How Fortunate You Are to Have This Sickness

How Fortunate You Are to Have This Sickness

Date of Advice:
November 2016
Date Posted:
January 2018

Rinpoche sent this advice about the practice of tonglen (taking and giving) to someone who was injured after a fall. The person had not recovered from the injury, and was still very sick and worried.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with Ven. Thubten Kunsang, Sera Monastery, India, January 2016. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Think, “I am the most fortunate one, that I have this sickness. I am the most fortunate one. Why? Because by having this sickness now I can practice pure Dharma. I have been given the opportunity to practice pure Dharma. I can experience all sentient beings’ pain, disease, spirit harm, negative karma and obscurations, and they can all achieve the dharmakaya.”

Also you can meditate that you receive all sentient beings’ pain, disease, negative karma and obscurations. Think that you have received these in your heart in the form of darkness, like smoke or black fog, and they destroy the self-cherishing thought, where all the sufferings come from. They are brought into the heart and received there, like throwing an atomic bomb on the enemy, so self-cherishing thoughts are totally smashed.

Here you give this to the self-cherishing thought that has caused you beginningless oceans of suffering in the six realms up to the present, as well as causing the present and endless future oceans of suffering—not only your own suffering but also the suffering of numberless sentient beings from beginningless lives up to now—and as long as you don’t generate bodhicitta, it will bring endless suffering to numberless sentient beings again. So destroy the one enemy, this self-cherishing thought. Think it is totally destroyed, and think that all sentient beings receive dharmakaya.

You can do tonglen, if you can, taking on others’ suffering and with loving kindness and compassion giving your body, possessions and merits to other sentient beings, so they all receive enlightenment, they achieve rupakaya.

[If you can, listen online to the teachings that Rinpoche recently gave at the Light of the Path retreat in North Carolina. If you can watch that or listen to that, it would be very good.]

Much of your day you can recite the following, just as you would recite a mantra such as OM MANI PADME HUM. Instead, recite the following like a mantra. If you can, do at least four malas a day of this:

By my having to experience this sickness, may all sentient beings be free immediately from all the diseases, spirit harm, negative karma and defilements.

Pray like this and recite four malas of this each day. This prayer is from the great yogi Choje Götsangpa.

You can see this sickness is helping you, and that is why I said how fortunate you are. You can collect more than skies of merit and purify negative karma and defilements collected from beginningless rebirth. This brings you to enlightenment quickly. This is why I said at the beginning how fortunate you are to think in this way, to recognize this.

It is very, very, very good. In reality it is like this. This is a gain, it’s not a loss for you; it is the highest gain, so please do this.

With much love and prayers ...