Sickness

As Buddhists, how do we work with illness and what do we learn from it?
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    The Long Shadow Of Good Intentions Paid Member

    IN THE WAKE OF THE HOSPICE and "conscious dying" movement, caring for the dying has been identified as an inspiring stimulus to spiritual development—more akin to a calling than a job. Spiritual methodologies, particularly Buddhist ones, have informed these efforts to bring compassionate care to the dying. And while much has been written about consciously being with the dying, very little has been said about the shadow of this work. More »
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    In Light Of Death Paid Member

    Rick Fields, poet, writer, student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and other teachers in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1995. Currently editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal and a contributing editor to Tricycle, Fields lives in Fairfax, California, with his partner, Marcia Cohen. He is the author of several books including How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (Shambhala) and Code of the Warrior (Tarcher). This interview was conducted by Helen Tworkov in California, in May 1997.TRICYCLE: When you were first told that you had cancer, what did you do? More »
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    Mindfulness Of Death Paid Member

    You should train yourself: Even though I may be sick in body, my mind will be free of sickness. That's how you should train yourself. . . . And how is one sick in body but not sick in  mind? There is the case where an instructed noble disciple . . . does not assume the body to be the self, or the self as possess­ ing the body, or the body as in the self, or the self as in the body. He is not obsessed with the idea that "I am the body" or "The body is mine." As he is not obsessed with these ideas, his body changes and alters, but he does not fall into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair over its change and alteration. (Similarly with feeling, perception, mental processes, and consciousness.) This is how one is sick in body but not sick in mind. —Shakyamuni Buddha   More »
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    Seventeen Syllable Medicine Paid Member

    Waking up in the long indigo shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, my heart is granite. A beloved dharma sister and deep writing friend of 30 years has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and has just entered an intensive treatment program at the Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center of Northern New Mexico. I have come to keep her company for a week. Outside her home, the first honey blonde columbine of summer push into bloom, a glory I am too numb to celebrate. More »
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    A Life Too Long Paid Member

    On an autumn day in 2007, while I was visiting from northern California, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She’d just poured me a cup of tea from her Japanese teapot; beyond the kitchen window, two cardinals splashed in her birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. She put a hand on my arm. “Please help me get your father’s pacemaker turned off,” she said. I met her eyes, and my heart knocked.  More »
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    So the Darkness Shall Be the Light Paid Member

    The thing that most made my internship at a preeminent Harvard community hospital seem like a descent into what Buddhists call the hungry ghost realm was coming face to face with the limits in our modern medical approach to the natural process of aging and dying. A disturbing experience with a dying patient one night when I was on call left an indelible impression that will forever remind me of those limits. More »