The Respiratory Intensive Care Unit
- Guru's Talk: The Respiratory Intensive Care Unit
- By Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu
- Translated By Cheng Yew Chung
At the respiratory intensive
care unit, a patient, a conscious old man, penned a few lines which
were shocking to read:
"You want to perform tracheotomy.
But I disagree.
I rather die.
You really make me very, very angry!"
The old man's children read his note and remained silent, their
The old man had tubes inserted in him before, but as time passed,
he developed an inflammation and was now required to undergo surgery
of his throat (tracheotomy). The old man refused, but his children
wished to prolong his life and agreed to the doctor's recommendation.
The doctor then pointed to other bedridden patients and said, "This
patient over here had a tracheotomy!"
"That fellow over there also had a tracheotomy!"
"And a few others over here, all had tracheotomies!"
When I learned of this story, I felt horrified. Isn't this similar
to the Throat Dissecting Hell? My sympathy goes out to the old man
and many other sentient beings who are still battling with their
karma-related illnesses. These karma-related illnesses are indeed
painful and terrible!
I have experienced the pains of illness, as well. My body felt like
thousands of knives were cutting it and thousands of arrows were
piercing it. It felt like fire burning, like icy cold, and sometimes
like a boulder crushing down on my head. I am a cultivator and I
can take the suffering of the "disintegration of the four elements."
Yet, the suffering was too much to bear. I even prayed to my three
Personal Deities to let me die. The suffering of illness is most
unbearable, and one wonders why we must go through old age, sickness,
and death. These experiences are simply too painful and horrible!
I cried for myself and for sentient beings, as well.
I now pray the following:
"I sincerely wish that the thousands of [different] prayers and
thousands of [different] chantings by sentient beings be [condensed]
to chanting a single 'Homage to Amitabha Buddha,' for which the
affinity of even a single chant would give rise to the planting
of the proper seed cause to a rebirth in Amitabha's Pure Land."
Even though the levels of sentient beings may differ very significantly,
according to Amitabha's vow, all beings are equal and there is no