Experiencing adversity in life a true practitioner, with the right understanding and insight, traces the root-cause and accepts it with a new state of awareness, knowledge and wisdom.
OM MANI PADME HUM
Sorrows and pains come to everyone at any moment of life. No one can be free from them as long as he is within the Samsaric realms. Most of the pains come from disease which lead to death while desires unfulfilled and other cravings may also be the other causes. So how do you take them when they come your way? To be in a state of distress is normal for the unknowing minds, to be dissatisfied with the situations will lead one to question the fairness of God’s creation and to even consider Him to be imperfect. All these kinds of thoughts will prevail and then one may be led to the theory of Karma which states that everything has a cause. This may sound acceptable to many but when a person is struck with sorrows of loss and pains of diseases, he will not be able to accept the teachings of the Karmic Law when he cannot remember that he has done anything wrong in his lifetime that deserves his predicaments; he does not accept the Law and he becomes more disillusioned with religious teachings. This is not the time to speak doctrines to him, this is not the time to read to him or to ask him to read the teachings. This is the most troubled time of his life and he will have to go through his sufferings unaided because he will shut the door to all those who come to console him. Let him be for the time being and let him do his own thinking until the day he is ready to speak to you, you need not speak.
When you are led to speak, make sure that you have the calmness and patience for he is not likely to accept your views or your explanations by way of the religious teachings. You will then need to open his eyes by speaking about sufferings in general and how they affect each and everyone. Then you must use your skill to turn the point to touch on the necessity of sufferings and how they can help the mind to a new state of awareness that may ready him for a deeper discussion which touches on religious teachings.
Speak slowly and whenever he questions, listen and do not interrupt. Only when you have the answer, give it to him gently but do not force him to accept your viewpoints, do not consider him stupid or stubborn. The task of an adviser is never simple, to console is to know how to be gentle, when to speak and when not to, when to realise that he has been won over by your explanations, how to get his confidence and so on. This will be your task for the years to come and they will be the ones who are your teachers of human views on life.
What is wrong with disease which may lead one to the grave? Whenever you are sick or someone dear to you is sick or disabled, do you pray that such sickness be removed? Everyone can do that and that kind of dependence on prayer will soon be shaken when you find that your prayers do not work. Does it mean that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not confer their blessings on you or on them? At this level of thinking, there is a great need to strengthen the foundation of the knowledge of the teachings. This will apply to a great majority of beings and that is why there are so few who are true practitioners of the faith due to their lack of knowledge and wisdom. Whenever you are sick, you will just have to accept the sickness even though it is a terrible kind of disease but you should seek medical help while you are praying for relief and cure but never expect a miracle just because of some prayers!
Why do disease attack beings? The root cause must be known and those who have received the teachings will know it but still cannot accept it when it strikes them! More important, look at it from another point of view! That disease is a necessity to life, that it is neither good nor bad. Look at it with true insight and understanding and see if you can come to the point of reality at all. Why is disease necessary for the world? The reasons are numerous but what will happen if there is no disease that leads to death? The world will be crowded to the brim and there will be greater sufferings first for space to dwell and then for food and water to survive on. Then the wish for a paradise where there is no sickness or disease may arise, that a person will just die without having to go through any sickness. This is a fool’s view and this is an impossibility which, if you are contemplating upon, should be discarded as it is wrong understanding.
Treat disease as a purifier of the body and mind instead, treat disease as a means to open up one’s heart and mind, to bring progress to the world, to make the world more healthy and happy. Each time a person gets sick and recovers, he becomes a stronger person, a wiser person, a more compassionate person and a much more careful person. The sickness need not be treated as a bad thing then because he has grown up to the understanding of life but is it good? Consider how the world will be when there is no sickness to warn you of the danger and that only excess in indulgence in habits may lead one to death. Just imagine that the pains will not arise and sickness are not felt for those who do things excessively until they die!
Whenever sickness strikes you, accept it with calmness and know that past causes of carelessness, of indulgence, or evil thoughts, words and actions have brought about this suffering to you. Do not escape from it by attempting suicide just because you have a miserable disease or are maimed. The Karmic Law will always prevail so that even when a person escapes from the fruition of his past evil karma by ending his life or any other means, the escape is only temporary, the effects of the karmic seeds of energy have not been realised, so that they are carried forward to the future lifetimes. Knowing this, be glad that you are settling your past debts so that physical pains will not be accompanied by mental anguish as well. And when the worse is over, happiness is felt, renewed energy to live life fruitfully will emerge so that you will become a better disciple of the path of purification of yourself, you will become a wiser person and a more compassionate one as well. Knowing this, you must, from this moment, desist from praying for miracles to happen but rather that the pains are endurable, the sickness be curable, that the suffering will purify both body and mind of the one who is suffering, and do not ask that diseases be removed from the face of the earth. Meditation on this subject daily will be useful!
Wednesday, 15th August 1986
7th Moon, 19th Day