A Buddhist Approach to Illness

Buddhist religion believes that human beings are afflicted with illness because of three poisons: greed, anger and ignorance. Once a person is stuck in one of the three destructive attachments, he/she voluntarily opens the door for disease. The following descriptions offer insight into how anger, greed and ignorance evoke illness.

  • Anger
    Anger is the top poison of the three with its harm far exceeding all of others. It is believed to be the most hard part to deal with among all psychological problems. What’s more, it may invoke other physical sickness accompanied with it.Anger is an emotional disease. When a doctor examines his/her patients to find out the root cause of the disease, he will first pacify the patients’ emotions. Since anger is devastating and causing the patients’ body and mind slow to treatment. As a rage subsides, the patients tend to be calm down and recuperating will be much quicker and easier. Anger prolongs the treatment of diseases. Buddhism teaches that the removal of anger is a critical factor in the process of healing.
  • Greed
    Greed is an excessive craving for something. It is caused by dissatisfaction and discontent. For instance, one eats too much food even though he/she is full. Overeating causes big belly and digestion problem.One also seeks greed for sensory experience like sound, sight, taste, touch and smell. These five sensations may disturb one’s rational thoughts and ability, and physical health problems may arise. If one clings too much to the sounds, one tends to suffer kidney diseases. All these sensory desires have adverse effects on the bodies.
  • Ignorance
    Ignorance is seen as an obstacle to understanding the cause of illness. As we are sick, we may be more likely to blind the root of the disease. We are distracted by some ineffective remedies instead of using wisdom to find out proper care. It is not because that we have no knowledge of this, but because we focus more on the treatment itself and tend to be ignorant of this.

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