeakers set up around the venue would be turned inward at a 45° angle. Acoustic pressure test results showed that this led to good sound conduction, thereby resolving the echo problem.

In all respects, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is constantly making the best and most appropriate arrangements for sentient beings. When I, his disciple, relayed the guru’s instructions to the sound engineer, he responded by giving us a discount of a few tens of thousands of NT dollars. Through his wisdom, not only had Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche solved the acoustics problem, but had also saved money for use in support of the grand puja and toward benefiting sentient beings.

The sound engineer used a computer simulation to test the effects of the loudspeaker arrangement instructed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and results showed that the acoustics would be good and clear throughout the entire venue.

On the day of the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, to get a better picture of the sound effects, I went all around the venue as the puja began and listened very carefully in each corner and from every angle. After making a full lap, I finally stopped worrying about the echo problem that had plagued us for so long. I was so full of admiration for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great wisdom. The experience had given me a profound sense that this master practitioner was truly omnipotent!

The loudspeaker positioning method instructed by the guru had completely limited all echoes to the outermost aisles of the middle and back sections of the room, and therefore none of the attendees would be bothered by any acoustics issues. It was utterly amazing! The solution given to us by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche might seem simple, but the sound engineer and I had not been able to come up with it even after racking our brains for so long.
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “This wisdom has come to me as a result of my intention to benefit sentient beings, and allowed me to smoothly solve the serious echo problem in Nangang Exhibition Hall.” Having specifically studied acoustics for years, hearing this made me feel deeply ashamed. I made a firm resolution to work harder from then on to learn from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

In January of this year (2012), after accompanying His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to Japan to attend a puja presided over by him, I heard the guru mention that the sound system in the Japanese Buddhist Center had been set up by a disciple, and that no one else was involved in its operation. He wondered who else would be available to help in the event that this disciple (me) were to die. My stomach had not been feeling very well for some time, so as soon as I heard Rinpoche’s words, I wondered rashly if my time had come. Was I really about to die? Thoughts of not wanting to die suddenly floated into my consciousness. I thought about how my parents were still alive, and how I still had a wife and children to support. I grasped at every reason I could think of to avoid dying. Presently, I recalled Rinpoche’s teachings, and realized that I had been wrong. I’d taken refuge in the guru for eight years, and before that had practiced Exoteric Buddhism for a number of years, too (refer to Traces of Liberating Beings #96: Grateful for the Bodhisattvas’ Guidance); nevertheless, I had always approached my practice with an erroneous attitude. Only now that this current state had manifested did I understand, with a shock, how wrong I had been! This gave me, therefore, an opportunity to amend my attitude toward my Buddhist practice.

During that time, my stomach continued to pain me, and sometimes I wasn’t even able to get down water without it feeling like a knife were raking at my esophagus. This made me dwell on the suffering of the Knife-Cutting Hell. I felt that I was continuously burning through my life force; getting weaker by the day and unable to eat, I really thought my death wasn’t far off. By then I had already signed up to go to the Buddhist Center to participate in morning and evening prayers, but my frailty and fear that I was going to die caused me to telephone my group leader to ask whether or not I could cancel. He said, “If you signed up, then you have to show up. The only excuse not to show is if you’re already dead.” I therefore arrived at the Buddhist Center at the appointed time and performed my prayers. After struggling through the morning prayer in my weakened state, I went home to discover that I was physically still able to persevere, so I returned to the Buddhist Center later that day for my evening prayer. In the midst of it, my body got so weak that I had trouble even just chanting mantras. Suddenly, however, I felt a rush of warmth flowing from my head down into my heart, and it gradually spread from there to the rest of my body. This warmth immediately caused my erstwhile discomfort to dissipate, and made me feel full of energy once more. It truly was incredible! I believe this all happened as a result of H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.

When I was thirty-eight years old, before I took refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my love for seafood caused my entire body to feel unwell. Because the doctors could find no reason for my discomfort, they labeled it a psychological disorder. Those days I took a lot of sedatives and antidepressants which clouded my cognitive abilities and made my head hurt a lot whenever I thought about anything. After I took refuge, though, several times when the guru was walking past me, he went out of his way to bless me with a glance. Each time this happened, I would go home and my headaches would start again. I knew this was happening because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was helping and blessing me. After a few times of this, the intensity of my headaches gradually began to ease. This continued until one day I suddenly realized I could remember telephone numbers and recall which one belonged to whom. This meant I had regained my cognitive abilities. Furthermore, my head didn’t hurt anymore.

Liu Jiahao and his son (right) and daughter (left). Their entire family has taken refuge.

One day, when I was in my thirties, I was lying on the bed when my son jumped from the windowsill onto my back with such force that he injured my spine. At the time I did not think it was very serious; I figured I’d be fine after a few days’ rest. Years later, however, that back injury began to take its toll. Anytime I lifted something, the following day I would be paralyzed to the point of not being able to turn my body. This gave me a profound realization that my karmic creditors had been among my family all along.

After taking refuge, we received transmission from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche of how to perform grand prostrations, and I began to do them. One day I bit off more than I could chew; I performed eight hundred grand prostrations, and this caused my back injury to flame up. The next day I was unable to move or even turn around; I could not even get out of bed. Still, I managed to slowly do some more grand prostrations, regardless of my physical challenges. Gradually, the pain got better. Days later—I didn’t even notice when—it stopped hurting altogether. One time while I was volunteering, I helped to pick up something heavy, but the next day I was not left bedridden the way I had been in the past. Instead, I was completely fine, just like a normal person. All of this was thanks to H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It is hard to find words to describe the guru’s compassion, merits, and the blessings he bestowed upon us.

I feel deeply that ever since I took refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he not only has taught us how to practice the Dharma, but has even taken care of our family members. Ever since January of this year, he has caused me to thoroughly reflect upon my actions and amend my attitude toward my Buddhist practice. These truly are auspicious blessings! Everything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does is for the sake of sentient beings; from this day forth, I, too, wish to integrate the aspiration of helping sentient beings into everything I do. We are all extremely fortunate to have encountered such a Mahasiddha as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. We really must do our best to cherish this opportunity, act in accordance with the guru’s teachings, and encourage each other to never stray from them. The Pure Land is waiting for us all.

Respectfully written by Disciple Liu Jiahao on September 16, 2012
Updated on July 20, 2016

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Updated on July 20, 2016