“These days when someone gets sick,” the Karmapa observed, “they seek out every kind of treatment and also hope to avoid aging, convinced that some method will work. Some in the medical establishment make it seem that there is a solution and on the other side, the patients want to believe it. People are even trying to avoid death.”

In the older generations, when someone tried different medical procedures and they did not work, then the person made up their mind that enough had been done and turned to accumulating merit and Dharma practice. So there is quite a difference, he noted, between the two approaches: one keeps trying and spending a lot of money, while the other sees that it would be pointless to pursue more treatment and engages practice for however much time they have left.

The Karmapa suggested a way to develop our patience for suffering. Physically, he said, we could not endure the agony of the hell realms, but we can practice mentally opening up to that suffering so that our ability and courage to endure suffering will grow.


17th Karmapa 57


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