Contemplating Impermanence

In treating lung, I have found it very helpful to think about impermanence. Usually impermanence is something very difficult for most of us to accept. We want things to last, not to change. Fortunately, because lung depends on causes and conditions, it too is impermanent and cannot last forever. It can be a great relief to know that one day, without a doubt, we will be healed. One thing that makes our suffering so unbearable is that we think it is permanent, that the situation will last forever, and then we panic. We cannot bear this, and we neccessarily produce a great deal of anguish and worry. However, there is no need to think in such a mistaken way. Lung is transitory, it will not last-this is just the way things exist. 


It is helpful to check in your mind what kind of attachment is producing your lung. All fear comes from attachment. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke beautifully expressed this: Our fears are the dragons that protect our most precious treasures." Try to discover in your mind the attachment behind your fears. (Here, I'm not talking about subtle levels of attachment, like self grasping, but about a grosser level.) For example, when someone gets ordained, they may get lung. This person may be attached to his former girlfriend and friends and not be happy with his new life, and become scared about all of this. This person is unable to recognize that this is happening in the mind until he checks it carefully. When you become aware of this process, it is good to reflect on the impermanence of the objects of your attachment-your former girlfriend, friends and so on. This will reduce and dissolve your attachment to them, and the fear and lung will also decrease. Check your heart, see what you feel, see what is going on. As Lama Yeshe says in 'Becoming Your Own Therapist':"To know your mind is the solution to all problems." This is my experience, and I hope it is helpful. Although it is useful for me, it may not be useful for you. Check for yourself.


Rejoicing can also be very helpful. Lay down, relax, and rejoice for others. Think of all the people who are healthy, practicing Dharma, and progressing on the path to enlightenment, and rejoice. I have found it very effective to listen to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings on the benefits of rejoicing. Practicing in this way can make one's mind very happy, which causes the lung to get better.


by Ven. Thubten Shakya

(excerpt from Balanced Mind, Balanced Body)