1. Jīvaka-Komārabhacca. A celebrated
physician. He was the son of Sālavatī, a courtesan of
Rājagaha. (AA. (i.216)
says that Abhayarājakumāra was his father). Directly after birth the child was
placed in a basket and thrown on a dust-heap, from where he was rescued by
AbhayarÓjakumāra. When questioned by Abhaya, people said "he was alive" (jīvati),
and therefore the child was called Jīvaka; because he was brought up by the
prince (kumārena posāpito), he was called Komārabhacca. It has been suggested,
however, that Komārabhacca meant master of the Kaumārabhrtya science (the
treatment of infants); VT.ii.174; in Dvy. (506-18) he is called Kumārabhūta.
When grown up, he learnt of his
antecedents, and going to Takkasilā without Abhaya's knowledge, studied medicine
for seven years. His teacher then gave him a little money and sent him away as
being fit to practise medicine. His first patient was the setthi's wife at
Sāketa, and for curing her he received sixteen thousand kahāpanas, a manservant,
a maid-servant and a coach with horses. When he returned to Rājagaha, Abhaya
established him in his own residence. There he cured
Bimbisāra of a troublesome
fistula and received as reward all the ornaments of Bimbisāra's five hundred
wives. He was appointed physician to the king and the king's women and also to
the fraternity of monks with the Buddha at its head. Other cures of Jīvaka's
included that of the setthi of Rājagaha on whom he performed the operation of
trepanning, and of the son of the setthi of Benares who had suffered from
chronic intestinal trouble due to misplacement, and for this case Jīvaka
received sixteen thousand kahāpanas.
When Candappajjota, king of
ill, Bimbisāra lent Jīvaka to him. Candappajjota hated ghee, which was, however,
the only remedy. Jīvaka prepared the medicine, prescribed it for the king, then
rode away on the king's elephant Bhaddavatikā before the king discovered the
nature of the medicine. Pajjota, in a rage, ordered his capture and sent his
slave Kāka after him. Kāka discovered Jīvaka breakfasting at Kosambī and allowed
himself to be persuaded to eat half a myrobalan, which purged him violently.
Jīvaka explained to Kāka that he wished to delay his return; he told him why he
had fled from the court and, having returned the elephant, proceeded to
Rājagaha. Pajjota was cured and, as a token of his favour, sent Jīvaka a suit of
Sīveyyaka cloth, which Jīvaka presented to the Buddha (Vin.i.268-81; AA.i.216).
Jīvaka was greatly attracted by the Buddha. Once when the Buddha was ill, Jīvaka
found it necessary to administer a purge, and he had fat rubbed into the
Buddha's body and gave him a handful of lotuses to smell. Jīvaka was away when
the purgative acted, and suddenly remembered that he had omitted to ask the
Buddha to bathe in warm water to complete the cure. The Buddha read his thoughts
and bathed as required. Vin.i.279f; DhA. (ii.164f), relates a like occurrence in
another connection. When the Buddha's foot was injured by the splinter from the
rock hurled by Devadatta, he had to be carried from
Maddakucchi to Jīvaka's
Ambavana. There Jīvaka applied an astringent, and having bandaged the wound,
left the city expecting to return in time to remove it. But by the time he did
return, the city gates were closed and he could not enter. He was greatly
worried because he knew that if the bandage remained on all night the Buddha
would suffer intense pain. But the Buddha read his thoughts and removed the
bandage. See also J. v.333.
After Jīvaka became a Sotāpanna, he was
anxious to visit the Buddha twice a day, and finding
Veluvana too far away, he
built a monastery with all its adjuncts in his own Ambavana in Rājagaha, which
he gave to the Buddha and his monks (DA.i.133; MA.ii.590). When Bimbisāra died,
Jīvaka continued to serve Ajātasattu, and was responsible for bringing him to
the Buddha after his crime of parricide. (For details see the Sāmaññaphala
Sutta; also J. i.508f; v.262, etc.).
Jīvaka's fame as a physician brought him
more work than he could cope with, but he never neglected his duties to the
Sangha. Many people, afflicted with disease and unable to pay for treatment by
him, joined the Order in order that they might receive that treatment. On
discovering that the Order was thus being made a convenience of, he asked the
Buddha to lay down a rule that men afflicted with certain diseases should be
refused entry into the Order (Vin.i.71ff). Jīvaka was declared by the Buddha
chief among his lay followers loved by the people (aggam puggalappasannānam)
(A.i.26). He is included in a list of good men who have been assured of the
realisation of deathlessness (A.iii.451; DhA.i.244, 247; J. i.116f).
At a meal once given by Jīvaka, the
Buddha refused to be served until Cūlapanthaka, who had been left out of the
invitation, had been sent for. (For details see
Cūlapanthaka). It may have been
the preaching of the Jīvaka Sutta which effected Jīvaka's conversion. One
discussion he had with the Buddha regarding the qualities of a pious lay
disciple is recorded in the Anguttara Nikāya (A.iv.222f).
Sirimā was Jīvaka's
youngest sister (SnA..i.244; DhA.iii.106).
At Jīvaka's request, the Buddha enjoined
upon monks to take exercise; Jīvaka had gone to Vesāli on business and had
noticed their pale, unhealthy took (Vin.ii.119).
2. Jīvaka.Given as an example of a
name. J. i.402.
3. Jīvaka. A monk of the Mahāvihāra, at
whose request Buddhaghosa wrote the Manorathapūranī. AA.i.874.