Thai Amulet/Talisman: Jivaka: The Buddha's Physician: On a Necklace of Wooden Beads & Seeds



Jīvaka (Pali: Jīvaka Komārabhacca; Sanskrit: Jīvaka Kumārabhṛta)[3] was the personal physician (Sanskrit: vaidya) of the Buddha and the Indian King Bimbisāra. He lived in Rājagṛha, present-day Rajgir, in the 5th century BCE. Sometimes described as the "Medicine King" (pinyin: yi wang),[4] he figures prominently in legendary accounts in Asia as a model healer, and is honoured as such by traditional healers in several Asian countries.

Accounts about Jīvaka can be found in Early Buddhist Texts in many textual traditions such as the Pāli and Mūlasarvāstivāda traditions, as well as later Buddhist discourses and devotional Avadāna texts. Textual traditions agree that Jīvaka was born as a foundling of a courtesan, but not who his parents were exactly. Regardless, Jīvaka was found and raised by people from the royal court of King Bimbisāra. As he grew up, Jīvaka decided to travel to Takṣaśilā, to learn traditional medicine from a well-respected teacher. He turned out to be a promising student, and after seven years, started his healing profession in Rājagṛha. His medical feats gained him a reputation and he was quickly appointed as the personal physician of King Bimbisāra and the Buddha. As Jīvaka came more into contact with the Buddha, he became an important supporter of the religion and eventually founded the Jīvakarāma monastery. Later, Bimbisāra was killed by his son Ajātaśatru, who usurped the throne. Eventually, Jīvaka was instrumental in bringing him to see the Buddha, to whom the new king repented the deeds he had done.