Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 05:32
by Arun Kumar Yadav


by Arun Kumar Yadav*


The present article will highlight the Buddhas approach towards the cause and treatment of various physical and mental illness on the basis of information available in the Pāli literature, along with this, the meditation method of Buddha and its effect in the mental and physical diseases will be highlighted with some current examples (case studies), because it has been observed in various scientific experiments that meditation keeps the mind healthy and due to meditation, the root cause of diseases is cured automatically.

The present article would also discuss that, in the present day, a person can overcome from several small diseases if one follows the daily routine given by Buddha twenty-five hundred years ago. It will also be explained how the use of meditation technique of the Buddha is increasing in healing many diseases on the basis of some recent innovative research and few case studies.

In todays material world, almost all human beings are battling with some major or minor diseases. If we study the ten major factors of death in 2016, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), on May 24, 2018, we will find that 54% of all deaths are directly and indirectly related to the mind. If we go deeper, then we will come to know that root cause of ninety percent of the diseases

* Dr. Assistant Professor, Department of Pāli, Nava Nālandā Mahāvihāra, Nālandā, Bihar, India-803111

is related to mind. When the bondage of the mind and body starts to break, one invites various kinds of diseases. That is why Buddha emphasized the importance of bondage between mind and breath in his meditation method and established the unbreakable bondage of mind with the body.

Basically, modern psychology cures ill persons. Often in hospitals, we will find only patients. Not a single healthy person visits hospital for his own treatment. But Buddha, who was a dexterous psychologist who provided doctrines according to the nature of mind and physical condition had provided immense psychotherapy around twenty five hundred years ago, which was not only useful for ill persons like Kisā Gotami, a psycho-patient; Yasa, who was suffering from depression, as well as a serial killer
Agulimāla, who had carried out the innumerable murders due to

the weakness of mind, but also for the healthy kings like Bimbisāra, Ajāhatru and Prasenjita; healthy as well as wealthy Anāthpinika
and others of that time.

If we try to see above mentioned facts in Pāli and other Buddhist literature, we find that Buddha was not only the first skilled Psychiatrist in known history of the world, but he was also very familiar with various types of physical ailments and its therapies. There is also a description of three types of diseases in Pāli literature, which are related to Physical, Verbal and Mental actions. Buddha was not only aware of the causative diseases but was the first psychologist of the known history, that is why in the
Roga Sutta’ of the Aguttara Nikāya (Kashyap-IV,1960), he has
interpreted two types of diseases: the first type of disease is Kāyika
Roga (physical disease), which is something that can be cured in
days, weeks, months or even years, but the second type of disease
that Buddha had kept in the category of Cetasika Roga (Psychic
diseases) is extremely rare and difficult to cure. Cetasika diseases
can be cured only by the persons of Arhata category. Here again,
these auspicious and chronic diseases and treatment are being
described in a gradual way.

1. Physical diseases and diagnosis described in Buddhist literature:

Basically, Buddha had pointed Aging’ as a main cause of the increase of the diseases (Shastri, 2006, p. 208)1. Buddha was associated with a royal family, but due to close association with nature and circumstances, he knew the diseases related to the seasons. Due to this very reason, Buddha incorporated many amendments in the Vinaya rules which were established by Buddha himself. Buddha had amended several rules of the monks
and nuns in Vinaya Piaka and he had allowed to keep five types of
medicines2, which are known as Ghee (Sappi), Butter (Navanīta),
Oil (Tel), Honey (Madhu) and the concentrated thick juice of the
sugar cane (Phāṇita) (Kashyap 1956, p. 218). In Pācittiyapāli, there
are five different types of oils3   which were mixed with different
flora-s and were used to remove various diseases (Kashyap 1958, p.
124). Oils and medicines were used to keep the nose clean, while
different types of collyriums (jana) were used to keep the eyes
clean (Kashyap 1956, p. 221). Special attention has also been given
to dental care during Buddhas period. It is learned that different
types of trees and latā-s were used to clean the teeth. Buddha had
also used a natural dental-kit to clean his teeth just after obtaining
the Bodhi. Some Buddhist texts named that natural dental kit as

Nāgalatā and the same dental kit Nāgalatā was offered to the King Asoka by the deities in the Mahāvasa (Kashyap, 1971,p.156). It
is worth noting that even today many medicines are made from the combination of these flora and fauna, even now a days we can see the use of these natural products in the rural areas of India4.

Due to the poor health condition of some monks, Buddha gave permission to use various medicines like root medicines, medicines produced by leafs, salts, medicines produced from fruits, etc (Kashyap 1956, p. 219-25). Physical diseases occur due to the imbalance of Kapha, Pitta and Vāta as well as some diseases related

1.bhagavato pakatidubbale sarīre ke āyusakre uppanno rogo bhiyyo abhivaḍḍhi”
  1. .“Tassa mayhaṃ, bhikkhave, etadahosi ‘imāni kho pañca bhesajjāni, seyyathidaṃ – sappi, navanītaṃ, telaṃ, madhu, phāṇita; bhesajjāni ceva bhesajjasammani ca lokassa
  2. .“Telaṃ nāma tilatelaṃ sāsapatelaṃ madhukatelaṃ eraṇḍatelaṃ vasātelaṃ” 4.“Utupariṇāmajāti  utupariṇāmena”

to the season which are well reported in Buddhist literature.

The Āhāra (diet) plays an instrumental role in keeping the body healthy, if the persons diet is unbalanced, one would undoubtedly be in the grip of diseases, possibly due to this, Buddha has described Vīkāla Bhojana (afternoon/ evening/ wrong timing) as inevitable. Diet is considered as one of the major factors of body growth, if one is restrained in the diet then one will be healthy. Probably these were the reason behind Buddhas advice5 to take moderate meal for healthy life (Kashyap-IV, 1960, p. 153).

Buddha advised to keep restraint while doing Kāyika (Physical) and nasika (mental) activities, he said that when a person starts to think craving, hypocrisy, sex etc. as a real Dhammā (natural phenomenon), then invites diseases, in addition to this, in the
Pahama & Dutiya Khama Sutta, he said that who lives their life in
association of Kāma (Sex), Kodha (anger), mental craving actually
lives with suffering and diseases (Kashyap-IV 1960, p. 161). He
also said that the person who does not possess the ability to natural
extremities like cold, hot, biting of various types of insects, and bitter
word of the others, would suffer from various physical disorders.
Buddha has also emphasized6  the role of Atikilamathāniyogo as a major cause of diseases, fumes and surgical diseases (Nettipakaraa,
1998, p. 91).

It is a known fact that Buddha was not a doctor by profession, but in practical terms, he was well-versed in the physical ailments and in first-aid treatment. Apart from this, all other Buddhist literature along with Pāli literature provides a description of the great physician Jīvaka of Buddhas era, in which his therapeutic efficiency has been appreciated. Jīvaka was the adopted son of Bimbisāra who helped in upbringing (Kashyap 1956, pp. 286-88). Jīvaka was the student of Taxila University. He had such a great knowledge of medical herbs that in the last stage of study his master

    1. .Āhārasambhūto ayaṃ, bhagini, kāyo āhāraṃ nissāya. Āhāro pahātabboti, iti yaṃ taṃ vuttaṃ idametaṃ paṭicca vuttaṃ”
    2. .“kāmesu puññasaññī attakilamathānuyogamanuyuttā ca viharanti kāmasukhallikānuy- ogamanuyuttā ca, te tadabhiññā santā rogameva vaḍḍhayanti, gaṇḍameva vaḍḍhayanti, sal- lameva vaḍḍhayanti”

ask him to bring a herb or tree around Taxila which do not have of medicinal properties, he returned to the master and informed him that he could not found any herbs, tree etc which do not owns the medicinal quality (Kashyap 1956, pp. 287-88). It means that royal- physician had ultimate knowledge of the herbs and medicines which are essential for treatment. Jīvaka was an efficient royal-doctor but he was also a well-armed surgeon who cured the Bhagandara disease (Piles) of King Bimbisāra using some medicinal-cream (Kashyap 1956, p. 290-91). At the same time he had also operated stomach of lay-person in the case of chronic stomach pain. In the very first operation in Sāket city, the patient had been cured by Jīvaka by Nāsya-Karma (Nathukkammena) (Kashyap 1956, p. 288-90). This system is still used in the Ayurvedic medicine system as a “Nāsya method7, which is an essential part of Pañcakarma.

The Mahāniddesa text provides8 a list of fifty diseases (Kashyap, 1960, p. 12) which is also relevant in the present time, while the
treatment process is also available in Tipiaka along with other
Buddhist texts. In addition to this, specific diseases of the particular
area like Magadha region are also reported in texts such as leprosy,
boils, white leprosy, consumption and epilepsy.

First century text, Milindapañha gives following eight reasons for the cause of any disease : 1. bile (Pitta); 2. wind (Vāta); 3. phlegm (Semha); 4. all these three together, 5. owing to climate change; 6. unbearable diet; 7. sudden pain in body; 8. owing to result of an act (Kamma). The first three of these are very important, which cause various diseases. Bile (Pitta) causes three diseases (Talim,2009,

7.  https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/cleansing/nasya
http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/129268/2/10%20nasya%20re- view.pdf
htt ps://w w w.omic s onl ine.org/open-acces s/ay ur ved ic-res o lut ion-to -mi - graine-2167-1206.1000160.pdf
8.“cakkhurogo sotarogo ghānarogo  jivhārogo  kāyarogo  sīsarogo  kaṇṇarogo  mukharo- go dantarogo kāso sāso pināso ḍāho jaro kucchirogo mucchā pakkhandikā sūlā visūcikā kuṭṭhaṃ gaṇḍo kilāso soso apamāro daddu kaṇḍu kacchu rakhasā vitacchikā lohitapittaṃ madhumeho aṃsā piḷakā bhagandalā, pittasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā semhasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā vātasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā sannipātikā ābādhā utupariṇāmajā ābādhā visamaparihārajā ābādhā opakkamikā ābādhā kammavipākajā ābādhā, sītaṃ uṇhaṃ jighacchā pipāsā uccāro passāvo ḍaṃsamakasavātātapasarīsapasamphassā iti vā. Ime vuccanti pākaṭaparissayā”

p.3); Ten diseases are born due to  wind  (Vāta(Talim,2009, p.3), whereas three diseases are caused due to Phlegm (Semeh) (Talim,2009, p.3).

Buddhist texts not only describe the things related to diseases, but these texts also played a vital role in introducing medicinal technique and herbs etc. even in countries outside. For example
Chinese Tripiaka9  mentions these five herbs several times: 1.
Kantakari ´ 軋託迦哩; 2. Vrhati-brhati 勿哩訶底;  3.  Saha
;     4.  Sahadeva     娑河提婆;  5.  Sita-girigairika   稅多擬裏疙
哩迦. Along with this, many books related to medicine such as
Bhesajjamañjusā’  were  also  written,  as  well  as  many  Buddhist
texts related to therapeutic importance had been composed in
China and Tibet. On the basis of the Pāli and Buddhist texts, we
can say that the treatment method of that time was very advanced
and surgery was also on its peak. On the basis of Pāli literature, Dr.
Meena Talim (Talim,2009, pp.77-117) has explained method and
kinds of surgery and equipment being used for surgery in his book.
Observing the components of the physical therapy available in
Buddhist literature, it appears that the medical system of Buddhas
era was profound and very close to nature and the purpose was to
fill the distance generated between humans and nature through
natural way.

2. Mental illness and diagnosis described in Buddhist literature:

As previousldescribed, Buddhhainterpreted physicaand mental diseases. In fact, the root cause of the physical diseases is ill-functioning of mind, because in the first and second thā of the Dhammapada (Narada, 1993, pp. 1-6), Buddha has called the mind as the source of all immoral and moral deeds. Currently, man is more liable to mental illness, which also leads to various types of physical diseases. Around 2,550 years ago, Buddha gave the world a new method by which the physical and mental diseases can be cured from the root, which is known as Samatha and Vipassanā. If a person is extremely sexual or suffering from the greed of the five- senses, he can take Samatha and Vipassanā as an essential medicine

9 (CBETA, T18, no. 893b, 651, c26-27; no. 893c, 689, a24-26)

for his treatment (Nettipakaraṇa,1998, p.91)10. If a person is suffering
from bust, pimples or different types of skin related diseases, then the
person can be free from these diseases by practicing of Samatha and
Vipassanā (Nettipakaraa,1998, p.91)11. The author of the present
article during his ten-day meditation camp in Nālandā, experienced
that a meditator who was suffering from bust, pimples in the day time,
but by the end of same day, got almost cured of these skin diseases.
In the second case, a young girl felt intense pain of migraine during
meditation but after continuous practice of Vipassanā, she got rid of
the pain. I also heard the discourses of Acharya Shri S.N. Goainka
and learned that he was also suffering from intense pain of migraine,
and after practicing this method he got freed from this disease. Then
he decided to propagate this unique technique for the welfare of
mankind, to promote this in the world as well as the birthplace of
this technique i.e. India. Vipassanā was very useful during surgery and it works as a tool of surgery (Nettipakaraṇa,1998, p.91)12. While
talking on this issue, former Director of Nava Nālandā Mahāvihāra, Dr. Ravindra Panth and who had also been working for the long-time as a Director of Vipassanā Research Center, Igatpuriand laid the foundation stone of the Vipassanā centerin Nālandā, informed me he himself witnessed that on his own personal request Acharya S.N. Goainka operated his gall-bladder stone without any anaesthesia or medicine while doing medication. It may be a subject of research, but if it is correct, then it proves that Vipassanā meditation is very useful even during surgery.

The above examples highlight the diagnosis of physical diseases by Vipassanā. A living example of its broad effect on mental therapy can be seen in the mental paradigm of the Yasa (Kashyap, 1956,
pp.18-22), in the story of Agulimāla (Tatia, 1977, pp. 381-94), in
the story of Kisā- Gotami (Kashyap, 1959, pp. 432-33; Therīthā Ahakathā, pp.191-204). These incidents related to mental health

  1. “Attakilamathānuyogo kāmasukhallikānuyogo ca rogo, samathavipassanā rogani- gghātakabhesajjaṃ”
  2. “Attakilamathānuyogo   kāmasukhallikānuyogo   ca   gaṇḍo,   samathavipassanā gaṇḍanigghātakabhesajjaṃ”
  3. “Attakilamathānuyogo kāmasukhallikānuyogo ca sallo, samathavipassanā sallud- dharaṇabhesajjaṃ”

are well described in the scriptures. But if the śāstra (texts) misguide the people, they work as śāstra (weapon). However, Buddha himself encouraged people to raise questions and know the truth through argumentation. Buddha would also preach learning the truth by going against ones teacher in the ‘Kālāma Sutta(Kashyap-I, 1960,
p. 174-179). In the Sabba-Sutta, Buddha said that the thought or knowledge which is beyond the knowledge of your senses organs (eyes, source, olfaction, tongue, mind, and mind) is just a wrong- knowledge. This type of wrong-knowledge will be used just to misguide people. Therefore, scientific confirmation of Buddhas teachings is also necessary, and the scientists have considered Vipassanā meditation as a complete science and the major centres of world working on this technique, that is why we are now able to say that the Buddhas sayings based on profound knowledge.

According to a research, by practicing Vipassana, a capability develops in the brain, so that the person responds to a subject with utmost efficiency (Knytl & Opitz, 2018). At the same time Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found new evidence that mindful meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo (WFBMC, 2015). The study used a two-pronged approach
-- pain ratings and brain imaging -- to determine whether mindful meditation is merely a placebo effect. Seventy-five healthy, pain- free participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups: mindful meditation, placebo meditation (sham” meditation), placebo analgesic cream (petroleum jelly) or control. The study showed that the participants who practiced mindful meditation reported greater pain relief than placebo. Significantly, brain scans showed that mindful meditation produced very different patterns of activity than those produced by placebo to reduce pain.

In other research a team of researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the University of Oslo and the University of Sydney are now working to determine how the brain works during different kinds of meditation. Their most recent results were published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study shows that Meditation is more than just a way to calm our thoughts and lower stress levels: our brain processes more thoughts and feelings during meditation than

when you are simply relaxing, a coalition of researchers has found. The study indicates that non-directive meditation allows for more room to process memories and emotions than during concentrated meditation,. We can see the result in the given picture:

Source: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal, http://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ fnhum.2014.00086/full

The left image show the brain during concentrative meditation, whileimagetotherightshowthebrainduringnon-directivemeditation.

A research conducted by a group of Scientists from Laden University claimed that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking, even if you have never meditated before. The study is a clear indication that you don’t need to be an experienced meditator to profit more from meditation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we conceive new ideas (Colzato et al., 2014). In another research scientist proved that non-directive meditation,whichpermitsmindwandering,involvesmoreextensive activation of brain areas associated with episodic memories and emotional processing, than during concentrative practicing or regular rest. It also works efficiently to recall the memory (Xu et al., 2014), this research recalls the story of Culapanthaka (Kashyap, 1959, pp.322-323; Tatia, 1977, pp. 220-230; Tatia, 1977, pp. 203-
215), who was suffering from memory loss and used to be the butt

of jokes among monks. After knowing this Buddha helped him to meditate in right style and as a result he got cured of his disease.


From the above discussion, we can come to the conclusion that Buddha not only not preach doctrines for the wellbeing of his believers, but also had explanations for many malaises physical or mental. Buddha channelized the life of un-channelized people. Treatment of physical diseases in other countries has been going on for centuries in their own methods and styles, but the wonderful insight given by Buddha is the meditation technique. The technique of Vipassanā meditation is available for the world without any charge. Probably this is the very reason which persuaded Einstein, the greatest scientist of the modern world to say that Buddhism will be the religion of future due to its scientific approach and accepted Buddha as the oldest Scientist and first Psychologist of ancient time. Vipassanā Meditation System is the only accessible meditation method by which all the creatures of the world can be free from their various diseases without paying money. The whole human-kind should practice and realize this Vipassanā technique at least once in life to understand the reality of life.


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https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fn- hum.2014.00086/full

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