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Nursing the sick

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Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. The Buddha and Ananda were visiting the lodgings and they came to where the sick monk lay and the Buddha asked him, ‘Monk, what is wrong with you.’ ‘I have dysentery, Blessed One.’ ‘Is there no one to look after you?

No, Blessed One.’

Then why is it that the other monks do not look after you?

It is because I am of no use to them, Blessed One.’

Then the Buddha said to Ananda, ‘Go and fetch water so we can wash this monk.’ So Ananda brought water and the Buddha poured it out while Ananda washed the monk all over. Then taking the monk by the head and feet the Buddha and Ananda together carried him and laid him on a bed. Later, the Buddha called the monks together and asked them, ‘Why monks, did you not look after that sick monk?

Because he was of no use to us, Blessed One

Monks, you have no mother or father to look after you. If you do not look after each other who will? He who would nurse me, let him nurse the sick’ (Yo bhikkhave mam upatthaheyya so gilamam upatthaheyya, Vin. I. 301).

Mahavagga 8.26.1-8

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