Buddhist Monk Practicing As Doctor

I just came to know that it is in fact prohibited under the Vinaya for a monk to be a doctor, whether traditional or western practice (see the attachment).

I knew there are many Chinese Mahayana monk who prescribing traditional medicine to the laity.
I also knew that many Tibetan temple have traditional medicine training centres and as well providing medical care to laity.

These facts are really in contrast with the article. No wonder I never see any medicine practice in the Theravadin temple.

The article said the monk is supposed to a doctor to the mind and not doctor to the body.
The article also said a monk cannot make a living on his medicine practice, I think this is clear for everybody as I know it is free of charge.

I want to ask can a monk really practice medicine free of charge. The medicine being provided by laity public or the temple or free some donors or the patient then buy his own medicine outside the temple?

For the Chinese Mahayana, the monk or the temple can accept donation to the temple fund.

For Tibetan practice, can someone familiar to share how the Tibetan monk handle this?

Tan Boon Ann

May a monk act as a doctor

The book “Seven Years in Tibet” is a memoir written by Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer who recounted his personal experience during his seven-year sty in Tibet since 1944 – 1951. In the book, he described how he observed Tibetan monks engaged in various forms of healing and medical treatment. He also mentioned Tibetan monks were regarded as knowledgeable in the field of medical treatment and were respected members of Tibetan society. In my opinion, this is more as a circumstantial cause in Tibet where education was pretty much held in the monastery (just like during the medieval period in Europe) and there was no secular education institution .

Based on the Buddha’s teaching, however, the focus of someone who goes forth is to treat the defilement or the illness of mind. A monk may know some traditional therapeutics treatment, be it from their experience or from his existing knowledge prior to becoming a monk. He may use it for himself or his peers within the monastery when they have no recourse but it is not the priority in rendering the service to the lay peoples at large even if it is for free. The purpose of going forth is to minimize the engagement in the mundane world matter so that the serious practitioners who resolve to walk the path can realize or seeing the nature of things. This itself is a monumental task and if the monk is entangled with it, he may leave with little for himself. Lastly, the medical treatment can only treat one’s sickness temporarily as all living being including will eventually die.