The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
|Articles by alphabetic order|
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Numerous types of sickness are mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures including jaundice (paṇḍuroga), fever (pariḷāha), ulcers (aru), cough (ukkāsana), hay fever (tiṇapupphaka), diabetes (madhumehika) and leprosy (kuṭṭha).
But the Buddha listed eight causes of sickness, only one of which is the result of kamma, the others being imbalance of bile, phlegm or wind or all three bodily humors; change in the weather, improper care and accidents (S.IV,230).
He advocated a light diet because it contributes to ‘freedom from illness, to health, to strength and to bodily ease’ (M.I,473) and he was aware of the connection between exercise and health (A.III,30; Vin.II,119).
Emphasizing the connection between personal virtue and health, the Bhesajjamañjūsā, an ancient Buddhist medical work, says: ‘The person who adheres to healthy food habits and behaviour, who is circumspect,
He once said: ‘He who would nurse me, should nurse the sick’ (Yo bhikkhave maṃ upaṭṭaheyya so gilānaṃ upaṭṭhahissati, Vin.I,301-2).
Commenting on these words, the Saddhammopāyana says: ‘Nursing the sick was much praised by the Great Compassionate One and is it a wonder that he would do so? For the Sage sees the welfare of others as his own and thus that he should act as a benefactor is no surprise.
This is why attending to the sick has been praised by the Buddha.