686: A Family’s Account of the Compassionate Guru’s Merciful Liberation of Sentient Beings

“I am grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Lineage’s gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, and all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. My name is Su Pingyu, of Group Four. Today I would like to tell everyone about how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped my entire family. I would also like to repent for all of the wrongdoings that I, as a disciple, have committed.

“My mother passed away on September 20th, 2008, and I am very grateful to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the auspicious Chod to liberate her. In 2006, my mother discovered that she had late-stage colorectal cancer. For someone who had always been very active locally, this was no doubt a huge blow to her. At around that time she began to come here to seek audiences with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Because I had done a poor job of explaining to my mother that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a master practitioner of the utmost purity, at first she approached the guru in the manner of one imploring for blessings and protection. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately warned her that coming here is to learn Buddhism, and is not to make friends. The guru then advised her to go home and mull this over before coming back to seek another audience. All the way home, my mother kept asking us “what was going on?”  We again told her of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s merits, and stories of how the guru had helped and liberated sentient beings. I reminded my mother to be sure to think deeply on all that she had heard, and told her that when seeking an audience with such a master practitioner, she should do so with an attitude of absolute respect. After thinking it over for a week, my mother sought a second audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Assuming that the guru would ask her a lot of questions, to her surprise, when she knelt down to ask permission to attend the pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately told her to eat vegetarian and agreed to her participation in the pujas.

“I thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his compassionate blessings. While participating in the pujas, my mother was actually just as with it mentally as any ordinary healthy person, and her complexion even improved during that time. As her daughter I am ashamed to say that I did not truly act according to the guru’s teachings; nor did I do a good job of amending my ways. As a result, I was unable to seize the opportunity to help my mother to genuinely realize how much the compassionate teachings of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas had changed me. The upshot was that after my mother had diarrhea or urinary tract infection symptoms, she was unwilling to come and participate in the puja. Also, in compliance with my father’s wishes, she ended up changing her mind about having chemotherapy, and decided that she no longer wanted to eat vegetarian. After several sessions of chemotherapy, its vastly negative effects on my mother’s body could clearly be seen, despite the fact that the compassionate blessings bestowed by the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas were keeping her pain and suffering tolerable. In addition to the hair loss, loss of appetite, and nausea, she also experienced a gradual decline in her body’s strength and hemoglobin. Her condition deteriorated until she was no longer able to leave home, and to make matters worse, fluid began to accumulate in her peritoneal cavity. I feel extremely guilty, looking back on all of this, because I was too lazy to practice as I was taught by my guru. This prevented my family from giving rise to faith, and forced my mother endure so much suffering. Therein lay my greatest failing to observe filial piety, as both a disciple of my guru and a daughter to my parents. One month before my mother passed away, she underwent an operation to have an artificial fistula inserted. I am so very, very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for continuing to be relentless in relieving the suffering of sentient beings, and for the compassionate blessings the guru bestowed. After the procedure, my mother told me that she had had a clear vision of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche standing next to her in the operating room, garbed in Dharma vestments and smiling at her. She said that after seeing this, she had known that she was safe. I am extremely grateful to the guru for not letting my mother die on that operating table.

“After seeing my mother looking so haggard and in so much agony, my father and younger brother each expressed a different opinion as to how she should be treated. My father put all of his faith in Western medicine, whereas my brother’s greatest wish was to somehow alleviate our mother’s suffering. Out of the blue, my brother, who did not believe in the Buddha at all, mentioned that he hoped to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This took me by complete surprise, and I felt extremely grateful to the guru for having continuously bestowed causal conditions and good fortune, such as these, upon my family members. Thankfully, when my brother implored for blessings to alleviate our mother’s suffering, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in his great wisdom asked him whether or not our father knew that we had come to seek the guru’s help. My brother replied that because he knew our dad did not believe in Buddhism, he had therefore not wanted to tell him, so we just came to implore for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings to ease our mother’s pain without our father’s knowledge. I am so grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s bountiful wisdom and compassion. Very patiently, the guru told my brother twice that when imploring the Buddha for help, one must do so wisely and not be in a hurry. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas want to help sentient beings, and that help will always be provided completely and perfectly, and without any sequela. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also said that nothing in this world can be kept secret forever. If our mother were to suddenly pass away after being blessed by the guru, and our father later found out about it, he would certainly blame us and perhaps even begin to slander the Buddha. As such, while on the surface it might seem that we were being filial to our mother, we in fact would be creating a cause for our father to slander the Buddha—thus making ours a false sort of filial piety. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then told my brother that since he had come to implore the Buddha for help, he should have faith that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas always help sentient beings, and that nothing bad would come of their assistance. I am thankful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s extremely wise teachings. The guru also said to my brother that because our father only believes in Western medicine, we should allow our mother to complete her regimen of chemotherapy. About seven days later, we made another appointment to ask the attending physician whether or not our mother’s cancer could be cured by cancer. This was in part so that our father would drop the matter, having heard it from the doctor—after which we would again ask our father whether or not he would give us permission to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for blessings.

“I am so grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s immense wisdom. As planned, within a week we went to our scheduled appointment with the attending physician. Incredibly we found that the doctor, who had originally seemed quite confident about the necessity of using Western medical techniques to treat our mother, was suddenly telling us that the chemotherapy had actually been ineffective. We were told that, if possible, we should consider placing our mother in hospice care so that she would no longer suffer, and then reminded us that we definitely should tell her of her condition as soon as possible, as well as the fact that she did not have much time left; in this way, she could make preparations for her imminent death. The doctor also gave special instructions to a nearby nurse to come over and explain what had happened to a certain other patient there. Because this patient had not known the truth about his condition, he had become very resentful shortly before his death. Afraid we would not be willing to listen, the doctor—in whom my father placed the utmost trust—confirmed that this story was true, and my father heard every word. Before this meeting with the doctor, we would never have thought such a dialogue possible. Even though afterward my father still insisted on continuing with the chemotherapy treatments, the doctor’s words had nevertheless provided us with a causal condition to bring our mother here to seek another audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. I am eternally grateful to the guru for his persistence in relieving the suffering of sentient beings, and for providing us with causal conditions. Because of my mother’s seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she therefore was given an opportunity to return home one final time before passing away.

“That evening as my mother kneeled down before His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to implore for blessings and relief for her suffering, the guru compassionately reiterated that the point of bestowing blessings was not to satisfy my mother’s desire not to die, but rather to enable her to let go. Next, after blessing her with the vajra for quite some time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told my mother that she should come and participate in the Chod Puja to be held on September 26th. Before the audience was over my mother made an offering to the guru in person, and he compassionately said that although he normally does not accept offerings from believers, he would make an exception this time so that my mother could form a connection with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I thank His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for being so wonderfully compassionate. That same evening, after returning to the hospital, my mother slept soundly for the first time in a very long time.

“On September 20th my mother’s condition took a sudden turn for the worse, and at 4:52 that afternoon she passed away. I am grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for mercifully performing the Chod to transfer my mother’s consciousness for her. Coincidentally, the Chod was performed on the same day as her First Seven-Day Rite. For this I must give praise to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and wisdom. Afterward my family was still in mourning, but aside from cherishing my mother’s memory, we did not actually dwell in an atmosphere of grief or fear. My elderly father, especially, was not devastated at the death of his wife, and for me and my younger brother this was an enormous comfort. I deeply believe that this was all brought about by our Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s profoundly compassionate blessings.

“I remember one time, while preparing to withdraw at the end of an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru suddenly called back my son, who at the time was still in elementary school. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately asked him whether or not he had given his schoolteacher a nickname. Drawing a blank, my son did not answer right away. Nevertheless, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to explain that a teacher has to face more than twenty students every day, and that each student comes from a different family background. Dealing with so many people is therefore not an easy task for a teacher. My son had already taken refuge in Buddhism, the guru said, so even though he might look the same as other students, his attitude and behavior should be different. As such, he should not haphazardly make up nicknames for his teacher. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then warned that if my son broke this rule again, he would no longer be allowed to practice Buddhism here. Later, after mulling this over, my son told me that he and his classmates had actually given their teacher a nickname, but that he had completely forgotten about it until just then. However, this time he remembered the guru’s words wholeheartedly. From that day on, my son began to remind himself from time to time of the importance of respecting his teachers, and he never made the same mistake again. I am grateful to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only for teaching such a good-for-nothing person as myself, but for taking such good care of my son as well. As parents, my husband and I had failed by not noticing our son’s mischief right away and not giving him the proper guidance. This added to the guru’s burden, and as his disciple I am ashamed.

“Finally, I would like to share an experience I had when I first took refuge. I once was given the causal condition to follow the guru to Qinghai. Due to its remoteness, it was close to midnight before the buses full of disciples finally arrived at the hotel. I feel very ashamed, because back then I was not very sincere in my commitment to practice Buddhism, and had no idea just how shallow my pool of good fortune really was. Had it not been for the guru’s compassionate blessings, good fortune, and protection, I could never have heard or known about that rare and auspicious puja or obtained the opportunity to participate in it. I therefore did not completely keep what the guru had taught us at the forefront of my mind. Instead, all I thought about was how tired I was. I even began to feel resentful, and ended up going to sleep without even practicing the Dharma of Protector Achi. The next day, while on our way to pay our respects to a 120-year-old Ani of the Order, the bus I was on broke down, and we missed out on the causal condition to visit her. That evening His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, despite feeling unwell at the time, went out of his way to tell us that a guru will always create causal conditions for his disciples to help their practice, but that as disciples, we must reach out our hands and actually accept them. If we did not, then no matter how many causal conditions our guru was willing to give us, they would be of no use. Right then and there I broke down in tears, and repented deeply for my evil behavior and thoughts. Upon encountering hardship, I should not have thought of myself first and pushed thoughts of the guru aside. In my ignorance, I had not realized that Buddhism cannot be learned without a guru.

“Here I would again like to repent to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. For so many years, my respect and faith in the guru has always been lacking, and I have completely failed to act as a disciple who has taken refuge in her guru should. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked me after liberating my mother, why did my father not get angry when we brought my mother to implore the guru for blessings? All of my thoughts at the time were focused on my stupid attachment to my own suffering; I had completely forgotten that everything good had happened as a result of the guru’s benevolence and blessings. Had it not been for the guru, my father, who did not believe in the Three Jewels, would most certainly have slandered the Buddha, and my mother could never have left this world so peacefully. Nevertheless, I was unable to respond to the guru’s question, and could only cry and cry. I believe that this was actually the worst I have ever been as a disciple. While in the midst of my suffering, I wished that the guru would drop all of his other concerns and only take care of me. Even after being granted that care and the guru’s blessings, however, I still did not realize that I should imprint his benevolence deep within my heart. Without a doubt, I was an ungrateful wretch! Again, I now repent before the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas most sincerely. I have neither lived up to what it means to be a disciple nor understood fully that I should be mindful of the guru’s benevolence. If I could treat a great benefactor like that, then my behavior toward other sentient beings must be even worse. This sort of attitude is evil beyond words. I urge you all to take heed from my example, and to never forget the guru’s benevolence.

“Finally, as a disciple I would like to repent before all of the sentient beings I have ever harmed in the past. While focused on my own selfish desires, I completely neglected to consider the suffering and afflictions of others. I am grateful to the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas for allowing me, a disciple, the opportunity to learn Buddhism in this lifetime and see myself clearly, as well as for giving me the causes and conditions to strive to become liberated from life and death. I pray that all sentient beings can obtain the guru’s compassionate blessings so that they can leave suffering behind and experience happiness, that the guru’s Dharma activities will be spread far and wide, and that the Drikung Kagyu Lineage will flourish forever.

Written with respect by disciple Su Pingyu of Group Four
September 14th, 2014

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Updated on October 11, 2015