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Comparative Analysis of Christian and Buddhist Health Care

Apr 22, 2023 | 0 comments

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Apr 22, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Health care providers often come into contact with people from different faiths. Many of these faiths may seem similar or completely different from one another. As health care providers we need a culturally diverse knowledge base to provide individualized patient-centered care. In addition to being familiar with our patients’ cultural and religious beliefs, we need to be familiar with the rationales supporting these beliefs. It is important to encourage religious participation in the hospital setting, since it may impact our patient’s plan of care. This paper provides a comparative analysis of two faith philosophies towards providing healthcare. One of the faiths discussed is Christianity, the other Buddhism.

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When it comes to health care, cultural factors have a strong influence on patients’ and families” decisions. Some cultural or religious groups may be similar, but none are the same. There are often different sectors that have their own requirements. Health care providers need to be familiar with the different types of belief systems, to include it in the patient’s care plan. In this reading, a comparative analysis of Christianity and Buddhism philosophies towards health care will be provided. Also, this paper will describe this writer’s own spiritual perspective on healing.

Worldview is the person’s perspective of life. “Worldview provides the foundation on which we live.” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). For many people,e culture and religion provide the way they carry on with their lives. (GCU, 2006). In the Christian Worldview, the prime reality is God. God is the creator of the world around us. In the world that God created, he created humans. God created human beings to live in a community and love one another. (Shelly & Miller, 2006). In the Christian worldview, when a person dies they leave their physical being, yet their soul lives on as an eternal being. Christians believe that we gain our knowledge from God. We were created from the image of an all-knowing God and the things we know, we know because of the gift of knowledge received from God. Christians also believe that determining what is right or wrong also comes from the rationality given to us by God. We are made from the image of God, and God is good and has good character. God has made himself, and his purpose known in history by his actions. A time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the spirit and the truth. For they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (John 4:23). (Bible Gateway, n.d.). Human history for Christians is to comprehend the purpose of God. To continue spreading the word of God and prepare to live in a community with a loving, and holy God. (What is Worldview, 2006).

Buddha Shakyamuni was born as a royal prince in 624 BC and was the founder of the Buddhist religion.  Buddhism is a method of attaining enlightenment. The existence of God is not relevant to life or spirituality. They believe that Gods may exist but are not worshipped, and are temporary beings. When it comes to the nature of the world around us, Buddha states “The world exists because of causal actions, all things are produced by causal actions and all beings are governed and bound by causal actions. They are fixed like the rolling wheel of a cart, fixed by the pin of its axle shaft.” (Sutta-Nipata 654). (World Scripture, n.d.). Buddhists believe in the state of peace known to them as Nirvana.  They see it as passing into another form of existence. To reach Nirvana, we need to let go of desires, attachments and get rid of our ignorance. Buddhists believe that after death, we are reborn again. Our state of mind at the time of death is important due to it playing a vital decision on how we will be reborn. Buddhist believe that there are 31 planes of existence. Until one has attained Nirvana, he or she will be reborn into any of those planes over and over again; due to their karma. (Buddhism vs. Christianity, n.d.) Buddhists believe that it is possible to know anything at all, due to getting in touch with ourselves and looking within. They believe the ultimate is unknown, and not specifically this or that. The focus is on the cycle of rebirth. Due to this, history has little meaning to Buddhists. To Buddhists “there is movement and change without involving the idea of purpose.” (Tripp, D., 1999).

Some critical components to all religions in regards to health care, and healing, involve prayer, meditation, and belief. Religious traditions and practices may be complex. For this reason, it is important to encourage patients and family members to interpret how their religious or cultural values may be relevant to the hospital stay. By obtaining this information, health care providers can determine in what ways they can implement certain needs, decisions, and treatments.

In Christianity, two strong components in promoting healing are prayer and faith. If there is no faith, the miracle of healing cannot occur. (Ether 12:12). As James 5:15 mentions; the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well, the Lord will raise them. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (Bible Gateway, n.d.). In Christianity Jesus Christ is the healer. Physicians are not healers, they only aid in the healing process. When sick one must pray and seek God. God hears our prayers according to his will. God sometimes does not heal the faithful and obedient, because in his great love he wants eternal life for us.  He became “perfect through sufferings.” We all must become perfect through suffering, even if that means the suffering of disease. (Hebrews 2:9-10). (Bible Gateway, n.d). Some implications for Christian health care would be to contact a pastor at the patient’s request, provide a bible, provide them with medication education, and be prepared for alternatives; due to possible rejection of medication.

In Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation are strong components in healing. A quiet, peaceful environment may be needed for the mind to be at ease. Diet may be a strict component needed for Buddhists. They are strictly vegetarian, any animal foods or even medications produced from animals may be problematic to their healing process. They may be skeptical about using medications that may affect awareness. Even though Buddhism focuses on relieving suffering, some prefer to skip the pain medication or anything that will alter their mental status. Some families may pray or chant, and place a picture of Buddha in the room of the sick. Buddhists need to maintain clarity of the mind, peace, and tranquility throughout their healing process. (Ehman, J. 2012). Some implications for Buddhists in health care would be to maintain autonomy by preventing mental cloudiness with medications, providing privacy, maintaining dignity, and focused care must be provided for the patient. (Ehmen, J. 2012).

It is important for patients of different faiths, for their beliefs to be acknowledged by health care providers whose spiritual beliefs differ from their own. They need to feel safe, and comfortable when receiving health care. Patients need to be able to trust their health care providers to accept and participate in their care plan. There are so many different types of culture shock upon arriving in the United States. These students must understand the cultural and religious beliefs. Health care providers aren’t expected to understand every one of them. Health care providers should listen to the patient to gain a bit of knowledge about their preferences. They are expected to be compassionate and respect the patient’s beliefs and decisions, regardless of differing from their own. When certain traditions are not appropriate for a hospital setting, the management of their own health, and this is possible by empowering the patients. Therefore, the nurses and other health care providers may aid in finding alternatives. Some examples would be in some religions such as Buddhism, Jehovah witness, and Catholics; incense is burned as either a sign for worship, to offer prayer, or for serenity. (Ehman, J. 2012). This is not allowed in most hospitals. The health care provider can find alternatives such as fresh flowers to aid the patient. Missing Mass or a special observance may be stressful for Catholic patients. The health care providers may discuss contacting a clergy or hospital chaplain for the patient and their family. These helpful acts demonstrate that health care providers understand the importance of such rituals for the patient’s healing process.

This research has provided this writer with a better understanding of how important certain religious, or spiritual traditions can affect a patient’s healing process. Not implementing certain needs may be crucial to the patient’s mindset, cause them stress, and disturb their healing. When a patient is at the end of life care; it is critical to listen to theirs, and their families’ needs for them to be at peace in this life, for some in the afterlife, and both for others. This research has definitely shown the importance for health care providers to listen, find alternatives, and provide patient comfort not only medically, but spiritually as well.

This writer’s spiritual perspective on healing involves the power of prayer. This writer was raised to have faith, and pray. When a member of the family, friend, or stranger is sick; this writer turns to prayer and has faith that Jesus will heal those in need. This writer also believes that a quiet, peaceful, and clear mindset helps aid in the healing process. When people are facing a tough moment in their lives, such as health problems, their religious beliefs can help them overcome feelings of fear, helplessness, and regain a form of control, and strength.  We must take sickness as a trial. Like any other trial; we must trust that God knows what is best for us; not only for healing but in everything in our lives. Lord my God I called to you for help, and you healed me. (Psalm 30:2). (Bible Gateway, n.d.).


Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL.: IVP Academic. ISBN-13: 9780830827657 (Electronic Version). Retrieved from http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/intervarsity-press/2006/called-to-care_a-christian-worldview-for-nursing_ebook_2e.php

Grand Canyon University.  (2015). Foundations of Christian Spirituality in Health Care. Lecture Notes.

World Scripture. (n.d.) Eternal Truth. Retrieved from http://www.unification.net/ws/theme012.htm

Bible Gateway. (n.d.). John 4:23 Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jn+4%3A23&version=NIV

Tripp, Dick. (1999). Four Major Worldviews.

Ehman, J. (2012). Religious Diversity: Practical Points for Health Care Providers. Retrieved from http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral/resed/diversity_points.html

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