Medicine Buddha

Visualize the Medicine Buddha in the space on the top of your head. He radiants a dark blue light on you and all sentient beings. Recite the main mantra three times, and then the heart mantra 108 times:
Medicine Buddha Mantra (Long)
Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaisajya Guru. Vaidurya. Prabha. Raja ya. Tathagataya. arhate. samyak sambuddhaya. Tadyatha Om Bekaja bekaja. Maha bekaja bekaja.raja
samudgate ya Svaha! 

Tayata om bhaykandze bhaykandze maha bhaykandze radza samudgate soha

Pronunciation: Tayata, Om, bekandzeh, bekandzeh maha-bekandzeh, radza samungateh. Soha. 

'May all beings benefit from the sublime love and power of Sangye Menla' is often given as the meaning but it is not a literal translation.

Since the practice of Medicine Buddha is considered a Sutrayana practice (i.e., based mainly on scripture) no empowerment is necessary, but it is good to attend one or to ask for one when you have an opportunity. 

Khenpo Karthar has said that the practice of Sangye Menla also has been found beneficial in cases of mental illness.  And it is said that even hearing the name Sangye Menla only once has benefits for subsequent rebirth, for the Medicine Buddha made 12 vows describing the various ways he can help sentient beings with their sufferings.


Medicine Buddha & Tibetan Medicine

The full name of the Medicine Buddha is Bhaishajyaguru Vaiduryaprabha, the Healing Master of Lapis Lazuli Radiance. Like Shakyamuni he wears the robes of a monk and is seated in the full cross-legged posture. His left hand is in the meditation mudra, resting in his lap and holding a begging bowl filled with medicinal nectar and fruit. His right hand rests upon his knee with palm facing outward in the mudra granting blessings and holds the stem of a myrobalan plant (Terminalia chebula), renowned as the king among medicines because of its effectiveness in treating both mental and physical diseases.

In traditional Tibetan tangkas, the Lapis Healing Master is often shown in the company of seven other Medicine Buddhas, one of whom is Shakyamuni himself. And in depictions of his eastern buddha realm known as Pure Lapis Lazuli, the Healing Master is generally flanked by the two leading bodhisattvas of that pure land, Suryaprabha and Chandraprabha, respectively All-pervading Solar and Lunar Radiance.


The Lapis Healing Master is one of the most honored figures in the Buddhist pantheon. The sutras in which he appears compare his eastern pure land with the western paradise of Amitabha, and rebirth there is said to be as conducive to enlightenment as is rebirth in Sukhavati. Recitation of his mantra, or even the mere repetition of his holy name, is said to be sufficient to grant release from the lower realms, protection from worldly dangers and freedom from untimely death. In one of the main sutras concerning the Medicine Buddha, Shakyamuni tells his close disciple and attendant Ananda:

If these sentient beings [those plunged into the depths of samsarašs sufferings hear the name of the Lord Master of Healing, the Lapis Lazuli Radiance Tathagatha, and with utmost sincerity accept it and hold onto it, and no doubts arise, then they will not fall into a woesome path.

In Tibet the Medicine Buddha is revered as the source of the healing arts for it is through him that the teachings embodied in the Four Medical Tantras, the basis of Tibetan medicine, came into being. As explained in the first of these Four Tantras, the Lapis Lazuli Healing Master was once seated in meditation surrounded by an assembly of four circles of disciples including divine physicians, great sages, non-Buddhist gods and bodhisattvas, all of whom wished to learn the art of healing. Rendered speechless by the radiant glory of his countenance, they were unable to request the desired teachings. To accommodate their unspoken wishes, the Medicine Buddha manifested two emanations, one to request the teachings and the other to deliver them. In this way, then, the Buddhist explanation of the various mental and physical ailments, their causes, diagnoses and treatment and the maintenance of health is said to have originated.

According to the Four Tantras, the fundamental cause of every disease is to be found in the three poisonous delusions ­ ignorant bewilderment, attachment and hatred ­ occupying the hub of the wheel of samsaric existence. These three root delusions lead to imbalances in three so-called humors (phlegm, wind and bile), the various bodily constituents (blood, flesh, bone, etc.) and waste products, or impurities (excrement, urine and perspiration), all of which are analyzed in twenty-five divisions. The Root Tantra says:

Thus if all these twenty-five are in balance and the three factors of the (1) tastes and (2) inherent qualities of onešs food and (3) onešs behavior are wholesome, onešs health and life will flourish. If they are not, onešs health and life will be harmed.

And further on:

Attachment, hatred and bewilderment are the three causes producing imbalances of wind, bile and phlegm. Along with these, the four contributing circumstances of time, spirits, food and behavior cause the humors to increase and decrease. The imbalance then spreads over the skin, increases in the flesh, moves along the vessels, meets the bones and descends upon the solid and hollow organs.

Treatment of disease and the maintenance of health are therefore primarily a matter of bringing the various elements of the body back into balance and this is accomplished through four progressive types of treatment. The first two involve changes in the type of food we eat and behavior we engage in. Only when these prove ineffective is the physician advised to prescribe medicine and only when this also fails is he or she to resort to external forms of treatment such as cauterization and the like. However, none of these types of treatment will have a lasting effect unless they are accompanied by spiritual transformation. If ignorance and its associated delusions remain festering inside, sooner or later they will give rise to disease and the recurring miseries of cyclic existence. Thus Buddhas such as Shakyamuni and the Lapis Healing Master are referred to as great physicians not because of their medical abilities ­ as great as these are ­ but because they have the compassion, wisdom and skillful means to diagnose and treat the root delusions underlying all mental and physical malaise.

The following prayer of request is addressed to the Lapis Healing Master:

I beseech you, Blessed Medicine Guru,
Whose sky-colored, holy body of lapis lazuli
Signifies omniscient wisdom and compassion
As vast as limitless space,
Please grant me your blessings.

I beseech you, Blessed Medicine Guru,
Holding in your right hand the king of medicines
Symbolizing your vow to help all the pitiful sentient beings
Plagued by the four hundred and twenty-four diseases,
Please grant me your blessings.

I beseech you, Blessed Medicine Guru,
Holding in your left hand a bowl of nectar
Symbolizing your vow to give the glorious
undying nectar of the dharma
Which eliminates the degenerations of sickness,
old age and death,
Please grant me your blessings.


Sutra of the Master of Healing.


Medicine Buddha (8 figures.)

In the Sakya, "Wish-fulfilling Gem," tradition, the seven that surround him on the first tier of lotus petals are:

1. Skt.: Buddha Suparikirti'tanama'shri, Tibetan spelling: Sangs-rGyas mTshan legs-par yongs bsgrags dpal, pron. Tshen Lek -- Excellent Name, golden.

2. Buddha Svaraghosha, Sgra-dbyangs kyi rgyal-po, pron. Dra Yang Gyalpo -- King of Melody, yellow.

3. Buddha Suparna'bhadra vimalaratna'prabhasa, Sangs-rgyas gser-bsang dri-med rin-chen snangs, pron. Ser Zang Dri Me Nangwa -- Appearance of Stainless Fine Gold, golden.

4.  Buddha Ashok'attama'shri, Sangs-rgyas mya-ngan med mchog dpal=mya-ngan med mchog dpal,  pron. Nya Ngen Me Chok Pal -- Glorious Supreme One, Free of Misery.  His body is pink.

5. Buddha Dharmakirti'sagaraghosha,  Sangs-rgyas chos bsgrags rgya-mtsho'i dbyangs, pron. Cho Drak Yang -- Resounding Dharma Melody, white with reddish glow

6.  Buddha Abhijna'raja, mNgon mKyen rGyal-po, Ngon Khyen Gyalpo -- King of Direct Knowledge, red as coral.

7.  Buddha Bhaisajya'guru vaidurya'prabharaja, Sangs-rgyas sMan gyi Vaidurya'i od kyi rgyal-po,  Man-po'i gyal;  dark blue as lapis lazuli.

8. Buddha Shrijing Shakyamuni,  Tib. spelling: Sangs-rgyas dpal rgyal-ba Sahkya thub-pa, Shakya Gyalpo -- King of the Shakyas ('historical' Buddha) golden.  As Supreme Physician or "Supreme Healer" there is a practice in which he alone is the Medicine Buddha.

The eighth petal supports the dharma book that, according to Khenpo Karthar,  actually sings the words it contains

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