Using Illness To Train The Mind By Seventh
Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso
Whenever a physical illness arises,
we usually multiply our suffering by worring and by pressing mental anxiety
on top of it. One should understand that the human body is a composite of
elements and agents that constantly are struggling with one another. When
these elements and agents fall into disharmony or when external factors such
as the many types of evil powers are affected, the various diseases
naturally arise with intensity and for long period of time. Therefore one
might as well face up to the fact that during the course of one's life a certain
amount of disease is inevitable. When one does fall painfully ill, one
should not be concerned with one's own situation. Instead consider the
inconceivable sufferings of the hell denizens, the hungry ghosts, animals
and so forth whose anguish is infinitely greater than one's own. Ask yourself,
"If they must bear such immense pain, how can I not bear this suffering
which by comparison is small? If I am so weakened by my suffering, how must
they feel who anguish is so much greater? May their afflictions be
alleviated by this illness of mine."
Thinking in this way, visualize that you are surrounded by all
sentient beings experiencing every type of suffering. As you inhale,
visualize that all their negativities and obscurations, sickness and pain
ripen upon you, freeing them from all misery, and as you exhale, visualize
all good things going to them in the form of white nectar giving them
happiness. Repeat this process again and again.
As the benefits of this contemplation surpass the effects of any
virtuous actions, any illness should be seen as an excellent opportunity to
practice Dharma. Think, "Even if I never recover, I can continue to practice
the meditation of taking others' suffering upon myself and giving others
peace - a powerful practice unsurpassed by all. Therefore I am perfectly happy
to lie here with this illness."
If you can practice this advice from the depth of your heart, there is
no doubt that you will be benefited in both this and future lives, hence
keep it in mind.