Buddha Weekly: Buddhist Practices, Mindfulness, Meditation

Video Medicine Buddha Retreat, part 1: open self-healing weekend with visualization, mantras and teachings with H.E. Zasep Rinpoche

Part 1 of a series featuring a full Medicine Buddha weekend retreat, suitable for anyone who wishes to meditate on healing.

Medicine Buddha practices are universally popular and very effective for self-healing. Millions of Buddhists around the world rely on Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyaguru practices to support their healing journeys. Medicine Buddha is one of the most popular Buddhas in Mahayana Buddhism, famous for healing.

The video includes a full image visualisation with mantra beautifully chanted by Yoko Dharma at the end of the teaching — and an introduction to Medicine Buddha by Venerable Zasep Rinpoche — the opening of a full weekend retreat this year in beautiful Owen Sound, Canada, hosted by Theodore Tsaousidis.

In Part 1, approximately 30 minutes in length, Rinpoche describes the benefits of practice, how to visualize Medicine Buddha and leads an initial round of mantra chants. For an in-depth feature on Medicine Buddha, see the Buddha Weekly story “The First Doctor: Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyaguru — Empowering You to Heal

Full video teachings (part 1) plays here:

Medicine Buddha

Medicine Buddha is known as the Lapis Lazuli Healer or King of Healing. His mantra is very efficacious in healing — as a support for regular health care. It is also a practice that is reputed to keep you healthy, preventing illness. For a full feature story on Medicine Buddha, see>>

These teachings filmed with permission of H.E. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, spiritual director of Gaden for the West worldwide meditation centres.

The teaching was hosted by noted teacher Theodore Tsaousidis in Owen Sound.

Full transcript below.

 

 

 

H.E. Zasep Rinpoche: “I would like to welcome everyone here today. The subject of the teaching and meditation for today and tomorrow is healing practice of Medicine Buddha.

So first we go to this sadhana here, we do some chanting, and then I will give a talk and do meditation as well, including as in our tradition, we’ll do some chanting in the beginning.

[Sadhana is a written guided meditation with visualization and mantra recitation. In a later video in this series, when the Sadhana is recited, we will publish the full short text.]

And the purpose of chanting is to settle our mind in this place and to settle our body here and now, and also our chanting is very powerful, healing it generates peace in our minds, and calmness.

And also we receive inspirations by chanting, we’ll receive inspiration and blessings from all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and from the enlightened one.

So we do chanting to settle our minds and then once you settle your body-mind here and now, and then you can hear the teachings more profoundly, more deeply, and you can also open up your senses and sense a consciousness and you can understand more better. And one can also benefit more and one can also appreciate the teaching more.

For those reasons why we do chanting first, then we do the mantras. So please go to this folder here … so here in the dossier. Medicine Buddha Sadhana for non-initiates, which means you can do the Medicine Buddha practice without preliminary preparation initiation.

Medicine Buddha practice fine without initiation

If you have received initiation before that will be very good. Also, you can think about receiving the initiation of Medicine Buddha in the future, near future. So for now it’s okay if you don’t have initiation, you’re fine, because we are doing the healing practice for ourselves and also healing for all sentient beings with a pure moderation, good moderation.

But we also need to understand what is the pure motivation, and we generate the motivation here, reflect on our illness, pain, and illness and pain experienced by others and generate strong desire to be free of pain and suffering. And to help others to be free of their pain and suffering. So this is the motivation.

And also we do the Medicine Buddha practice not just only people here who have pain or suffering, but we also practice Medicine Buddha to prevent pain and suffering and disease, and to make ourselves more healthy and balance our body-mind, to make ourselves more stronger.

And you don’t have any symptoms or kind of physical problems or mental or weakness and so forth, confusions in some, but we make it more clear, more stronger, because we receive blessing, protection.

Also, Medicine Buddha practice is very important for balance of body and mind, hormones, and DNA, and neurons, and so and so forth. It balances them, so we can have a better, good health and it generate vitality, energy, and long life, and good health, and this is why we do Medicine Buddha practice.

Bodhichitta Motivation

And for that reason we do Medicine Buddha practice, and with that motivation we do Medicine Buddha practice here. As an effective means to do these, I will commit myself to invoking the healing force within me embodied in the Medicine Buddha, to the means of actualizing these forces and to those who are able to willing to support me in this process.

So we can receive the blessing and protections of Medicine Buddha anytime, any moment. Medicine Buddha is here in this world and beyond this world to guide and help all of us and all sentient beings, and we can receive blessings.

And we all have potential to receive blessings. We all have the potential to be healed. We all have the potential to become healers ourself, we can heal ourself. We can do healing for other people through the blessing, by the power of and blessing of Medicine Buddha. And so this is why we do the Medicine Buddha practice.

And so at this time what we do is we go to the mantras now. Next page is the mantra. There’s two mantras, and there’s a short mantra and a long mantra. First we do shorter one.

Tayata Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

Tayata Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

Tayata Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

 

 

[Several minutes repeating.]

Visualize Buddha in front of you (if uninitiated)

Whichever is suitable for you. You can visualize Medicine Buddha right in front of you. He is up there facing you and you’re facing to him, roughly about three or four feet above you and in front of you. Or, you imagine Medicine Buddha sitting right above your head and facing the same direction. Either way is fine. Usually, it’s a little bit more comfortable to visualize in front of you because you can see Medicine Buddha’s face.

As I said, you visualize about three or four feet above you, in front of you, on this beautiful space. First, you visualize lotus cushion and moon cushion. Two cushions like we sit on our mattress and cushion like that. Medicine Buddha is sitting on a lotus cushion.

Lotus cushion symbol of renunciation

Lotus cushion is a symbol of renunciation, which means we recognize the situation in the world today. In today’s world, there is lots of problems and lots of suffering: war, famine, disease, population increasing, lots of stress and pressure, and lots of suffering, and that goes on and on. Kind of endless. So much suffering. But we are here in this world. We have to do something for survival for ourselves, our generations and children, our community, and protecting the land. We have to do something for the rest of the world. We can’t ignore and we cannot give up. We have to do something. This attitude, doing something for the world, is compassion.

The lotus flower is example for compassion. Why the lotus flower is example for compassion? The lotus flower only grows in mud. Lotus flower doesn’t grow in a big garden or botanical garden. It grows in the mud. It needs a certain kind of environment: mud, water, and there could be lots of insects, snakes, and so on and so forth. Not really comfortable or easy place to walk. But it’s a beautiful flower, grows in this kind of environment. They need this kind of environment.

So, the lotus is example for compassion. The pond or the swamp is example for samsara. We call an example of the world. The world is like that swamp, not a very comfortable place to walk. But the lotus flower is born in this swamp. So, compassion can be born within our heart and compassion arise when you see much so much misery and suffering. The more misery is there, suffering there, you can have more compassion. You will say to yourself, “How can I ignore, leave it like that? I have to do something.”

Many compassionate beings

Many, many, many compassionate being in this world today. There are so many enlightened ones. There is many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, enlightened people, compassionate people in the world helping. Sometimes people don’t understand. People questioning, “Where are all the Buddhas? Where are all the Bodhisattvas? Where are the saints? Who’s doing who? Nobody cares.” That’s not the case. Just because there’s so much suffering, we don’t see it. The difference, we don’t see it.

But if you go out there, you see so many people doing voluntary work. Buddhists, Christians, and different people. Many people are not even religious. They are purely spiritual people, good people, doing so many work, tremendous work.

There are so many, what we call, Bodhisattvas. A Bodhisattva is a person who has no self, no sense of self or ego or me. No self-cherishing. They totally give up this concept of Self. Me, I’m here to serve the community, serve the world, serve Mother Earth, Father Sky, and everybody. There are lots of compassionate people and we should join them. We should follow them. We practice with them and as a Sangha in Buddhist term, spiritual community. This is why there is lotus flowers there in the sea, the cushion. You see in Hindu and Buddhist art, you see lots of lotus everywhere.

We even have a guru named Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava means lotus-born guru. The legend is that he was born in the lotus. It’s a miracle. He just showed up on a lotus, little baby. So, Medicine Buddha is sitting on a lotus cushion and then on top of the lotus cushion, there’s a moon cushion that’s horizontal.

Metta and Karuna — Love and Compassion

Moon is symbol of love. So, compassion and love. Love and kindness, Metta and Karuna in Pali and San scripture. Metta is love and Karuna is compassion. The moon is example of love. The moon is very beautiful. You look at the full moon. I think, last night or tonight is a full moon. I saw last night through the window. When you look at the moon, it is very calming and peaceful and beautiful. An example of beauty and so. So, love is sitting on the moon disc and that means that we need to cultivate compassion and love in order to do effective healing practice, Medicine Buddha practice. You visualize moon cushion, then we visualize Medicine Buddha, Lapiz Lazuli Light.

There are eight emanations. The principle of Medicine Buddha is Lapiz Lazuli Light. He has a blue color of lapiz. Lapiz is a mineral and it is a medicine. You can grind lapiz, put it in a herb. We mix it with other herbs. Also, you can use lapiz for painting color like painting of the thangkas and so forth. The blue color is the color of energy, and the color of healing. So we visualize Medicine Buddha above in front of us and we read the description here: “He is sitting on the lotus seat, on top of which is the moon cushion. He is radiant and translucent blue in color and alive and vibrant. His right hand is in a gesture of supreme generosity called an Arura or Myrobalan plant.”

Visualizing Buddha as Alive

So, when we visualize the Buddha deity, we have to imagine He’s alive, not like a statue. He’s alive and he’s a blue color and he’s sitting cross-legged with vajra asana. Right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity or supreme healing. Right hand right above his right knee, holding Arura or Myrobalan, which is a herb and seed.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, it’s called Myrobalan arura and botanic, I think word is, indian gooseberry. It grows in the forest of the Himalayas. There’s actually three multiple herb seeds we call arura, tudora and parura, according to Ayurvedic medicine and Tibet medicine. These herbs have a lot of healing property, especially Myrobalan. It also helps against insect bites like malaria and so forth. So, he’s holding Arura Myrobalan plant in his right hand and always, meaning and giving supreme medicine.

Begging bowl with healing nectar

In the gesture of concentration, his left hand holds a bowl, a begging bowl. So, in the left hand is in the gesture of mudra of contemplation or meditation. Usually, this is the mudra of meditation. You see in Tibetan tradition. Right hand is on the left hand or right hand is on the left hand, depending on the tradition. It doesn’t matter. Same thing. Even the circle inside your hand, the circle is a symbol of unity and oneness. Circle, one, oneness, unity. So, you meet the right hand and left hand here, and also yin and yang, love and compassion, wisdom and compassion, and so forth. The male and female energy all together joined. This is a symbol, a mudra of meditative equipoise.

Here, his left hand is in the mudra of meditative equipoise and then he’s holding a bowl with medicine inside. Medicine Buddha is a monk. Buddhist monks, usually, they have a begging bowl. They hold a begging bowl and go outside begging. It means that they live a very simple life and they would eat whatever people offer them and then meditate most of the time. They spend their time meditation, studying, and doing some work.

So, here Medicine Buddha is holding a bowl, but it’s also not just a medicine bowl. He’s holding a bowl with a nectar inside and then he’s got the nectar or elixir. The Sanskrit term is Amrita. Amrita is similar to the Greek word elixir. So, he’s got this healing medicine. He can give it to us, give it to you, endless and multiply. He’s holding that bowl with nectar on the left hand and contains medicinal nectar, ambrosia of life. Life-sustaining medicine. Longevity medicine.

It says in the commentary, if you drink this medicine or herb, it will give you longevity. It will remove all your health problems. It will remove any defect in your body or weakness of the body. It will heal and balance what you have stagnated chi and so forth. It will remove and it will bring new chi, new energy. Chi is energy. So, this medicine has a lot of power. If you have some toxin chemical and poison, it will renew instantly so you regenerate and rejuvenate your body. Holding this beautiful nectar, and the many different purposes and minerals and so forth.

“He is the embodiment of all the powerful dormant force of healing within us. We can, if it is helpful, imagine the place where we are meditating as a beautiful scenic place in a way that is nurturing us.”

Now, we visualize Medicine Buddha. Please visualize in front of you. The height or size, about maybe two feet and twelve inches. Medicine Buddha, and imagine blue color sitting on a lotus cushion. The body of Medicine Buddha is the nature of light and energy and more or less transparent. He is the embodiment of all the Buddhas. He represents all the Buddhas of the past, the Buddhas of the present time, and the Buddhas of future time. He is here in front of us. We visualize Medicine Buddha. So, you close your eyes slightly.

Visualization: How to Do it

When we say visualization, what are we doing here? You are projecting. You’re creating the image in front of you. Creating by your mind. You have to create. Projecting is like you have a slideshow. You are projecting the image on a screen. You project in front of you, visualize. Then, sometimes the images sort of fade away and then come back again, and you have to refocus, like you focus in a projector. Then, images can be a little bit more clear. If it is not clear, keep concentrating, creating, and then slowly, it appears to us. It will come to us. We have to create by our mind. Everything is part of our mind, anyway, generally speaking. Our perception, we have to project. Please visualize Medicine Buddha in front of you.”

This is followed by meditational images of Medicine Buddha and beautiful chanting of Medicine Buddha Mantra by the incredible Yoko Dharma:

Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha

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Lee Kane, Editor

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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