My Understanding of "Old Age, Illness and Death"
(Clearwisdom.net) I know of many elderly practitioners in my area who are growing older, and some of them look very weak. A few have passed away, following the old forces' arrangements.
Teacher said in Lecture 5 of Zhuan Falun:
"Old age, illness, and death are also forms of demons, but they are created to maintain the characteristic of the universe."
Most practitioners understand that practitioners do not become ill. When a symptom of illness appears, it is due to eliminating karma. If the symptom is misunderstood to represent illness, then the practitioner experiences illness until he or she comes to the correct understanding. Practitioners who have fully eliminated the belief in illness can get through the karmic reduction period quickly, because the illness demon cannot reach them.
As to the old age demon, many elderly practitioners accept the idea that they are old, and that getting old is a natural phenomenon. This acceptance is similar to accepting the symptoms of illness as actual illness, thus allowing the old age demon to be a part of them. Many elderly practitioners began their cultivation practice in their sixties and seventies. The idea that, "I am old", was accepted before they began their practice. After many years of cultivation they still say, "I am old. My legs are not as nimble. It is difficult for an old man to learn." Making these statements is the same as accepting the old age demon. They are negatively influenced by the demon, affecting both their cultivation and their chance to validate the Fa.
My own understanding of "old age" is that it exists in the Three Realms, the same as "emotion". Although it is created for humans, practitioners should not accept it. Once we remove this idea from our conceptual framework, we have transcended it, and it cannot control us anymore. Our bodies will stop growing old, because spirit and matter are one.
I think that "death" is similar to "old age" and "illness", in that it also exists inside the Three Realms. A true practitioner should let go of all attachments in the world through the process of cultivation. "Death" will leave us after we let go of the attachment to "life and death". That is, we need to transcend "death" so that it cannot control us anymore.
I hope that fewer practitioners will be bound by the idea of "old age", and instead, assume an attitude similar to young people in conducting themselves during the period of Fa-rectification. This way, they will be able to do more in validating the Fa.
Thank you fellow practitioners. Please point out anything inappropriate.