Special Topics

Q2: I've been in and out of the hospital so many times. When will I recover?

A: Many patients with chronic illnesses need to repeatedly go to hospital for regular follow-up checks, return clinic visits, and treatment. This is often the case for cancer patients. However, many cancer patients experience recurrent episodes and continuously go in and out of the hospital. This can be frustrating. The process of being ill is like that. It's just that everyone's circumstances are different. Some people recover after seeing a doctor, while others see many doctors and still cannot get better or leave the hospital. This is all related to the causes and conditions.

Many people may wonder: Did I create some negative karma in the past that resulted in this illness and suffering? In fact, investigating the cause and effect behind our karmic retributions is of little help. Instead, it is more important to seize the present moment and make the most of this limited life by engaging in practice.

Looking at it from a different perspective, how did we come into existence? Why were we born into this particular family, and not another? What made our parents meet and form a family together? Among children raised by the same parents, why do each child's opportunities and trajectories differ? This is also due to the principle of causes and conditions.

Conditions can be positive, negative, favorable, or unfavorable. Children and parents have their own causes and conditions. Some people show filial piety towards their parents, while others defy or even harm their parents. Some people have such a harmonious relationship that it even surpasses the relationship between husband and wife, while others argue incessantly, as if they were enemies. In any case, there are always causes and conditions that bring people together and it is not easy for this to happen. Thus, we should not create evil conditions. Instead of calculating and holding grudges, if we are willing to take a step back, change our perspective, and genuinely wish the best for others from our hearts, the causes and conditions will also change accordingly. Life is not about petty calculations. If we continuously develop positive thoughts and intentions, our lives will naturally become more fulfilling.

Extended Reading:

Taking illness as teacher and learning to live well with illness

Buddha's Teachings on Suffering from Illness

Practicing the Dharma While Ill

Q1: Why am I getting this illness?

Q2: I've been in and out of the hospital so many times. When will I recover?

Q3: Why do some infants get sick immediately after birth? How does Buddhism view this?

Q4: What can be done if someone is sick in bed for a very long time and feels hopeless about life?

Q5: I have recited the Buddha's name, practiced generosity, and performed good deeds, so why do I still get sick?

Q6: When a family member of mine is suffering from an illness, what can I do to alleviate his fear and pain?

Q7: If the body is in unbearable pain, isn't reciting Buddha's name an additional burden?

Q8: My health is deteriorating, and I feel like there is not much time left for me. How should I prepare myself for death?

Resource: Issue 380 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Issue 380 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation 
(Photos painted by 劉建志)
Translation: Olivia
Editing: Keith Brown,
Chia-cheng Chang (張家誠)