Devamitra is a senior member of the Triratna Buddhist Order who has been fighting cancer for the last year. He's been sharing his reflections with our Order along the way. Recently, he's decided to turn these reports into a blog and share them more widely.
Click Here to see his first blog post
Taranatha (a much loved member of our Order in Auckland) died of complications around prostate cancer in 2013 and other men in our Order are living with the diagnosis and treatment. Facing illness and inevitable death are regular reflections within the Buddhist tradition, going all the way back to the four spiritual insights that initiated the Buddha's quest for something more meaningful.
The Buddha's three insights on death, illness, and old age ... were followed by a forth. This being the possibility of living a more meaningful life than simply living life fighting and struggling against these three inevitables. Old age, illness and death are experiences that everything born must face. Is there anything beyond this struggle of birth and death? That is what the Buddha is pointing towards with his teachings and practises. Within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, they talk about the precious opportunity of life and actively cultivating the qualities of life which go beyond birth and death, such as kindness, generosity, honesty, care, courage, lightness and contentment, clarity and spacious awareness (to name a few). These qualities cut through moments of despair, not removing the inevitable decay of everything that is born, but placing it all in the larger container of meaningful human relationships and human potential.
I believe that Devamitra's honest and courageous reflections help to point us in this direction also.
Hope you enjoy his blog.
best wishes, Ratnavyuha