Saturday, 30 April 2011

30 April - Updates on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's stroke condition. Even when manifesting illness, we learn by practice.

I just saw the latest photos and 2 video clips of Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the hospital, taken by Venerable Holly.

Rinpoche trying very hard to put hands in the mudra of prostration in the hospital (his right hand has no movement)
Rinpoche propping his right hand with support from his left hand, saying his prayers of food offering to the Three Jewels
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche is currently in a private hospital in Australia. He has 2 doctors looking after him and a team of physiotherapists helping him.  The doctors have said that Rinpoche has a high chance of recovery over the next few months. Their biggest concern, besides helping Rinpoche gain back his feel of his right limbs through physiotherapy, is controlling his sugar levels and high blood pressure.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has started his physiotherapy sessions and the therapists have noted Rinpoche is very eager and fast in learning to reuse his right leg again. Rinpoche was mainly learning how to help himself get onto the wheel chair and off and back on to the bed, and some simple walking movements. He cannot receive visitors at the moment as he is very tired after each physiotherapy session.

I am amazed and proud that despite having to manifest this condition, and suffering in bodily pain, my dearest guru has been in very cheerful mood throughout.  During the physio sessions, he was laughing and joking.  In jest, they were wondering if Rinpoche would end up with an Australian accent after his speech therapy!  Venerable Roger has reported that Rinpoche seems to be in very good spirits, laughing and joking a lot and entertaining the  hospital staff with short little comments on Dharma  (that need to be translated), but tiring easily. Rinpoche has even been sending messages on his Ipad to the retreat participants in Australia to remind them to practice and to do their prostrations!

Below is a video clip of Rinpoche taking his medicine, in the presence of Sangpo and Venerable Roger, his personal attendants.  Lama Zopa Rinpoche was telling them that the doctors had wanted to know everything that he is eating, and he is wondering if they also want to know about the migme mantra that he is taking for the paralysis. Rinpoche was laughing and laughing (Oh, how I miss his signature infectious laughter we hear everytime  when attending Rinpoche's teachings!). Although his speech is slurred, he remained his jovial self, jesting in spite of his difficulties in movement. How many of us, normal human beings, can keep our cool and remain upbeat when we are suffering from a disease?


Another clip is taken 3 days after Rinpoche's stroke. He was telling everybody, how he is enjoying his stay in the hospital. Rinpoche said: "I'm enjoying the hospital to take all the suffering of sentient beings, especially the suffering of paralysis past, present, and future. Please enjoy the most wonderful life. Thank you very much. Everybody enjoy their life."

All over the world, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's thousands and thousands of disciples; Sangha and students, all 130+ FPMT centres are currently conducting many different pujas for him.  All the high lamas close to Rinpoche, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin, as well as Kopan and Sera Je monastries (among others) are offering pujas for Rinpoche to recover swiftly. Khadro-la, the miracle healer and a student of His Holiness and Rinpoche, is on the way to Australia to assist Rinpoche.  Here is the detailed list of pujas being conducted for Rinpoche at the moment.

Some students asked for help on how to view Lama Zopa Rinpoche while doing practice for Rinpoche’s health and long life, as they experienced some confusion between seeing Rinpoche with pure view as enlightened while also doing practice to help Rinpoche’s 'ordinary' ill-health.

The great master, Choden Rinpoche, who is one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s gurus, gave the following advice: 
“Students need to hold the view that the guru is holy Buddha, but he manifests ordinary appearance, like having a stroke. Just like Buddha Shakyamuni in reality he is enlightened,  but he manifests ordinary appearance, like having a headache and back pain. So when students engage in practices like Medicine Buddha and so forth for Lama Zopa Rinpoche to have a healthy and long life, students can do the practice while maintaining the view that the lama is Buddha, but  dedicate the practice in order to pacify the ordinary appearance of having a stroke.”

Rinpoche in Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Singapore, on Feb 2011
Geshe Tenzin Zopa (in LDC, a FPMT centre in Malaysia) also adviced: 
"It is for the benefit of mother sentient beings that Rinpoche is manifesting this illness. Due to this, Rinpoche is providing the opportunity and conditions for thousands of people around the world to engage into serious Dharma practice. By doing so, many people will be spared the suffering results that arise due to their past karma and will cause them to actualize much merit. That act itself (manifesting illness) is an act within the Bodhisattva's conduct. Rinpoche is very precious. Such a realised Guru, who has already obtained enlightenment, manifests sickness like an ordinary being, solely for the benefit of mother sentient beings, to inspire everyone, especially those who have special karma with the Guru, to practice."

"If Gurus didn't have compassion towards us, they would not manifest serious conditions like heavy illnesses. If they didn't manifest serious sickness, we as an ordinary beings, would continue to maintain a very concrete and permanent grasping-mind towards life. We would never engage into sincere dharma practice. Therefore, we have all the reasons to be thankful to Rinpoche and appreciate all the opportunities provided by our holy guru. Seeing the qualities of our Guru, we should inspire ourselves and become more serious in our practice. That is how Gurus provide the opportunity for us to purify karma, for us to accumulate merits and that is how they gradually bring us to the path of enlightenment."

May the healing power of the Medicine Buddha heal Lama Zopa Rinpoche swiftly
Lama Zopa Rinpoche himself has given this teaching, specifically on how to understand "When the Guru is Ill." 

"Seeing or not seeing buddhas doesn’t depend on the buddhas but only on our mind. It is not that the buddhas were normally not there but on that particular day they came to the steps. The buddhas were always there, inside and outside the room, but  we can only see them only when we have purified our obscurations by a strong practice of guru yoga. If we purify our mind we can see buddhas wherever we are. It’s not necessary for us to be in a holy place because there is no place where there is no buddha. We don’t see buddhas at the moment only because we haven’t purified our karmic obscurations." - Lama Zopa Rinpoche

I have been thinking, perhaps through manifesting this condition, it is also an opportunity for Rinpoche's physical body to have a good rest while recuperating. My precious guru has never had a day of rest, often teaching throughout the night till the wee hours of the morning. Ever dedicated and never complaining, Rinpoche seldoms sleep and is often doing his practice and prayers as well as helping his students. Every second, every minute, he is in prayers, in meditation, teaching, blessing and benefitting others.  He said, if he cannot use every cell in  his body to benefit sentient beings, then there is no reason for him to exist. I am so fortunate to have met my guru, a Living Buddha.

Other entries on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's condition:
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has manifested a stroke
- Heartwarming response pouring in regarding Kyabje Lama Zopa's stroke condition
26 April - Updates on Lama Zopa Rinpoche's stroke condition 

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