Medicine Buddha: His Healing Power of Lapis Lazuli

Medicine Buddha, An Introduction:

Medicine Buddha is also referred to as Bhaisajyaguru. Bhaisajya means the 'healing efficacy,' and guru means 'master.'

The earliest acknowledgment of Bhaisajyaguru can be found in the Mahayana text, 'Bhaisajyaguruvaiduryaprabharaja Sutra.' It is commonly termed the 'Medicine Buddha Sutra.' He is the Healing Master of Lapis Lazuli Radiance. 

What is the Spiritual meaning of Lapis Lazuli?

The deep blue color of Lapis Lazuli is a unique feature of Medicine Buddha. Many Asian and European cultures have considered this stone to be precious for ages, which is why its ornamental value is relatively compared with that of the diamond. An aura of mystery surrounds this gemstone. The remote Badakshan region of northeast Afghanistan is where its principal mines are found.

"The finest specimens of lapis, intensely blue with speckled waves and swirls of shining gold-colored pyrite, resemble the night aglow with myriads of stars." 

This beautiful stone symbolizes purity and rarity and has a curative effect on those who wear it. There is a high degree of reflectivity allowed by its natural smoothness. For those who use it in visualization practices, there is a healing effect in the deep blue light. The deep blue shade of lapis is said to have a cleansing and to strengthen influence on individuals who envision it in Vajrayana Buddhism. Lapis is almost invariably included in the picture of Bhaisajyaguru in Buddhist iconography. 

One of the important figures of the Buddhist pantheon is the Medicine Buddha. The western paradise of Amitabha Buddha is often compared to the Medicine Buddha's eastern land. Rebirth in Sukhavati is said to be as conducive to enlightenment as the rebirth here.

One is granted release from the lower realms and protection from worldly dangers from the recitation of this mantra. Freedom from untimely death can also be given through the mere repetition of his name. Shakyamuni Buddha tells his close disciple and attendant Ananda is one of the Sutra:

 "If these sentient beings hear the name of the Lord Master of Healing, the Lapis Lazuli Radiance Tathagata, and with utmost sincerity, accept it and hold on to it, and no doubts arise, then they will not fall into a woe some path."

Medicine Buddha in Tibetan Healing Arts

medicine Buddha

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Medicine Buddha is taken as the source of the healing arts in Tibet. His teachings embody the Four Medical Tantra of Tibetan medicine. He was once surrounded by disciples in the first of these four tantra. His assembly included divine physicians, great sages, worldly deities, and Bodhisattva. As they were speechless by the radiant glory of his appearance, they could not request the desired teachings.

However, Medicine Buddha addressed their unspoken wishes. He manifested in two emanations. As one emanation requested the teachings, the other delivered them. From there originated the Buddhist explanation of mental and physical ailments, their treatment, and health maintenance. Medicine Buddha Statue and thangka causes of disease according to Buddhist Tantra:

As per the Four Tantras, the leading causes of every disease are three poisonous delusions:

  • Ignorance
  • Attachment
  • Hatred

They occupy the center of samsaric existence. Due to these three roots, there are imbalances in the three parts (phlegm, wind, and bile). Various bodily constituents such as blood, flesh, bone, waste products, or impurities like excrement, urine, and sweat are also affected. They analyze all these in various divisions.

The Root Tantra's Saying

"Only if all these divisions are balanced along with the three factors of the tastes, inherent qualities of food, and behavior our health will flourish.

Attachment, hatred, and bewilderment cause the imbalances of wind, bile, and phlegm.

The other four factors (time, spirits, food, and behavior) cause the humor to increase and decrease."

Shakyamuni and Medicine Buddha are hence, great physicians. They have not only the medicinal qualities but also compassion, wisdom, and skillful means to diagnose and treat. Besides their medicinal qualities, they help us clear the root delusions underlying all mental and physical malaise.

The following is the prayer to the Healing Master, Medicine Buddha:

 "I beseech you, Blessed Medicine Guru,
 Whose sky-colored, the holy body of lapis lazuli
Signifies omniscient wisdom and compassion
As vast as limitless space,
Please grant me your blessings.
I beseech you, compassionate Medicine Guru,
Holding in your right hand the king of medicine
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, compassionate Medicine Guru
Holding in your left hand a bowl of nectar
Symbolizing your vow to give the glorious
Undying the nectar of the dharma
Which eliminates the degenerations of sickness, old age, and death,
Please grant me your blessings."

The Medicine Buddha Mantra

The primary goal of Medicine Buddha is to heal all the sentient and abolish all the suffering. Practitioners chant the mantra to purify the body and soul. Buddhist monks and followers embrace the Buddha to find relief from disease and suffering. They also use Medicine Buddha's healing method to improve their and others' healing abilities.

Buddhists in China chant Medicine Buddha's mantra to help them overcome mental, bodily, and spiritual afflictions. People chant not only the mantra but also the name of the Medicine Buddha. Tibetan Buddhism, on the other hand, has a pretty distinct practice. The patient is observed reciting the lengthy Medicine Buddha mantra 108 times over a glass of water by the practitioner.

The patient is observed reciting the lengthy Medicine Buddha mantra 108 times over a glass of water by the practitioner. The patient is permitted to drink water when recitation is completed, believing that water has been blessed by mantra's power and the Medicine Buddha. This procedure is repeated until the sickness has been healed. These activities have taken place either in front of Medicine Buddha statues or in a tranquil environment.

Medicine Buddha's mantra,

“Namo Bhagavate bhaisajya guru vaidurya prabha rajaya
Tathagataya Arhate samyaksambuddhaya tadyatha
Om bhaisajye bhaisajye bhaisajya samudgate Svaha”

OM: Om is the undercurrent tone of the universe.
NAMO: Surrendering fully of faith, as well as bending or bowing
BHAGAWATE: In a close affinity to the Divinity, the cosmos
BHAISHJAYE: Medicine Buddha's other name
GURU: A Spiritual master who transforms one's ignorance into wisdom
VAIDURYA PRABHA: Divine deep blue light, similar to Lapis Lazuli's.
RAJAYA: A Sanskrit word meaning 'Great King'
TATHAGATAYA: Meaning "once arrived" or "once departing"
ARHATE: A person who has transcended the cycle of birth and death
SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA: Completely Enlightened
TEYATHA: To proceed in a specific manner
BEKHAJYE BEKHAJYE: Eliminate suffering of illness
MAHA BEKHAJYE: Remove the suffering of Disease (of the darkness of Spiritual Ignorance)
SAMUDGATE: Highest, most comprehensive, and the deepest point in the world for prayer to reach
SVAHA: I now abandon this prayer that I have offered... (I'm speaking to you, Medicine Buddha)

The Bhaiajyaguruvaiuryaprabharaja Sutra, most often known as the Medicine Buddha Sutra, has the earliest reference to Bhaiajyaguru. This Sutra has been found in Sanskrit manuscripts, both of which were initially part of the Buddhist state of Gandhara. According to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, Bhaisajyaguru vowed twelve things after attaining enlightenment.  

12 vows of Medicine Buddha:

  1. That my body would shine as bright light beams on this immense and limitless cosmos, pouring my wisdom on all beings and eradicating their ignorance and fears. May all individuals attain enlightenment like the Buddha, with flawless status and character, an upright mind and soul, and a perfect status and personality.
  2. To guide people who have drifted from the righteous path back to the road of justice. Make it possible for them to be corrected and reintroduced to the Buddha's way of enlightenment.
  3. I will make it possible for all sentient beings to embrace spiritual purity and moral conduct rules. They will be led to repentance if they relapse or violate the laws. They could receive the sunshine of forgiveness and regain their lost morals and purity if they lament their wrongdoings and pledge for a change with continual prayers and great confidence in the Buddha.
  4. Everyone who is differently-abled or unwell will be blessed with healthy bodily and mental health. All who consistently show devotion to Buddha will be blessed.
  5. To ease the suffering and poverty of the ill and underprivileged. The sick will be treated, the helpless will be aided, and the destitute will be supported.
  6. To protect women who are suffering and being tortured and are in the hopes to be transformed into males. Their requests would be accomplished, and they would eventually achieve Buddhahood by hearing my name, paying honor, and praying.
  7. That my body will be like crystal, pristine and pure, radiating waves of brilliant light into every corner, lighting and enlightening all beings. May all creatures enhance their spiritual force and physical energy with compassion's blessings so that they might achieve their goals on the correct course.
  8. Releasing all beings from the influence of negative notions. I will guide them along the road of light by instilling in them the values of justice and honor so that they will walk in the Buddha's footsteps.
  9. To save those who have repented and have been victims of natural calamities. My infinite energies will benefit those who are genuine, and they will be free of pain.
  10. Through infinite wisdom, I will provide all creatures with the infinite resources they require, ridding them of all sorrows and shame caused by worldly aspirations. Clothing, food, lodging, and transportation are all necessities, but they should be used properly. Apart from self-consumption, the remainder should be freely shared with the community so everyone can live peacefully.
  11. To help people who are impoverished and plagued by mosquitoes and wasps at all hours of the day and night. They would be able to fulfill their wishes if they come across my name, appreciate it with sincerity, and practice dharma to increase their merits.
  12. To save those starving and those who have undertaken offenses to acquire food. If individuals hear my name and cherish it, I will guide them to the blessings of Dharma, provide them with the greatest food, and finally bring them to a peaceful.

This following text is sourced from Dharma Wheel.

Hence, the Lapis Healing Master is regarded as one of Buddhism's most revered figures. His clean eastern realm is compared to Amitabha's western paradise in the sutras in which he appears. The simple recital of his holy name, or recitation of his mantra, is enough to bring liberation from the lower realms, protection from worldly threats, and deliverance from early death.

The Medicine Buddha can often seen in Thangka surrounded by Shakyamuni Buddha his 6 brothers. These eight figures, who all wear the three red monastic robes of a nirmanakaya Buddha and sit in vajra-posture upon a moon disc and lotus, are distinguished by their different hues and right-hand gestures.medicine Buddha iconographyMedicine Buddha Thangka Source: Enlightenment Thangka


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