Q6: When a family member of mine is suffering from an illness, what can I do to alleviate his fear and pain?A: Empathy and attentive listening are crucial. You can focus on the message of his words and listen attentively to what he wants to express and what he needs. You should be intuitive so that, even without words, you can interpret his body language and understand his heartfelt thoughts.
For elderly patients, it could be very difficult to change their deeply ingrained values. Instead of giving lengthy explanations, try to treat them as you would when coaxing a child. That is, go along with their needs and let them enjoy each day happily. When changing a dressing or receiving a treatment, you should try to use words of praise, encouragement, and positivity to make elderly patients feel that their condition is improving, since reducing their worries is more important.
As for elementary or preadolescent young patients, some of them may not fully understand their physical condition but are only aware that they are sick. In such cases, you can introduce them to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guanyin Bodhisattva) and tell them: "Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva with a thousand hands and eyes is very powerful. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is very compassionate and will respond to every prayer and plea. If you recite Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva's name, he will come to help you." You can try your best to offer your blessings to young patients in a positive and encouraging manner.
Taking illness as teacher and learning to live well with illness
Buddha's Teachings on Suffering from Illness
Practicing the Dharma While Ill
Q1: Why am I getting this illness?
Q2: I've been in and out of the hospital so many times. When will I recover?
Q3: Why do some infants get sick immediately after birth? How does Buddhism view this?
Q4: What can be done if someone is sick in bed for a very long time and feels hopeless about life?
Q5: I have recited the Buddha's name, practiced generosity, and performed good deeds, so why do I still get sick?
Q6: When a family member of mine is suffering from an illness, what can I do to alleviate his fear and pain?
Q7: If the body is in unbearable pain, isn't reciting Buddha's name an additional burden?
Q8: My health is deteriorating, and I feel like there is not much time left for me. How should I prepare myself for death?
Resource: Issue 380 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Issue 380 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation (Photos painted by 劉建志)
Editing: Keith Brown, YKL