Bhaisajyaguru – The Medicine Guru!

6 Nov

Lady luck must have been shining down on me because I received an sms invitation to H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s ‘cave’ last night. (I know Rinpoche would probably laugh at my apparent enthusiasm!) When I got there, he told me that I will be joining him in a Medicine Buddha puja for sick Mumu – his sick Schnautzer.

Monlam, Fat Monk and Wendy was there like little busy bees flitting back and forth. We laid out 8 sets of tormas and sensory offerings for the puja and fresh water and candle offering to a sacred image of Medicine Buddha. Just before we began Puja, Seng Piow, Rinpoche’s attendant came home and we were all set for Puja. Just before Puja, Rinpoche gave an incredible explanation of the text and practice which I will explain here to the best of my memory…

Panchen Lama -2The author of this particular puja text is attributed to the omniscient Panchen Lobsang Chokyi Gyeltsen (picture on the left), the sole spiritual guide of the 5th Dalai Lama and also the author of the ethereal and sublime Lama Chopa text. Therefore, it is beyond a doubt an authentic ritual that the great Panchen had condensed from the original, more extensive Medicine Puja text.

Rinpoche explained that the power of this puja is derived from merely reciting and making specific offerings according to tradition to all 8 of the Medicine Buddhas (which includes the historical Buddha Shakyamuni). Each of the Medicine Buddhas hold a specific power and benefit due to specific vows they held when they were Bodhisattvas threading on the path of practice. Therefore, just reciting the names of the Medicine Buddhas in English, Chinese, Tibetan or Sanskrit invokes the power of their vows to fruition unto us. Hence, this Medicine Buddha practice is familiar and well-liked by the Chinese Mahayana tradition that has a long history of a similar practice to take rebirth in Buddha Amitabha’s paradise (Western Pureland). 

This beautiful practice is basically reciting the names of each Buddha, recalling their physical attributes, praising their qualities, making offerings, requesting them to remember their vows and dedication. The Buddhas don’t need help with the recollection of their vows but it is a practice from our side to create the merit for their perfected vows to fruition upon us. 

The Benefits of each of the 8 Medicine Buddhas


1. Suparikirti-tanamasriraja (Skt) or Buddha Renowned Glorious King of Excellent Signs

Avert contagious diseases, executions, harm from criminals and spirits, be reborn with sound body and mind (so we don’t take rebirth as a mute or a retard and this is not a joke!), purify negative karma, not take rebirth in the 3 lower realms, experience happiness again in future lives, avert the negative karma of experiencing hunger, thirst and poverty, harm from dangerous animals, have the ability to pacify those overwhelmed with anger (always a peacemaker and resolve other people’s conflicts) and have the karma to experience wealth power, and good health. 

2. Svaragosaraja (Skt) or Buddha King of Melodious Sound, Brilliant Radiance of Skill, Adorned with Jewels, Moon, and Lotus.

Create the merit to have a strong, stable and undistracted mind (especially beneficial for those who needs constant activity/distraction), have wealth, have the merit to overcome the limited view of reality (so we don’t become stuck in negative situations and people due to our fixed views), take rebirth as a human, always attracted to teachings, practice the Dharma, purify mental obscurations, have happiness, always be near our spiritual master, be protected from environmental distractions of our time ( good time, money, pleasure and other modern distractions), spirit harm, untimely death, enemies and averting the karma to take rebirth in places where there is no Dharma, have the merit to always delight in making offerings and formal spiritual practices. 

3. Suvarnabhadradravimala (Skt) or Buddha Stainless Excellent Gold, Great Jewel Who Accomplishes All Vows

Extend one’s life, increase one’s wealth, fosters a loving mind and hold our vows and practice Bodhichitta.  

4. Asokottamasriraja (Skt) or Buddha Supreme Glory Free from Sorrow

Create the karma to experience long life, have happiness,  be the light to those who suffer the most, be born with a beautiful appearance and purify the karma to experience diseases. 

5. Dharmakirtisagara (Skt) or Buddha Melodious Ocean of Proclaimed Dharma 

Create the merit to have right view and faith in our spiritual masters and Buddha’s teachings, have the merit to hear and practice the Dharma (especially Bodhichitta), have wealth, love, long life and be contented. 

6. Abhijyaraja (Skt) or Buddha Delightful King of Clear Knowing, Supreme Wisdom of an Ocean of Dharma

Create the karma to be free of hatred, jealousy and the wish to hurt others, have wealth, purify powerful negative karma and habituations that bring us to lower realms , be free of oppression and have a long healthy life. 

7. Bhaisajyaguru (Skt) or  Buddha Medicine Guru, King of Lapis Light 

Create the merit to become fully enlightened with a Buddha’s body, create the merit to practice the Mahayana in every life, hold our vows well, be of sound mind and have a healthy body, health wealth,  be freed from Mara’s noose (anger, jealousy and all negative mental states that makes us suffer) and perverse viewpoints, purify the karma of wrong livelihood that leads to rebirth in lower realms (like butchers, exterminators etc).

8. Buddha Glorious Conqueror Shakyamuni 

(Rinpoche didn’t comment but I refered to the text for this benefit) Always receive protection of the 3 Jewels and receive the most sublime guidance and benefits

Last bit of the puja is to praise the Dharma as the most sublime medicine for all our delusions. Before that, Rinpoche asked us, what is cause for all of our medical problems? FM said it was our negative karma. Then Rinpoche said it is actually our self-grasping mind. Understanding this and applying the Dharma becomes the most important medicine for all of us as it heals right at the root of all our problems. 

Right at the end, Wendy asked a series of questions regarding Medicine Buddha Puja practice and its place in Tantric practice. Rinpoche responded that Medicine Buddha practice is lower Tantra and that means it become a powerful preliminary to Higher Tantras like Vajrayogini that ultimately takes us to Enlightenment. All of us were simply awed by Rinpoche’s explanation that evening and everyone present remarked that the explanation revolutionised our whole view of Medicine Buddha and his place in our practice. He is not just an ordinary healing deity. 

Rinpoche mentioned towards the end that is why Medicine Buddha is such a powerful and efficacious practice to bless ourselves, heal ourselves and can even be recited on animals, dead carcases and even bones to plant powerful blessings. 

4 Responses to “Bhaisajyaguru – The Medicine Guru!”

  1. Tsem Rinpoche November 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    nice…Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

  2. Helen Karuna November 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this David 🙂 I´ve practiced the common blue Medicin Buddha a lot and are happy to know about all 8. I´ve printed your text out. It´s true “He is not just an ordinary healing deity….Medicine Buddha is such a powerful and efficacious pratice to bless ourselves, heal….powerful blessings.” I was thought it can be practiced at distance to. May Mumu be healed!!!

  3. Michael November 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us.
    The Wednesday Menlha group would really appreciate if this can be share before the Puja group. Normally, if time permits, Aunty Hannie do routinely give us an explanation before puja. Do hope you can join us for the puja! 🙂

  4. David Lai November 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    I think Paris will share this info with the Han Nee and she will disseminate to you guys. I am not sure if I would have the time to attend..

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