A celebrated physician, and the Buddha’s doctor. The Vinaya contains many stories of his skill in healing. Vin.i.268–281 Once when the Buddha was ill, Jīvaka found it necessary to administer a purge, and he had fat rubbed into the Buddha’s body and gave him a handful of lotuses to smell. Jīvaka was away when the purgative acted, and suddenly remembered that he had omitted to ask the Buddha to bathe in warm water to complete the cure. The Buddha read his thoughts and bathed as required. Vin.i.279f.
Jīvaka’s fame as a physician brought him more work than he could cope with, but he never neglected his duties to the Saṅgha. Many people, afflicted with disease and unable to pay for treatment by him, joined the Order in order that they might receive that treatment. On discovering that the Order was thus being made a convenience of, he asked the Buddha to lay down a rule that men afflicted with certain diseases should be refused entry into the Order. Vin.i.71ff. Jīvaka was declared by the Buddha chief among his lay followers loved by the people. AN.i.26 He is included in a list of good men who have been assured of the realisation of deathlessness. AN.iii.451
One discussion he had with the Buddha regarding the qualities of a pious lay disciple is recorded in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. AN.iv.222f.
At Jīvaka’s request, the Buddha enjoined upon monks to take exercise; Jīvaka had gone to Vesāli on business and had noticed their pale, unhealthy look. Vin.ii.119