Medicine Buddha


The Medicine Buddha is considered the Master of Healing in Tibetan medicine. He is referred to as Sangya Menla in Tibet, Yaoshi-fo in China, Yakushi in Japan and Bhaisajyaguru Vaiduryaprabhu in Sanskrit.

Tibetan medicine recognizes basically three types of illnesses and these, it believes, are caused by passion, aggression and ignorance. It is of the opinion that Myrobalan is the only herb that can cure all these three illnesses, and hence, the Medicine Buddha holds a sprig of Myrobalan in his right hand.

The Appearance of the Medicine Buddha

Images of the Medicine Buddha depict him as having a deep blue color. The color is described as lapis lazuli blue. The stone, lapis lazuli, it is interesting, has for long been associated with healing and strengthening.

In statues and pictures of the Medicine Buddha, we notice that he is dressed in monastic robes, and sits in the padmasana (full lotus) posture. He sits on a lotus with a thousand petals, which in turn sits on a jeweled throne. The Medicine Buddha's right hand is extended over the right knee, palm outward, and in it, he holds the Myrobalan plant. This is the gesture of supreme generosity. His left hand rests in his lap, palm upward. This is the gesture of meditative stability. The Medicine Buddha's posture represents the eradication of suffering and illness.

The fundamental cause of illness, it is believed, is the lack of contentment. The need for contentment is indicated by the begging bowl in the Medicine Buddha's left hand.

There are believed to be eight Buddhas, including Shakyamuni Buddha . The medicine Buddha is the central figure of these.

The Medicine Buddha Mantra The mantra holds great healing powers. It is to be recited 108 times over a glass of water by the afflicted patient. The water is then considered blessed, and the patient is to drink it. This is repeated till the illness is cured.

The Sanskrit mantra is:

Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaishajyaguru Vaiduryaprabharajaya Tathagataya Arhate Samyaksambuddhaya Tadyatha: Om Bhaishajye Bhaishajye Mahabhaishajye Bhaishajye Raja Samudgate Svaha

The day of the Medicine Buddha is the eight day of the lunar month. At that time, his powers and that of all the healing deities is especially strong. The Medicine Buddha, it is said, took 12 vows. Of these, one was that the simple invocation of his name or the thought of him, holds the power to cure. It is believed that by worshipping the Medicine Buddha, one can generate enormous healing powers oneself.

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