Friday, June 24, 2011

Helping A Cancer Patient

Below is the message from a friend who had just been diagnosed with cancer and my personal reply to her.
Dear All,

Thank you so much for the hamper and speedily recovery "ang pow". I am very touch by all your kindness, love , care & support to help me fight the battle.

When yesterday Dr told me that I am diagnose as (L) Hemicolectomy T3N1 m0 stage 3 & I will need to go for further treatment , I was so numb, sad, depress and asking myself why this is happening to me? Stage 3!!!

That time I was so depressed & thinking of giving up this battle. But, then I know I MUST keep n fighting for MYSELF, MY FAMILY, FRIENDS , COLLEAGUES and those who are standing beside me , giving me love, support & care and I will continue to fight the battle and survive......

Thank you so much.

Dear PL,

Hi… it’s nice for you to write to us. But to be frank, when I first got your email, I was like stunned, speechless and shocked. I share with you how you feel. However I am happy and glad that you now realize that you need to continue to be in a happy state of mind. That is very important. So, continue with that positive spirit!

Last Friday, I watched the Cantonese movie “Wait till You’re Older” portrayed by Andy Lau. In the movie, his character drank a magic portion that made him grow older faster. From a 7 year old kid, he became a 17 year old teenager overnight. He was joyous and thought that he had skipped all those frustrating years as a small kid. His mum had died and his father remarried and he hates his step-mother very much.  He thought that being older meant that he can leave his home and live on his own. Little did he realize that by drinking that magic portion, it also makes him become a 70 year old man within 3 days. He realized his folly but it was too late. He searched for that wizard who made the portion and demanded that he turned him back into his former self. That wizard replied to him that unfortunately, life is a one way street and there is no turning back. And he advised that even if one has only one day left to live, he/she must continue to make the most out of it. So, Andy Lau, by the third day became a 70 year old man and realized that there’s no point in being depressed with his situation. He realized that he had no time to waste and need to make amends with his family and tried to reconcile with his father and his step-mother. He apologized for his mistakes and successfully reconciled with his family before he passed on. The thing about this movie that struck me and made such a huge impact on me is the line – “life is a one way street and there is no turning back ”. Those were the exact words used in the movie. And I think it is true that no matter if we have another 70 years or 7 days, we need to live life positively and use it to make positive impact on the lives of others.  There’s no point in being sad.

Anyway, while you are encouraged to be positive and fight the cancer, it is also beneficial if you recognize the impermanence of all lives. No matter how long we live, we will die one day. In Buddhism, we are taught by the Buddha that we should think that our lives are very short, so that we take our lives more seriously and use whatever time we have to practice Buddhism to gain final freedom from birth and death. And because of practicing good deeds as well as shunning negative actions, we accumulate merits to gain a higher rebirth, instead of being reborn as a hungry ghost, animal or hell-being. Death is inevitable. That’s the teaching of the Buddha. Whether we have cancer or not, one must prepare oneself for death from the time we are born. But people generally do not know how to prepare themselves for their next rebirth. They just want to live on and on. Unfortunately, eventually everyone dies and then they find themselves being reborn in a worst situation than current life as a human. If you want a better life in your next life, we have to start accumulating merits, or good karma. But  how do we accumulate good karma? Is it only by donation? Not necessarily.

There are simple things like reciting “Na Mo Omituo Fwo” or “Om Mani Padme Hum” mantra every day. You can make a commitment to recite 300 times every day. In this simple way, you accumulate good karma and create positive affinity with Amitabha Buddha and Kuan Yin. It also makes our mind more calm and peaceful. So, whether the cancer will be cured or not, we are not worried anymore. When the time comes, we happily go, knowing that we are going to a better life. If your next life is going to be worse than present life, you should be extremely worried. If you are reborn in Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land, then you can still bless your family. But if you are reborn as an animal, you cannot even take care of yourself, how then can you take care of your family at that time? So, if you still want to see your family, aim to be reborn in Amitabha Pure Land (in hokkien, Kek Lok Seh Kai). That is very important.

So, please stay positive, seek your cure and fight cancer as much as you can, but remember also to recite the Na Mo Omituo Fwo at the same time. You are recommended to recite it as many times as possible every single day. Don’t miss it, ya?  Ultimately only the Buddha can take care of us in the long term.   Remember the words –Life is a one-way street. You cannot re-wind and go back in time. Whatever happens to us, we have to deal with it in a positive way to ensure we benefit ourselves and benefit others too. By “benefitting”, it means going for the spiritual type of happiness.  In the movie, Andy Lau did that by reconciling with his family. What about you?  You can recite “Na Mo Omituo Fwo” not only for yourself, but for all cancer victims in the world. If you have this kind of motivation to benefit others when you recite it (even though you yourself are in the same situation), then, that certainly will benefit you in inconceivable ways. Who knows, perhaps even your cancer can be cured this way! I hope you remember my words of advice. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer you.

Anyway, I have a message from a Tibetan monk for you. I wrote to him to ask him about your situation. And this is his reply below:-

Dear PL,
I say prayers for your health recovery. Please think of all sentient being in the samsara who are suffering so much. Practice bodhicitta for all. I think of you in my mind.


His advice is the same as my advice, i.e. think of other beings in the world. So, I hope that you can recite Na Mo Omituo Fwo for all beings in the world.

Take care and best regards.

Closing notes: PL replied that she will recite the Namo Omituo Fwo and Om Mani Padme Hum mantra in accordance with the Lama's advice and mine.

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