793: Without Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Our Family Would Have Fallen to Pieces Long Ago!

“Praise be unto His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Dharma Protector Achi, the Lineage Gurus, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. I am Zhong Peiling of Group Six; my Dharma name is Huiling Drolma. My mother is Zhong Li Shuxia of Group Five, and my husband is Wang Wende of Group Three. I am extremely grateful for today’s opportunity to share an account of how His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped me and my family.

“I took refuge in His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on August 8th, 1999. I remember the first time I met the guru; it was during the most wretched period of my life. Since childhood I had been protected and taken very good care of by my mom and dad; I’d known nothing of any hardship in life. When I was thirty years old, I suddenly learned that my father had gone bankrupt and fallen into debt collection, my mother had lost her investment of more than NT$10 million, my older brother was unable to pay the interest on a loan he owed an underground loanshark, and that a gangster had been living in our home for more than a year in order to secure the debt he was owed. All of these hit me out of the blue, and I suddenly wondered what exactly the point of living was. I even found myself hoping I might get hit by a car and be done with it. Later, I recall, when I first met His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thanks to an introduction from Dharma Brother Tien, the guru inquired, ‘How may I help you?’ I answered, ‘I have poor health.’ He then asked, ‘Have you ever had an abortion?’ Stunned, I shook my head and said that I hadn’t. The guru compassionately said, “Your uterus is very cold. You should stop eating frozen foods; go to see a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, and take medication. This is not cancer.” Remarkably, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had hit the nail on the head: At the time, due to being unable to face the dramatic changes happening at home, I had often vented my frustrations by eating stimulating fare such as frozen and fried foods. Strangely enough, after hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice, I gradually stopped eating such foods. During that first audience with the guru, he looked me over and asked, ‘What else is the matter?’ I was just about to answer when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche interrupted me by saying, ‘Stop. Don’t ask about things you are unable to deal with. Come and participate in the pujas!’ Right then and there I broke down and bawled uncontrollably, so moved was I that this Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, whom I had never met, could know so well what afflicted me. I thought to myself, This is my very first audience, so how could the guru be aware of my pain?

“I then began to come every Sunday to attend the general pujas. I remember the first time I heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche speak about life and death: For two whole hours, I cried non-stop; every word uttered by the guru was a gem, and every sentence terrific. His Cantonese-accented Mandarin was very endearing, and warmed my resentful heart. Each puja left me feeling strong enough to face another frightful week. In my heart I knew that if my father could listen to the guru’s teachings, he should gain the courage to sort out his bankruptcy and debt problems, and then the rest of our family’s problems would soon be resolved as well. For this reason, I continuously begged him to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

“After a few weeks, my father finally agreed. However, to my great surprise, on the day of his audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, my father had only uttered a couple of sentences when the guru reprimanded him very loudly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said he should not have procrastinated but should face his creditors and discuss a way out of his predicament. The guru also told my father that if he could repent in earnest, then he would help him. Hearing this made me really happy, but I deeply regretted the fact that his whole life, the most difficult thing for my father to let go of had always been his pride. As his face fell, I vaguely got the feeling that my father was unable to accept Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings. Every Sunday morning after that, my father would say to me, ‘You don’t absolutely have to participate in the puja every single week.’ He also voiced some rather disrespectful words about the guru. I began to be very worried, because if my father wouldn’t even approve of the words spoken by such a compassionate practitioner as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, then it would be very difficult indeed for my father to learn Buddhism. I felt very sad, but at the time I was unaware that my selfish thoughts—including the desire to hurry up and resolve our predicament—were driving me to dump all of my problems onto Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s lap in the hope that I could stop having to worry about the situation at home. In the meantime, I had completely failed to help my father understand that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a Mahasiddha who has achieved great attainment through diligent cultivation, and who helps sentient beings in accordance with the Dharma, cause, and effect, and who would not instead try to placate my father’s desires and attachments. When I think about the past few decades, every time my father has encountered a difficult situation and hoped to escape it through a change of luck, he has always met with many so-called masters. After receiving pointers from them, he has ended up spending a truly countless amount of time and money on fengshui, redoing our ancestors’ graves and remodeling our home.

Zhong Peiling is sincerely grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for compassionately saving her entire family from falling to pieces.

“After a few months, I really wanted to escape my father’s weekly nagging, and was even more worried that he would be disrespectful toward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Thus, in early 2000, I wrote a letter to the guru reporting my decision to temporarily leave the Buddhist Center. At the time I was in great anguish, and very fearful; however, not daring to face my own problems and repent for them before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, I had chosen to leave instead. Like an ostrich sticking its head in the ground, I asked Dharma Brother Tien to present my letter to the guru, after which I stopped participating in the weekly pujas.

“After leaving the Buddhist Center, I suffered a string of calamities. First, in February of 2000, I discovered a lump in my right breast. I went to four major hospitals to get it checked out, and the upshot was that half of the doctors said it was benign while the other half said it was malignant. After seeking counsel from Dharma Brother Tien, I got up the courage to seek an audience with the guru, who admonished me right off the bat: ‘You shouldn’t place so much importance on money!’ Actually, at the time I had no idea what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was talking about; all I knew was that everything the guru said was correct. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said to me, ‘Are you afraid of dying? This is not cancer!’

“However, when one lacks in good fortune, there really is nothing that can be done. I would have preferred not to have an operation, but did not have the support of my family members in this. In the end I agreed to undergo surgery to have the lump removed. The day before the procedure was scheduled, my doctor suddenly told me that if the lab test results showed that my lump was malignant, then they would have to cut it out to prevent further complications. This was such a horrifying prospect! The day after my operation, the doctor told me that the lump had been benign, and I felt relieved. A week later, however, the doctor said a further biopsy had shown that the tumor was malignant—it was a carcinoma in situ—but that all I needed to do was to have it completely removed; no chemotherapy or radiotherapy would be required. I thought to myself, I do not want to suffer through another operation; that was miserable! So, how about I just leave things as they are! Later, I went back to work, at a new job this time. Being a bad tempered, spoiled woman, from the time I began working there, I did not get along very well with the boss; I was in a terrible mood every day. This caused my husband to worry a lot that the situation would soon drive me crazy. At the same time, I was discovering that more and more, something felt rather off about my right breast. Three months later, I decided to quit my job, because I did not want to have to curse someone every day. Afterward, I often felt a lot of discomfort, and after discussing it with my husband, I decided to undergo surgery again. That was when it suddenly occurred to me that in this lifetime I had eaten the flesh of so many sentient beings, so now it was my turn to pay for it! After the operation, the pain was such that each day felt like an entire year. I think only those who have experienced surgery can know what that’s like! While I was recovering, Dharma Brother Tien kept in frequent contact with me, and encouraged me to participate whenever a large-scale puja was held that was open to the public. Often, all it took was to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche even from far away, and I would feel strangely moved and at peace. I realized that the guru had been helping me all along. It was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s constant protection that allowed me to weather through the pain while I was recovering from surgery.

“During the SARS epidemic in 2003, while many religious groups had stopped being active, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was fully aware of just how desperately sentient beings needed help at that time, so he continued holding the weekly pujas to liberate them. The guru also blessed a lot of nectar water, instructing the disciples to share it with their friends and family. Dharma Brother Tien shared a bottle of nectar water with me and reminded me that since I was now married and no longer living with my mom and dad, then as long as it was okay with my husband, I should implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again to resume learning Buddhism from him. She then told me that three years earlier, when she had given my letter to the guru, he had said lightly, ‘She has an affinity with me; she’ll be back.’ When I heard this, my tears fell like rain. For a very long time I was utterly beside myself, so my husband said he would accompany me to seek an audience.

“During that audience, I remember, we had just pushed open the door when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche happened to throw a look our way. The compassion in his eyes is hard to describe, and very difficult to forget. When it was my turn to approach, I was speechless from having been sobbing continuously. A Dharma brother reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, ‘Zhong Peiling is the one who wrote you that letter a few years ago.’ The guru smiled and said, ‘Did you write that letter to scold me?’ I was shocked and immediately answered, ‘No, I was not scolding you.’ Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked, ‘So what do you think now?’ I reported, ‘After being out there and at loose ends over the past four years, I still have found no way of helping myself or improving my parents’ situation. I implore you, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, to allow me to return so that I may resume learning Buddhism. I also hope that my parents will have the opportunity to come with me in the future.’ Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche nodded compassionately, and then asked after my husband’s health. After blessing him for a long time, the guru informed my husband that one of his disciples was told by a doctor that he would have to wear body brace and leg braces for the rest of his life, and very possibly would never walk again. However, after continuously practicing Buddhism in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s footsteps and being frequently reprimanded as well, that disciple could now walk under his own steam. The guru also told my husband that he should participate in the pujas. So, we were very lucky that he, too, was allowed to attend the pujas.

“In 2004 my mom often had to go to the emergency room because her heartrate would rise to 150 beats per minute. No sooner would she arrive at the hospital, however, than her heartrate would return to normal, and the doctors could not detect what was causing this. I used that as an opportunity to tell my mom and dad to seek an audience and ask for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s assistance. During the audience, my mom reported to the guru that she had lower back pain, and she was suffering from cardiac arrhythmia. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately told her that not only she had cardiac arrhythmia but also all her blood vessels were blocked. At the time, we did not understand what that meant. Suddenly, the guru asked her how many children she had, to which she replied that she had three. He asked. ‘Three?’ My mom nodded her head. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche added, ‘Including any miscarriages, I mean.’ Without hesitating, my mom said, ‘Oh, plus one that I miscarried. But it was only two months old!’ The guru immediately berated, ‘Even at two months, it was still a life! Your granddaughter is in kindergarten already, you should come to participate in the pujas, and I will liberate the child you miscarried. After that your lower back will stop hurting so much.’ Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also told my mom to begin eating vegetarian, to which she nodded in acquiescence. From then on, she participated in the weekly pujas, and half a year later, with my father’s consent, my mom implored to take refuge and became a disciple of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Looking back on it all, during my first audience before taking refuge, the guru asked me whether or not I had ever had an abortion. It truly is exactly as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says: Sentient beings who are really suffering know who can genuinely help them.

“One time, before the Buddhist Center’s new venue was open, my mom and I had gone there to help out with wrapping offering items when she suddenly said that she felt unwell and needed to sit in a chair. As luck would have it, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arrived at the Buddhist Center then. When I tried to help my mom to her feet, she just stared straight at me, and all she could do was to clasp her palms together. No matter how hard I tried to help her, she could neither stand nor speak. After looking at her for quite some time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked over to her side. I was scared stiff with wondering what was wrong with my mom, and why she hadn’t known to stand upon seeing the guru. Suddenly able to speak again, my mom told me that her mind had gone completely blank, and that she’d wanted to stand but had not been able to. The following day I took her to repent before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru said, ‘It’s fine!’ and then indicated that we could leave. Actually, I only found out later that my mom had suffered her first mini-stroke at the Buddhist Center that day.

“One Friday evening six months later, I arrived late to a Chod Puja being held at the Buddhist Center. When I got there, several worried Dharma brothers told me that my mom was not feeling very well at all and that I should sit next to her. Because of her bad heart, I gave her feet a quick massage, as was my habit. I was shocked to discover how icy cold her entire body was. She couldn’t speak, her body was tilting to the side, her head hanging to her left, and her mouth was slightly open. I did not feel panicky, because I knew Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would soon ascend the Dharma throne; even if my mom’s time had come, the guru would help her. She sat there just like that, her eyes sometimes staring wide open and sometimes closed shut. During the second half of the puja, while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was leading everyone in a chanting of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, she suddenly told me she needed to go to the bathroom. When I said I would go with her, she waved her hand and told me she didn’t need me to. When she finally returned to her seat after a long time, she looked like nothing had happened to her. I later asked Dharma Brother Doctor Xie about this, and he said my mom was suffering from intermittent blood loss, meaning she’d had another mini-stroke, and that I should be alert to the fact that she could have a severe one within a month. Actually, my mom had no memory of what had happened that evening; she simply felt very sleepy. I am very grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having helped my mom; there is no telling how much she would have suffered otherwise. After that, many Dharma brothers at the Buddhist Center learned that my mom had had a couple of strokes. They all felt quite amazed, because she did not exhibit any of the aftereffects typical of stroke patients. Though her memory was badly degenerated, she was still able to live her life without needing too much special care. Ever since then my mom has told everyone she meets that had it not been for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would have passed away long ago. My father once had my mom’s fortune read for her, and she was not supposed to have lived past the age of sixty—but now she is seventy-seven years old. None of this would be possible without Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

“In August of 2014, my father’s younger sister in central southern Taiwan was put in a nursing home because she had severe dementia. Because she often had to go to the hospital when she was sick, my father visited her frequently. My aunt was eighty-four years old, so he knew she wouldn’t get better, but seeing her suffer through a visit to the intensive care unit every few days made him want to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and implore the guru to help. Before our audience, my father spent a long time at home preparing a draft in which he implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help his younger sister as well as assist him in resolving his debt problems. During the audience, the guru told my father to sit in a chair when speaking, because actually, a few days previously my father had undergone prostate surgery, so was unable to stand for very long. With great compassion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche very patiently listened to my father as he read out his wishes. The guru then told him not to worry, and that he would help his sister. Regarding the debt problems, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, ‘The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not earn any money, so They cannot pull it out of thin air for you to pay off your debt.’ The guru then told my father to have a sincere sit-down with his creditors, and that he would help my father during the discussions by making the creditors more receptive to what my father had to say. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also said that my father could not make any more money, so he should stop being so attached to this situation. Afterward, the guru motioned for my father to approach, and then placed a sutra on his head bestowing blessings upon him for a long time. I felt both extremely ashamed and very moved; Richen Dorjee Rinpoche knows everything about the suffering of sentient beings, and cares greatly for his disciples’ family members. Unfortunately, my father was unable to follow the guru’s guidance; he continued hoping for a windfall so that he could repay his creditors, and was unwilling to honestly face the fact that he could not repay his debt. About a month later, my aunt peacefully passed away. Very grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s assistance, my father registered to seek another audience, during which the guru compassionately gave permission for my aunt to be liberated during the Chod Puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is genuinely compassionate; knowing my father was very worried about my aunt, he went out of his way to have me tell my father not to worry because he would transfer her consciousness for her.

“In the middle of September, 2015, my older brother, who had been living in Mainland China, abruptly returned home to Taiwan. My father told me he had suddenly gone blind, likely due to a brain tumor. My father hoped that I would seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to implore for help for my brother. Despite feeling very sad, I replied sincerely that because my brother neither believed in the Buddha nor ate vegetarian, I really did not wish or dare to implore the guru for help on his behalf. By the time I went to visit my brother in the hospital, his eyesight had returned. I took this opportunity to urge him again to eat vegetarian, and reminded him about how our mom had gotten help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche after suffering a couple of strokes. A few days later, my father suddenly called to tell me the doctor had said my brother would not be subjected to surgery because it would be too dangerous, given the location of his brain tumor. As such, he would have to trust in fate. The doctor also said that in his experience, most patients in my brother’s situation tended to pass away within a few weeks, and that he was the first patient he’d ever seen to survive and recover so quickly. It was very clear to me that were it not for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings, my brother would long ago have left the land of the living.

“I’m sure that after hearing all of this, you all can see clearly how much benevolence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has shown me, and how profoundly he has helped me. How, then, did I repay this debt of kindness?

“Not only have I not repaid it, but on the contrary, I have often caused Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to fret and worry that I would not be able to bear the karma I am constantly creating. I did not make offerings and was only superficially practicing Buddhism; on the surface I seemed respectful, and was enormously self-satisfied because I thought I really was being respectful to the guru and that I had 100% trust in him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded me thusly: ‘I have granted all of the wishes you had when you took refuge, but what about the promises you made to sentient beings? You have not fulfilled a single one of them! You have broken your Refuge Precepts. If it weren’t for me, you would have died last year. I was wondering why bad things happen to you, and now I know that it’s because you don’t take your practice seriously! You just plod along, taking your time!’

“Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was absolutely correct, and had pointed out the area in which I was most careless: I did not believe in impermanence; I always felt I would have plenty of time and opportunities, so I had never made a firm resolution to become liberated from life and death as well as to renounce reincarnation. It was dreadful; I had let Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche down after all the help he had given me, thinking I had complete faith in him. Actually, I had relied overly much on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and taken his compassionate blessings for granted. I felt guilty during Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s recent process of reorganizing the board of directors, because I’d been too timid to stand up and take responsibility and had not had the patience to communicate well with others; as a result, many things had come to a standstill. When admonished by the guru, however, and told I had to give up my spot on the board and that I could no longer learn Tantra, I was indescribably sad, but what moved me even more was that despite my wretchedness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was still trying to save me by helping me face my problems. This confirmed for me that without the guru, I could never become liberated from life and death in this lifetime. This incident gave me a deep understanding of just how severe my problems were, and that if I did not amend my behavior soon, I was bound to fall into hell—and that I would go there even before I died. I had to stop dealing with everything with an escapist attitude.

“I would again like to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his reprimands and blessings. I will be very respectful and follow the guru’s teachings, not making the same mistakes again. Moreover, I will work hard to amend the behavior that would make me reincarnate, and resolve to become liberated from life and death. Most importantly, I want to seize this final opportunity, and will no longer muddle my way through life. The way to truly express my gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is to genuinely change, and not just say it. I pray that the guru will continue to bless me and strengthen my resolve to practice so that I will not cower from it. I also pray that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will continue to correct my mistakes. I have come to a profound realization that only the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would never forsake us; we are the ones who betray ourselves. We must have complete faith in our guru, and never doubt him; only then is it possible for us to become liberated from reincarnation.

“After these past fifty years of confusion, I now feel that I have arrived at the most lucid moment of my life. I hope that all of you, honorable believers and Dharma brothers alike, will not make the same mistakes I have made. Do not take the compassion of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for granted. Finally, I pray that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will keep turning the Dharma wheel and maintain an eternal presence in this world so that his aspirations and Dharma activities will come to perfect fruition, and that the Drikung Kagyu Order will flourish forever.”

Respectfully written by Zhong Peiling, Group 6, on March 20th, 2016

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Updated on September 25, 2016