Buddhist Ayurveda

Buddhist Ayurveda Psychotherapy ​

Both Buddhism and Ayurveda, originating in India, share a common goal of alleviating suffering. Ayurveda is a comprehensive system dealing with physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being through eight branches. Buddhism, on the other hand, focuses on mental well-being and addressing human suffering, referred to as “Dukkha.” Ayurveda, with roots dating back to 3500 BC, integrates practices like yoga and meditation. Its primary goal is to cure physical and mental ailments through therapies like Daivavyapasraya, Yukti vyapasraya, and Satvavjay Chikitsa. Both systems emphasize holistic well-being, each addressing different aspects of health.

The relationship between Buddhism and Ayurveda is intertwined, despite the term “Ayurveda” not being found in Vedas or Buddhist literature. During the Buddhist era, medical concepts and practices from Ayurveda were widely adopted. In the evolution of Ayurvedic texts like Charak, Susruta, and Vagbhata, there was a notable shift away from mantras and rituals in favor of more practical medical approaches. In Buddhist literature, Buddha is described as both a physician and surgeon, emphasizing his ability to alleviate suffering, much like a surgeon removes foreign elements from the body. This connection highlights the integration of Ayurvedic principles into Buddhist thought and practice.

Buddhist Ayurveda Psychotherapy ​

The book “Bhaisajja Manjusa,” a classical text of Sri Lankan traditional medicine, written in 2ND  BC, highlights the crucial role that Buddhism and Traditional Desheeya Chikithsa played in preserving the mental and physical health of ancient Sri Lankans. In 2012, UNESCO recognized the significance of this book by declaring it a national heritage. The ancient healthcare system of Sri Lanka was meticulously managed by native healers, and it was an endemic system unique to the region. Notably, Sri Lanka is home to the world’s first hospital, which was constructed in Mihintale by king Devanampiyatiss in 3rd  BC.This rich heritage underscores the deep-rooted traditions of healthcare and healing practices that have been an integral part of Sri Lanka’s history.


“An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon” published in 1681, the renowned British sea captain and traveler, Robert Knox, made a noteworthy observation. He pointed out that “all old Sri Lankan people were doctors.” This observation underscored the deep-rooted tradition of healthcare and healing in Sri Lanka, where most elderly individuals possessed extensive knowledge of herbs, roots, and leaves to treat various ailments. It serves as a testament to Sri Lanka’s rich heritage in the field of healthcare.

In Traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda, the approach to mental health and well-being encompasses both physical and spiritual aspects.

Traditional Sri Lankan psychiatry, often referred to as “Manasika Roga Chikitsa,” recognizes that mental health is deeply connected to the balance of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), the individual’s constitution (Prakriti), and the person’s state of mind (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas). Here are some key elements of the spiritual treatment approach within Ayurvedic traditional psychiatry:

  1. Dosha Balance: Ayurveda believes that mental disorders are often rooted in doshic imbalances. Treatment aims to identify the specific dosha(s) involved and restore balance through dietary adjustments, herbal remedies, and lifestyle changes.
  1. Sattvic Living. Emphasizing a sattvic (pure and balanced) lifestyle is integral. This includes adopting a diet and daily routine that promotes mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual growth. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and pranayama are encouraged.
  1. Meditation: Meditation plays a crucial role in Ayurvedic mental health treatment. It helps calm the mind, reduce stress, and promote self-awareness. Specific meditation techniques may be recommended based on the individual’s dosha and mental state.
  1. Herbal Remedies: Ayurveda employs herbal formulations known as “medhya rasayanas” to enhance cognitive function and support mental well-being. These herbs are believed to nourish the mind and improve memory and concentration.
  1. Mantra Therapy: Sound therapy, including the repetition of specific mantras (sacred sounds or words), can be used to promote mental clarity, emotional healing, and spiritual growth.
  2. Yoga and Pranayama: Incorporating yoga postures and controlled breathing techniques (pranayama) into the daily routine can help balance the doshas, reduce stress, and improve mental focus.
  3. Detoxification (Panchakarma):Some individuals with mental health concerns may benefit from detoxification treatments known as Panchakarma. These treatments aim to remove accumulated toxins and impurities from the body, promoting mental clarity.
  4. Counseling and Psychotherapy: These two modules were well defined in Buddhism and Sri Lankan traditional psychiatry. In its stanza’s it is clearly stated the importance of the talking cure and techniques of preparing the patience for counselling. Traditional practitioners may also offer counseling and psychotherapy to address emotional and psychological aspects of mental health. This includes guidance on managing negative thought patterns and emotions.
  5. Holistic Approach: Ayurvedic traditional psychiatry takes a holistic approach to mental health, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit.

Buddhist Ayurveda Psychotherapy

Buddhist Ayurveda Psychotherapy” is indeed a therapeutic approach that integrates principles from Buddhism and Ayurveda into psychotherapy. In this context, it likely combines mindfulness techniques, meditation practices, Ayurvedic dietary and lifestyle recommendations, and possibly other elements to address mental and emotional well-being. This approach may be used to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, depression, or other psychological challenges by drawing on the holistic principles of both Buddhism and Ayurveda..

  1. Buddhism: Incorporating Buddhist principles may involve mindfulness meditation, the Four Noble Truths, and other Buddhist teachings to address the root causes of psychological suffering and promote self-awareness and compassion.
  2. Ayurveda: Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that considers the mind-body connection. In a psychotherapeutic context, Ayurvedic principles might be applied to balance the individual’s dosha (constitution) and address mental and emotional imbalances through dietary, herbal, and lifestyle recommendations.
  3. Psychotherapy: This element involves traditional psychotherapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, or other modalities. These therapeutic techniques can be integrated with Buddhist and Ayurvedic principles to address mental health concerns. The combination of these three elements could potentially create a holistic approach to psychotherapy, considering the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s well-being.


The psychology behind Buddhism is a rich and profound aspect of the religion and philosophy. Buddhism places a strong emphasis on understanding the nature of the mind and the causes of suffering, and it offers various psychological insights and practices to help individuals alleviate suffering and attain inner peace. Here are some key elements of the psychology behind Buddhism

  1. The Four Noble Truths: The foundation of Buddhist psychology is the Four Noble Truths, which acknowledge the existence of suffering (dukkha), identify its causes (craving and attachment), propose its cessation (nirvana), and prescribe a path (the Eightfold Path) to achieve liberation from suffering.
  2. Mindfulness: Buddhism places great importance on mindfulness (sati). Mindfulness involves being fully aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment without judgment. This practice is integral to understanding the nature of the mind and reducing suffering.
  3. Impermanence (Anicca): Buddhism teaches that all things are impermanent, including our thoughts and emotions. Understanding and accepting impermanence can lead to greater emotional stability and resilience.
  4. No-Self (Anatta): The concept of anatta, or no-self, challenges the conventional notion of a permanent and unchanging self. This perspective helps individuals detach from ego-driven thoughts and desires, reducing suffering associated with self-identity.
  5. Meditation: Buddhism offers a variety of meditation techniques, such as vipassana (insight meditation) and samatha (calm abiding), to cultivate mental clarity, concentration, and insight. Meditation is a central tool for understanding and transforming the mind.
  6. Compassion (Karuna) and Loving-Kindness (Metta): Buddhist psychology promotes the development of compassion and loving-kindness toward oneself and others as a means to overcome negative emotions and foster emotional well-being.
  7. Dependent Origination (Paticca-samuppada): This teaching explains the interdependence of all phenomena, including the causes and conditions that give rise to suffering. Understanding this concept can help individuals break the cycle of suffering.
  8. Ethics and Virtue: Buddhism emphasizes ethical behavior (sila) as a foundation for mental well-being. Living a virtuous life is seen as essential for inner peace and spiritual progress. 9. The Eightfold Path: This path outlines ethical and mental principles that, when followed, lead to the cessation of suffering. It includes right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. In summary, Buddhism’s psychology delves deeply into the nature of the mind, the causes of suffering, and the path to liberation from suffering. Its teachings and practices are aimed at promoting mental well-being, cultivating wisdom, and achieving spiritual awakening.