B001W0Z9VW EBOK by Yeshi Dhonden

B001W0Z9VW EBOK by Yeshi Dhonden

Author:Yeshi Dhonden
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

Part III:

Healing from the Source

Chapter Eleven

On Being a Tibetan Physician

In the Tibetan tradition, medical ethics are explained in terms of the following topics: (I) the causes of becoming a physician, (II) the nature of a physician, (III) the designation of a physician, (IV) categories of physicians, (V) the activities of a physician, and (VI) the results of being a physician.

The Causes of Becoming a Physician

Among the six causes of becoming a qualified Tibetan physician are (A) intelligence and understanding, (B) a virtuous motivation, (C) keeping one's pledges, (D) having a thorough knowledge of medicine, (E) dedication to healing, and (F) conduct appropriate to the society in which one is practicing medicine.

(A) The type of intelligence and understanding required on the part of a Tibetan physician is broad-ranging, in the sense of possessing erudition in all the eighteen subcategories of the five fields of knowledge, including the creative arts, medicine, linguistics, logic, and spiritual knowledge.48 The physician's intelligence should be stable (in the sense of not vacillating) and precise, such that he or she knows how to perform an exact diagnosis and prescribe treatment without hesitation or doubt. Such precise intelligence also implies having a stable memory, so that one has a clear recollection of all the instructions one has received during one's medical training. Only then can one perform rigorous diagnoses and know the exact types of diet and conduct that the patient should adopt. Thus, precise intelligence must be applied to both diagnosis and treatment.

(B) As for a virtuous motivation, a physician should be imbued with a "spirit of awakening" (bodhicitta), which is an altruistic aspiration to achieve spiritual awakening for the benefit of all beings, without discrimination. There are three phases to this spiritual practice: the preparation, the actual practice, and the culmination. The preparation is to cultivate such an altruistic motivation and to take the bodhisattva vows49 that are associated with this spirit of awakening. As a result of this preparation, a physician compassionately looks upon all living beings suffering from illness as if that being were his or her own family member. The actual practice is to engage in the bodhisattva way of life, a bodhisattva5o being an individual who is imbued with the motivation of the spirit of awakening and is on the path of awakening.51 With regard to all sentient beings in general and one's own patients in particular, the doctor should never consider the financial status of others and or be concerned with his or her own financial remuneration from giving treatment. Regardless of the patients' ability to compensate the physician, the quality of treatment must be the same for all.

The essence of this way of life is to cultivate and embody the "four immeasurables": compassion, loving-kindness, empathetic joy, and im- partialitySZ Compassion in this regard entails being unable to bear the suffering of any sentient being, especially due to illness, and wishing them to be free from suffering. Loving-kindness entails looking upon others with the sense that they are one's own loved ones or relatives, and wishing to bring them happiness.


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