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JasonJason God EmperorArrakis Moderator
edited June 2005 in Buddhism Today
"Some people who have cancer and AIDS have completely recovered by liberating animals. Since cancer shortens your life, you need to create the cause for a long life. Causing others to have a long life by saving them from certain death is such a cause. This is why cancer and AIDS patients have recovered by liberating animals."

This quote is taken from Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat Lama Zopa Rinpoche. I have yet to read the whole thing, and much of the information may be beneficial, but that is just frightening. I agree that saving an animals life is noble and does much towards positive kamma....but cure AIDS and cancer? Is this monk right or simply delusional? If you have the time to read this please share your opinions. I think this is mostly nonsense. It's not even Buddhist to me. There are a lot of visualizations and offerings which seem to go more into the realm of imagination than wisdom. I may be overly critical so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I found this on someones signature as good advice. I'm not sure what to make of it all.


  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited June 2005
    At best, I would call this comment about AIDS to be injudicious. Such claims do the credibility of Dharma teachings no good in the West.

    From what I can gather from the biographies, the two lamas wre highly qualified and respected teachers. This, however, would not preserve them from error. Buddhism does have the notion of omniscience but not of infallibility!

    Over and over again the Tathagata told his followers to test everything he said and to prove it for themselves. Who can say? An Enlightened One, freeing animals, may be able, thereby, cure AIDS but, "in all my travels, I have never met such a one."

    Miracle tales are very much part of the Tibetan tradition. They are stories; the Dharma is not.
  • edited June 2005
    Perhaps you are taking this advice to be literal in it's meaning.

    To suffer from HIV or AIDS is a terrible affliction that does control you from the day you find out you are positive. Such medical pressure can only lead to a large amount of sufferring for the individual.

    Perhaps the Lama is suggesting that paitents look to helping others as a way of, indirectly, curing themselves from the sufferring of AIDS, not the disease itself.

    To be honest, I didn't read the article but... can be too easy to immediately leap upon something that is 'unscientific' and proclaim that it's wrong! The real happiness that is being given and recieved by the animals and the patients - is that wrong?

    If everything 'is as it is' how can it be wrong?

  • edited June 2005
    Maybe it will not actually cure Cancer or Aids, but it would definatly help with the mental process and dealing with the illness. Animals are compassionate and they will show compassion no matter what.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    You guys are right and I may be a little off on my rant, but for a monk to say something like seems dangerous. It's like when the Pope tells Catholics in Africa to not use condoms, even to stop AIDS from spreading. I mean I know they say to just not have sex, but if you're going to have it USE A DAMN CONDOM! I don't agree with it at all, and I'm even a little frightened by it. Here is another quote right after this one: "Purifying negative karma by reciting mantras is like taking antibiotics to destroy bacteria. Liberating animals is like building up your health by following a certain diet. In other words, reciting mantras purifies the various harms and diseases and liberating animals prolongs your life."
    Now reciting a mantra is what? The Buddha didn't teach magic and I never read where he gave out mantras to cure people of anything. Right actions and so on can lead to benefitial results, but mere chanting? I'm not so sure. I know some involved in Tibetan Buddhism may disagree with me because they do use many mantras but....I don't know. It just seems like some really bad advice from someone who is supposed to be a spiritual guide to many, many people. I think B.S.F is right in saying not to jump and automatically say something is wrong. I know I shouldn't. I can't help it with this though. It just seems "wrong" anyway I look at it. It can be wrong because it may give people with AIDS false hope, a deluded person may start breaking into places to free the animals, people may chant mantras instead of use medicine or condoms, etc. I know these are extreme results and not typical at all, but you know there are people out there who will react this way. You have to be careful with what you say because it could cause more harm than the intended good. I myself do not necessarily believe in the Zen idea of everything is ok as it is. I think you can change things for the better or worse. I think not killing someone is better than killing someone. If it could be stoped shouldn't it? I might be misunderstanding the idea though. I'm not too familiar with it's meaning. I must admit that this article causes me dukkha. Maybe because I see it as "wrong" and attach to it with aversion? In any case I still believe this monk has a responsibility to give out good and safe advice to his followers. I want to just let it go, but I'm afraid that someone may be hurt emotionally or physically because of it.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    Sorry for the ranting. This must have set off something I had deep inside of me. I don't know where it even came from. I don't know much about this monk, and I guess I shouldn't judge so quickly. It still seems "weird" though.
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2005
    Elohim, you're right.... I think part of the reason it resonates with you, is that it also threatens your security within your 'faith' that Buddhism is very genuine, honest and beneficial.... when people see/hear this, they're going to label Buddhism in general as cranky and dangerous. It's like a faith healer telling you to "stop taking your med's you don't need them... he's lit a candle for you and strewn flowers on the river and now your illness will was away with the flow".... (heard that, seen it, couldn't believe my ears....!)
    We just have to stand up and, following the Middle Way, Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path and 5 Precepts, redress the balance..... State our Truth. Tell it like it is. Do what we can to limit the collateral damage..... Chin up..... just be who you know you are. And do what you need to do, but Mindfully. ;)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    I think you're right. That is one of the reasons I got so irate, but I couldn't think of how to word it. That's good advice. Thanks.
  • edited June 2005
    People are so desperate for a cure for AIDS that many will believe anything. I was watching a recent Oprah show on child rape in Africa. A baby girl had been slit open and gang raped - and this is not uncommon in some parts. Of course, the first question to come to mind is why? All I could think was those sick perves! Turns out, some dumb medicine men out there are telling guys that they can be cured of AIDS if they have sex with a virgin (in this case, a small child). Of course, I don't get why the second guy would continue the act, but maybe their definition of virgin is a little different.
  • edited June 2005
    Thats horrible. I know they may be desperate, but I don't see how anyone could do that to a child...:(
  • angulimalaangulimala Veteran
    edited June 2005
    hi elohim,
    i'm all agree with you,but monks are human too,they make mistakes.maybe you could tell the monk your opinion, and if he cant accept your opinion, at least you know the wisdom level of him
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