Can Being Veg(etari)an And Practising Mindfulness Of Buddha Avert Pandemics?
Question : According to Great Master Yìnguāng’s (印光大师) teachings (as below), if we are veg(etari)an (吃素) and practise mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), we will not be infected during epidemics (or pandemics). If so, why is it that some who seem to fit the criteria are still infected by COVID-19?
Answer: There is need to ask if those infected were sufficiently veg(etari)an and practised mindfulness of Buddha sincerely enough. Just having occasional veg(etari)an meals, with a few chants once in a while might not be enough to have constant protection, as made available by meritorious virtues created and connection to the Buddha’s blessings.
Question : What if there is still infection despite practising veg(etari)anism and mindfulness of Buddha properly?
Answer: From general observation, those who should have met the practice criteria, but are still infected usually receive the later and milder forms of the virus only. This means there is heavier karma with lighter retribution (重业轻报), as mitigated by the practices. Without them, there might be more dangerous strains of the virus received.
Question : If the practices can avert stronger strains of the virus, why does it not avert the weaker strains too?
Answer: The karmic nature of life in this defied land (秽土) is such that we will go through various forms of sickness when alive, and often just before death. Perhaps to remind us of the impermanence of health and life here, with the relentless nature of karma, even Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) and some Great Masters (大师) manifested experiences of sicknesses when alive, and before departure.
Even with mindfulness of Buddha practised diligently, unless we are already Great Bodhisattvas (大菩萨) close to becoming Buddhas, we have yet to practise it perfectly, to be able to eliminate all our past evil karma (恶业), which is more than that space can contain if it takes form. It is thus natural that some evil karma might ‘seep’ through to manifest some sicknesses despite having some practice. However, this is always with lighter retribution. Being able to avoid serious strains of viruses that lead to much more suffering and even death is already remarkable. Thus, no practice efforts are ever wasted. It is always better to practise more than less, just as it is always better to practise little than not at all.
However, as assured by all Buddhas, despite having physical and mental sicknesses, even on the brink of death or after death, (if the consciousness has yet to take rebirth), it is possible to practise mindfulness of Buddha sufficiently, to connect to him firmly, for reaching his Pure Land, where there will be liberation from ageing, sickness and death.
How To Not Encounter Epidemics And Pandemics?
戒杀吃素 + 念佛消业
Avoid Killing & Go Veg + Be Mindful Of Buddha To Eradicate Evil Karma
As Already Warned By A Great Master