The Last Moment of a Father’s Life

[ 26 พ.ค. 2555 ] - [ 17381 ] LINE it!

Meditation for Peace
The Last Moment of a Father’s Life
“The Lord Buddha once said, ‘A clouded mind leads to an unfavorable realm.’
“The Lord Buddha once said, ‘A clouded mind leads to an unfavorable realm.’
One day, a lady come to seek advice from a respected senior monk about how to care for her dying father; Buddhists consider this an important task of any grateful child. Thus, this knowledge should be learned by everyone who must pay a debt of gratitude to their parents.
The lady said, “When I was 10 years old, my parents got divorced. My mother took care of me. She is a faithful Buddhist  who believes I the law of cause and effect. She offers food to the monks every morning. My father has never visited me. Even though I know where he lives, I have never gone to see him. I have only called him a few times.
“Recently, he fell seriously ill and was admitted into a hospital. The doctor said he has cancer and probably won’t have much time to live. My father does not have faith in Buddhism. How can I help him cope with this suffering? If make merit on behalf of my father when he is still alive, could this merit help him gain recovery?
The respected senior monk replied, “Before giving care to a dying patient no matter the illness, you must understand one thing that is of utmost importance. It is the state of mind that will determine the destination of his afterlife. So, try not to have him worry about anything.
“The Lord Buddha once said, ‘A clouded mind leads to an unfavorable realm.’
“During the last two months of your father’s life, try you best to have him develop a clear mind. And making merit is the best way to make the mind bright and clear.
“If my father does not have faith in Buddhism and I make the merit for him, will he receive the merit?
“The answer is, he will receive the fruit of the merit only when he rejoices in your merit, and the amount of merit he receives will be less than what he will receive if he makes it himself.
“If a person does not believe in the law of cause and effect, at the time of death when caught by the results of his bad deeds, in his last moment of life, he will experience great suffering.
“As a daughter, you should stay close to your father. When the chance arises, give your father a Dhamma talk; bring him flowers, candles and incense to pay homage to the Lord Buddha three times a day. In the beginning, he may refuse your proposal. Be patient and keep talking; tell him to pray everyday or as much as he can.
“If his condition does not permit him to sit, he can also pray while laying down. When he used to be strong he may have doubted what you said. But at the last moment when the pain is unbearable for him and you tell him to take refuge in the Triple Gem, he may consider taking your advice.
“Another thing you can do is to prepare alms food (rice, fruit or flower) for him to offer to the monks. Or it would be even better if you can invite the monks to visit his bed to receive his alms offering. If this is not possible, you can also offer alms food somewhere else on his behalf and tell him later in order that he can rejoice in the merit.
The Last Moment of a Father’s Life
The Last Moment of a Father’s Life
“By following this advice, he will struggle less, especially, if he still has some personal merit left to believe you. He will be calmer while struggling with the pain. But if he rejects everything, then you can do nothing but look forward to repaying the debt of gratitude to him in the next lifetime.
“Several years ago, there was someone I know who was a care-taker of a temple, He suffered diabetes and had to be amputated for that reason. After the operation, everyday at two o’clock he would suffer such an acute pain from his wound that nothing could stop the pain.
“And because he had faith in Buddhism and believed in the Law of Kamma, I visited him and gave him chanting and meditation cassettes. After breakfast, we would tell him to rest. While we turned on the cassette for him to chant, he chanted along until some time past two o’clock and he would forget the pain completely. We did this every day until the would healed.
“This reminds us that we should learn how to chant and chant habitually. So when we are hit by sickness, we can use chanting to cope with any discomfort. When the mind is concentrated on chanting, it will forget other things. This method has proven to be a successful one.
“Your decision to care for your father during his sickness is the right thing to do. Although he neglected you and your mother, you must know the fact that parents are the people to whom we owe our debts of gratitude to for many reasons.
1. Parents serve as the physical mold. They give us the physical form as a human, suitable for performing meritorious deeds. Although they may have not raised us, we still one our debt of gratitude to them. If they also bring us up as good parents, we are overwhelmingly in debt to them.
2. Parents always forgive us without being resentful. The scolding and punishments they may have given us for doing unacceptable things are out of their deep love and concern for us. I hurts their hearts more than it hurt us when they have to give us a spanking, just as if they were cut with a knife through their hearts. They are the best friends we can ever find in this world and we can trust them wholeheartedly.
3. Our debt of gratitude to our parents is much more than we can repay. We must habitually reflect on our appreciation of our debt of gratitude to them.
These are ways in which children can repay the debt of gratitude they owe to their parents:
1. Caring for them in their old age
2. Carrying on the good name of the family
3. Using the family wealth in a responsible way
4. Continuing the good work for society they have already begun
5. Inspiring them to have faith in the Triple Gem, nurturing them further to be generous and to maintain moral standards, persuading them to listen to spiritual teachings and teaching them how to meditate. All these can help keep them on the path to Nibbana.
“Even when your parents have passed away, your duty as a grateful son or daughter is not finished. Apart from taking responsibility ofr organizing a fitting funeral, a grateful son and daughter will do meritorious deeds regularly and transfer the merit from their good deeds to their deceased parents.”
I hope you learned from this chapter that while bringing up your own child to be a good person you do not forget to cherish your parents or grandparents. This is the way to give your children examples of how to care for you when you reach old age, especially at your last moment of life. They will know how to make their parents’ minds bright and clear in order for them to have a favorable destiny according to Buddhism. In the end, all of this will return to you.

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