[199] Consolation For Those Suffering From Sickness 病苦者之安慰

How To See Pain And Suffering When Very Sick?


[On] why your mother [is] not appearing [to] heal, [this] hindrance [is] with [her] past karma as [the] cause, similar to [the] transformation [of] heavier retribution [with] later retribution, as present retribution [with] lighter retribution, at this time, with it ending.

[199] Consolation [For] Those Suffering [From] Sickness


Dharma Master Xuánzàng, [when] approaching [life’s] end, also had [a] little suffering [due to] sickness. [In his] mind, [he] suspected that of [the] sūtras [he] translated, [there] were perhaps mistakes.

[Note 1: If yet to be fully enlightened, even a Great Master with prolific Dharma works might have some doubts of his efforts, what more others like us. However, what we should learn is how to overcome such doubts, with the principles below.]


[There] was [a] Bodhisattva [who came to] console [him by] saying, ‘[As] your past kalpas’ transgressions’ retribution, [are] all with [experience] of this little suffering [being] eliminated, [do] not doubt.’

[Note 2: The suffering was with his past karma as the cause, similar to the transformation of heavier retribution with later retribution, as present retribution with lighter retribution, at this time, with it (manifesting and) ending (宿业所致,殆转重报后报为现报轻报,于此时以了之乎).

As long as there is continual practice of what is right, for example, with sincere repentance (忏悔), mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) and dedication of merits (回向), all present suffering is definitely from past negative heavier karma being more lightly experienced (重业轻受). This is so as mindfulness of Buddha practice eliminates karmic obstacles (念佛消业障).]


[You] should with this meaning console your Mother, encourage her [to] give rise [to the] joyful mind, [and] not give rise [to a] resentful mind. Then, [she] can definitely receive [the] Buddha’s blessings and protection.

[Note 3: This joyful mind should be with joyful faith (信乐) when being mindful of Amitā(bha) Buddha’s name (i.e. Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛) sincerely, so as to connect to him for the benefits above.]


[If her] lifespan [is] yet [to] exhaust, then [will there be] quick healing. [If her] lifespan [is] already exhausting, then [will there be quick] rebirth [in his Pure Land with wholehearted mindfulness of his name (Āmítuófó)].

[Note 4: To have a win-win situation, of having either swift rebirth in Pure Land or healing here, there should only be wholehearted Aspiration (愿) to reach Pure Land when mindful of the Buddha. This is so as if death is inevitable, there will be reaching of Pure Land for complete and lasting healing there, if healing is no longer possible here. If there is wish for healing here only, and if death is inevitable, there will neither be reaching of Pure Land nor healing here. This becomes a lose-lose situation.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First Compilation): Reply Letter [To] Zhōu Mèngyóu’s Brothers;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (199th Short Section): 4th [Chapter]: Discussion [On] Births’ [And] Deaths’ Great Matter: Third, Guidance [On When] Approaching [Life’s] End’s Definite Essentials (9th Short Section)
[Ref: #199 / 4.3.9]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Text:

Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence

1 Comment

  • Well written article.
    When we practice Buddha dharma and encounter misfortune, we tend to think that it is because practising the dharma we are suffering misfortune, this view is totally wrong.

    In fact the misfortune is the lightest version of evil karma of our past life, the heavy karma is largely attenuated by our dharma practice.

    If we had not started the dharma practice, our suffering and misfortune would be much greater than the present one.

    The holy Buddha dharma is perfect and complete and rescues all from misfortune and suffering.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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