Source: Excerpt from Medicine Buddha Sadhana (FPMT)
Text by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The seven Medicine Buddhas, attainers of bliss, strongly prayed for the temporal and ultimate happiness of yourself and all sentient beings. They vowed that their prayers would be actualized during these degenerate times when the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are in decline. As the buddhas’ holy speech is irrevocable, you can wholly trust in their power to quickly grant blessings to help all sentient beings in these degenerate times. If you pray to Guru Medicine Buddha, you will quickly accomplish all that you wish. Just hearing the holy name of Guru Medicine Buddha and the sound of his mantra closes the door to rebirth in the suffering lower realms. It is written in the scriptures that you should not have a two-pointed mind (doubt) with regard to these benefits.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said in the sutra entitled Medicine Guru Beams of Lapis Lazuli:
“Kungawo, do you believe my explanation of the qualities of that tathagata [Medicine Buddha]?” Kungawo replied to the Bhagavan: “I do not have a two-pointed mind with regard to the teachings of you, the celibate Bhagavan.
Why? Because the actions of the tathagata’s holy body, holy speech, and holy mind are always pure, without a single mistake.” Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave this advice: “Kungawo, whoever hears the holy name of that tathagata will not fall into the evil realms of the suffering transmigratory beings.”
Therefore, at the time of death, it is excellent to recite both Tathagata Medicine Buddha’s holy name and his mantra in the ear of the dying person. It is extremely beneficial to recite the mantra and blow it upon meat that you are eating, or even on old bones or the dead bodies of animals or humans. This action purifies the karmic obscurations of those sentient beings. It can cause someone who has been reborn in the suffering lower realms to immediately pass away and be reborn in a pure realm or amongst happy transmigrators.
At the very least, it will shorten the duration of their suffering in the lower realms. It is excellent if this is done with bodhichitta, renouncing self and cherishing others.
Also, by reciting this mantra, you will greatly enhance the power of the medicine that you are taking or giving to others. This can be done as follows:
Visualize the medicine in a bowl in front of you and above it a moon disk. Standing on the moon disk is the blue seed-syllable OM surrounded by the syllables of the Medicine Buddha mantra in a clockwise direction. As you recite the mantra, nectars flow from all the syllables, absorbing into the medicine. The syllables and the moon then dissolve into the medicine, which becomes extremely powerful and able to cure all physical diseases and afflictions caused by spirits together with their causes, negative karma and mental obscurations of senti ent beings. If you are treating a serious disease such as cancer, visualize that the medicine has the power to cure this particular disease. The stronger one’s faith and the more mantras one recites, the greater will be the power of the medicine.
All existent phenomena are objects of knowing. If something is not an object of knowledge for any being, then it does not exist: an example is the ‘horns of a rabbit.’
All existent phenomena are included in three categories:
- Objects of a valid non-deceptive consciousness, which are easily recognized, such as vase, plate, rice, flowers, and so forth;
- Objects that are difficult to realize and which require reasoning to do so, such as impermanence and emptiness;
- Objects that are extremely difficult to realize, such as phenomena that are only objects of knowledge of the omniscient mind. For ordinary beings, these can only be known through dependence upon scriptural authority of the Buddha.
Since the benefits of doing this sadhana are extremely difficult to recognize, they therefore belong to the third category. Only through faith in the Buddha’s explanations can one realize these benefits. For those who are intellectual but somewhat thick-skulled, this explanation of the benefits and positive karma of doing the Medicine Buddha sadhana should not be discarded because it is too expansive for such a limited intelligence. If one is unable to accept this, it is better to remain indifferent rather than rejecting outright the profound teachings of the Buddha. Examine and practice this sadhana skillfully.
Keep your mind steady, and you can achieve great benefits for yourself and for others without deceiving yourself. The Benefits of Medicine Buddha Mantra The Medicine Buddha encompasses all the buddhas. This means that when we practice the seven-limb prayer and make offerings with the seven limbs, we receive the same merit as we would if we had made offerings to all the buddhas. Similarly, when we recite the
mantra of Medicine Buddha, we collect unbelievable merit just as when we offer the seven-limb practice to Medicine Buddha.
The Benefits of Medicine Buddha Mantra
To recite the Medicine Buddha mantra brings inconceivable merit. Manjushri requested the eight tathagatas (Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and the seven Medicine Buddhas) to reveal a special mantra that would make the prayers they (the eight tathagatas) made in the past (prayers to be able to actualize the happiness of sentient beings by attaining the path to enlightenment and pacifying various problems, to be able to see all the buddhas, and for all wishes to be quickly realized) to quickly come to pass, especially for those sentient beings born in the time of the five degenerations who have small merit and who are possessed and overwhelmed by various diseases and spirit harms.
During that time, all the eight tathagatas, in one voice, taught the Medicine Buddha mantra. Therefore, if you recite the mantra every day, the buddhas and bodhisattvas will always pay attention to you, and they will guide you. Vajrapani, owner of the secrets, and the four guardians will always protect and guide you. All your negative karmas will be pacified, and you will never be born in the three lower realms. Even just hearing a recitation of the names of the eight tathagatas pacifies all diseases and spirit harms – even spirit harms that arise as a condition of disease – and all your wishes are fulfilled. This is just a brief explanation of the benefits of the Medicine Buddha practice. This practice is especially beneficial if you are helping others, especially if you are doing healing work. It helps you to be more accurate and beneficial. You will receive much support, not only from the eight tathagatas, but from the four clairvoyant devas as well. These devas can help you to diagnose and understand the right method to heal, as they are associated with the eight tathagatas.