Practicing through Sickness

Yutang Lin

Since ancient time no accomplishment without hindrance;
Tortured through suffering from illness increases training.
Heavy karmic debts are converted into lighter disturbance.
Growing compassion through undergoing common illness.


Upasaka Zeng has been practicing chanting Amitabha, recitation of the Diamond Sutra, and meditation daily and engaging in Dharma services since he retired from teaching a few years ago. However, in the past year he experienced all sorts of illness. He needed to seek physician's treatment almost weekly. Nevertheless, his continuous diligent practice has won blessing from Bodhisattvas. They appeared in his dreams to encourage him by saying, "The experience of illnesses is also part of your practice. It is a process that you need to go through with calmness, patience and more diligence." One Bodhisattva even held his right hand to show him that when he feels pain of illness he could press the center of palm for relief. It has proven to be an effective method for reduction of pain. His health has been improving.

In Yogi Chen's writings he also mentioned that he once heard heavenly voices saying, "Since ancient time there has never been a case of accomplishment without going through hindrances." Such revelation was given to him while he was suffering severe sickness. Tortured through sickness a practitioner's faith and sincerity was put to test, and thereby the practitioner's endurance and resolution would be cultivated. With Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' blessings a practitioner's heavy karmic debts are transmuted into lighter suffering from illnesses, and thereby dissipated. Consequently, after such illnesses the practitioner could advance more easily on the path. Through experiencing illnesses a practitioner gains proper empathy to such sufferings of others. Consequently, it becomes easier to develop genuine sympathy and compassion. Practicing in this way through sickness would render Dharma practices a daily matter of real life, instead of serving just as a hobby in leisure.

Written in Chinese on February 11, 2002
Translated on March 5, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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