Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

How to Transform Sickness and Other Circumstances

PalzangPalzang Veteran
edited March 2010 in Buddhism Basics
Namo guru!

This illusory heap of a body, which, like others, I possess—
If it falls sick, so be it! In sickness I’ll rejoice!
For it will exhaust my negative karma from the past,
And, after all, many forms of Dharma practice,
Are for the sake of purifying the two obscurations.

If I am healthy, so be it! In freedom from sickness I’ll rejoice!
When body and mind are well and remain at ease,
Virtuous practice can develop and gain strength,
And, after all, the way to give meaning to this human life
Is to devote body, speech and mind to virtue.

If I face poverty, so be it! In lack of riches I’ll rejoice!
I will have nothing to protect and nothing to lose.
Whatever quarrels and conflicts there might be,
All arise out of desire for wealth and gain—that’s certain!

If I have wealth, so be it! In prosperity I’ll rejoice!
If I can increase the stock of my merits that will suffice.
Whatever benefit and happiness there might be, now and in the future,
All result from merits I have gained—that’s certain!

If I must die soon, so be it! In dying I’ll rejoice!
Without allowing negative circumstances to intervene,
And with the support of positive tendencies I have gathered,
I will surely set out upon the genuine, unerring path!

If I live long, so be it! In subsisting I’ll rejoice!
Once the crop of genuine experience has arisen,
As long as the sun and rainfall of instructions do not diminish,
If it is tended over time, it will surely ripen.

So, whatever happens then, let us always cultivate joy!
FinnTheHuman

Comments

  • NamelessRiverNamelessRiver Veteran
    edited March 2010
    That's nice Palzang. :-)

    I have found a very good teaching on turning difficulties to the path on one of Pema Chodron's audio CD's, that one entitled "going to the places that scare you" or something like that.

    She presents five slogans used by Machig Labdrön in her practice, that were given to her (Machig) by her teacher, who supposedly was the reborn form of Padmasambhava.

    The slogans are:

    - Confess your hidden faults.
    - Approach what you find repulsive.
    - Anything you are attached to, give that.
    - Go to the places that scare you.
    - Help those you think you cannot help (or you don't want to help).

    <object width="480" height="385">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CIeetlSjwvg&hl=en_US&fs=1&&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></object>
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited March 2010
    Padampa Sangye, yeah? Machik's teacher.

    I like the slogans.

    I found the pieced I posted when I was looking through some of the translations they have on the Lotsawa House website. Seemed like it might be helpful. Part of their Lojong section.

    Palzang
  • edited March 2010
    I have a chronic illness and it feels like I live in a prison of suffering. I'm trying to embrace the suffering (which is what I'm learning from buddhism). Oh my god it is so hard, living with chronic suffering. And it feels like such a waste of a life. And it makes me feel so picked out to suffer.

    If anyone can help me out with any wisdom, I will be so grateful. thankyou.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited March 2010
    Well, the best way I've found to stop worrying about my own suffering so much is to do things for others. That could be helping out at an old folks home, a soup kitchen, whatever you are able to do. Doesn't have to be a big deal.

    Palzang
  • NamelessRiverNamelessRiver Veteran
    edited March 2010
    http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2007/spring/pain.html

    This is from a Theravadin Monk named Bikkhu Bodhi. He has chronic pain and he talks about it here.

    http://www.darlenecohen.net/


    Darlene has been through cancer AND has chronic pain. Her website is full of articles on that.

    The most beautiful writing on pain from a buddhist perspective I saw was in a blog. I was never able to find it again. The woman was hospitalized, in great pain and alone. I will try to find it and if I can I'll post the link.
  • edited March 2010
    I like the idea of being able to look at things in your own way. I'm not sure about this though:

    "If it falls sick, so be it! In sickness I’ll rejoice!
    For it will exhaust my negative karma from the past"

    I don't believe in the whole salvation through suffering idea. It sounds like a catholic teaching, that by suffering, you are absolving yourself of some 'original sin' that you were born with. Then again, I could be reading this all wrong. In fact, what does the way I interpreted that line say about me?

    If I should read Palzang's poem,
    I will become inquisitive and deffensive.
    So be it! I will reply hastily and matter-of-factly,
    So as to piss off my fellow forum dwellers.

    The rest of the "poem" very much enjoyed :) The song 'Let it Be' by the Beatles is playing in my mind...
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited March 2010
    The river that must flow down the gradient is like your body. Having been young your body has become old and now it's meandering towards its death. Don't go wishing it was otherwise, it's not something you have the power to remedy. The Buddha told us to see the way things are and then let go of our clinging to them. Take this feeling of letting go as your refuge.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/bl111.html
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited March 2010
    Marmalade wrote: »
    I like the idea of being able to look at things in your own way. I'm not sure about this though:

    "If it falls sick, so be it! In sickness I’ll rejoice!
    For it will exhaust my negative karma from the past"

    I don't believe in the whole salvation through suffering idea. It sounds like a catholic teaching, that by suffering, you are absolving yourself of some 'original sin' that you were born with. Then again, I could be reading this all wrong. In fact, what does the way I interpreted that line say about me?

    If I should read Palzang's poem,
    I will become inquisitive and deffensive.
    So be it! I will reply hastily and matter-of-factly,
    So as to piss off my fellow forum dwellers.

    The rest of the "poem" very much enjoyed :) The song 'Let it Be' by the Beatles is playing in my mind...

    Not my poem. It was written by some geshe. Didn't put his name. Sorry.

    What he's saying is not "salvation through suffering". That would be Catholic! Whips anyone? A little self-flagellation before breakfast?

    What he is saying is that what appears to be bad may not be bad in actuality. I can certainly vouch for that point of view as in my own life the things that I thought were the very worst things that could happen turned out to have very good endings, while the things that were supposed to be good turned out to be not so hot or downright disasters. By seeing the positive in any situation in which you find yourself you have the opportunity to grow and make good use of whatever experience you are having. Because it's all just phenomena. It's all impermanent.

    BTW, you would have a hard time pissing off this old-timer. I've seen it all!

    Palzang
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    edited March 2010
    ytr45 wrote: »
    I have a chronic illness and it feels like I live in a prison of suffering. I'm trying to embrace the suffering (which is what I'm learning from buddhism). Oh my god it is so hard, living with chronic suffering. And it feels like such a waste of a life. And it makes me feel so picked out to suffer.

    If anyone can help me out with any wisdom, I will be so grateful. thankyou.

    Oh ytr45, I know what you are saying. So does my sister. We both suffer from chronic illnesses, and it's a double whammy because the illness also makes it difficult/impossible to engage in "enjoyable activities" and our external lives have become very "small".

    We are fortunate in that we both practice Buddhism as much as our illnesses allow, and over the years we have helped each other evolve several mental strategies that have turned our lives around. I do need to caution, however, that we have not come to love our illnesses, but illness rarely now has any impact on our emotional lives. These are some of the strategies we use:

    1. We have learned from Buddhism that it is NOT our troubles themselves that make us unhappy, but our attitude that we can only be happy if we get what we want and avoid what we do not want. THIS attachment to happiness is actually what makes us UNhappy. And self-pity, as natural as it is in the face of chronic pain and debilitation, makes everything hurt even more.

    2. Thank you Pema Chodron ... when tells us when we are faced with difficult emotions: "Don't indulge. Don't ignore. Don't speed right past. Stay present." Acknowledge, then let go. Too often we get caught up in our "story" and we need to act like a firm parent and tell ourselves to "STOP the story" ... There's a difference between acknowledging and wallowing, and when we see wallowing we need to face it and then stop it.

    3. The First Noble Truth says that suffering exists. If this is the nature of reality, then why do I think that I am so special that I should be exempt from this truth? ALL beings carry both pleasant and unpleasant karmas, and all karmas exhibit at some point ... so I'm in a "trough" while my neighbour may be in a "peak". No one is exempt (no one gets out alive, as they say). We have to put it all into perspective ... we say "Whatever" to our illness and other troubles. It is what it is, and there is no sense in beating our head against walls ... we only hurt our heads.

    5. Oh yes ... the practice of Tonglen is a wonderful Buddhist practice for getting us out of our own suffering and for extending our compassion (reference any Tibetan Buddhism teachings for this practice).

    6. Both my sister and I used to feel that our lives were a waste because of our illness. But before we became ill, our Practice was desultory because we were too busy investing in our lives instead of the Practice. The immediacy of our illness has motivated us to work harder in our Practice, and the benefits of our Practice are not confined to dealing with our illness ... they have extended to dealing with all difficulties in all areas of our lives and most especially our inner lives. So, now we feel that any life NOT devoted to dharma is a waste! Karma and the dharma are the only things you can take with you when you leave this body, and we think the Practice is the only activity that has any real value.

    7. Finally, as you come to understand the First Noble Truth not on an intellectual basis but on a gut-experiential basis, and as you do your Buddhism practice, you will start to understand the 2nd, then the 3rd, then the 4th Noble Truths. Ahhhhh.....
  • edited March 2010
    thank you everyone, thank you foibleful !!
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited March 2010
    Great post, Foible. As usual.

    You hit all the nails on the head.

    My sister said something once that stuck in my mind. She said she was trying not to turn her physical ailments into 'pets'. What she meant was exactly what you were saying, Foible:
    Too often we get caught up in our "story" and we need to act like a firm parent and tell ourselves to "STOP the story" ...
    Very true.

    Pain can be one of the greatest teachers life has to offer. When it's chronic it's even better. It's like a deeply devoted teacher that never lets up, that is with us 24/7, that won't listen to our excuses, and forces us to practice patience, compassion, mindfulness, concentration, flexibility of mind, empathy, not-self, impermanence, and the potential of suffering. It forces us to let go of the hopes and dreams we had for our futures.

    And most of all it offers us the opportunity to find a way to be happy regardless of how much pain exists in our outside worlds.

    It's all there. We're even more fortunate than we were before our chronic pain began because now we have no choice but to develop psycho/spiritually. Unless we want to be miserable. That's always an option. Not a very good one though.

    There will come a time when we get fed up with the misery and suffering and decide to find happiness regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Lucky for us, there is a set of teachings about suffering and the way out of suffering and we have the ability to learn from those teachings. What else could we possible ask for in this life? Really. What else holds more importance than this?

    :)
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited March 2010
    Foible

    Well said. Life itself becomes the teacher.

    ‘There is dukkha’; ‘It is to be understood’; and, ‘It has been understood.’
Sign In or Register to comment.