Suttas or Buddhist sources regarding psychosomatic illnesses?

Hi, Dhamma friends!
I’ve been looking for the Buddhist sources relating to the field of psychosomatics. It makes me hard to see psychosomatic illnesses in Suttanta, Abhidhamma, and Vinaya; yet I just found the expositions of the words cittasamutthanarupa and cittajarupa from abhidhamma but I need more courses from Sutta in order to make my research stronger.

kayacittam sukham hotu

This is Buddha’s remedy for bipolar disorder:

24.The worldling is on a see-saw experiencing the alternation of pleasant and unpleasant feelings. (See above Note 17). He rarely finds himself balanced in the neutral position of ‘neither pleasant-nor-unpleasant’ feeling. As the arahant-nun, Dhammadinaa explains in the Cuula Vedalla Sutta (M. I. 303.) the pleasant and the unpleasant feelings are mutual counterparts. It is the neither-pleasant-not-unpleasant feeling that provides a way out of this polarization, since its counterpart is ignorance, which in turn has as its counterpart, knowledge. The counterpart of knowledge is release and that of release is Nibbaana

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth … html#fn-26

For further discussion please see the follwoing link.

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=21543&hilit=

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How about MN149?

Lust and wrong thinking lead to more craving, which leads to more bodily and mental troubles. Being unfettered and right contemplation are the cure:

“When one abides inflamed by lust, fettered, infatuated, contemplating gratification, then the five aggregates affected by clinging are built up for oneself in the future; and one’s craving—which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that—increases. One’s bodily and mental troubles increase, one’s bodily and mental torments increase, one’s bodily and mental fevers increase, and one experiences bodily and mental suffering.

“When one abides uninflamed by lust, unfettered, uninfatuated, contemplating danger, then the five aggregates affected by clinging are diminished for oneself in the future; and one’s craving—which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this or that—is abandoned. One’s bodily and mental troubles are abandoned, one’s bodily and mental torments are abandoned, one’s bodily and mental fevers are abandoned, and one experiences bodily and mental pleasure.

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I think it is very important to note that bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are not necessarily psychosomatic illnesses!

One example that springs to mind is the story of Sudinna from the first parajika rule. After he failed to practice the pure spiritual life, he became ill due to his remorse and guilt -

But Sudinna was anxious and remorseful, and he thought, “This is truly bad for me, that after going forth in such a well-proclaimed Teaching and training, I wasn’t able to practice for life the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life.”

And because of his anxiety and remorse, he became thin, haggard, and pale, his veins protruding all over his limbs; he became sad, sluggish, miserable, depressed, remorseful, weighed down by grief.

pi-tv-bu-vb-pj1

This would be a clearer example of psychosomatic illness -

(of a physical illness or other condition) caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress.

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Interesting…

In contemporaneous Chinese culture (as seen in the medicine) all such maladies went under the rubric “possession” i.e. by a demon. (And arguably to this day.)

Does that appear in the sutta-s, i.e. people possessed by Mara, or demon-like entities?

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Hi cj , can you provide which
source has information Chinese
medicine mentioned above
illness as possession by demon ?
Thanks .

Somewhere in the 2011 lecture series Purification, Ethics and Karma in Early Buddhist Discourse Ven. Analayo treats the phenomenon of “hot blood coming from the mouth” which (to memory) he shows to be something in the suttas that seems to occur as a result of / or indicates a psychological shock.

I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly where this is dealt with but it is at least mentioned in the notes for Lecture 3 with respect to AN7.68, but (now to very shaky memory) I think he might also follow-up and expand upon the point in the following lecture - as I recall, in his expansion he uses the example of Devadatta.

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Note: by “contemporaneous” is meant here about the same time as the Buddha – i.e. in ancient times.

But it’s also known that at least some more traditional Chinese today still have beliefs along those lines. For instance, reliable reporting noted that back with the S.A.R.S. epidemic (2002-2003) hundreds of families in / around HongKong were severely affected, that is, not just with the death of family members, but also that because of the strict quarantine enforcement, family members were forbidden to attend to their loved ones according to Confucian customs; and further more what we call “funeral” services were severely impacted as people were afraid to go anywhere near SARS situations to honor the dead. The reported result estimated that some 700 or so families then became haunted by “hungry ghosts”, as the po-spirits of the dead family members were not properly ritualized.

The history of classical Chinese medicine, documented by many historians and in the classics (neijing, nanjing, etc.) generally treats what we today (in the West) call psychiatric / psychological conditions as cases of _gui-_possession (“hungry-”, “wandering-” or “sexual-” demons/ghosts). Perhaps most famously, the writings of the Tang-Dynasty master Sun-Simiao about the acupuncture “12 Ghost Points”.

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Hi @James & @cjmacie, can we please stay on topic. Thanks :anjal:

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There are many Suttas with “hot blood coming from the mouth”
"*****"

So the two friends left, saying: “You will come to understand your mistake, O teacher!” And after they had gone there was a split among Sañjaya’s pupils, and his monastery became almost empty. Seeing his place empty, Sañjaya vomited hot blood. Five hundred of his disciples had left along with Upatissa and Kolita, out of whom two hundred and fifty returned to Sañjaya. With the remaining two hundred and fifty, and their own following, the two friends arrived at the Bamboo Grove Monastery.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/wheel090.html

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Buddha said that all un enlightened beings are mentally ill.
I can’t find the sutta reference.

Is it the “all worldlings are mad” quote ? If so, it seems to be a line misattributed to the Buddha.

No.
Did you notice that I said "all un enlightened

Yes.

I thought you were paraphrasing from memory. And a puthujana is not enlightened…

What I meant was Puthujana is mentally ill. Not necessarily mad.

I remember previously I
had read in Sutta ,
(could be from mahayana sutta)
Mahavir ( jains ) vomited bloods
after listening to his disciples
conveyed the messages from
the Buddha and reported back
to Him the feedback from
the Buddha , after he
challenged the Buddha .
Not long after that he fell ill
and passed away .

Hi bhante ,
Please refer to the Suttas stated .

" Then and there hot blood gushed from the mouth of Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, who could not endure the homage paid to the Blessed One. "

" 說此法時,優婆離居士遠塵離垢,諸法法眼生;尼揵親子即吐熱血,至波惒國,以此惡患,尋便命終 。"

MA 133
MN 56.
(upali sutta)

Metta .

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As I work in a medical field, this topic is interesting; so I checked out that talk by V. Analayo (having downloaded the 2011 series from the Hamburg Uni a couple of years ago): files “00.003_analayo_2011-06-17_10-00.mp3” and ”… .pdf”

(starting at 32’45”)
VA discusses “MA 5 – Discourse on the Simile of the Heap of Wood (Parallel to the Aggikkhandhopama-sutta, AN 7.68 / AN IV 128)”; down to the last paragraph (compared to B.Bodhi p.1094), where the Agama mentions that with hearing the Buddha’s (long) talk, 60 monks achieved awakening and another 60 gave up and left. VA points out that the Pali adds the bit about another 60 monks who “vomited hot blood”, which isn’t in the Agama.

VA then takes a few minutes (from 39’-42’)to review research he’d done on the blood-vomit issue , listing 4 other instances:

1: (from the Vinaya – VA wrote the reference “on the pdf” (on overhead projector?) but didn’t speak it in the talk)

This is apparently the passage that SarathW1 cites above from the Nyanaponika biography of Sāriputta (but Nyanaponika doesn’t list citations for quotations). Paraphrasing VA’s comments: Sañjaya, 1 of 6 well-known teachers of the time, had the students Mahā Moggallāna and Sāriputta who left him to follow the Buddha. (Upatissa is clearly Sāriputta; Kolita is apparently Mahā Moggallāna), then Sañjaya has hot blood coming out his mouth.

2: (also Vinaya…)
Devadatta, who had lured students away from the Buddha, was napping [shoulda been more “awake” :smirk: ] when Moggallāna and Sāriputta came by to teach the students to leave Devadatta and return to the Buddha. Then Devadatta finds out, vomits blood.

3: M36, not describing an event, but Saccaka in discussion with the Buddha mentions how some practice in an unbalanced way, get deranged, and vomit blood.

4: VA says Jivaka Sutta (M55), but actually it’s in M56 Upali Sutta: A Jain follower converts to the Buddha, the Jain leader vomits blood.

VA concludes that the vomiting blood was apparently “physical reaction to severe psychic shock” (just as Aminah recalled), but not necessarily fatal.


Here’s the MN material (from B. Bodhi translation):

(3:) M36 Mahāsaccaka Sutta
[p.332]
Saccaka the Nigantha’s son begins challenging the Buddha (emphasis added):
“Master Gotama, there are some recluses and brahmins who abide pursuing development of body, but not development of mind. They are touched by bodily painful feeling. In the past, when one was touched by bodily painful feeling, one’s thighs would become rigid, one’s heart would burst, hot blood would gush from one’s mouth, and one would go mad, go out of one’s mind. So then the mind was subservient to the body, the body wielded mastery over it. Why is that? [238] Because the mind was not developed. But there are some recluses and brahmins who abide pursuing development of mind, but not development of body. They are touched by mental painful feeling. In the past, when one was touched by mental painful feeling, one’s thighs would become rigid, one’s heart would burst, hot blood would gush from one’s mouth, and one would go mad, go out of one’s mind. So then the body was subservient to the mind, the mind wielded mastery over it. Why is that? Because the body was not developed. Master Gotama, it has occurred to me: ‘Surely Master Gotama’s disciples abide pursuing development of mind, but not development of body.’“

(4:) M56: Upāli Sutta
Nigantha follower Upali converts to the Buddha after long Q/A in which Nigantha Nātaputta had challenged the Buddha…

At the very end [p.492]:
31: Then, since the Nigantha Nātaputta was unable to bear this honour done to the Blessed One, hot blood then and there gushed from his mouth. 599

fn 599 [p.1260] “MA: A heavy sorrow arose in him because of the loss of his lay supporter, and this produced a bodily disorder that resulted in his vomiting hot blood. After vomiting hot blood, few beings can continue to live. Thus they brought him to Pava on a litter, and shortly thereafter he passed away.

(In this case it apparently was fatal.)

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Thanks so much for this review cjmacie (I’m now very happy I added according to “very shaky memory” regarding a second possible reference as you’re outline above really shows this is extremely unlikely, thanks for that, too! ;)).

I was rather intrigued by the detail you pulled out from MN56 - just to double check I’m following along correctly, is it so that the commentaries are suggesting the leader of the Jains actually met his demise on account of someone converting to the Buddha’s Dhamma? If so, would be mildly interesting to know how the Jain texts corroborate this account.

[quote=“Aminah, post:19, topic:5843, full:true”]
…I’m now very happy I added according to “very shaky memory” regarding a second possible reference as you’re outline above really shows this is extremely unlikely…[/quote]

I wondered about what you wrote earlier (“I think he might also follow-up and expand upon the point in the following lecture - as I recall, in his expansion he uses the example of Devadatta.”), so also listened to the next lecture (4th), finding that he in fact did review and expand upon the groups of 60 monks in MA 5 (and the Pali equivalent). (But the mention of Devadatta comes only in lecture 3.) Here’s abbreviated notes of the whole passage, with the parts that might be more specifically relevant to the topic here highlighted:

(ca. 02:45 to ca. 07:00 in lecture 4))

"We have cmy [commentary] for the Pali AN sutta, to another sutta related to that one (according to cmy tradition), re at 600 [sic] monks hot-blood, and agreed 60 arahants, 60 disrobed.

cmy explanation:
those that became arahants had perfectly pure morality;
those who disrobed were not keeping the minor precepts so well;
those who had hot blood coming out of the mouth were pārājika-s i.e. the 4 pārājika rules for monks, break any of these and I lose my status as a bhikkhu, disrobe, never become a bhikkhu again.

So the point made by Laura is supported by the cmy explanation, in that the Buddha was really going for hypocrites, for monks who were pretending to be monks even though they did not deserve it, pārājika-s, or for those who were acting as monks but were not really careful about minor rules.

But the cmy also gives us a happy ending for all of these:

for the arahants there’s no need to give you a happy ending;

those who disrobed, who did not care about the minor rules so much so that they got so shocked by the Buddha’s discourse that they disrobed and became lay-persons, they nevertheless were so inspired that as lay people they practiced and they got some attainments or at least reborn in a heavenly realm;

and the cmy says the same for those who had the blood coming out of their mouth, which, in brackets, confirms my suggestion I made last time that this Indian notion of having blood coming out of one’s mouth, that doesn’t mean necessarily that somebody then will pass away; so these who had blood coming out of their mouth they had to disrobe as monks, but they had the option of re-ordaining as novices, and as novices they also practice very sternly and they also got some attainment or rebirth in a heavenly realm.”

That last part – about “this Indian notion of having blood coming out of one’s mouth” – caught my attention, as in another post I’ve been composing for here, dealing with possible medical interpretations of the vomiting-blood image (i.e. the overall topic), the suspicion had already arisen that this image may be some kind of contemporary Indic literary idiom rather than a literal description.

However, I don’t recall him making that “in brackets” observation in lecture 3. One notes – this, the mis-referenced MN 55 for MN 56, the “600” above, etc. – that VA is subject to minor slips along the way, as many of us (starting with myself).

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