Abstract
It seems uncontroversial that Buddhism is therapeutic in intent. The word ‘therapy’ is often used, however, to denote methods of treating medically defined mental illnesses, while in the Buddhist context it refers to the treatment of deep-seated dissatisfaction and confusion that, it is claimed, afflict us all. The Buddha is likened to a doctor who offers a medicine to cure the spiritual ills of the suffering world. In the Pāli scriptures, one of the epithets of the Buddha is ‘the Great Physician’ and the therapeutic regimen or healing treatment is his teaching, the Dhamma. This metaphor is continued in later literature, most famously in the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra, where the Buddha is said to be like a benevolent doctor who attempts to administer appropriate medicine to his sons. In the Mahāyāna pantheon, one of the most popular of the celestial Buddhas is Bhaiṣajyaguru, the master of healing, who is believed to offer cures for both the spiritual and more mundane ailments of sentient beings. The four truths, possibly the most pervasive of all Buddhist teachings, are expressed in the form of a medical diagnosis. The first truth, that there is suffering, is the diagnosis of the disease. The second truth, that suffering arises from a cause, seeks to identify the root source of the disease. The third truth, that suffering can be ended, is a prognosis that the disease is curable. The fourth truth describes the path to end suffering, and is the prescription of treatment.
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246109990312
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The Therapy of Desire.Martha Nussbaum - 1994 - Princeton University Press.

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