When Seriously Sick 病重时

第一章: 绪言
The First Section: Introductory Words


[An] ancient poem says,


‘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.’


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


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

The Second Section: When Seriously Sick


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


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.]


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


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.]


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.


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.]


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.


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


[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.]


‘[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.


[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。)]


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.]


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.]


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.]


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.]


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.]


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).]


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.]


[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.]

Great Master Hóngyī
([At The] Finality Of Life)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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