Author Topic: In sickness and health  (Read 5530 times)

DharmaDefender

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In sickness and health
« on: August 13, 2012, 02:57:17 PM »
Question that might seem a bit daft to some of you...so some people when they dedicate their prayers, wish for all suffering to come onto them. Others dedicate that they might have a healthy body so they can always serve the Dharma.

Is there a difference in the dedication, assuming the motivation is the same?

brian

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2012, 03:36:55 PM »
I think working to serve the Dharma is as same as making a dedication to suffer for others because serving the Dharma is a way to suffer for others as well. The wish to have a healthy life in order to be able to serve the Dharma is a little common here. But in my opinion, we don't serve the Dharma and ask for healthy life then only we can serve the Dharma, it is given to serve others even we are not well which i feel this effort brings more weight into it. The motivation of having a healthy body so that one can serve the Dharma for me is a little conditioned. We don't expect for something first then we will serve the Dharma.

Tenzin K

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 05:02:35 PM »
Agree with brian! Making the dedication for healthy body seems like requesting a condition to serve or benefitting others.

But by making dedication for all suffering to come onto us is to relief people pain and that is the real way of practicing dharma. Our motivation always to pacify as much negative karma as possible others burden and may it come to us and only us.

We take up all the suffering for others and consistently with such action will lead us to practice of Boddhicita the awakening of the enlightened mind. It arises when we develops profound compassion for all sentient being and wishes to attain enlightenment for the sake of their happiness.

brian

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 04:51:02 AM »
By serving others or the Dharma, we can pacify a lot of our bad karma because of the amount of merits we gained from such virtous actions. Imagine the pain we suffer goes directly to the person (that we are helping) to gain happiness or less sufferings rather. I think it is because one will only be able to help someone else unconditionally when they selflessness. When one person who doesn't mind suffering for others and expect nothing in return, that's what we call selflessness, but then again, how many people in this world can really do that especially these days. I think the thing is if we start to practicse to be less selfish, then through habituations and motivation of helping others in need, one can develop selflessness just like inspiring people such as the Mother Theresas, Mathama Gandhis or Nelson Mandellas to name a few.

vajrastorm

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 12:26:11 PM »
I think it is perfectly alright to pray for a healthy body so that one can serve the Dharma well.Milarepa was able to attain full enlightenment in one lifetime because he had a strong and healthy body to withstand the rigours of practicing great austerities. In fact , one of the eight ripened qualities of a special high rebirth ,that we pray for that will enable us to cover more ground on the path to enlightenment than would otherwise be possible, is that of being strong in mind and body.

At the same time, it is an act of great compassion, nay, Bodhicitta, to pray that all sufferings of other mother sentient beings come to us. When we serve the dharma by praying that all the sufferings of others come to us (with pure motivation), we will purify and exhaust all our negative karma. At the same time,when we do this for others we will collect tremendous amounts of merits to propel us further on the path to enlightenment. 

pgdharma

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 01:54:38 PM »
If our motivation is right, than it is ok to pray for a good healthy body so that we can serve and benefit others.  Prayers are ways of guiding our thoughts and energy in a certain direction and they are a technique in helping us transform our mind. By repeatedly thinking of the meaning of what we are saying or reading, we train and familiarize ourselves in a way of regarding and relating to ourselves and others.  Dedication of positive potential (merit) is very important, as it prevents our positive potential from being destroyed by anger or wrong views. Dedication prayers are a way in which we ground our intention. 

“When we practice bodhicitta prayers or meditations, it may look like we are alone, like we are practicing for ourselves, but we are not practicing for ourselves, and we are not alone. All beings are interconnected, and in that sense they are present or affected. Milarepa sang, "When I am alone, meditating in the mountains, all the Buddhas past, present, and future are with me. Guru Marpa is always with me. All beings are here."
We are not practicing for ourselves alone, since everybody is involved and included in the great scope of our prayers and meditations on this perfectly pure motivation. The natural outflow of so-called "solitary meditation or prayer" is spontaneous benefit for others; it's like the rays of the sun, rays which spontaneously reach out. This good heart, pure heart, vast and open mind, is called in Tibetan sem karpo, white mind. It means pure, vast, and open heart. This is innate bodhicitta. It is not something foreign to us, as we well know, yet it is something we could relate to more, cultivate, generate, and embody. We talk about vast and profound teachings of Dharma, such as Dzogchen, but without this goodness of heart, this unselfishness; it is mere chatter, gossip, and rationalization.”
Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche and Lama Surya Das, Natural Great Perfection: Dzogchen Teachings and Vajra Songs

Jessie Fong

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 11:58:53 AM »
If you pray that the sufferings of others come to you, then you must make sure that you have a strong healthy body to be able to take it; though a good physical body may not be all there is as the sufferings of others need not be of the physical type.

But then having a strong healthy body (with a sound mind) would serve the dharma better.

Tammy

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2012, 02:30:46 PM »
These two are not mutually exclusive.

It is possible to request for good health to carry on doing dharma and at the same time wishing to take on the burden of others. We need good health to both, mentally and physically.

If I can only choose one, I would choose to have good health to do dharma work. as I think this can benefit more people as oppose to taking on the burden and sufferings for a few individuals.
Down with the BAN!!!

dondrup

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2012, 02:34:05 PM »
Taking on the suffering of others is a powerful practice to develop the mind of great compassion and eventually bodhichitta. Advanced practitioners can actually absorb the sufferings of others onto themselves.  This is clearly demonstrated by highly attained lamas.  Due to their great compassion, these lamas will take on the heavy negative karma of their disciples and subsequently develop severe illnesses on their bodies. 

Without a strong and healthy body, practitioners cannot use their bodies effectively as a vehicle to benefit others.

Both the different methods are equally important to benefit others.  At the end of the day it is the motivation that matters.  For someone to take on the suffering of others they must have already had developed a good motivation of wanting to benefit others!  On the other hand, we need not develop an altruistic motivation to have a strong and healthy body. Hence, taking on the suffering of others is a more powerful method than having a strong and healthy body.


biggyboy

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2012, 07:24:38 PM »
Depends very much on the motivation of the person. 

Wishing and dedicating to have a healthy body to serve the dharma is not wrong at all.  In fact, it is important.  But wouldn't it be more appropriate that we ourselves should ensure our body are healthy to serve dharma instead to request and dedicate for good health?  I find this rather selfish.  Hence, dedicating to take on the suffering of others would be the most meritorious thoughts for the act itself is a powerful practice in developing one's mind of great compassion.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=326&chid=1502
Do everything, every action, as much as possible, for sentient beings, for numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, humans, suras, asuras, and intermediate state beings – everyone except yourself. When you do this for others, then you are taken care of by the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and sentient beings.

Aurore

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2012, 06:21:27 AM »
While serving dharma, it is also known that practitioners are free from serious illness. Illnesses that can shorten one's life hence making it impossible to continue serving the dharma. The constant pain, discomfort and minor sicknesses such as flu, headaches, body aches that derived from hard physical and mental work of long hours serving others does not stop one from benefitting others.

Like what Dondrup has mentioned, to wish for sufferings of others to fall upon them is a way to generate Boddhicitta, a mind who are always thinking about others and feel others' pains and unhappiness. Sufferings does not necessary mean sickness. Besides, low practitioners like me will not be able to absorb others' sickness. I wish I could but I don't have that caliber! It doesn't mean we cannot aspire that one day we will be able to do so happily.

To me, both are completely different and shouldn't give us an excuse to worry about our health before others'. When we serve others, good health will come.

ratanasutra

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2012, 04:49:01 PM »
The content below is the teaching about Generating bodhicitta mind by Lama Zopa Rinpoche which i think this is an answer for people who dedicate their prayers to wish for all suffering to come onto them because they have bodhicitta mind. 

Many thought training practices are condensed in The Eight Verses, written by Kadampa Geshe Langri Tangpa Dorje Sengye. These thought-training teachings have not been made up by Tibetan lamas; their reference is the Indian pandit, Nagarjuna:

Whatever sufferings sentient beings have,
May I experience them all.
Whatever happiness and merit I have accumulated,
May all these be experienced by other sentient beings.


The Eight Verses of Thought Transformation is an incredible practice. It is a very skillful psychological method that can make being happy or unhappy, wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, beneficial for all sentient beings. The Eight Verses can even make dying beneficial for all sentient beings - and living!

Midakpa

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 07:07:45 PM »
Wishing for good health is very normal and common. But when one prays for good health in order to be able to help others, there is an element of compassion.

Wishing for the suffering of others to ripen upon oneself is part of a practice called "taking and giving". We take on the suffering, fears and obstacles of every living being so that they can be freed of all problems. This practice is also born out of compassion.

Thus, the similarity between the two is that both are based on compassion. But taking on the suffering of others is stronger in terms of compassion and is a tool for developing bodhicitta.

The difference is that you don't have to be a Buddhist or even a religious practitioner to wish for good health in order to help others.  Of the two, the second method is higher in terms of motivation.

In the second case, it is part of a Buddhist practice called "Tunglen". "Tung" means giving and "len" means taking.  We practice taking and giving with breathing in and out. When we breathe out, we visualize happiness, goodness and pleasures go out and dissolve into all sentient beings in the form of light rays. When we breathe in, we visualize sickness, suffering and pain dissolve into our heart in the form of black light rays.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2015, 03:46:10 PM »
In serving the Dharma and taking the sufferings of others onto self is the most inspiring dedication to make.  However in order to be able to serve the Dharma is also to be able and willing to be on the ''go'' whenever the Dharma is needed. 

Therefore I believe both dedication to take on the sufferings of others and the dedication to a healthy body goes hand in hand as the ultimate wish is to serve the Dharma to benefit others. Good for both motivations to exist simultaneously.

angelica

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Re: In sickness and health
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2015, 03:53:38 PM »
Thank you everyone for sharing on dedication to have a healthy body to serve others and to take on the suffering of others.

Questions:
If we see our friend or family member or other sentient being is suffering pain and we pray that we can take away some or all his pain, we are merely setting the correct motivation and developing our compassion only? Cos we are not advance practitioner, it will not have any effect at all on the person that we pray to take away his pain? Well, if we can't take away others pain now, we are creating a cause for us to be able to do so in the future. May all beings be freed from suffering.