The following lines of the Gilana Sutra in the Anguttura Nikaya a sutra that sickness is talked about by the Buddha as well as the types of sick people.
The sutra illustrates that there are those who get sick and with no effort from others they can get better, the others will not respond to any treatment and the last type are those who respond to treatment. The Buddha clearly states that the Hospitals, Medicine and all the other discoveries are meant for the third type of person
“There are these three types of sick people to be found existing in the world. Which three?
There is the case of the sick person who — regardless of whether he does or does not receive amenable food, regardless of whether he does or does not receive amenable medicine, regardless of whether he does or does not receive proper nursing — will not recover from that illness. There is the case of the sick person who — regardless of whether he does or does not receive amenable food, regardless of whether he does or does not receive amenable medicine, regardless of whether he does or does not receive proper nursing — will recover from that illness. There is the case of the sick person who will recover from that illness if he receives amenable food, amenable medicine, & proper nursing, but not if he doesn’t.
Now, it is because of the sick person who will recover from that illness if he receives amenable food, amenable medicine, & proper nursing — but not if he doesn’t — that food for the sick has been allowed, medicine for the sick has been allowed, nursing for the sick has been allowed. And it is because there is this sort of sick person that the other sorts of sick persons are to be nursed as well [on the chance that they may actually turn out to need and benefit from such nursing].
These are the three types of sick people to be found existing in the world.”
Gilana Sutta: Sick People
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
The Sutra clearly mentions that the medicine of the first quality should be provided to all the people in the hope that everyone gets well.
The Buddha is considered as a preeminent doctor of his time. The Cure that the Buddha provided was of the Mind. In today`s world we know that most of the reasons for Disease are from the interactions between the body as an unit and the mind as an unit.
Our present mode of disease is in the treatment of it and not in the prevention of the disease. Simple precautions like drinking boiled water during the monsoons and not drinking cold water in summers are known to prevent fevers and colds. We would rather default and pay the price than take the precaution to save ourselves from disease.
Proper brushing twice a day and massage of the gums are precautions that anyone can take to prevent tooth decay. We would rather use the latest electric toothbrush rather than use the toothbrush properly.
Our perception of health is concerned with thinking that there is a cure. So when we are told that something will cause stomach ache, we say no problem I will meet the doctor. If we are told that a particular food habit will cause stomach ulcers, we tell that there are antacids available to cure.
When we are told of the names of incurable diseases like swine flu or other viral diseases, we respond with fear- absolute fear. We are ready to pay any price to prevent. We will pay 4000 rupees to buy the mask but forget that the mask should not be held directly with the hands or the mask is of no use.
The more that there are scientific breakthroughs we are becoming more and more complacent and this is not correct.
In Buddha`s words “To Give up Sorrow, you must give up desire”
The vague idea that we carry – that a future disease will be cured by a future medicine is fatally wrong.
In the medicine Chest of the Buddha, one of the most important medicine was that of Meditation. Meditation is a science in itself and its benefits far exceed the initial doubts that we carry in us. There are various traditions of meditation.
Meditation in the Buddhist tradition teaches us to overcome sorrow and to lead a happy life. The roots of meditation lie in living a moral life, the ability to concentrate the mind on those things that are good and by concentrating on the good, the light of wisdom is awakened.
What are the benefits of Meditation?
One of the leaders in the application of meditation is Jon Kabat Zinn who founded a technique called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). Dr Zinn started his work in the 1970s and his work is acclaimed.
This technique called Mindfulness is a technique of the Buddha called as Sati in Pali language. Mindfulness means to participate in the present moment with full awareness. When we are fully present, our thoughts do not stray and our mind is peaceful.
This technique of Dr Zinn has touched the lives of tens of thousands and in most of the participants, the conditions of stress have been resolved or to a large degree resolved.
Meditation as a Bridge between the Mind and Body
Meditation is a process where we are fully conscious of our body like at no other time in the day. When we are fully aware, our mind is observing the body and by such observation, the mind is observing the mind itself. At the level of the body, the beating of the heart providing electric impulses, the pulsing muscles, the blood flow in the veins and Arteries are all observable sensations but we tend to play them in the background. The mind is ever active, the action of reading that you are performing right now is enabled by the mind, the various thoughts feelings, the senses providing the various stimuli to your consciousness are always active but we consider them as irritations than as central to our awareness.
Here is where the process of meditation plays a role. It makes us sensitive to all these actions of the mind and body and even more beautifully illustrates the links between the two.
It could be the grinding of the teeth caused when you are frustrated with some one or something or even your job in which case your teeth will be gone in 5 years.
It could be the reddening of your palms when you are anxious or the odd pain in the stomach when your senior at work is adding to the pressure.
In some manner the body and mind are united and mediation is a medicine that will cure you of your illness at the root.
“For every thousand cuttings at the branches, one cut at the root is effective”
– by Srinivas Reddy