One day, the children’s nanny got very sick. She was in great pain. Both Vishaka and Bimsara were very concerned. As soon as they returned from school they went to see their nanny, and helped her with whatever they could. It is a very good quality to extend help when needed, for a person who always helps others. The two children showed this quality of gratitude. Both Mother and Father were very happy about the good qualities of their children. That day after the evening worship, the mother praised her children.
“My dear children, we are very happy about you. Most parents are not blessed with kind-hearted children. Proud and lazy children can be a burden to their families. If someone does not help a person who has helped them, then that person will not develop the quality of gratitude.”
“Mother, today we helped nanny to wash herself. She is getting better now.
“Yes my children, that is very good! This is the real offering to the Buddha. The Buddha discoursed “Yo gilanan upatteyya, so man upatteyya” that means; if someone cares for a sick person, he is the one who cares for me.
Children, the Buddha highly appreciated the kind act of nursing sick people. The Buddha liked to see everyone doing well. That is why the Buddha is regarded as the greatest person ever to be born in this world. King Dharmashoka who ruled India around two thousand three hundred years ago built hospitals not only for humans but also for animals.
One day, the Buddha visited the temples with bhikkhus. While observing each room of the bhikkhus’, the Buddha heard someone moaning in pain. He stopped and listened. Then walked to the door of the room where the sound was coming through, and opened it. A very strong smell of badly festered wounds came out of the room. The Buddha went inside the room. An old bhikkhu was lying on a bed. His body was covered with blisters and most of them had burst and pus was oozing out along with blood. The Buddha went to him and asked kindly “Dear bhikkhu, don’t you have anyone to care for you?”
Then that bhikkhu started to cry and said “My dear lord Buddha… I made a big mistake. I never cared for my peer bhikkhus when they got sick. I even failed to ask how they were doing. And I never offered any medicine to those who were ill. I lived without caring for others. When I heard their cries in pain, I pretended not to hear. Because of that, no one cares for me now. ”
Then the Buddha called all the bhikkhus in that temple. “Dear bhikkhus, when one falls sick, it is a must that you take care of him. Especially, you who have severed all your family bonds, all your relatives, friends, and properties and have become bhikkhus, you should be very kind to each other. Never should you be selfish or work in isolation. If someone likes to care for me, he should care for the sick. That is what I like.”
Thereafter, the Buddha called disciple Ananda; “Dear Ananda, please prepare some warm water. Take these robes and wash them well. And dry them well. Hand over the warm water to me”.
Then Buddha gently sponged the body of that sick bhikkhu with warm water. Then He softly wiped the body. Owing to the pus and blood that oozed out from the wounds, the robe of the sick bhikkhu was glued to his body. Once his body was cleaned, the bhikkhu felt so much comfort, and he felt very happy and his mind became calm.”
“Mother, the name of that sick bhikkhu was Poothigattatissa, wasn’t it?
“Oh! Do you know the story?” asked mother.
“Yes Mother… The little bhikkhu at the temple told this story to us on a poya day.”
“Very good! You must remember what you learn like that. Then the Buddha discoursed on Dhamma to bhikkhu Poothigattathissa. The bhikkhu Poothigattathissa listened to Dhamma with total concentration. And he started contemplating deeply in order to understand the meaning of Dhamma. Finally, he realized Dhamma. Just after the Buddha left the temple, the bhikkhu Poothigattatissa, while contemplating Dhamma with a calm and happy mind, passed away.
My children what we must understand is when someone falls sick, not only his body but his mind too gets sick. Hence, he gets hurt quickly. And he feels sad even for little things. He feels alone and helpless. Therefore, we must always help the sick people to get better. We should never expect anything in return for what we do for them. Then we could cultivate a lot of merit in this world.
by- Most Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero
Source :Mahamevnawa Monastery