Buddhism and Healing

Venerable Zhi Guan
Fo Guang Shan Hong Kong Vihara

I. Introduction

Auspicious greetings to Dharma friends around the world, welcome to a new episode of Fo Guang Shan English Dharma Services. My name is Zhi Guan, from Fo Guang Shan Hong Kong Vihara.

Today I would like to share Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s article on Buddhism and Healing.

II. What is Healing?

The meaning of “healing” is broad and meaningful. It can be “healing” oneself, the family, the community, and even the world, which is about being more attentive and helpful to the society’s issues around the world. Since 2020, We have been living in the Pandemic for two years, and in the meantime, various global issues have happened around the world. Venerable Master Hsing Yun has given us a complete and in-depth prescription on how we can potentially address or deal with these issues.

From a Buddhist perspective, everything in the world is interconnected, just like a net with all the nodes. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, it is called “Indra Net.” Each one of us is just like a node on the net in the universe, connected with one another. No one can dictate or rule over us, but rather, we are interconnected and interdependent. If we can be the best version of ourselves, we are like this little node of light. We will illuminate others, and the same light will not only reflect back to us, but also influence others. On this premise, what I want to express here is that we need to focus on healing ourselves first, which then could have a positive influence on society and the world. In the spirit of “helping one another in the same boat”, we should help each other regardless of differences, and with generosity so to live in harmony.

III. Healing the Body and Mind

First of all, it is about healing the physical body. Since birth, old age, and death are processes we all must experience, we cannot escape from this physical body that arises from the four elements and five aggregates. Hence, ill is inevitable. Venerable Master Hsing Yun said, if we want to know how to heal our bodies and diseases, we must first establish a correct perspective. Therefore, we must understand how to prevent disease by distancing ourselves from it. Taking the example of strengthening our immune system. Doctors will always advise getting enough sleep at night, exercising at least thirty minutes every day, getting massages, laughing more often, relaxing, adopting better hygienic practices, and so on. These are the ways of prevention from diseases. Strengthening our immune systems is the best way to maintain our health, especially under the current situation.

The next is about healing the mind. Venerable Master Hsing Yun said, if we become sick, we must learn how to befriend our illness. Only by facing illness, and even death, without any sense of attachment, can we face sickness calmly. Sickness is one way for people to discover the Dharma as it can bring positive effects to our lives. The best cures involve curing the mind, for a healthy mind and the right perspective is the most effective way to heal the body.

Talking about the illness of our mind, they are mainly greed, anger, ignorance, and fear. The Venerable Master said, greed is like a stomach ailment, it is the result of gluttony; anger can be compared to lung disease, as anger ruins all that it touches; and ignorance can be compared to a neurological disorder, since ignorance is the source of mishaps. And accordingly, the prescription to heal the mind are generosity, patience, and awareness of wisdom.

Firstly, to cure the disease of greed, we use generosity. Just like the song lyrics written by the Venerable Master:

We could be like a candle that sacrifices itself so others may have light, like the dew that appears only briefly but gives part of itself to nourish other living things, or like the sun that selflessly shrines across the earth providing warmth and light. If we are able to give of ourselves and know how to help others feel happiness and joy, we will overcome greed and heal selfishness.

Secondly, to cure anger, we have patience. Anger never solves problems. The Dhammapada says: “If one tries to end disputes with more disputes, they will never end, for it is only through patience that one can end disputes.” If we realize all things in the world are essentially equal and there is no real difference between good and bad or oneself and others, the disease of anger can be healed.

Next, the illness of ignorance is about  being confused and lacking awareness. It leads to wrong views which lead to the creation of unwholesome karma. If we can spark a bit of awareness in our minds and realize that an ocean of wisdom resides within us, we will be less susceptible to the harsh winds and turbulent waves generated by ignorance.

Lastly, it is about healing fear. We may fear death, fear the dark, some fear ghosts, or fear pain and disease. There are many things for us to be afraid of. If we understood everything, we would fear nothing. The Venerable Master said, fearing does no good whatsoever, as the truth is that, no matter how serious a situation may be, there is always something that can be done about it.

IV. Conclusion

I remembered one of our Dharma devotees came to visit us during the Chinese New Year Festival Exhibition of our temple. She’s recently under treatment for cancer. With worries filled in her mind, she drew the 108 Tips for Life, Dharma Words of our Venerable Master, and it came out to be a very courageous one:

Don’t be nervous. Relax. There is no problem that can not be resolved.

The Venerable Master has given us the prescription to heal fear. If we are wise and understand many things, we will have no fear. If we have courage, believe in ourselves, have right thoughts, and the ability to direct our attention where we want, there will be no fear.

At the end, as a closing note, I would like to share everyone with Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s New Year’s greetings: May all beings live without fear and coexist in peace.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode! Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel for more Dharma wisdom. May you find joy and inspiration in this Dharma talk. Omitofo.