I’m not a Buddhist now, am I?

I can’t say that I was ever interested in religion. I had been raised in one of the world’s major religious traditions but over the years, some of the things I witnessed led to my disillusionment. I’d pretty much lost faith in anything to do with bettering myself, with spiritual progress, with helping others.

I figured if the people who were supposed to possess the wisdom to help me could not even help themselves, why bother? Why not just try and do the best for me, for my family and not look beyond that? If things were really that bad for other people, I was sure they’d find their own way to salvation or whatever you want to call it. I lived this way until my late 20s, when I came across someone who would eventually change my life.

I was 28 and had just split up with what seemed like my 100th girlfriend. As she was leaving, she said it was because I was cold. Although I professed to care for her and for my family, she said she had never known anyone so afraid to open up. Say what now? It was a shock because I’d never thought I was this way. What guy thinks of these things anyway, right?

During one of the days that followed, I was commuting to work, sitting in the train and contemplating my next move. The fact that I couldn’t keep it together with my partners led me to consider that maybe I really did have a problem. For the first time in 10 years, I said a silent prayer to whoever was listening, “Please help me to change myself. It’s okay if I don’t find The One but if there’s really a problem with me, please help me to change.”

My train reached its next stop. As the doors opened, I looked up and in walked this monk. There was something about him that kept me looking. I couldn’t put my finger on it. The monk looked secure, happy, at peace. Like he wasn’t suffering the same kind of thoughts I was suffering.

The monk noticed me staring and smiled the warmest smile I had ever seen. It was kind and giving, and yet unnerving all at once. It was like he knew what I was thinking and what I was suffering. I hated him knowing how I was feeling, but something about him also seemed comforting, almost familiar.

The next stop was mine, so I got out and noticed the monk getting off too. Already late for work, I made my way to the ticket barrier. It was then I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Stupid tourists,” I thought to myself, “Why can’t they walk without bumping into me?” I turned around, ready to tell off whomever it was.

“Lama asked me to pass this to you.”

“Sorry who are you?” I’d never seen this person before, never heard the word “lama” before. At that moment, I didn’t really care; I just wanted to get to work on time.

“My teacher, the monk over there. He asked me to pass this to you.”

I was so preoccupied with staring at the monk that I hadn’t noticed his attendants. The man passed me a slip of paper and then went back to his teacher. I looked down and saw an address and a phone number, then put the paper in my pocket.

I didn’t go back to that slip of paper until a few weeks later when I finally got around to doing my laundry. As I was clearing my pockets, the paper fell out and I remembered what had happened. It couldn’t hurt, right? I picked up the phone and dialled. Clearly my own suffering trumped whatever aversions I had to organized religion.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Hi, my name is Tom. You gave me your address a couple of weeks ago at the train station.” I wasn’t sure how I should identify myself. Did monks give out their contact details? Is it something they did all the time?

“Oh yes, hello Tom! Lama was wondering why you hadn’t called yet. Are you well?”

“I’m okay, I guess. Actually no, not really.” No one had genuinely asked me how I was in such a long time, I didn’t know how to react. “I don’t know how this works. Do I go for a confession or something? Can I talk to… the monk? I think there’s something wrong with me.”

“Well, Lama is quite busy at the moment, but we can arrange for one of his senior students to speak with you. Why don’t you come to visit our centre? See if there’s anything here that can help you.”

I looked again at the address. It wasn’t too far away, just a 20-minute train journey. I could do that. Yeah, I could do that.

I went down to the centre the very next day, and the day after that… and the day after that, for many weeks. During one of those afternoons, I was fortunate enough to meet Lama. After speaking to me for three hours, he gave me the practice of Dorje Shugden. There I was, having rejected religion for 10 years, suddenly being given a practice.

“I’m not a Buddhist now, am I? I mean, I’ve got nothing against you guys but I don’t think it’s for me.”

Lama laughed a hearty laugh and said, “No, you are not a Buddhist. You be whatever you want. Just ask Dorje Shugden for help and you will be okay.”

It took me a few more weeks before I began to recite Dorje Shugden’s mantra. I was still grappling with the idea of engaging in religious practice. In the end, I thought, “It couldn’t hurt, right?” It was hard at first – the weird syllables were a mouthful – but Lama was very patient with me and I’m glad I stuck with it. The rhythm was soothing but powerful and for the last 35 years, I’ve relied on Dorje Shugden to get me through good and bad times.

After a decade as a sworn agnostic, I know it was Dorje Shugden who drove me out of my apathy for myself and those around me. It was also Dorje Shugden who brought Lama onto the train that fateful day, at that stop, at that very moment in time because it was through Lama that Dorje Shugden taught me how to be compassionate to myself.

Somewhere in my readings, I learnt that the Protector doesn’t just help us materially but also provides us with spiritual support, strengthening our minds and guiding our thoughts at the most crucial moment. Why else would I have been prompted to pray to become a better person? You might not be able to fathom how some simple syllables can bring so much calm and security to a person, but now I understand where Lama’s serene demeanor comes from. Dorje Shugden’s mantra is his energy, and his energy is protection, blessings, compassion and wisdom.

Haimo Lacchus

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  1. I like this story. My personal experience is i feel great and very energetic after recite the Dorje Shudgen ‘s mantra. The mantra can change our perception from negative to positive, form impossible to possible. I am sure you will feel the different after recite the mantra. Most of the problem can be solved simply because we are positive and possess the “Can Do” attitude. I believe this is the blessing from Dorje Shudgen. I feel so fortunate that able to come across Dorje Shudgen’s practice in this life time. May I never parted from my protector, Dorje Shudgen.

  2. Interesting story. It is good to share this as there are so many out there who can relate. The ignorance we indulge in and how we conclude that it is our insecurities which drag us down. Actually it is pure ignorance that makes us insecure and all the other negative side effects which eat into us and our relationships. Human nature is in itself self-suffering and full of fake ignorance. Sigh….

    I am glad Dorje Shugden has helped you. Keep the practice and stay true to yourself.

  3. I enjoyed reading of Haimo Lacchus’ experience with the Lama and how he received Dorje Shugden to help him overcome his problems. I have heard time and again how highly attained Lamas somehow knows where to be at that particular moment to help a being in need. And imagine how much merits that person has to get this special attention.

    After 35 years of practicing Dorje Shugden, Haimo would certainly know how beneficial the practice is or he would have long given up. I am glad that he received such blessings from the Lama and Dorje Shugden.

    May Dorje Shugden bless and help all the people suffering in this world and may the ban on his practice be swiftly lifted to stop the accusations and lies that are preventing people of need to be connected to him.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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