From the perspective of cause and effect, illnesses are retributions for prior offenses.
Illnesses are a form of debt settlement...
From the Buddhist perspective, our bodies are impermanent – in a progressive state of slow decay – sometimes hastened by illnesses. Otherwise, we would all be immortals and put the medical and death industries out of business.
From the perspective of cause and effect, illnesses are retributions for prior offenses against other beings. For example, a person might have killed someone else in a prior lifetime. Now, the victim comes back for retribution in the form of an illness demon, such as cancer demon, making a claim against the reborn offender.
Further, illnesses are a form of debt settlement. When the debt is repaid in full, we are healed. Minor colds are examples. They represent minor debts that are repaid by temporarily suffering through cold symptoms. This is the first form of healing; suffering through illnesses until recovery.
There are two other ways we deal with illnesses.
An obvious way is to seek help. We can get help from doctors, acupuncturists, healers, etc.
Their effectiveness can also be explained with the law of cause and effect. The third party healer meddles with the illness (debt), and by helping to settle the debt, assumes part of the burden that the illness represents. For example, a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy obtains relief because the medical professionals take on and carry part of the cancer debt themselves. The healers tend not to complain because they believe that their compensation is an adequate exchange for their trouble. However, most do not realize that they then own some of their patients’ debt burden.
It is also important to understand that patients, the original debtors, actually incur losses in the form of medical bills, insurance premiums and co-payments, cost of medications, transportation expenses, and resulting physical pain, psychological pain, or physical damage that they must endure for the remainder of their lives.
Sometimes, healing technology is limited, therefore, the debt can only be settled through actual suffering as retribution for past offenses. For example, patients with mental illnesses are rarely healed. Two of my disciples suffered from clinical depression for a long time. When they began cultivating with us they succeeded in shaking off their depression ghosts.
This is an illustration of the third and final option for healing—recovery through the accumulation of merit and virtues. There are two ways to achieve this:
- People can generate merit and virtues themselves through cultivation and good works. This will carry them out of the effective range of the creditors seeking retribution, thus resulting in self-healing.
- If one cannot cultivate or perform good works, one can accumulate merit and virtues with the help of the Triple Jewel (your local sangha member can advise you about this).
How does this second option of creating external merit and virtue result in healing? Basically, the Triple Jewel (Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha) meddle on your behalf. They use merits and virtues that you create and negotiate your wellness with your creditors by passing your merits and virtues on to beings seeking retribution from you. It works because the results are mutually beneficial:
- The illness ghost or demon by accepts the generated merit and virtue through the Triple Jewel, relenting on the debt claim in lieu of retribution. They actually gain blessings rather than inflict damages/loss on the debtor.
- The debtor is healed and debt repaid.
- The Triple Jewel creates affinity with both sides.
I prefer the third approach of healing through the creation of merit and virtue through the Triple Jewel because it is:
- Fair – We do recommend repaying our past debts. Running away from creditors only postpones repayment and interest continues to accrue until the debt is repaid in full. Our creditors may not as generous as the US Government, willing to extend credit at zero interest to banks during the recent 2009 credit crisis.
- Clean – By not running away from our past debts, we have the opportunity to resolve past enmities. We will all feel better.
- Efficacious – The best way to resolve past debts is for creditors to forgive them. We all suffer enough as it is already!
These concepts may be hard for the western-educated people to believe. Regardless, once they’ve tried all other options, I hope that they will consider the Buddhist merit and virtue option. My own students also first viewed it with suspicion. However, this being the sixth year of my Dharma propagation, no student has yet come to me to complain that I deceived them with this healing method.