And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."
I do respect Jesus Christ not because he claim to be son of the god, in my understanding he is a nice kind hearted human .In his time Lepers were out castes from the society. People consider lepers bad for even vicinity. But Jesus Christ touched them, talked to them more importantly he was willing to cleans them.
The Buddhist philosophy is different, as per Lord Buddha’s teaching everything is a result of something we have done it before. Lord Buddha never did recover instantly. In Buddhism what we see always is Lord Buddha did make understand people with the reason and convince people to avoid such situation in future. But Lord Buddha says if someone caring a sick patient it is equal as treating to Lord Buddha.
In Buddhism Dhammapada (Buddhist teaching book)
“Arogya parama labha-santutthiparamam dhanam
Vissasa parama nati-nibbanam paramam sukham”
which means” Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbana is the greatest bliss”
I’m a very much believer of this. Even if your health insurance policy might say they will take care of everything you only have to pay the premium. But when you really get sick we will understand how helpless we are. We have to trust someone totally stranger some cases we are letting them to open our heart, kidneys brain .there is no other gift in life if we can avoid this scenario, but unfortunately as humans we do get sick. We have to go to hospital to recover.
If we are lucky we can recover and come back home, but there are worst scenarios we will never be able to come back home. We might thing death is the ultimate worst thing that could be happened to a human. In Sri Lanka we have a poet Anne Ranasinghe. The poem, “Plead Mercy”
“We pass a bullock yoked to a cart
Straining uphill. He shivers
With effort, his bones
Protrude and the taut skin quivers
At each whip of the sharp-thorned stick
There is no expression on his face
Only his eyes plead mercy
Foam slavers from his lips
As he travails to increase his pace
And slips. My daughter asks
Does he think life is worth living?
I tell her what I know
Is not true, that life
Is always better than death.
If there is a revolution, she says,
I’ll kill myself. All those horrible things
They do to people.
The bullock has fallen on the rough
Edge of the road. He tries,
But in spite of the stick he cannot rise.
Lord, have mercy on his eyes.
My daughter is just thirteen.”
So I guess life is always better than death.
But there are circumstances we are out castes from our normal life due to various reasons. We were forced to life.
I’m not sure how many of our generation watched movie Benhur or read the Lew Wallace’s book Benhur .Benhur was sent as a slave in a Roman war ship, sister and mother were out castes by society as lepers, a simple mistake best friend of the childhood did all this to Benhur. But both movie and the book has happy ending.
In reality Leprosy is one of the least infectious diseases mainly because nearly all of the population has natural immunity against it.those who effected with the daises life was not easy. In Sri Lanka this has been controlled and for over 20 years there not been recorded death or similar incidents due to Leprosy. Sadly our big brother India still continues to have 1.2 to 1.3 lakh new cases of leprosy every year. 58% all new leprosy cases appeared, in world from India.
Mother Theresa had special units to help those affected with Leprosy and still the organization continues it.
What we have in Sri Lanka is more belongs to dark history. We have a historical Leprosy hospital which belongs the Dutch period. The story of the Hospital linked with Son of a Dutch high ranked naval officer. When this naval officer son effected with Leprosy by law of that time the son has to banish from the society. Even the officer cannot help he built this well facilitated hospital to his son during the Dutch period. Eventually it turned into a government hospital for Leprosy.
When I first visit to this place with my mother was in late 1980.Those days it was fortified and had their own world .they had Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Buddhist temple, Mosque also school for children and teachers were inmates of the hospital. Even that time the there were considerable amount of inmates.
Now we are in 2015 Lot of changes had been occurred. The school of the hospital been converted into a government school .the Hamilton cannel which is right opposite to the hospital turned into waterfront recreational center.Yesterday when I was passing there newlywed bridle couple taking their photos. Some parts of the hospital have taken over by the Sri Lanka Army.
Today those who in the hospital totally cured, but they have sad memories of the past. All of them are now old people those who more secured within the walls. I can understand there is an inmate who was taken while he was studying in the school at the age of 14.
He told those days it was police brought him here, eventually family has forgotten and now he is fully cured but over 60 years he has been living in the hospital. His home town Colombo has turned in to very confusing place to him. He is much secured in this place rather than the complicated Colombo.
There are some inmates those who wall in love at the hospital and married at hospital. They have children as well. Now their children coming to visit them .
Oldest inmate is 98 years old. The most curios devise to him is the mobile phone. He remembers is sister’s wedding as a little boy over 80 years ago. His home town is Anuradhapura. He told there were only one telephone he has seen that time and it was also 12 miles from his home. And he was amused by modern selfie. He has seen wooden studio camera but now he does not understand how this small device take colored photos.
He asked a question, the question was how we expect better performance when the device is small? Well I did not try to explain anything to make him more confuse. But I took some selfies. Later he requested something that was “please don’t wait till next year till this date. Come again soon I might not be able to see you again”. I did not promise because I do visit them only in once a year and he plays harmonica the happy birthday song on the same day of every year.