During ancient times, the practice of medicine was carried out through religious rites. The tribal medicine man or “shaman” healed ailments through ritual practices, and most Eastern cultures have preserved this tradition despite the over pervasive influence of Western medicine and culture. Even many people in the West believe that spirituality and the practice of religion actually helps a patient to get better. Buddhism emphasizes that along with medication, it is necessary to maintain your peace of mind when the body is in pain because that helps to bear the pain in a dignified manner. This is one aspect of religion that is useful for healing because the job of the nurse is to help patients get well and anything that helps is always useful for the nurse.
Buddhists believe that the mind has a lot of influence on the body, and people who attune themselves to accept pain as a part of life and that mediation helps the mind to adjust to the pain. Besides they also believe that for effective and lasting healing it is necessary not only to treat the current disease with medicines but also the cause of the disease which has its origins in a person’s mind. Therefore purifying the mind through prayer and meditation also heals the body. The nurse must also stress the importance to other patients that the healing of the body begins with purging negative thoughts from the mind and replace them with good and positive thoughts.
Negative thoughts are imagining the worse and they originate in the mind and can be recognized like jealousy, anger, and greed. When a person thinks only of himself, then he thinks selfish thoughts which show resentment towards others who may be better placed than us. Such feelings result in the unhappiness of the mind which is detrimental for peace of mind. Obviously, when a person’s mind is in turmoil, the body is tense and feels more pain or the effects of illness than a person whose mind is at peace and who also thinks about the welfare of others.
The nurse should advise the patient to look around at others who are less fortunate, sicker and in greater pain than themselves and if there is anything that the person can do to lessen or alleviate their sufferings. This will bring peace of mind and help the patient to get well quicker. Practicing Buddhists believe that spirituality works together with medicines and nursing care to heal patients. Spirituality also means praying together irrespective of any religion that the person belongs.