Experiences of the Rural Elderly with Chronic Illnesses in Applying the Buddha’s Teachings to their Life

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Siriwan Piriyakoontorn
Quantar Balthip
Kanittha Naka


This phenomenological study aimed to study the experiences of the rural elderly with chronic illnesses in applying the Buddha’s teachings to their life. The 30 informants were purposively selected according to the criteria: 60 years of age and over, having at least one chronic illness for at least one year, able to communicate well, and having experience in applying the Buddha’s teaching for use. Data were collected using in-depth interviews, for 6 months during September 2012-February 2013. Data were analyzed by Colaizzi’s method.

The finding revealed that when applying the Buddha’s teachings, the informants could accept the existence of their illness and find a way to live in harmony. The Buddha’s teachings used could be divided into 2 categories. 1) The teachings to make them able to accept their illness existence consisting of 2 subcategories : 1.1) the understanding of the impermanence of life and 1.2) the belief in the law of karma  and 2) using the teachings as guidelines in living a life with chronic diseases including 5 subcategories : 2.1) learning to let go, 2.2) living in a moment, 2.3) living with equanimity, 2.4) following the 5 precepts and presenting loving-kindness, and 2.5) making merit. Most informants learned about the Buddha’s teachings from monks, parents, the time when they entered into monkshoods at a young age, and families bringing them along to the temple to listen to the Buddha’s teachings and participating in religious activities.

The findings shed light on ways to care for and encourage the elderly with chronic illnesses to apply the Buddha’s teachings in living their life so that they can accept the illness existence and live happily.

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Piriyakoontorn, S., Balthip, Q., & Naka, K. (2014). Experiences of the Rural Elderly with Chronic Illnesses in Applying the Buddha’s Teachings to their Life. Journal of Research in Nursing-Midwifery and Health Sciences, 34(2), 39–52. Retrieved from https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/nur-psu/article/view/21274
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