By Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The yoga method of the Medicine Buddha was taught by Guru Padmasambhava in the collection of teachings called Jewel Treasure. It was taught to enable those who practiced it to diagnose and treat their patients perfectly, particularly in times when the five degenerations were flourishing.
Because the pure wisdom of the omniscient mind, the dharmakaya, is bound by infinite compassion for living beings, it manifested in various aspects to eliminate different obstacles of living beings. Such deities as the seven Medicine Buddhas manifested in order to pacify the obstacles to the achievement of even temporary happiness, and especially the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment.
The seven Medicine Buddhas are not only very powerful in healing disease, but in purification, for both the living and the dead. The Medicine Buddha practice can purify even those who have already died and liberate them from suffering. It is also powerful in bringing success, both temporary and ultimate.
The reason they also bring success is that in the past when they were bodhisattvas practicing the path to enlightenment, they promised and made extensive prayers to actualize all the prayers of living beings of the degenerate time, when the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are in decline. They generated a very strong intention to become enlightened for this reason; this was their motivation for meditating on and actualizing the path. This is why it is important to pray every day to Medicine Buddha, not only for the healing of disease, but also for the success of our Dharma practice and other activities.
As the Buddha’s holy speech is irrevocable, we can trust the power of the Medicine Buddhas to quickly grant blessings to sentient beings in these degenerate times. If we pray to the Medicine Buddhas we will quickly be able to accomplish everything that we wish. Merely hearing the name of the Medicine Buddha or the Medicine Buddha mantra closes the door to rebirth in the lower realms. We should not have any doubt in regard to these benefits.
Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said in the sutra Medicine Buddha, Beams of Lapis Lazuli: “Ananda, do you believe my explanation of the qualities of this Tathagata?” Kungawo replied, “I do not doubt the teachings of you, the Bhagawan. Why not? Because the actions of a Tathagata’s holy body, speech, and mind are always pure and faultless.” Guru Shakyamuni Buddha then advised, “Ananda, whoever hears the holy name of this Tathagata will not fall into the evil realms of the suffering transmigratory beings.”
When someone is seriously ill, elaborate meditation practices containing the dedicated purposes of each of the Medicine Buddhas are done. It is commonly found that this puja decides whether the person lives or dies. They either recover immediately or die within one or two days with a peaceful mind rather than living with a lot of pain.
Medicine Buddha practice is very powerful. While the Medicine Buddha puja is very effective in cases of serious illness, it is also performed to bring success generally.
It is good to do a Medicine Buddha retreat for one or two months. By practicing these methods, we can gain clairvoyance. A sign of attainment is that patients come to you in your dreams and you diagnose their illness; the next day they actually do come to see you and you can prescribe the exact treatment they need. Another sign is that when you concentrate on the patient’s pulse, you can immediately recognize the disease and prescribe the correct treatment. Also, as you are examining the pulse, many goddesses may appear in space around you and tell you the nature of the disease and its treatment.
Because of the flourishing of the five degenerations, the diagnosis of sickness has changed and new disease patterns have emerged. Doctors have difficulty in recognizing the new diseases and do not know the treatment. These patterns are just as Padmasambhava predicted.
In the presence of the eight Medicine Buddhas – when we refer to eight, we are including Shakyamuni Buddha – Manjushri requested, “As you have promised in the past, please grant a special mantra to bring success quickly to sentient beings of the degenerate time, who have little merit and who are overwhelmed by many sufferings, including diseases and spirit harms. May these sentient beings see all the Buddhas and accomplish all their wishes.” Together in one voice the eight Medicine Buddhas granted the mantra in response to Manjushri’s request.
If we recite the Medicine Buddha mantra as a daily practice, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas pay attention to us, just as a mother pays attention to her beloved child, and always guide us. Vajrapani, the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ power, the four guardians, and other protectors always protect us and guide us. It also purifies all our negative karmas and quickly pacifies diseases and spirit harms. It also brings success; everything succeeds exactly according to our wishes.