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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.


Hello Death Goodbye Life

Thứ tư - 25/09/2013 07:33
Hello Death Goodbye Life

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."
Loving and Dying

By Visuddhacara
Illustration by Hor Tuck  Loon




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 can imagine myself having a conversation with death. Perhaps it might go this way: "Hello Death! How are you? I have been waiting for you a long time. All my life I have been anticipating you. Are you coming for me at long last? Is it time for me to go already?

"Yes, yes, Death I am coming. Be patient. I'm ready. Can't you see I am smiling? Since a long time ago I have been planning to welcome you with a smile. Yes, Death, I understand. You don't have to apologise. I know you've got a job to do. I hold nothing against you. No hard feelings. It's nothing personal, I

"As I have said, Death, all my life I have been waiting for this moment. To see whether I can meet you with a smile. To see whether I could, at least, inspire in death, if not in life. You are now giving me this opportunity and I thank you for it.

"Yes, I have heard a lot about you. That you wait for no man. That you come like a thief in the night. That you'll bargain with nobody. That you'll not take no for an answer.

"Death, it's all right. I'll come with you gladly. I'm tired. This body is like a broken shell. It had seen better days. It has outlived its use and time. As you can see I'm already almost dead. And I have been enduring all this pain, trying to smile at all these many visitors calling on me. Death, to tell you the truth, you
should have come earlier. After all the pain, you are a welcome respite, like a godsend. But enough of this talk. Death, let's not dally. Let's go. Come, hold my hand."

And I'd go, as I have always dreamt, with a smile on my lips. What a beautiful way to die! All the people who have gathered around me need not cry. They can be happy because they can see I'm smiling. They'll know that I'm all right. Death is nothing to be afraid of. Treat death like a friend. Be ever ready to say hello to death and oodbye to life.

Ofcourse no one is spared from death. All of us have to die. As the Buddha said: Life is uncertain but death is certain. While we live we suffer the separation that comes with the death of a loved one. Both my grandparents have died. I do not remember my grandfather. He died when I was very young. But I do remember my grandmother. She was very kind to me. She was also very poor. She preferred to live in the countryside while my parents resided in town. I remember once when she visited us, I asked her for five cents. She immediately took out her purse, dug out five cents and gave it to me. In those days, there was purchasing power even in five cents: you could get an ice-ball or a glass of iced drink with five cents. If you drink the coconut water served by the Indian man you could even have two glasses for five cents! And for five cents too you could get five sweets.

My father died when I was 10. I remember visiting him for the last time one night at the General Hospital as he lay there dying from tuberculosis and other complications. I remember my mother telling him: "Ah Beh, this is your son Johnny come to see you." My father couldn't speak. He had an oxygen tube inserted in his nose. He seemed to look at me weakly. I was young. I didn't know what death was about then, though I know better now. My poor mother suffered the most. She had seen so many deaths and had a most difficult life from young. Definitely, life was no bed of roses for her.

One of my brothers died while still a baby. Another died at 23 together with his fiancee. It was tragic. They drowned. I can still remember seeing their bodies in the mortuary. My mother was wailing her heart out. It was very painful for her to lose a beloved son in such a tragic way. I was quite stunned and just didn't know what to make out of it all. I was 16 then. I tried to appear nonchalant, casual. I kept away the tears. I spoke and behaved as if nothing had happened, as if death was to me an everyday affair, and there was no need to grieve. I made light of it, trying to put on a cool exterior.

But in private I cried. I cried bitterly. And after the funeral I went back to the cemetery. I cycled there with a cangkul. I dug the ground and planted flowers around the grave of my brother and his beloved's. I carved on his wooden cross the words: Greater love than this no man hath that he should lay down his
life for his friend, as he had died while trying to save his fiancee. And I spoke to God. I asked Him: "Lord, why do you do this to me? Why do you take away my brother? Is it your will, your desire? Then if it is, let your will be done. I accept it." For you see, I was a good Christian then. And God's will must precede all others. It must not be questioned. Though as a Buddhist now, I believe I understand a little better. Yes, no God took away my brother. If we accept life we must accept death. Death is part and parcel of life. As the Buddha said, it is ignorance that makes the world of suffering go round, and we fare on from life to life according to our deeds. Good begets good and bad begets bad. I must confess I can relate better to the Buddha's way of looking at things.

Later in life I saw more deaths. As a journalist, I had seen bodies - people who died from accidents, gang-fights, suicides, samsu poisoning, etc. I wrote dramatic, touching or tragic stories about how people died. There was the man who kissed his little daughter goodbye and then shot himself in the head. Then there was a young couple who was found in a suicide pact on a hotel bed. The girl died from the poison they took; her boyfriend  survived. And there was the notorious robber gunned down by police on a New Year's day. He was a marked man, who could not live to see the end of the first day of a new year. But for me it was just another story. I never thought very deeply about death then. I was quite numbed by it all. All I wanted was to get the best
story for the front page of the newspaper. There was little feeling or compassion in me for the poor victims. I was quite a hard- hearted and selfish person then, just interested in my own well- being.

Still much later on, as a monk, I encountered deaths - this time with more feeling and compassion. When I visited the sick, I could feel sympathy for them. I tried as best as I could to console. To the Buddhists, I recited the suttas, the Buddhist scriptures. I told them what the Buddha said: The body may be sick but let not the mind be sick. We may not be able to do much for the body but we can do something about the mind. We can keep it steady even when we are sick. We can be mindful. We can watch the rise and fall of the pain, how it comes and goes in waves. We can understand the nature of suffering. We can meet it and learn from it. It is there as a test - of how well we have understood the nature of life, how well we have understood that there is no permanent self here but only constant change of arising and passing away, like the ceaseless flowing of a river; how well we have understood that it is our ignorance, craving, attachment, anger, fear, etc, that are the cause of our suffering.

In that understanding, we can rise up to meet the pain. We can take it in our stride. We can remain calm and cool. Without even the slightest bit of depression. Yes, we can smile, even at our pain. We can say: "Hey pain, you are really trying to do me in. Are you not? Another person might succumb to you but not me. I have been training and steeling myself for you. The Buddha teaches that I should respond without anger or aversion. So I'm trying to respond to you now without anger or aversion. I understand that with mindfulness and peace in my heart, I can rise above you. Lean smile at you. You teach me that life is suffering. But you also teach me that I can rise above you." And you can smile at the pain. You will feel immediately better.

Tác giả bài viết: Visudhacara

Nguồn tin: Chùa Tịnh Luật

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