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Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
The practice of faith-healing is prevalent in many countries. Many people are trying to influence the public through emotional persuasion designated as faith-healing. In order to impress on their patients the efficacy of their healing powers, some faith-healers use the name of a god or a religious object to introduce a religious flavor into their faith healing methods. The introduction of religion into faith-healing is actually a guise or a decoy to beguile the patient into developing more devotion and enhance the confidence or faith of the patient in the faith-healer. This healing act, if performed in public is intended to get converts to a particular religious denomination.
In actual fact, in so far as faith-healing is concerned, religion is not all that important. There are numerous cases of faith-healers performing their faith-healing acts without using religion at all. A case in point is the science of hypnotism, the practice of which involves no religious aspects at all. Those who associate religion with faith-healing are in a way engaging in a subtle form of illusion trying to attract converts to their particular religion by making use of faith healing and describing certain cures as miraculous acts.
The methods employed by faith healers are to condition the minds of patients into having a certain mental attitude with the result that certain favorable psychological and physiological changes invariably take place. This attracts the condition of the mind, the heart, the consequent blood circulation and other related organic functions of the body, thus creating a feeling of a sense of well-being. If sickness is attributed to the condition of the mind, then the mind can certainly be properly conditioned to assist in eradicating whatever illness that may occur.
In this context, it is to be noted that the constant and regular practice of meditation can help to minimize, if not to completely eradicate, various forms of illnesses. There are many discourses in the Teaching of the Buddha where it was indicated that various forms of sicknesses were eradicated through the conditioning of the mind. Thus it is worthwhile to practise meditation in order to attain mental and physical well-being.
Source: Buddhist Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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