Doctors and Patients

Yu Qiong

PureInsight | January 27, 2003

[] I had several friends whose ancestors were physicians. They often passed on to me their stories about practicing medicine.

One friend was from Shandong Province. He had a grandfather who was well-known as a doctor, far and wide. At that time, robbers often went to his village. When the robbers' horse caravan went through the village in the middle of the night, all the households would shut their doors tightly and no one dared to make any noise. The robbers always made off with all the crops and even led the horses away if they saw any. They branded them with a hot iron, and the horses then belonged to them forever. One day, their chieftain was injured and sent for my friend's grandfather. His grandfather imposed the condition that the chieftain must promise not to come to rob the village anymore. The doctor then cured the chieftain. Later, whenever his caravan passed the area, the robbers did not enter the village anymore and instead made a detour. On the rare occasions that they had to go through the village in the middle of the night, the chieftain would leave some grain in front of his grandfather's door. He never forgot the huge debt that he owed the doctor for saving his life.

In the past, when a patient's sickness was cured, he felt gratitude towards the doctor, as the saying goes, "When one receives a favor as small as a drop of water, one should pay back with a spouting spring." Patients always did what they could and made visits with gifts like calling on relatives. Even robbers could do that, let alone the decent common people. Some patients were very poor. After they recovered, they went to the mountain to pick the precious Houtou shiitake mushrooms and sent them to their doctors.

Modern society is entirely different. Once I lived in a local doctor's home after I came to America. He was an elderly physician with exquisite medical skills. He could do all kinds of operations from difficult surgeries of internal medicine to external injuries. Almost all the people in the town under 30 years of age were delivered by him. However, he has felt it more and more difficult to practice medicine in recent years. He requested patients to do all kinds of testing even for obvious illnesses. He forwarded all the money he earned to his wife's and child's names. The reason was that he was afraid of being sued by his patients. One of his friends was an excellent gynecologist who was sued by his patients nine times in one year. Therefore, he was very cautious and nervous all day long.

In modern society, the relationship between patients and doctors has been completely turned into one of a commercial business. Patients buy medication with their money. If they are dissatisfied, they can sue their doctors using all kinds of reasons. Doctors, meanwhile, request their patients to have all kinds of testing with all kinds of instruments. With testing results, they can write out a prescription with paper proof and be more self-protected. It results in a sharp increase in patients' medical expenses as well as doctors' insurance premiums. Also, attorneys are taking advantage of it. Everyone is scheming against each other and their relationships are growing tense. As a consequence, a vicious circle has formed, and the expense of medical care has become a burden for the entire society as well.

It is actually a predestined relationship that brings a doctor and a patient together. It is not an accident which patient is looking for which doctor. It has long been said, "It takes ten lifetimes of predestined relationships for two people to cross the river in the same ferryboat." A matter as simple as crossing a river in the same ferryboat is even caused by a special predestined relationship, let alone big events like seeing a doctor. In the story of "Previous and Current Lives," written based on a psychologist's clinical records, it says one of his patients recalled her previous lives and found her doctor was her teacher in one of her previous lives. This reflects the predestined relationship between doctors and patients.

Actually, people are living as a result of the karma they accrued and paying their karmic debts. Their relationships are based on a causational principle of reward and retribution. The one between doctors and patients is the same. When a doctor cures a patient, he has built up his de (virtue), paid back his karma and brought his previous debt to an end. If a doctor makes a mistake like pulling out the wrong tooth, cutting off the wrong leg or asking for an outrageous price, he then owes a debt again and will still have to pay it later. Speaking of patients, their bearing hardships itself is paying their karmic debts. Their bodily indisposition, mental suffering and expense of curing their sickness are all for paying their karmic debts. Only then will they become healthy and have an easy life. If someone just asks for treatment from doctors, yet is not willing to pay anything, his sickness will be more difficult to cure.

No matter if they are doctors or patients, they should be responsible for their own behavior. All the things they have done are recorded one by one according to de or karma, which accompanies them life after life. Our ancestors understood this, so they cherished de, did good and repaid the kindness they received from others. The behavior of the modern people has created lots of karma. If they are not aware of the causes and effects and go right on ahead [doing bad things] instead, they will bring danger to their lives.

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