Philosophy of Medicine


SIDDHARTHA – GAUTAMA BUDDHA ( c. 563 to c. 483 BC ):”Whatever is born, produced, conditioned, contains within itself the nature of its own dissolution.”

( The photo image of Lord Gautama Buddha belongs to Ms. Ewa Serwicka.

Prince Siddhartha got married at age 16 leading a life of luxury and comfort in a royal palace. While he took a fateful chariot trip outside the palace, for the first time in his life, the young prince witnessed irremediable suffering in the form of physical disability, sickness, old age, and death. He left the palace at the age of 29 leaving behind his young wife and an infant son. After 6 years of ascetic life, while meditating under a pipal tree (later called ‘Bodhi’ or Tree of Enlightenment), he became Supreme Buddha (c.528 BC) and preached his first sermon at Sarnath and continued his preaching until his death 49 years later. The Full Moon Day of the month of May or Vaisakh is celebrated as ‘Buddha Purnima’. He outlined his doctrine of the Four Noble Truths; 1. Suffering or Dukha is implicit in Existence. 2. Suffering has a cause – the Doctrine of ‘Dependent Origination’ – suffering is the result of one’s desires for pleasure, power, and continued existence. 3. Suffering can cease (stop desiring). 4. Cessation of suffering can be brought about by the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path; Right Views, Intentions, Speech, Conduct, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. Buddha preached to his followers, known as ‘Sangha’, the True Law or Dharma. He described a three-part scheme of Buddhist life which combines 1. Initial Faith or Saddha, 2. Training in concentration or meditation called Samadhi, and 3. Ethical and Disciplinary practices called Sila. Unlike Jesus Christ, Buddha never performed miracles. He was not superhuman. He did not restore life to any dead person. He did not restore vision to any blind person. He did not restore the hearing ability of any deaf person. He did not restore the ability of speech of any mute person. He did not miraculously heal any sickness or cured bodily disabilities or infirmities. Gautama Buddha believed that the greatest miracle was to explain the truth and to make a man realize it.

Philosophy of Medicine. The experience of joy, happiness, or ananda is as real as the experience of pain, suffering, and misery.

In my analysis, Gautama Buddha did not realize the truth about man and the world in which he exists. Apart from suffering or dukha, the experience of Joy, Ananda, Happiness, and Bliss is implicit in the human existence. The nature of dependent or conditioned existence does contribute to feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and depression. But, man does derive satisfaction, satiation, and contentment in his living condition and does experience joy, particularly when he recognizes that his mortal existence is made possible because of his unity or yoking with an Everlasting Principle.

Philosophy of Medicine. Gautama Buddha’s Doctrine of Dependent Origination of Pain is fundamentally flawed for it fails to recognize the usefulness of pain sensation to protect human existence.

Gautama Buddha’s doctrine of dependent origination to account for pain, suffering, and human misery is fundamentally flawed.

Philosophy of Medicine. Medical interventions investigate the underlying causes and mechanisms of the pain sensation reported by man.

Most medical interventions investigate the underlying causes and mechanisms of pain sensation experienced by man.   

Philosophy of Medicine. Gautama Buddha’s recommendation to stop desiring continued existence is flawed for it goes against the fundamental characteristics of Living Matter or Living Substance which perpetuates its own existence using its powers of motion, nutrition, and reproduction.

Gautama Buddha’s recommendation to stop desiring to treat the problem of human pain, suffering, and misery goes against the fundamental characteristic of all living things. All living things have the desire to exist and perpetuate their living condition using the power of motion, nutrition, and reproduction. Since the time of its origin, Life has never ceased to exist and continues to exist in spite of the various recorded major and minor extinction events.   

Philosophy of Medicine:   

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

I define Philosophy of Medicine as a systematic study of physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of man’s well-being in relation to health and disease using reflective methods characteristic of Philosophy.

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

This is a systematic study of man as a physical, social, moral, and spiritual being. I am concerned with the status of man in the universe, in his natural environment, in his community, and as an ‘Individual’. Man has come into existence as an individual and he exists as an individual according to the Law of Individuality. Man’s existence is defended by his Immune System that deploys unique molecules (polymers) that display Molecular Individualism.

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

Unlike Gautama Buddha, I would explore the problem of human suffering from my definitions of health and disease. If desire is a causative agent of pain and suffering, I would explore that connection.

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

My philosophical insights would help to make inferences about the purpose and meaning of human life. Philosophy of Medicine is not a ‘Mantra’ or a Magical Word. I am not superhuman. I do not promise miracles.

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

Since the human body is constituted by building blocks called Cells, the understanding of Life demands the use of microscope. Philosophy of Medicine while exploring the nature of human existence provides the understanding of the vital connections that establish, maintain, and sustain human existence. Such understanding provides a sensory experience called ‘Madhurya’, a sensation of Sweetness which enables man to function better and overcome obstacles.

Pain and Compassion – Philosophy of Medicine

I maintain that Philosophy of Medicine accounts for the bodily experience called ‘Ananda’, a sense of perfect happiness, pure joy, bliss, and contentment. The goal of Philosophy of Medicine is not Enlightenment or Nirvana. The purpose is that of improving the quality of life and gain the experience of a whole life.   


Philosophy of Medicine. The natural healing process is a divine gift.

Physicians are able to provide preventive, curative, restorative, and rehabilitative services because of the human body’s natural ability to heal itself. The repair process by which body heals itself is described as Inflammation and Repair. Human existence is possible because of these valuable, protective, natural healing mechanisms. This process and these mechanisms are not under a man’s voluntary control.

Philosophy of Medicine. The natural healing process is a divine gift.

Indian thinkers claim that the Physician (Vaidya) is equal to LORD God known as Narayana, or Hari. It does not imply that a physician could be superhuman or could perform miracles. A physician understands the natural mechanisms that assist healing and he could use them and manipulate them to provide a remedy or cure. Physician could aim to get connected to the divine gifts of healing that already exist and could seek a better outcome while treating a sick or injured person. The mechanism and the natural process could be identified as Divine.   

Medicine  and  Faith:   

LORD RAMA – Indian Tradition claims that His name acts like a Medicine to cure the sickness or problems associated with Human Existence.- “Sareere jarjaree bhuuthe, vyaadhigraste kalebare, Aushadham Jahnavee toyam, Vaidyo NarayanO Hari.”

The problems of disease, sickness, and disability associated with human life should not come as a surprise. The verse quoted in the above caption states that human body naturally experiences age related decay, deterioration of function, and is prone to infirmities.  The verse further mentions that human body is subject to sickness or disease. Medicine is viewed as the equivalent of the sacred waters of Ganga or River Ganges. Indian Tradition believes that the waters of Ganga are holy and could wipe away man’s sins and cure his spiritual sickness. Similarly, the Doctor of Medicine could administer medicine or provide medical intervention invoking the Divine Power of Ganga and qualify himself to be known as Lord Narayana or Hari. It suggests that the Physician should seek positive motivation while giving a medicine and the patient should be inspired to believe in the efficacy of that medicine. In any case, seeking or expecting a negative outcome would not be of any use in real life. When the natural healing process is considered as a divine gift, all medical interventions begin with a prayerful thought to invoke the blessings of healing.  

The threats and challenges to human existence:   

Adi Shankaracharya cautions people, when Death knocks on the door, be prepared for the inevitable consequences :”Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam Bhaja Muudha mate; Sampraptey Sannihitey kaale, nahi, nahi Rakshati dukrun karane.”

The threats and challenges to human health and well-being come from several directions. Tragically, very healthy individuals may sometimes succumb to injury or sickness. The causative factors of several diseases still remain a mystery. There are several medical conditions which are well-known and well understood but they have no proper remedy or cure. There are medical situations where the only choice that is available would be that of seeking Divine Mercy, Grace, and Compassion to tolerate pain and suffering with patience while supporting other living functions. 

‘Sarve Santu Niramaya’ –  Freedom From Disease and Sickness:   


The Motto of the Indian Army Medical Corps is ‘Sarve Santu Niramaya’. This is an idea expressed in the Upanishads. The hymn appears as a benediction to invoke ‘Peace’ and hence it is known as a ‘Shanti Mantra’.  

Philosophy of Medicine. The diagnosis of good and positive health is more important than the diagnosis of ill-health.

May everybody be blessed with happiness (Sukhinah), May everybody live in perfect health free from sickness (Niramaya), May everybody be assured of well-being , lead a life that is safe and secure (Bhadrani), and May there be no mental thought that could arouse sorrow or grief (Dukh bhaag).   

Philosophy of Medicine. The diagnosis of good and positive health is more important than the diagnosis of ill-health.

Philosophy of Medicine will explore all these concepts and arrange the information into a meaningful pattern and interpret it to describe the reality of the health status. The purpose of Medical Science is to describe and codify observations and experiences. My service in the Indian Army Medical Corps provided me the insights to understand and define Good Health and my goal is to keep people in Positive Health.   

Philosophy of Medicine. The diagnosis of good and positive health is more important than the diagnosis of ill-health.


Published by WholeDude

Whole Man - Whole Theory: I intentionally combined the words Whole and Dude to describe the Unity of Body, Mind, and Soul to establish the singularity called Man.

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  1. It is a brilliant article. “Let noble thoughts come from all directions” Rig Veda.


    1. Dear brother,

      Thanks for your kind comment. It is an effort to explore underlying principles that define the nature of human existence. The concepts of life, death, consciousness, and soul have to be explored using information provided by Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Medical Genetics, and other Sciences.


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