The Medicine Buddha
Oṃ bhaiṣajye bhaiṣajye maha bhaiṣajya-samudgate svah, is the Medicine Buddha Mantra.
Bhaisajyaguru is more familiarly known as the Medicine Buddha, and is responsible for bringing healing and medicine to those who worship him. A doctor offering cures for suffering and ill health, the medicine that he offers is typically in the form of his teachings. There are two Medicine Buddha mantras, one is the long-form of his mantra and the short-form of the mantra encompasses just the last line of the long-form mantra.
The long-form Medicine Buddha dharani, or mantra, is said to have come to the Medicine Buddha while he was in a state of Samadhi, which is very similar to a form of meditation. The long-form mantra is as follows.
Om namo bhagavate bhaiṣajyaguru
arhate samyaksambuddhaya tadyatha
oṃ bhaiṣajye bhaiṣajye mahabhaiṣajya-samudgate svaha
To the uninitiated this doesn’t likely make much sense, however, the short-form of this mantra is a lot easier to comprehend. Oṃ bhaiṣajye bhaiṣajye mahabhaiṣajya-samudgate svah, like the majority of other mantras in Buddhism can hold very widely varied meanings to those who are reciting them. There is rarely one true meaning and literal translation for mantras. However, this one can be thought to mean the following.
May the many sentient beings
Who are sick
Quickly be freed from sickness
And may all of the sicknesses of beings never arise again
bhaiṣajye bhaiṣajye is said to mean “doing away with illness and pain”
mahābhaiṣajya is said to mean “doing away with darkness associated with spiritual ignorance”
samudgate is said to be in reference to supreme heights or freedom
svāhā is recited as a means of allowing the Medicine Buddha to be aware that the prayer is being said in his name
Those who are ill or otherwise suffering are to recite the mantra 108 times, typically over a glass of fresh water. The belief behind this is that the power within the mantra will infuse with the water, essentially transforming the water into an essential healing tonic. The water is then consumed by the ill person so that they may take in the power and healing infused water. This process is repeated as many times as is needed until the desired results have been achieved.
This powerful healing mantra is not just designated for the purpose of creating blessed healing tonics, it can also be recited as a means of asking the Medicine Buddha to guide those who are injured, ill, or otherwise in need of treatment towards the right path.
The healing offered is not always necessarily as a means of easing the physical suffering. It can also be offered as a means to helping ease the mental and emotional anguish that so many are afflicted with.
The Medicine Buddha mantra will help the body attain good health, help the mind to attain peace from mental anguish, and can also help the agonized soul with finding the relief it needs to get from suffering it may be experiencing. The Medicine Buddha mantra can also offer a method of karma purification, essentially removing all negative karma.
Short Biography of Ninth Khenchen Thrangu Tulku, Karma Lodrö Lungrik Maway Senge
The Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche was born in Kham, Tibet, in 1933. At the age of five, he was formally recognized by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa and Tai Situpa as the ninth incarnation of the great Thrangu tulku. He entered Thrangu monastery, where, from the ages of seven to sixteen, he studied reading, writing, grammar, poetry, and astrology, memorized ritual texts, and completed two preliminary retreats. At sixteen, under the direction of Khenpo Lodro Rabsel, he began the study of the three vehicles of Buddhism while in retreat. At twenty-three he received full ordination from the Karmapa.
Because of the Chinese military takeover of Tibet, Thrangu Rinpoche, then twenty-seven, was forced to flee to India in 1959. He was called to Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, where the Karmapa has his seat in exile. Because of his great scholarship and unending diligence, he was given the task of preserving the teachings of the Kagyu lineage; the lineage of Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa, so that one thousand years of profound Buddhist teachings would not be lost. He continued his studies in exile, and at the age of thirty-five he took the geshe examination before 1500 monks at
Buxador monastic refugee camp in Bengal and was awarded the degree of Geshe Lharampa. Upon his return to Rumtek, he was awarded the highest Khenchen degree. Because many of the Buddhist texts in Tibet were destroyed, Thrangu Rinpoche helped in beginning the recovery of these texts from Tibetan monasteries outside of Tibet. He was named Abbot of Rumtek monastery and the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies at Rumtek. Thrangu Rinpoche, along with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, was one of the principal teachers at the Institute, training all the younger tulkus of the lineage, including The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, who was in the first class. He was also the personal tutor of the four principal Karma Kagyu tulkus: Shamar Rinpoche, Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and Gyaltsab Rinpoche. Thrangu Rinpoche established the fundamental curriculum of the Karma Kagyu lineage taught at Rumtek. In addition, he taught with Khenpo Karthar, who had been a teacher at Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery in Tibet before 1959, and who is now head of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York, the seat of His Holiness Karmapa in North America.
After twenty years at Rumtek, in 1976 Thrangu Rinpoche founded the small monastery of Thrangu Tashi Choling in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal. Since then, he has founded a retreat center and college at Namo Buddha, east of the Kathmandu Valley, and has established a school in Boudhanath for the general education of Tibetan lay children and young monks in Western subjects as well as in Buddhist studies. In Kathmandu, he built Tara Abbey, which offers a full dharma education for Tibetan nuns, training them to become khenpos or teachers. He has also established a free medical clinic in an impoverished area of Nepal.
Thrangu Rinpoche recently completed a large, beautiful monastery in Sarnath, India, overlooking the Deer Park where the Buddha gave his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths. This monastery is named Vajra Vidya after the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, and it is now the seat for the annual Kagyu conference led by His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa. In January of this year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to Sarnath to perform a ceremony in the Deer Park with the Karmapa, Thrangu Rinpoche, and other high lamas.
Around 1976, Thrangu Rinpoche began giving authentic Buddhist teachings in the West. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. In 1984 he spent several months in Tibet where he ordained over one hundred monks and nuns and visited several monasteries. In the United States, Thrangu Rinpoche has centers in Maine and California, and is currently building the Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado. Highly qualified monks and nuns from Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery will give retreatants instruction in various intensive practices. He often visits and gives teachings in centers in New York, Connecticut, and Seattle, Washington. In Canada, he gives teachings in Vancouver and has a center in Edmonton. He is the Abbot of Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist monastery in Nova Scotia. He conducts yearly Namo Buddha seminars in the United States, Canada, and Europe, which are also part of a meditation retreat.
Rinpoche has now taught in over twenty-five countries and has seventeen centers in twelve countries. He is especially known for making complex teachings accessible to Western students. Thrangu Rinpoche is a recognized master of Mahamudra meditation.
Because of his vast knowledge of the Dharma and his skill as a teacher, he was appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the personal tutor for His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa.
For more details on V. V. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and his activities, visit the official website; www.rinpoche.com