Home » Excerpts » Those Who Care For The Buddha Should Care For The Sick Too

Think of helping yourself
but give thought to others too.
Radiate metta towards all beings.
Without the foundation of compassion,
the long trudge of Samsara has no end.
Without it, how can you enter the city of Nirvana?

– Loveda Sangarava

“Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. The Lord [Buddha] and Ananda were visiting the lodgings and they came to where the sick monk [Tissa] lay and the Lord asked him” ‘Monk. what is wrong with you?’ ‘I have dysentery, Lord.’ ‘Is there no one to look after you?’ ‘No. Lord.’ ‘Then why is it that the other monks do not look after you?’ ‘It is because I am of no use to them, Lord.’ Then the Lord said to Ananda: ‘Go and fetch water so we can wash this monk.’

So Ananda brought water and the Lord poured it out while Ananda washed the monk all over. Then taking the monk by the head and feet, the Lord and Ananda together carried him and laid him on a bed. Later, the Lord called the monks together and asked them: ‘Why monks, did you not look after that sick monk?’ ‘Because he was of no use to us, Lord.’ ‘Monks, you have no mother or father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will? He who would care for me, let him care for the sick‘.”…

The Buddha’s instruction to his monks was that if you care for him when he is in need you should care for others when they are in need. The love you have for him you should have for others. The motives in both cases are different but the purpose is the same, to encourage a loving, caring concern for others. Commenting on the Buddha’s words, the Saddhammopayana 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. One practising great virtue should have love for others.”

Like Milk And Water Mixed: Buddhist Reflections On Love
S. Dhammika

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