The herbalist of Thiksey Gompa
A monk may practise as a doctor? Some monks do become skilled in herbal medicine and other traditional therapies but when, if ever, are they allowed by their precepts to behave as a doctor?
The Lord Buddha once said "Whoever, monks, would tend me, he should tend the sick" and this well known saying has often used to justify a monk acting as a doctor. However, the saying is taken out of context as will soon be clear. The full passage, found in that section of the Vinayapitaka called the Mahavagga, chapter 8, verse 26, relates to the story of the Lord Buddha coming across a fellow monk who was suffering dysentery. With the help of Ven. Ananda, the Lord Buddha cleaned and settled the sick monk. Shortly afterwards, the Lord Buddha addressed the Sangha:
"Monks, you have not a mother, you have not a father who might tend you. If you, monks, do not tend one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever, monks, would tend me, he should tend the sick." (From the Pali Text Society’s translation, Book of the Discipline, Vol 4 p 432).
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