18:22 ICT Chủ nhật, 21/07/2019

Trang chủ » English » Loving And Dying

The Teachings Of Great Master Yin Guang

Whether one is a layperson or has left the home- life, one should respect elders and be harmonious to those surrounding him. One should endure what others cannot, and practice what others cannot achieve


The Sweetest Smile Yet

As we come to the end of our treatise on Loving and Dying, I should make it clear that I do not at all claim to be an authority on living, loving or dying. But I have tried to share some thoughts on the subject with you, thoughts about how to live and die with love and understanding all along the way


A World Of Anomalies

Reading the newspapers and newsmagazines can give us much food for reflection. Besides the orbituaries, there are grim reminders of uffering all over the world, though we may have become quite numbed to it.


Contemplation On Death

While we are alive it is good to contemplate on death now and then. In fact it is good to do it daily. The Buddha recommends frequent contemplation on death because there are many benefits to be gained from such contemplation. Let's look at how we can benefit in contemplating on death.


Our Death Should Be Serene

All of us have to die one day. Our death should be serene and peaceful. Therefore when someone is about to die we should make it as serene and beautiful for him or her as possible. Yes, are you surprised that death can be beautiful? If you are, it is because we normally have dosa or aversion towards death. There is fear of pain and the uncertainty of what is to come after death. Then there is attachment to our loved ones which gives rise to much pain in our heart in having to part with them.


We Are Our Own Saviours

Sometimes as a monk I'm asked to go for funeral chanting. I do feel sorry for the bereaved ones but sometimes I also feel quite helpless because there is so much confusion as regards the role of a monk in funeral chanting.


Loving Is Understanding

o die well we must live well. If we have lived well we can die well. There will be no regrets. We can go peacefully, content that we have done what we could, that along the way we have spread understanding and happiness, that we have lived according to our principles and commitment to the ideals of love and compassion.


We Must Do Our Bit

Earlier I said that when I saw the sick, the dying and the dead, two resolutions arose in my mind. One is to be able to take pain and death with a smile, to be able to remain mindful and composed to the very end. Now I wish to touch on my second resolution.


Tribute To Kuai Chan

'd like to tell you about a brave yogi who died peacefully from lung cancer with the word, Nibbana, on her lips. Her name is Kuai Chan and she passed away on December 18,1992 at her home in Kuala Lumpur.


Coping With Disease The Right Attitude

We should not look on disease and suffering as something which will destroy us completely, and thereby giving in to despair and despondency. On the contrary, we (ie. in the case of Buddhists) can look upon it as a test of how well we have understood the Buddha's teachings, how well we can apply the understanding we have supposedly learnt.


Two Resolutions

As I'm writing now, I recall that just yesterday a fellow monk died. He had been suffering from terminal cancer for eight months. When I was by his side at the hospital a few days before his death, he was in pain. I tried to feed him some broth but he could not eat. He looked quite gaunt and grim. He could hardly speak.


Hello Death Goodbye Life

One day when I die, as I must, I'd like to die with a smile on my lips. I'd like to go peacefully, to greet death like a friend, to be able to say quite cheerfully: "Hello Death, Goodbye Life."



I have written this book to share some thoughts on death with anybody who may care to read it. Thoughts about how we can go about facing death - with courage and equanimity. With dignity. And if you like with a smile. Thoughts about how to cope with suffering, to live with wisdom and compassion, or with as much of it as we can muster, until we die.



I am very much indebted to: Santivara for all his hard work in doing the layout and design of this book; and to Tuck Loon for his cover art and illustrations.


Coping With Disease The Right Attitude

Thứ tư - 25/09/2013 08:24
Coping With Disease

Coping With Disease

We should not look on disease and suffering as something which will destroy us completely, and thereby giving in to despair and despondency. On the contrary, we (ie. in the case of Buddhists) can look upon it as a test of how well we have understood the Buddha's teachings, how well we can apply the understanding we have supposedly learnt.
Loving and Dying

By Visuddhacara

Illustration by Hor Tuck  Loon




We should not look on disease and suffering as something which will destroy us completely, and thereby giving in to despair and despondency. On the contrary, we (ie. in the case of Buddhists) can look upon it as a test of how well we have understood the Buddha's teachings, how well we can apply the understanding we have supposedly learnt. If we cannot cope mentally, if we break down, it shows our understanding of the Dhamma, our practice, is still weak. So, in this way, it is a test and an opportunity for us  to see how well we have mastered our practice.

Then also, disease is an opportunity for us to further enhance our practice of patience and tolerance. How can we practise and develop paramis* (perfections) such as patience if we are not tested, if we are not put under difficult and severe conditions? So, in this way, we can look at the disease as an opportunity for us to ™ cultivate more patience.

We can also look at health as not just the mere absence of disease but the capacity to experience a disease, and to learn and grow from it. Yes, such a novel definition of health comes from certain medical experts, such as Dr Paul Pearsall, of the Sinai Hospital, Detroit, USA. Seeing how disease can never be completely eradicated and how we have eventually to succumb in one way or another, these doctors have come up with a definition of health that can help us to adjust to disease when it comes. It is true, isn't it? - that no matter how many sophisticated machines, procedures and drugs we may come up with, people still succumb to cancer, AIDS, heart disease and a host of other ailments.
Ultimately there is no escape. We have to understand and accept the fact, so that when it comes and  we have to go down, we can go down gracefully. No doubt, we will treat the disease as best we can, but when despite our best efforts, we fail and the disease continues to progress, we have to accept and reconcile with the inevitable.

In the final analysis, it is not how long we live but how well  we live that counts, and that includes how well we can accept our disease, and finally how well we can die. In this regard, Dr Bernie S. Siegel, in his book, Peace, Love & Healing, wrote:

Exceptional patients don't try not to die. They try to live until they die. Then they are successes, no matter what the outcome of their disease, because they have healed their lives, even if they have not cured their diseases.

And he also said:

A successful life is not about dying. It is about living well. I have known two-year-olds and nine-year-olds who have  changed people and even entire communities by their ability
to love, and their lives were successful though short. On the  other hand, I have known many who lived much longer and left behind nothing but emptiness. 

So it can be quite wonderful after all that our life can be healed even though our diseases may not be cured. How? Because suffering is a teacher andif we learn our lesson well, we can  become surprisingly better persons. Have we not heard accounts of how people after having gone through great suffering, emerged changed and better persons? If they had been impatient, selfish, arrogant and thoughtless before, they might become more patient, kind, gentle and humble. Sometimes they remarked that the disease was a good thing for them - it gave them an opportunity to reconsider their lifestyle and the more important values in life. They come to appreciate their family and friends more, and they now value the time they spend with their loved ones. And if they were to recover, they would find more time for their loved ones, and to do the things that are really more
important and meaningful.

But even if we were to succumb to the disease we can still I arn and grow from it. We could understand the precariousness f life and how true the Buddha's teaching was - that there is an ossential flaw in life. We could become kinder and more tppreciative of the kindness we have received from people. We ( uld forgive those who had hurt us. We could love more richly, In re deeply. And when death comes, we can die with acceptance und peace. In this way, we can say that our life is healed because WI are reconciled with the world and we are at peace.

We can meditate

When we are sick and bedridden, we need not despair. We can meditate even when we are in bed. We can observe our mind and body. We can obtain calmness and strength by doing breathing meditation. We can observe our in-breath and out-breath, knowing as we breath in and out. This can give us a calming effect. Or we can observe the rising and falling of the abdomen as we breath in and out. Our mind can follow the rising and falling, and become, as it were, one with it. This too can give us calmness. And from such calmness, understanding can arise. We might see the transient and dissolutary nature of all phenomena, and be able to reconcile with the fact of impermanence, unsatisfactori-
ness and no-self. If we have learnt mindfulness or Vipassana** meditation, we can pass our time quite easily. There are many objects we can observe in any posture, whether lying down, sitting, walking or standin g. We can know our posture as it is, and feel the sensations that arise in our body. We can observe them with a steady and calm mind. And, of course, the mind is also a subject for observation. So we can also observe the states of our mind. All can be observed - sadness, depression, restlessness, worry, thoughts - and they would all pass, giving way to equanimity, peace and wisdom. Wholesome and unwholesome states will come and go. We will be able to watch them all with understanding and equanimity.

Sometimes we can radiate metta (loving-kindness). Again and again we can wish for all beings:

Mayall beings be well and happy.
May they be free from harm and danger.
May they be free from mental suffering.
May they be free from physical suffering.
May they take care of themselves happily.

In this way too, we can pass our time quite happily even if we are bedridden. We can radiate metta to the doctors, nurses and fellow-patients. We can also send our metta to our loved ones, relatives and friends. Moreover, we can reflect on the Dhamma from time to time, recollect what we have read, heard or understood. Reflecting thus, we can respond to our suffering with wisdom and equanimity.

The instruction of the Buddha was to cultivate the mind, to meditate, and to do so even when we are sick. In fact, it is at such times that we need to make even more effort to summon up our mindfulness. Who knows, Nibbana or the highest wisdom, may be attained even as we breath our last! In the scriptures, the Buddha cited the case of a person who was sick - afflicted with painful bodily feelings, grievous, sharp, racking, distracting, discomforting that drained the life away. But that person was not disheartened. He felt samvega - a sense of urgency to strive even in his last hours. "He makes effort accordingly," the Buddha said. "His mind being intent on Nibbana, he realizes with his own
person the supreme truth, he sees it by penetrating it with wisdom."


* The ten paramis are giving. morality. renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, resolution, loving-kindness and equanimity. All bodhisattas (ie. those aspiring to be Buddhas) have to cultivate these paramis. All Buddhists have to cultivate these paramis to a certain degree too before they can gain enlightenment under the dispensation of a Buddha.

** Vipassana is Insight or Mindfulness meditation. In Vipassana. meditators employ mindfulness to observe the nature of mental and physical phenomena. perceiving eventually their characteristics of impermanence. unsatisfactoriness and no-self. For a simple introduction to Vipassana. and the practice of another kind of meditation. called melta or loving-kindness meditation. see Invitation to Vipassana and Curbing Anger Spreading Love both written by the same writer and published by the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre. Penang.

Tác giả bài viết: Visuddhacara

Nguồn tin: Chùa Tịnh Luật

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