How Sickness Purifies Negative Karma

How Sickness Purifies Negative Karma

Date of Advice:
December 2013
Date Posted:
December 2013

A student with prostate cancer had a HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) procedure which removed the tumors. He asked Rinpoche for guidance on what he could do to be rid of the root cause of the cancer and to restore his body to optimum health.

My most dear, most kind, most precious wish-fulfilling Mark,
Thank you for your email. I checked regarding your question:

  • Recite Black Manjushri mantras. If you have not had the initiation, you cannot visualize yourself as deity; instead visualize the deity above your crown.
  • Do 50 prostrations by reciting the Thirty-Five Buddhas’ names. You can visualize the Thirty-Five Buddhas alone or in the Lama Chöpa merit field.

Try to purify the negative karma, but also understand that for Dharma practitioners who do good things for sentient beings—and even for those who are not Buddhist, but work with a good heart helping others — getting sicknesses such as cancer purifies past eons of negative karma that would result in rebirth in the hell realms and suffering for eons, by bearing hardships to offer service to the guru or the Sangha.

Bearing such hardships is so powerful that rather than being reborn in the lower realms and suffering for eons, the negative karma is experienced in this life in the form of cancer or some other disease. They are free from the sufferings of the lower realms by experiencing their problems in this life. Then in future lives they experience so much happiness up to enlightenment. For many people, experiencing cancer or some disaster is a way to purify past negative karma, so it is not always negative. Eons of suffering in the lower realms get purified, so it’s very, very good. For Dharma practitioners, it’s like that.

Even if they are born in the lower realms, it’s just like throwing a stone against a rock; it’s just for a short time. The result of the negative karma is shorter and lighter. It depends on how it’s purified; it depends on that.

With much love and prayers...