Main Figures of the Tradition
When we talk about the Buddha, we usually mean Gautama Siddartha, who lived around 2,500 years ago in northeastern India.
He was born in Lumbinī, in the south of present-day Nepal, the son of Queen Māyā and King Suddhodana, head of the Sakyan clan.
At his birth, his parents received a hermit's prediction that Gautama would not follow in his father's footsteps, but would play an extremely important role for humanity as spiritual leader.
So Suddhodana, concerned that his son might drop the succession to the throne, tried to keep him in the palace, preventing him from having any negative experiences. Despite these efforts, Gautama left the palace and had four encounters with situations that he had not seen in the palace. He saw an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a spiritual practitioner. Realizing that he, too, was subject to old age, disease, and death, he left the palace at the age of 29 to seek a solution to this sufferings.
Gautama initially studied under two ascetics, Āḷāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta. Advancing in practice, but without achieving what he was looking for, he decides to move away from these teachers. Thus he settled a few kilometers from Bodh Gaya, where he carried out very austere practices, which imply the mortification of the body. Not getting what he was looking for through these practices, Gautama understood that this was not the way to follow to achieve enlightenment either. He then walked away from the five companions with whom he practiced and sat under a Bodhi tree, meditating endlessly and accepting the daily food offered to him by two young men from the nearby village.
During this practice he reached the state of Enlightenment, discovering the way to achieve it.
The Buddha then returned to his five former companions, meeting them in Isipatana Park, where he delivered his first discourse, known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the beginning discourse of the Dhamma wheel, summarizing what he had discovered.
Thus it was that the Buddha spent 45 years explaining the Dhamma until he left his physical body in Kuśināgara.
The Buddha, the Dhamma (his Teachings) and the Sangha (Dhamma practitioners) represent the Triple Gem in which we take refuge, a guide to escape from dukkhā.
These teachings are considered the medicine to free us from dukkhā, which is why the Buddha is considered The Great Doctor.
Jīvaka was born in Rajagha and was rescued by Prince Abhaya, who found him by the side of a road while crossing the city, and gave the order that he be taken to the palace, thus saving his life.
When he grew up, he decided to study medicine and then return to the palace and, offering his services as a doctor, return the favor they did to him by saving his life.
He spent 7 years studying at Takshasila, a famous educational center, where he brilliantly completed his medical education. Due to his skill, Jīvaka cured many noble and lay men, and became a well-known pediatrician.
Returning to the palace after completing his studies, Jivaka met the Buddha and the Sangha. Lord Buddha had an illness that Jivaka cured him of, and after doing so he became his follower and physician to the Sangha.
He helped implement health care measures in the Sangha, provide medical services within it, and instruct monks in medical care.
He built a monastery in his mango grove so that he could be close to the Buddha and attend to his needs.
The importance of the figure of Jīvaka is recounted in the Mahavagga, a Buddhist scripture from the Pali Canon. As Thai massage is based on Thai medical theory, rooted in Buddhism, it recognizes Jīvaka as a guide, a teacher and a figure to pay homage to.
In Thailand he is known as The Father of Medicine.
Reusi is a Thai word that comes from the Sanskrit term "Rishi" which means "one who sees".
Within the Pali tradition, the term used is Isi, which has the same meaning as Sanskrit.
In Thai, the word Reusi is used to refer to different types of practitioners, ascetics, who after receiving their ordination can continue to live in society, or retire to nature, where they can live for many years.
In the area where Thailand is today, the Reusi Tradition already existed before the Buddhadhamma arrived, practicing different natural sciences such as medicine, Reusi Dat Ton, divination, astrology, etc. We believe that the traditional Thai massage originated from it.
There are 108 historical reusi in the Thai tradition, the most popular being Reusi Dta Fai, Reusi Dta Wua, Reusi Narod, Reusi Narai.
The most famous within the tradition was named Reusi Sumeda, who was Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous life, in which he aspired to become a Buddha.