Buddhist Ethico-Psychology
Sickness & Old Age
July 23, 2013
23/07/2013 16:26 (GMT+7)
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Since we are subject to birth, old age, sickness, death, and we suffer from dissatisfaction and unhappiness, we are sick people. The Buddha is compared to an experienced and skilful physician, and the Dhamma is compared with the proper medicine; but however efficient the physician may be, and however wonderful the medicine may be, we cannot be cured unless and until we ourselves actually take the medicine. It would seem that many of us are in need of some medicine to cure us of our misunderstanding of one another, our impatience, irritability, lack of sympathy and metta.


The outward from so fascinates the modern man that he puts all his faith in it and imagines that it can provide the answer to all questions. Buddhism teaches us to realize the need for a deeper knowledge of our inner mental forces, and that there is an inner factor which can cause disease or which can be employed in the cure of ill-health.

Positive or constructive emotion such as pity, sympathy for others, appreciation of the good, kindness, goodwill and altruistic motives are to be encouraged and cultivated.

They react through the mind on the vital glands of the body to build up robust health, happiness, prosperity and long life.
The confidence placed in the Buddha by a follower is like that of a sick man towards the physician, or that of a student towards his teacher. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it is he who discovered the path of deliverance. A sick man should use the remedy which the physician prescribes in order to be cured, and the pupil should study what his teacher says in order to become learned. In just the same way, a Buddhist who possesses saddha (confidence) should follow the Buddha’s instructions in order to gain deliverance.

Some people express sorrow when they find old age coming upon them, when they find they are not so strong as they used to be. It is wise for them to realize that their bodies have done good work, and if they can no longer do the same amount as before, they should do gently and peacefully what they can, but not to worry them-selves over the change. Presently they will have new bodies, and the way to ensure a good one is to make such good use they can of the old one, but in any case to be serene, calm and unruffled. The only way to do that is to let all selfish desire cease, and to turn the thought outward, helping others as far as one’s capabilities go.


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