Can Buddhist Practice Cause Sickness?

A longer-lasting pain
is not as good as
a shorter-lasting pain.

– Chinese Saying

Why is it that some seem to suddenly become unwell when they embark on the path of Dharma learning and practice, while others do not? Unwellness can be tiredness, dizziness and such. Well, all forms of suffering manifesting through physical sicknesses are directly (or indirectly) linked to the ripening of our negative karma. Here is one explanation… It is not the case that when one learns and practises the Dharma, that this leads to sickness. The sickness is due to a ‘separate’ set of non-Dharma related negative karma created in the past. As an example on two things seemingly causally related, when only co-related is how it is not waiting at a traffic light that causes it to turn green, as the light will turn green anyway, even without anyone waiting. There is thus no reason to stop proper Dharma learning and practice. After all, the Dharma is for guiding us to transcend all suffering eventually, including that within the cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death.

Here is another explanation… Some who exert diligence in Dharma learning and practice do seem to face challenges, in a more directly related way. Again, it is never any fault of the Dharma itself. Challenges might be, say, due to negative karma created from slighting the Dharma in a past life. The solution is to simply persevere, by being even more diligent. Such repentant and remedial actions create more positive karma, that dilutes the ripening negative karma, thus lessening the difficulties. Obstacles will dissipate, while ease and even spiritual bliss will arise. The most powerful method for swiftly overcoming great suffering is Nianfo practice (of utmost sincere mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’). It connects to all Buddhas via this one Buddha, protecting from possible disturbances of unseen beings too. As the final practice in this life, it also enables reach of Pure Land – the most efficient yet blissful school for mastery of the Dharma.

Those who do not understand the above might simply give up the Dharma when feeling challenged. This is foolish as it abandons the very cure for being heavily infected with poisonous negative karma. While the obstacles might seem to cease when one pauses Dharma learning and practice, it is only postponement of suffering. The worst case scenario is to not learn and practise in time to lessen negative karma, and to have great obstacles present themselves on the deathbed, thus rendering one still stuck within the cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death. As an example for the need to ‘step on the gas’ of Dharma learning and practice despite challenges, in an emergency, we might need a medicinal injection. Painful as it might be, the pain is only ‘incidental’ and for a relatively short while, while going through it is a physical lifesaver. The Dharma, however, is the true and total saver of our spiritual lives. Again, the Dharma never causes pain or suffering, for it is the cure!

A shorter-lasting pain
is not as good as
the ending of pain.

– Extended Chinese Saying

Related Articles:

How Do I Start Nianfo Practice?
How To Handle Pain With Nianfo?
Testimonial: How Nianfo Alleviated My Suffering

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