A Prayer for Senior Citizens

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun
Founder of Fo Guang Shan

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Thank you for your appearance in this world.
You clearly told us:
“With the suffering of birth, the suffering of old age is inevitable;
With the suffering of old age, the suffering of sickness is inevitable.”
Old age and sickness are indeed painful.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
We have numerous psychological illnesses due to worries;
We have numerous physical discomforts due to bodily troubles.

Fortunately, we have a great doctor in you
To encourage us spiritually,
To console us mentally,
To teach us about infinite life,
To help us discover our Dharmakaya.
We now finally realize that life is a natural cycle;
Old age, sickness, death, and birth are no longer frightening.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Do you know what senior citizens wish for?
Their greatest wish is to be with their families,
Their greatest joy is to lead a peaceful life in their old age,
Their greatest hope is to have no physical suffering,
Their greatest happiness is to be carefree and at ease.

They do not necessarily depend on their children’s support,
But only hope that good affinities can help their future;
They do not necessarily want money,
But only hope that relatives and friends can offer their attention;
They do not necessarily want a companion,
But only hope to be in the company of the Dharma;
They do not necessarily want to rely on family,
But only hope to take refuge in you.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please bless the senior citizens:
From now on:
May they not experience the sadness of wandering from place to place;
May they not have the misfortune of being bedridden with illness;
May they not have the grievance of undevoted children;
May they not have the anxiety and fear of old age, sickness, death, and birth;

May they cultivate the beneficial habits of:
Rising early to pray,
Chanting the Buddha’s name before bedtime,
Walking half a mile after each meal,
Reflecting on the Five Contemplations before each meal.

May they overcome inner ailments and transcend physical suffering;
May they see through life and realize non-attachment.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha,
Please fulfill their wishes!
Oh great, compassionate Buddha,
Please fulfill their wishes!
Blessed by Sakyamuni Buddha.

(Excerpted from “A Prayer for Senior Citizens (為老人祈願文)” from Pearls of Wisdom: Prayers for Engaged Living I by Venerable Master Hsing Yun)