According to the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, tape-recorded in the Sutra on Going Into the Womb, there are 4 classes of health problem. The very first consists of illnesses which are reasonably insignificant, and from these health problems one will recover whether one takes medications.
The 2nd class of disease consists of more severe, even hazardous, diseases, but if one takes the suitable medicines, one will recuperate from these as well. A contemporary upgrade of this classification would certainly include lots of efficient modern medical procedures, such as acupuncture, surgical treatment, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and so on
. The third class of illness includes those for which medications are of no use, diseases from which one can not recover simply through the use of medicines or other medical treatments. These diseases, however, can be cured, and one can thus recover one’s health, through the practice of proper spiritual strategies taught in the buddhadharma.
The fourth class of illness consists of those which have a karmicly identified irreversibly terminal nature. When one’s body manifests such an illness, death is inevitable and no amount of medication or medical treatment can avoid it. In fact, making use of medications in such cases– with the exception of narcotics for pain– just serves to increase one’s suffering.
The mentors on the Medication Buddha which follow in these pages, provided by the remarkable Tibetan meditation master and scholar Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, are meant most especially for those who are struggling with the 3rd class of disease, health problems for which no effective medical treatment has been found, but which are still treatable through the practice of profound spiritual methods. In the Buddhist custom the most noteworthy of these strategies are the spiritual practices related to the Medicine Buddha. Through such practices, the natural healing powers fundamental in the basic nature of all sentient beings can be exposed and accessed. In this method ill individuals can cure themselves of the illnesses that medications and medical treatments are not able to cure.
As normal humans we have a tendency to believe that health problems are physically based and need physical options. Therefore, it is sensible to ask how it is possible that spiritual practice can help the body cure itself. This concern becomes even more crucial for those who have no faith in the incredible powers of a developer god. However if one believes in or perhaps an intimation of any type of spiritual truth that goes beyond the limitations of a strictly material universe, then one will discover oneself extremely thinking about the answer to this concern offered by the Buddhist custom.
In the vajrayana custom of Buddhism, we would address this question– how one can treat oneself through spiritual practice– from 2 point of views: from the point of view of the ultimate fact of the nature of truth, and from the perspective of relative realities, which talk about how things appear to us when we have actually not yet understood the supreme fact of the nature of truth.
From the perspective of ultimate truth, all phenomena, including all the phenomena that we misapprehend as physical matter, are empty of any intrinsic existence. Though they appear to be extremely strong and real to us, they are in fact mere illusory looks lacking any considerable truth, like a light program in space, like the aurora borealis, a rainbow, an echo, a flash of lightning, a mirage, a magical display screen, a dream, an hallucination, like the images in movies and on tv, or like the reflection of the moon in water. None of these illusory appearances, including what we take to be matter, have any real, different, irreversible, solid or significant existence independent of ever-changing equally non-existent causes and conditions. When researchers today examine and scrutinize the atoms which we for centuries have thought of as the building blocks of the material world, they discover no indivisible and, for that reason, permanent particles of matter. They find mostly space with variously described sorts of energies rushing around within it. These energies are likewise insubstantial, impermanent, and unforeseeable. They can not be stated to have any kind of irreversible presence. The more researchers examine, the more illusory the nature of matter appears. The Buddha discovered this very same reality in meditation 2,500 years earlier, and the Buddhist custom has actually been teaching it ever since.
All phenomena are ephemeral, constantly changing in the same method as the looks within a kaleidoscope constantly modification. None of these illusory appearances– including the appearances of sickness and disease, which are also mere empty appearances– have the power to trigger us suffering unless we wrongly apprehend them as genuine and considerable. When we misapprehend these looks, when we take them to be genuine, we focus on them and thus cause them to strengthen in our experience. This gives them the look of strong, substantial truth, and after that in our lives these diseases do, in truth, ended up being for us extremely genuine and strong, and we suffer from them.
Still, though everything that we experience is empty of any type of substantial presence, we still experience something. What is it that we experience? We experience mind.
In discussing the nature of things, or the nature of looks, which in the ultimate analysis are simply empty, insubstantial radiations or light-manifestations of a similarly empty and poor, though luminescent, mind, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche reveals the mentors of the Buddha offered 2,500 years earlier in the 3rd turning of the wheel of dharma, his third fantastic cycle of teachings:
Prior to meditating, prior to acknowledging things to be as they are, one will have seen the brilliance of this mind as strong external things that are sources of enjoyment and pain. But through practicing meditation, and through pertaining to recognize things as they are, you will concern see that all of these appearances are simply the display or brilliance or light of the mind which experiences them.
When one is able genuinely to recognize sickness and disease as “merely the display or radiance or light of the mind which experiences them,” empty of any fundamental substantial presence, then one’s suffering disappears.
Regardless of which of the first three classifications of health problem one is experiencing, if one is able to recognize its real nature– that it is merely the empty magical screen or glow or light of the mind which experiences it– one will experience no suffering, and depending on the level and efficiency of this realization, one’s illness will dissolve in the empty pure primordial area, and one will be cured. Even if one is affected by the fourth classification of disease and it is karmicly unavoidable that one will pass away from that specific illness, one will pass away without suffering or fear, since all phenomena, including illness, are empty. They do not have any sort of considerable, permanent truth independent of similarly empty and synergistic causes and conditions. They are all simply insubstantial, ever-changing, kaleidoscopic light reveals in the primordially pure open stretch of empty luminescent awareness.
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Most of the time, naturally, we have no concept why we are ill. This comes about as a consequence of our present failure to recognize much of the numerous unfavorable feelings that we suppress in our minds and to “see,” with the eye of wisdom, the karmic deeds, normally dedicated in previous lives, which are responsible for such emotions and for our diseases. These recognitions are the requirement for “seeing” straight the relationship in between negative mental/emotional states, wicked deeds, and health problems. The practice of the Medicine Buddha will also eventually eliminate the obscurations of mind that block such acknowledgments. In the meantime, if we understand the general concept of karmic cause and effect and believe in the possibility of spiritual filtration, we can practice the Medication Buddha and achieve outcomes long before the dawning of such spiritual insight.
All of these advantages come about since the basis of all illness is evil deeds and the emotional defilements that give rise to them. The practice of the Medicine Buddha is one of the most extensive ways of purifying such deeds and defilements and the karmic imprints that they leave in the psychosomatic system in the type of illness and compulsive behavior. In this way, the Medication Buddha gets rid of the causes of our diseases and the diseases themselves.
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From the teachings by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
When you receive the blessing of the Medicine Buddha, and of buddhas and bodhisattvas in basic, numerous unpleasant things– barriers, sickness, demonic disturbances– will be pacified, and compassion, faith, commitment, insight, and so on will grow and increase. In order to practice the descent of blessing most successfully, it is a good concept to focus the blessings on whatever is affecting you most at that time. For instance, if you are having a specific physical issue– a disease or some other physical problem– or a particular mental issue– a particular klesha, a specific type of stress, or particular concerns– you can focus the absorption of the true blessings of the buddhas and bodhisattvas on that. You can focus it on the removal of misbehavior and obscurations in general, however focus it particularly on what you regard as your greatest issue at the minute. For instance, you may feel that you do not have a specific quality: If you feel that you lack insight or you lack empathy or you do not have faith, then think that the true blessing serves to promote that quality that you feel you are most doing not have. And feel that through the absorption of these blessings you in fact become filled with that quality as though it were a substance that were in fact filling your whole body.
Those visualizations are for the typical, formal practice of the Medication Buddha. In his book Mountain Dharma: Directions for Retreat, Karma Chakme Rinpoche recommends the following visualization for the actual reduction of illness. You can visualize yourself as the Medication Buddha, if you wish, however the primary focus is to actually visualize a little form of the Medicine Buddha, no larger than 4 finger-widths in height, in the real part of your body that is affected. So if it is a health problem or discomfort in the head, imagine a little Medicine Buddha in the head; if it is in the hand, imagine a little Medicine Buddha in the hand; if it remains in the foot, then imagine a little Medication Buddha in the foot. Picture the Medicine Buddha in that place, and believe that from this little however vivid form of the Medication Buddha rays of light are released. These rays of light are not merely light, which is dry, however liquid light having a quality of ambrosia. This luminous ambrosia or liquid light actually cleanses and eliminates the illness and pain– whatever it is. You can do this not only on your own, by visualizing the Medication Buddha in the appropriate part of your own body, however you can do it for others also by envisioning the Medication Buddha in the appropriate part of their body or bodies. The radiation of rays of light of ambrosia and so on is the very same.
This can be applied not just to physical illness however to mental problems as well. If you want to get rid of a specific type of anxiety or tension or depression or worry or any other kind of unpleasant mental experience, you can visualize the Medication Buddha seated above the top of your head and think in the exact same way as prior to that luminous ambrosia or liquid light emerges from his body, filling your body and cleaning you of any issue, whatever it is.
You might think that all of this sounds a bit childish, but in reality it in fact works, and you will find that out if you try it.
From “Intro,” Medication Buddha Teachings by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.