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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."

 

Preface

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.

 

Acknowledgement

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.

 

Preface

Thứ sáu - 20/09/2013 03:15
Loving and Dying

Loving and Dying

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.
Loving and Dying

By Visuddhacara

Illustration by Hor Tuck  Loon
 





PREFACE



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 ofit as we can muster, until we die.

But people generally do not like to talk about death. Whenever the subject is broached, they might start to feel uncomfortable. It 1 especially considered taboo on auspicious occasions such as a birthday or a New Year to talk about death. It is as if mentioning the word, death, on an auspicious occasion would mar that occasion and bring about bad luck or an earlier death! Of course, I do not agree with such notions. To me, it is just a superstition. I can understand, though, if people were to consider it bad taste to talk about death on auspicious occasions. But I think it is good and wise to reflect often on death and even on occasions such as a birthday or New Year, perhaps even more so on such occasions. Why? Because we can consider that we are not growing any younger but older, that each year brings us but one year closer to the grave. During such reflections we can take stock of our life, reassess our position and see whether we are going in the right direction - the direction of wisdom and compassion.

As a monk, I constantly meditate on death. It reminds me to lead a more meaningful life, not to waste my days away, though I must confess I still fritter away precious time from time to time; for the mind, as you know, can be very stubborn and lazy at times. Nevertheless by frequent contemplation on death, I am reminded that I must find more time to practise insight meditation so I can clean my mind of the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion.

The Buddha advised us to contemplate often on death, as often as daily or every now and then. It will arouse in us samvega - the sense of urgency to strive harder to eradicate the suffering that comes from a defiled and deluded mind. I like to talk about death. It's my favourite subject. (Am I morbid? It's all right. Go ahead. You can say I'm morbid and whatever you like. It's fine with me. I don't mind. People, ie. not only me but also you, must be allowed their basic human right to express their views and feelings as long as they do so in a legitimate, sensitive, non-imposing and non-violent way. No one should get angry with a person on account of his expressing his views in such manner, though unfortunately, sometimes we forget and get all heated up.) But coming back to the subject, I have always pondered, I have always wondered and am still wondering: Why do we live? Why do we die? What is it all about? What is it all for? To what purpose? For what end?

Many answers have been proffered, no doubt. And I'm sure there are many people who would be happy to offer me answers to these questions that have been asked ever since man began to think and ponder. But I cannot say I have been satisfied with all the answers that have been given. I am still seeking. These days I have become a Buddhist monk and taken up meditation. I subscribe to the Buddha's five precepts of not killing or harming, not stealing or cheating, not commiting sexual misconduct such as adultery, not lying, and not taking alcohol and drugs. As a monk though I observe, in addition, celibacy and other rules for monks.

I cannot say I have as yet found all the answers to my questions, but I have found some solace, some comfort in the Buddha's dispensation. I can relate to the Buddha's teaching of mindfulness and loving-kindness. And I'm still meditating. Perhaps I might find all the answers one day. It will be nice if I can. But if I could not, it also doesn't matter. What matters is that I have tried. I will be glad even if I were to die trying. For at least I have tried. That way my life would still be meaningful, at least to a certain extent. And along the way, of course, I will try to spread as much good cheer and happiness according to my disposition and ability.

I have tried in this book to share my limited understanding of life and death. I feel that we need to discuss the question of death frankly. We should not be afraid to bring up the subject. Otherwise, how can we discuss and learn? When we can openly discuss and learn and understand, then it is good.; for we can come to terms with death. We can know better how to deal with it. This is important; for the simple reason that all of us must die. There is no escape. And if we cannot relate to death now, how can we relate to it when we are lying on our deathbed, about to breathe our last? Might we not be overcome with fear and confusion then? So it's better to learn all about death now. It will surely stand us in good stead. Then we need not fear anymore. We'll have confidence, and when death comes we can go with a smile. We can say:"Death, do your worst. I know you and I can smile."

I have written this book in a forthright and engaging a manner as possible. I have tried not to be too academic or stilted. I wanted you to enjoy reading this book, to chuckle over those parts that might elicit a chuckle, and to pick up a thing or two which you might find helpful in living, loving and dying. Also I have written not so much as from a monk to a layperson but as from one human being to another human being. So I have written quite freely with the purpose of communicating, of reaching out to the heart. Though I cannot say how far I have succeeded or flopped! Only you will be the best judge of that.

As I'm a Buddhist monk, readers will find that the contents contain a lot of Buddhist values and concepts. Of course, some values, such as that of love and compassion, are universal. They belong to no one religion but to all. All religions teach love and compassion. They are all good religions. But it's we, the followers, who do not follow. So we kill and maim and hurt in the name of religion. Who's to be blamed but ourselves! Not the religions or their founders who always preached love, wisdom, mercy, forgiveness and compassion. If we can awaken to our ignorance, then we can love truly. We can live as brothers and sisters with tolerance, patience and understanding, with love and compassion.

I wrote this book mainly for Buddhists. But non-Buddhists too might read and find some benefit, some common areas of agreement, appreciation and understanding. At the very least, they would know the Buddhist point of view, the Buddhist approach and understanding. It's good to know each other's viewpoints; it leads to more tolerance, understanding and appreciation of each other's approaches and beliefs. There is no desire on my part at all to convert anybody. That should be very clear. Let everybody practise their own religion and let them do so well; for as has been well put by Nobel peace laureate, the Dalai Lama, compassion is, after all, the essence of all religions.

I have tried to share my understanding to the best of my ability. But I have no doubt that there will be some shortcomings here and there. Or some areas where there may be differences of interpretation or understanding. You may not like or agree with certain things I say. Or you may not like the way I put it. You might think it is improper, flippant, insensitive, sentimental, abrasive, distorted, absurd, or whatever. It is all right. This is natural. As long as there are even two persons, there will be some disagreements. You can just reject those things you do not agree with, throw them out, so to speak. You need not have to accept everything I say. Why should you? Of course you have a good mind of your own, and you can (and must) think and decide for yourself. We can agree to disagree, without getting upset or angry. We can agree to disagree and still remain good friends. Can we not? That is the most wonderful thing, the quintessence of mental maturity. It is for each of us to decide sincerely and honestly for ourselves what we can relate to and what we cannot. We need not believe everything or anything.

The Buddha himself said it's better that we carefully consider, investigate and verify for ourselves before accepting anything. Even the Buddha's own words too should come under the same intensity of scrutiny. After all, the Buddha made no exception whatsoever. He never believed in blind faith. He never told us to simply believe what he said and to simply reject what others said. But he told us to investigate, practise and verify for ourselves. If we find that a certain teaching is good, that it is wholesome and leads to the eradication of greed, hatred and delusion, then we can accept it. If not, we should reject it. It's excellent advice. And, therefore, taking a cue from the Buddha, I always like to say: Believe nothing. But think, practise and verify for yourself. That's to me the best and safest approach. But as for any mistakes on my part in the writing of this book, I do apologise and ask for forgiveness.

May all beings be happy. May we all find the wisdom and happiness that we seek, each in our own way. And happy reading!

 

Tác giả bài viết: Víuddhacara

Nguồn tin: Chùa Tịnh Luật

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