I have questions regarding hospitalization and its morals

  1. Are monks/nuns allowed to be hospitalized and can they go to a hospital or doctor if sick? (because aren't they not allowed to request anything according to the vinaya?)

  2. Can a monk/nun take painkillers or will that be a breach of the fifth precept?

  3. If there is a parasite or other being inside of someone, can they take medicine to cure themselves of it, or would that break the first precept, or is it not if the being isn't sentient?

  • Have you read Vinaya Pitaka?accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/index.html
    – SarathW
    Nov 15, 2019 at 20:45
  • 1. Exept if biten by snake, they can not ask for it, but if invited, given, yes. 2. They are allowed to accept pain reducing medicine. 3. Difficult. Depends on ones perception.
    – user11235
    Mar 17, 2020 at 0:41

4 Answers 4


When I lived in Thailand:

  1. Monks were admitted to hospital.

  2. Monks took painkillers.

  3. Monks used medicine for internal parasites.


Medicine is one of the only possessions a monk can “desire” and can dedicate their time to procuring. Suchly are medical needs to be given priority and utmost attention.


Go and see a doctor. No amount of pondering or meditation will help you if you are very sick/dead.

  • That isn't what the Buddha taught, good householder, but the opposite, since sickness and death are actually unavoidable.
    – user11235
    May 10, 2020 at 16:59
  • 1
    Yes, but sickness is curable. Unless Buddha a against that as well?
    – ThirdPrize
    May 10, 2020 at 20:27
  • His path leads to lasting cure and he wouldn't send one off searching heal in where it can not be found. So saying his path is useless, seek for usual ways is a strange answer under the topic Buddha.
    – user11235
    May 10, 2020 at 23:06
  • But does it? Really? And if so, has it been backed up by lots of medical studies? The questioner is asking in regards to the precepts and not about whether any magical healing powers will save him. If someone is ill and you tell them NOT to get treatment you could get into trouble. Also, every other answer here seems to agree with me.
    – ThirdPrize
    May 11, 2020 at 9:14
  • There isn't any being which will not get old, sick and die, but it pretty normal that beings seek refuge where there is no. Less benefit if answering questions and not familare with the matter at all, yet thinking smart as well. May good householder go on as he feels fine.
    – user11235
    May 11, 2020 at 10:49

I am fairly certain there is a jataka where a monk with worms is given medicine causing him to vomit.

Didn't take note of the reference.

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