Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/08/2018

Breathing in Sickness

This morning there was an older gentleman who was having periodic coughing fits in the train. Worst of all, he neglected to cover his mouth at all. Naturally, as a “modern, educated” man I was both aghast and tempted to ask him to cover his mouth. But, then it struck me: this is a man who is suffering. As Lord Buddha asserts, sickness is suffering and anyone who’s tried to stifle a cough or make it through the day with a cold knows that.

So, I breathed it in figuratively and, I suppose, literally. I made the aspiration that he be free from sickness and that I may take in the germs and storage anyone else the sickness as well. I have done this once before and both times it has completely changed my view of the situation.

Instead of clamping down and trying to shield myself from his cold while muttering silent recriminations, I opened to his suffering and tried to connect to him and everyone else on the crowded train.

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