Translations

When Seriously Sick 病重时

第一章: 绪言
The First Section: Introductory Words

古诗云:

[An] ancient poem says,

「我见他人死,
我心热如火,
不是热他人,
看看轮到我。」

‘I, [when] seeing other people die,
my mind [becomes] hot like fire,
not hot [because of] other people,
[but] seeing [that] pretty soon, [it will] become my turn.’

人生最后一段大事,岂可须臾忘耶!

[Being] human life’s final part’s one big matter, how can [it be for] a moment forgotten?

令为讲述,次分六章,如下所列。

[To] enable, for narrating [on it], next dividing [into] six sections, [they are] as below, [with] those listed.

第二章:病重时
The Second Section: When Seriously Sick

当病重时,应将一切家事及自己身体悉皆放下。

When seriously sick, [all] should have all family matters and oneself’s body all let go [of].

专意念佛,一心希冀往生西方。

Focusing [one’s] mind [on] mindfulness [of] Buddha, wholeheartedly hoping [to be] reborn [in the] West[ern Pure Land].

[Note 1: Mindfulness of Buddha is Practice (行), the third of the Three Provisions (三资粮). Wholehearted hoping to be reborn in Pure Land is Faith (信) and Aspiration (愿), the first and second of the Three Provisions.]

能如是者,如寿已尽,决定往生。

[Of] those able [to do] thus, if [their] lifespans [are] already ending, [they will] definitely [be] reborn [there].

如寿未尽,虽求往生而病反能速愈,因心至专诚,故能灭除宿世恶业也。

If [their] lifespans [are] yet [to] end, although seeking rebirth [there], yet [having] sickness instead able [to be] quickly healed, because [of their] minds [being] utmost focused [and] sincere, thus able [to] eradicate past lives’ evil karma.

[Note 2: Past lives’ negative karma, along with this present life’s negative karma, can ripen at this present life’s end too. Thus, one seriously sick should not lament of not having done evil to deserve one’s suffering.]

傥不如是放下一切专意念佛者,如寿已尽,决定不能往生,因自己专求病愈不求往生,无由往生故。

If not those thus letting go [of] all [matters to] focus [their] minds [on] mindfulness [of] Buddha, if [their] lifespans [are] already ending, [they] definitely [will] not [be] able [to be] reborn [there], because [of] oneself focusing [on] seeking sickness [to be] healed, not seeking rebirth [there], without reason [to be] reborn [there] thus.

如寿未尽,因其一心希望病愈,妄生忧怖,不惟不能速愈,反更增加病苦耳。

If [their] lifespans [are] yet [to] end, because [of] that wholehearted hoping [for] sickness [to be] healed, [with] deluded giving [rise of] worries [and] fear, [they will] not only not [be] able [to] quickly heal, instead [with] even more increase [of] suffering [from] sickness.

[Note 3: Natural declining of health, along with needless worries and fear can aggravate physical and mental suffering.]

病未重时,亦可服药,但仍须精进念佛,勿作服药愈病之想。

When sick [but] yet [to be] serious, [they] likewise can accept medicine, but [they] still must diligently [be] mindful [of] Buddha, [and] not have thought of accepting medicine [for] healing [of] sickness.

病既重时,可以不服药也。

When sick, since serious, [they] can not accept medicine.

余昔卧病石室,有劝延医服药者,说偈谢云:

[With] remaining [days] bedridden [in a] stone room, [to] those [who] have encouragement [of] continuing [with] healing [and] accepting [of] medicine, saying [these] verses [to] thank [and] decline [them],

[Note 4: The stone room refers to any stable and protected room, for privacy and facilitating peace of mind.]

「阿弥陀佛,
无上医王,
舍此不求,
是谓痴狂。

‘[As] Āmítuófó [i.e. Amitābha Buddha],
[is the] Unsurpassable [Great] King [Of] Healers,
[with the] forsaking [of] this, not seeking [him],
[is] called deluded madness.

一句弥陀,
阿伽陀药,
舍此不服,
是谓大错。」

[The] one line [of] Āmítuófó[‘s name],
[is] Agada Medicine [i.e. that heals all],
[with the] forsaking [of] this, not accepting [it],
[is] called [a] great mistake.’

[Note 5: Although healing is possible here, it is ultimately limited, with complete and lasting healing being in Pure Land. (注:虽然可能在此得疗愈,但终究有限,而圆满长久之疗愈在净土。)]

若病重时,痛苦甚剧者,切勿惊惶。

If when seriously sick, those [with] pain [and] suffering extremely severe, must not [have] fear [and] panic.

[Note 6: All negative emotions should be seen as reminders to have even more sincere mindfulness of Buddha, transforming pointless distress to diligent Practice. It is with good practice, that all negative emotions are transformed to be peace and bliss too.]

因此病苦,乃宿世业障。

Because this suffering [from] sickness, [is] only past lives’ karmic obstacles.

[Note 7: No matter how many karmic obstacles there are from negative karma, they will not be more powerful than the pure karma from mindfulness of Buddha, that can easily dissolve them.]

或亦是转未来三途恶道之苦,于今生轻受,以速了偿也。

Perhaps [this] likewise is transformation [of] future suffering of [the] three realms’ evil paths, [to] in [this] present life [be] lighter received, with [this] quickly [and] completely repaid.

[Note 8: Upon reach of Pure Land, there will be no more future suffering at all. Thus, going through some suffering before reaching it is worth it.]

自己所有衣服诸物,宜于病重之时,即施他人。

Oneself’s all clothes [and] all [other] objects, [are] suitable to, when seriously sick , [be] immediately given [to] other people.

[Note 9: Once there is confirmation that one is in one’s last days, it is alright to begin giving possessions away, to create rejoice and even more positive karma, which can eradicate negative karma. This can be assisted by others. If troublesome to handle before death, it can be done after death.]

若依《地藏菩萨本愿经》,《如来赞叹品》所言供养经像等,则弥善矣。

If relying [upon the] Sūtra [Of] Earth Treasury Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows’ Chapter [On The] Thus Come [One’s] Praises, that spoke [of] offering sūtras, images [and] others, [this] then [is] extensive good.

[Note 10: Dedicating meritorious virtues from mindfulness of Buddha to all beings also is doing of great good.]

若病重时,神识犹清,应请善知识为之说法,尽力安慰。

If when seriously sick, [with the] consciousness still clear, [they] should invite good-knowing [friends to], for them speak [the] Dharma, [to] do their best [to] console [them].

[Note 11: The direct and best consolation is to encourage with guidance (开示) support-chanting (助念).]

举病者今生所修善业,一一详言而赞叹之,令病者心生欢喜,无有疑虑。

All those sick, [in this] present life, [of] all [their] cultivated good karma, [with] each [and every] one detailedly speaking and highly praising them, enabling [the] minds [of] those sick [to] give [rise to] joy, without having doubts [and] worries.

[Note 12: This can be done quickly, without taking too much time, so as to spend more time offering guidance and support-chanting.]

自知命终之后,承斯善业,决定生西。

[With] oneself knowing [that] after life ends, bearing this good karma, [one will] definitely [be] born [in the] West[ern Pure Land].

[Note 13: While positive karma can aid smoother birth in Pure Land with a higher grade, what most crucially needed to reach Pure Land are the Three Provisions. Knowing there is more positive karma created can offer more peace of mind.]

弘一大师
《人生之最后》
Great Master Hóngyī
([At The] Finality Of Life)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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