Mantra prayer to Jivaka Kumarabhacca
Om Namo Shivago Silasa Ahang
Karuniko Sapasatanang Osatha Tipa-Mantang Papaso
Suriya-Jantang. Gomalapato Paka-Sesi Wantami Bantito
Sumethasso Arokha Sumana-Homi.
Piyo-Tewa Manussanang Piyo-Proma
Namuttamo Piyo Nakha Supananang Pininsiang
Nama-Mihang Namo Puttay Navon-Navien Nasatit-Nasatien
Ehi-Mama Navien-Nawe Napai-Tang-Vien Navien-Mahaku
Ehi-Mama Piyong-Mama Namo-Puttaya.
Na-A Na-Wa Lokha Payati Vina-Shanti.
Translation of this Pali prayer:
"We invite the spirit of our Founder, the Father
Doctor Shivago, who comes to us though his saintly life. Please bring
to us the knowledge of all nature, that this prayer will show us the true
medicine of the universe. In the name of this mantra, we respect your
help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health
to the body of our client.
The Goddess of healing dwells in the heavens high,
while mankind stays in the world below. In the name of the Founder, may
the heavens be reflected in the earth below so that this healing medicine
may encircle the world.
We pray for the one whom we touch, that he will be
happy and that any illness will be released from him."
Life of Jivaka Kumarabhacca
From Buddhist documents in Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan
At the time of the Buddha, among the lay physicians,
the most renowned was Jivaka Komarabhacca, who is described as providing
free medical care to the Buddha and other monks and donating his mango
grove at Rajagaha for use as a monastic community, named Jivakarama. Jivaka's
fame as a healer was widely known and tales about his life and medical
feats can be found in almost all versions of Buddhist scriptures.
Birth and infancy
The Pali version began with Salavati, a courtesan of
Rajagaha, giving birth to a son whom was then given to a slave woman,
who placed him in a winnowing basket, which was thrown on a rubbish heap.
In the Sanskrit-Tibetan account, a promiscuous wife
of a merchant from Rajagaha gave birth to a son of King Bimbisara, placed
the infant in a chest, and ordered maidservants to set the chest at the
gate of the king's palace.
In the Chinese narrative, a divine virgin named Arampali,
who was raised by a Brahman, gave birth to a son of King Bimbisara. The
boy was born with a bag of acupuncture needles in his hand and therefore
was predestined to become a doctor and a royal physician. His mother wrapped
him in white clothes and ordered a slave to take him to the king.
In all versions, the infant is taken and raised by
the king's son Abhaya.
In the Pali account, the boy is given the name Jivaka
because he was alive (from root jiv, to live), and because a prince cared
for him he is called Kumarabhacca (nourished by a prince).
Concerning his interest in medicine and his medical
education, in the Pali account, Jivaka, as he approached the age at which
he must seek his own livelihood, decided to learn the medical craft. Hearing
about a world-famous physician in Taxila, he traveled to that city, famous
for education, to apprentice with the eminent doctor. After seven years
of medical study, he took a practical examination that tested his knowledge
of medical herbs, passed with extraordinary success, and, with the blessings
of mentor, went off to practice medicine.
Jivaka Kumarabhacca (right) Upali (center) Kasyapa
Detail of the first Thangka of the Blue Berryll, a medical treatise
of Sangye Gyamtso (1653-1705).
For a larger view of this detail.
For a larger view of the Thangka and a detailed description.
In the Sanskrit-Tibetan version, Jivaka desired to
learn a craft. Seeing white-clad physicians, he decided to become a doctor
and studied the art of healing. After acquiring the basics of medicine,
he wished to increase his understanding by learning the art of opening
skulls from Atreya
the king of physicians, who lived in the city of Taxila. So Jivaka went
there, took the practical examination on medical herbs and performed other
healings, and so deepened his knowledge of medicine that he could even
advise his master on therapeutic procedures, thereby earning the latter's
respect. Pleased with Jivaka depth of understanding, Atreya
communicated to him the special technique of opening the skull. Jivaka
eventually left the company of Atreya and journeyed to the city Bhadrankata
in Vidarbha, where he studied the textbook called "The Sounds of
All Beings" (most probably a textbook related with the practice of
dharanis and mantras). During his travels, he purchased a load of wood
from a thin and feeble man and discovered in the woodpile a gem called
"the soothing remedy of all beings"(The Bodhisattvas of Healing).
This gem, when placed before a patient, illuminated his inside as a lamp
light up a house, revealing the nature of illness.
In the Chinese version Jivaka relinquished all claims
to the throne and studied medicine. He found that the education he acquired
from local physicians was inadequate and showed their deficiencies in
the knowledge presented in the textbooks on plants, medical recipes, acupuncture,
and pulse lore, which he had successfully mastered. He therefore instructed
them in the essential principles of medicine and gained their respect.
Hearing of a famous physician, Atreya, who lived in Taxila, he traveled
to the city to learn medicine from him. After studying medicine for seven
years, he took the practical examination on medical herbs and passed it
with great success. When Jivaka departed, his master told him that, although
he himself was first among the Indian physicians, after his death, Jivaka
would become his successor. On his travels, Jivaka encountered a young
boy carrying firewood and found he was able to see the inside of the boy's
body. Immediately realizing that the bundle of wood must contain a piece
of the tree of the King of Healing, who, according to early Mahayana scriptures,
is a Bodhisattva of healing, he bought the wood, discovered a twig of
the auspicious tree, and used it to diagnose illnesses in the course of
his famous medical practice.
Jivaka Kumarabhacca and Ancient Massage
Jivaka is regarded as the Father of Medicine, a source
of knowledge about the healing powers of plant, mineral, massage and so
forth. His teachings travel to Thailand at the same time as Buddhism.
Definitively a central figure in the Buddhist medical system, he is legitimately
regarded as the aspiration for all practitioners of Ancient Massage.
Jivaka And His Contribution To Medical Science
By Dr. Rastrapal Mahathero, Edited by Gyana Ratna
It was a fine morning and Abhaya Kumara, the prince-son of Srenika
Bimbisara, the King of Magada, was surprised to see a lot of crows
flocking around a dust bin. He asked his attendants, and it was reported
that a new born baby had been left there. Having heard the child was
alive, he was ordered to be picked up and was taken to the Harem of the
Royal Family. This child was no other than 'Jivaka', the world famous
Buddhist physician. Jivaka was so named for the fact that he was rescued
alive (“jivati”) from a very deplorable condition. He was also known as
'Kumara Vacca', as he was adopted like a son of the prince, Abhaya
Having been nurtured within the royal family environs, when he grew up
Jivaka worried about not knowing his natural parents. This very thought
used to infest him mentally to extremes. He then realized that if he had
to maintain the good wishes of the royal family he must have to acquire
efficiency in some sort of discipline. Jivaka was said to be
extraordinarily meritorious. Understanding his own capability, he
intended to go to Texila for study. Texila was at that time the greatest
seat of learning and was the heart of the Gandhara civilization. There
was an internationally acclaimed university there for various
disciplines, including medicine, and scholars from India and other
countries would come here for studies. For the fulfillment of his
aspirations, Jivaka Kumara Vacca had sought permission from the prince
Abhaya Kumara and having accorded the same, he went to Texila for study.
He had an earnest desire to carry on with medical science, and he
learned under the world-reputed physician Atreya. Jivaka was extremely
bright and therefore he finished the entire syllabus of fourteen years
within only seven years. At this point, he approached his teacher and
expressed that he wasn’t sure if there was anything more for further
study. On hearing this, the teacher asked Jivaka to go all around Texila
for an area of two yojanas and to report whether any type of plant could
be found which would be of no use as medicine. It was a test for Jivaka
and he took up the event. After completion of the search over several
weeks, he submitted a report to his teacher that he could not find
anything which might not be regarded for medicinal treatment. Having
heard such a reply, his teacher was very much satisfied and accorded
that Jivaka had perfected his knowledge in the medical science. He was
awarded the certificate of a physician and was allowed to return to
While coming back to Rajagriha, he was told of the wife of a merchant
from Saketa who had been suffering from a head-ache for the last seven
years. She had spent huge sum of money for her treatment. But all the
physicians had failed to cure her. Jivaka used a little fat and strong
herbal medicines which were boiled together and filtered. A drop of the
mixture was poured in the nasal cavity of the patient and her headache
was fully cured. Jivaka was rewarded with abundance.
The Magadhan King Bimbishara was once suffering from fistula. By
applying herbal ointments Jivaka cured the King’s disease. He was also
very expert in surgery. He skillfully opened the skull of a merchant's
son from Varanasi. After cleaning the area he set it back in order.
After stitching the scalp together, he applied an herbal ointment and
the patient was cured. Pradyot, the King of Ujjain was suffering from
jaundice. But he had disdain for any sort of cheese. Jivaka most
artfully changed the color and odor of the cheese the King liked to eat,
and in this way the king, by eating cheese, was cured of his disease.
Jivaka not only became the Royal physician but was also the personal
physician of the Buddha. Once the Buddha had been suffering from high
biliary diseases, Jivaka arranged natural purgatives as required. The
Buddha used the same and was cured of the disease. On another occasion,
the Buddha had an incident of blood poisoning, and was cured by Jivaka.
It was said that the Royal physician used to treat the members of the
Bhikkhu Sangha whenever there was any necessity. By the application of
natural herbal remedies, Jivaka could easily cure diseases like leprosy,
jaundice, skin disease, etc. Jivaka became a great devotee of the
Buddha, and he donated his mango grove to the Buddha for use by the
members of the Sangha. Jivaka once requested that the Buddha allow monks
to wear saffron-dyed new robes if he gifted them to the Sangha and also
the use of blankets by the members of the Sangha whenever they were
donated by devotees. It was also said that Jivaka attained the first
stage of sanctification on hearing the discourse offered by the Buddha.
This discourse is known now as the Jivaka Sutta.
Glory be to Jivaka, the greatest of the ancient Indian physicians.