Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 460-

Bhaisajyaguru and medical container in Mahayana Buddhist temples in eastern Thailand: A public health pharmacological study


Wasana Kaewla, Viroj Wiwanitkit 
 Public Health Curriculum, Surin Rajabhat University, Surin, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Wasana Kaewla
Public Health Curriculum, Surin Rajabhat University, Surin
Thailand




How to cite this article:
Kaewla W, Wiwanitkit V. Bhaisajyaguru and medical container in Mahayana Buddhist temples in eastern Thailand: A public health pharmacological study.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:460-460


How to cite this URL:
Kaewla W, Wiwanitkit V. Bhaisajyaguru and medical container in Mahayana Buddhist temples in eastern Thailand: A public health pharmacological study. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Oct 21 ];10:460-460
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/460/196833


Full Text

Dear Sir,

Social and public health pharmacology is an important public health science dealing with the drug system and drug use in view of public health. In fact, it can be expected that the social backgrounds of the local people will have an impact on their use of drugs. To understand the system of drugs and drug use in a community, a study on the social background is needed. A historical approach to understand the local belief system is the standard way to gather the knowledge. In a community with a background of religious beliefs, a study of the pharmacological history is required. This can be useful for getting both the data on symbolization and local wisdom on pharmacological therapy. In fact, there are several reports on this aspect from Japan.[1],[2],[3],[4] The widely studied aspect is on Bhaisajyaguru or Yakushi Buddha (Buddha of healing), which is the main idol in a Buddhist temple. Okuda et al. reported that the study of the medical pot in the hands of the idol could reveal the traditional pharmacological belief.[3] Okuda et al. could identify several local herbs as part of local wisdom from a study of the medical pots of Bhaisajyaguru idols.[3] Okuda et al. could confirm that the identified herbs comprised the root knowledge for the present Japanese herbal medicine.[3] Here, the authors performed a similar study to examine Bhaisajyaguru and the medical container in Mahayana Buddhist temples in eastern Thailand. Overall, nine available temples were studied. Interestingly, there is no herb in the pots of Bhaisajyaguru idols in Thailand. This can imply that the Bhaisajyaguru has no role or impact on the local herbal medical system in Thailand. However, this does not mean that there is no effect on the public health pharmacological situation in the community. In this study, other symbolizations could be identified. Bhaisajyaguru idols become the spiritual focus of sick people for prayer and the practice of meditation, which are ways to improve mental and spiritual health during the period of illness.

Acknowledgement

This work has been supported by the research fund of Surin Rajabhat University in 2015.

References

1Okuda J, Noro Y, Ito S. Yakushi Buddha (Buddha of healing) and its medicinal container in Japan. Pharm Hist 1999;41:102-9.
2Okuda J, Noro Y, Ito S. Medical pots of Yakushi Buddha in Japan. Rev Hist Pharm (Paris) 2005;53:7-32.
3Okuda J. Studies on Yakushi Buddha and its medicinal container. Yakushigaku Zasshi 2014;49:171-5.
4Okuda J. Yakushi Nyorai (the Buddha of healing) statue with medicinal pot in Japan. Rev Hist Pharm (Paris) 1996;44(Suppl 4):97-8.