How Fortunate to Get Diabetes

How Fortunate to Get Diabetes

Date of Advice:
June 2018
Date Posted:
May 2019

A student wrote that their husband had been diagnosed with diabetes. Rinpoche advised a simple tonglen practice and explained why we need to develop renunciation of samsara.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at  Rinchen Jangsem Ling, Triang, Malaysia, April 2016. Photo: Bill Kane.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,

Thank you very much your kind letter. I am very happy you are taking care of everything. Your husband got diabetes also, so we are the friend of diabetes, now we become the friend of diabetes.

He is so fortunate to get diabetes because it gives him the opportunity to do tonglen practice. By doing that he purifies the heaviest negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths and he is able to collect the most extensive merits, and that means this is the quickest way to achieve enlightenment.

The great Kagyu yogi Choje Gotsangpa gave this advice:

By my experiencing diabetes (it means any problem, not just diabetes)
May all the mother sentient beings (I added the word mother so in this way you feel their kindness in your heart by saying “mother”)
Be free from all the sickness, spirt harms, negative karmas and obscurations (collected from beginningless rebirths) and achieve enlightenment.

Then after that verse you can add OM MANI PADME HUM for sentient beings, so do it like this.

Then you can start over again reciting the verse and then OM MANI PADME HUM. Recite like this for a mala or more, the whole thing; it is such a good practice. Your husband can do this while he is walking, sitting or anything. You can both do this practice; it is a very good practice. Even if you go for a walk you can do this practice.

We have to know, to be mindful that because we are in samsara we have to die, we have to be reborn, we have to have sickness and old age. This is because of the suffering of pain, the suffering of change and pervasive compounding suffering. By having the third suffering [pervasive compounding suffering], then the other two sufferings arise. If you don’t have the third suffering, then you are free forever from the other two sufferings.

Therefore the main thing is renunciation, in order to be free forever from the third suffering. Even in Hinduism you can be free from the desire realm by realizing it is suffering in nature; you can be free from the form realm, which is suffering in nature, and also from the formless realm, infinite sky consciousness, nothingness. But you cannot be free from the tip of samsara, which is the highest realm in samsara. You can’t become free from that. You don’t get to see that it is in the nature of suffering, because the way of seeing that is only through comparison. Here, there is no next stage to compare it with, so you can’t realize that the tip of samsara is in the nature of suffering. So, you can’t realize that and you can never be free from that. Then, when the karma finishes, you are reborn in the desire realm, the form realm and even in the lower realms.

We are so fortunate being Buddhist, so now we have to know about the three types of suffering, including pervasive compounding suffering. The aggregates are pervaded by suffering and therefore our aggregates are under the control of suffering, pervaded by suffering. Not only that, we are under the control of the contaminated seed [of karma] and delusion. Therefore, we need to be free from the seed of delusion and karma, in this life and the future lives.

With much love and prayers ...