Shivagokomarpaj

The father of the massage

According to ancient recordings, Shivagokomarpaj (this is the contemporary pronunciation of the name, according to Divyavadana: Jivaka Kumara Bhuta, based on other sources: Jivaka Kumara-bhatta), the father of Thai massage and medicine, the most renowned physician contemporary of Buddha, offered a free medical service to Buddha and other monks, and donated his Radjagaha (today: Radjir) mango grove to the monastery community Jivakarma. Jivaka was a well-known healer and the writings of almost all the branches of Buddhism mention his life and medical success.

Various sources written in Pali, Sanscrit and Chinese languages tell different birth stories of Jivaka, but they all agree in that the child had been raised by Abhaja, son of King Bimbhisara.

According to Tipitaka (Tripitaka), after growing up, he went to Takkasila (today: Taxila) where he read medicine for seven years. After completing his education, he healed his first patient for which he received 16,000 kahapana, a servant, a maid-servant, and a coach with horses. Upon returning to Radjagraha, he was appointed to be the physician of the five hundred wives of King Bimbhisara.

When Candapajjota, King of Ujjeni (today: Ujjain) got sick, Bimbhisara sent Jivaka to him. Candapajjota could not stand purified butter (ghi), however it was an indispensable composite of the medicine needed for his cure. Jivaka had prepared the medicine and on the back of a royal elephant, he escaped from the anger of the ruler before he could find ot what composition had been made for him. Finally, King Pajjota got well and to prove his gratitude, he sent an expensive outfit made of the valuable material siveyyaka to Jivaka, who presented it to Buddha. Pali sources mention several stories reporting on Jivaka being unable to complete the treatment of Buddha, but as he was able to read Jivaka's thought from the distance, Buddha did everything neccessary for the success of the cure.

After Jivaka had reached the first step of being enlightened, he felt an ardent desire to visit Buddha twice a day. In order not having to travel the long way to the monks, he built a monastery for them in his own garden.

Jivaka's professional reputation got him more work than he was able to deal with, but he never neglected his duties to the monks' community, which many people joined only because as seculars, they could not have afforded Jivaka's services. Being concerned about this would secularize the community, Jivaka asked Buddha to forbid the admittance of sick people to the monks' community.

Buddha declared that among his secular followers, Jivaka was the closest person to people's hearts.

In Thailand, Jivaka is regarded as the father of medicine, who is the possessor of knowledge about the healing effect of plants, minerals and massage. His teachings arrived to the country at the same time as Buddhism itself.

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