Medicine Buddha Teachings Paperback – Apr 7 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
One of the key deities in the intricate pantheon of Vajrayana Buddhism is the Medicine Buddha. A person who appropriately venerates this figure is promised to experience an "increase in healing powers... and a decrease in physical and mental illness and suffering." In 1999, Thrangu (Everyday Consciousness and Buddha-Awakening) led a retreat in Washington State where he explicated the Medicine Buddha Sadhana (traditional liturgy) and the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha. Chapters in the book are edited transcripts of his teaching sessions at this retreat. The first portion of the book is largely a detailed, verse-by-verse commentary on and guide to practicing the sadhana, highlighting such topics as the importance of visualization, making offerings to the deity and why certain symbolic objects are auspicious. The next section is the text of the sadhana itself, in Sanskrit and in translation. Thrangu then exegetes the sutra (scripture) underlying the liturgy, explaining the Medicine Buddha's 12 "aspirations"-the vows he made to illuminate, benefit, heal and prosper all beings-and describing the benefits of "recollecting" and supplicating him. Thrangu rounds out the book with a discussion of the Vajrayana view of gods and spirits. This is no introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism: a working knowledge of basic concepts is assumed, and the text is dense and often extraordinarily detailed. Yet the book is informative and conversational in tone, and may benefit advanced students specifically seeking to understand the Medicine Buddha practice.
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"Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is among the wisest and most compassionate Buddhist masters alive today." —Pema Chödrön, author of When Things Fall ApartSee all Product Description
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His pithy and clarifying explanations include:
p. 11: the 8 Medicine Buddhas including the main one (Menla)
p. 11: supremely effective in the removal of illness; combination of tantra & sutra therefore "since it is connected with the sutras, it is acceptable to do the practice without the empowerment"
pp. 24-5: impartiality 1st; & the 4 Immeasurables; apply to specific context of physical healing
pp. 43-4: explains the meaning of the 8 major signs of a Buddha, 7 types of royalty
p. 47: Medicine Buddha mantra -Om Sarva Tathagata Abikekate Samaya Shriye Hung.
p. 49: Reasons for offerings and the parts of the sadhana
p. 63: the purpose of yidam (meditation entities) practices
pp. 65-7: Name of the primary Medicine Buddha = Bhaishajyai Guru = teacher of medicine or Mengyi Lama or Menla for short; also, benefits for animals of this practice; can also use the Mani of Chenrezig
pp. 105-117 [also see the Appendix on pages 179-82]: Medicine Buddha's 12 aspirations
pp. 122-3: types of Bodhichitta: king, ferryman, shepherd and on practitioners being realistic
pp. 127-133: 5 Buddha families & Mudras & offerings
p. 137: balancing practice with serving others
p. 152: Medicine Buddha practice can be freely taught
p. 159: "this practice is not really the worship of an external deity., It is primarily a way of gaining access to your won inherent or innate wisdom."
p. 160: the siddhis (psychic accomplishments
pp. 160-2: maras (obstacles)
These are listed here because, unfortunately, there is no subject index in the book.
The author is quite practical and realistic in a way intelligible to the Western practitioner:
p. 49: "buddhas and bodhisattvas are not pleased by praise nor displeased by its absence. One performs the praises to remind oneself, the practitioner, of the qualities of the deities."
pp. 105-117 & 179-82 (Appendix): the 12 aspirations are more than healing; 3=prosperity; 7th=poverty
Since Thrangu Rinpoche asserts several times that these practices can be openly shared, here is the very practical Karma Chakme (or Chagme) practice from pages 61-2:
"In his book "Mountain Dharma: Instructions for Retreat," Karma Chakme Rinpoche recommends the following visualization for the actual alleviation of sickness. You can visualize yourself as the Medicine Buddha if you wish, but the main focus is to actually visualize a small form of the Medicine Buddha, no larger than four finger-widths in height, in the actual part of your body that is afflicted. So if it is an illness or pain in the head, visualize a small Medicine Buddha in the head; if it is in the hand, visualize a small Medicine Buddha in the hand...Visualize the Medicine Buddha in that place, and think that from this small but vivid form of the Medicine Buddha rays of light are emitted. These rays of light are not simply light, which is dry, but liquid light having a quality of ambrosia. This luminous ambrosia or liquid light actually cleanses and removes the sickness and pain-whatever it is. You can do this not only for yourself, by visualizing the Medicine Buddha in the appropriate part of your own body, but you can do it for others as well by visualizing the Medicine Buddha in the appropriate part of their body or bodies. The radiation of rays of light of ambrosia and so on is the same. This can be applied not only to physical sickness but to mental problems as well. If you want to get rid of a particular type of anxiety or stress or depression or fear or any other kind of unpleasant mental experience, you can visualize the Medicine Buddha seated above the top of your head and think in the same way as before that luminous ambrosia or liquid light emerges from his body, filling your body and cleansing you of any problem, whatever it is. You might think that all of this sounds a bit childish, but in fact, it actually works, and you will find that out if you try it." In the spirit of scientific enquiry, I suggest you try it out empirically!
so kind, so clear, so penetrating. The book fulfills the knowledge you need to learn, and the love, compassion,
and devotion that brings Medicine Buddha near and personal. A must.
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