Medicine Buddha Today

Intensive Care

mala-beads-imag1031The next step on our healing journey is Intensive Care. And while it is intensive, you don’t need to be in dire straits to invoke Medicine Buddha at this level. You just need to feel inspired to do so.

Again, we put the power of symbols to full, good use. We single out and as needed call on the symbolic powers of his body, speech and mind, recalling all along that on one hand we are calling on healing forces that may seem to be outside us. And at the same time, we remember and appreciate that these forces are also just a reflection of the health within.

Here we see Menla as in front and a bit above us. We see his blue, shell-like body, radiant and glowing with light. And we call images of his body to come down and in a sense, blend with and bless ours. And as we do this, we relax a little, allowing the images of his body gradually wash away any negative karma we have in our body. The good karma of our human birth begins to shine out and somewhere, some how, something good happens.

Great Menla ThankaNext, we recall the flower and bowl in his hands. These symbols represent Menla’s mind. The bowl is openness to whatever life brings, and the flower is willingness to meet all life with love. We all need those qualities. Our world needs us to manifest those qualities. And here we let those aspects of Menla come to us and as we do so, we feel our mind being more open and more fully engaged in the workings of our life because we realize these qualities are our own nature.

Finally, we can see the light from Menla’s heart as before, not only washing us clean of stuck karma, but also joining the healing power of his mind and body and our mind and our body in harmony to invoke healthy emotional states in us. You can do these visualizations one at a time if you wish, and for as long as you wish. If you can, it is good to say his mantra- song as we discussed in our last station, as you do these visualizations. You can direct healing energy to whatever part of your own or other’s life that needs help.

Practicing any or all of these ways to invoke the Menla in the world and within makes your being and your life a healing instrument. No matter what problem you or others have or have had, you have a way to cultivate the health underlying of all life and to eventually lessen your fear of death. You are the healer.

Again, if you have a Buddhist teacher, remembering that person, as a spokesperson for this tradition, can help. And attending a Medicine Buddha empowerment can be extremely beneficial. If you ever have a chance to visit Thrangu Monastery in Richmond BC, you will see the shrine room, lined with 1000 statues of Menla, all of whom are there to remind us of the Menla within. And if you can attend a teaching session with him you will see Menla in person. You may want to thank your problem for bringing you to Menla!

Thrangu Rinpoche’s book, Medicine Buddha Teachings, available on his website,, is the definitive teaching on Menla. The section of this site, Menla in Depth, offers an interactive course and the actual liturgy of the formal practice of Menla. This practice can be done in just a few minutes whenever you wish. And eventually you can practice with others at the section called Community. However, in the end, just remembering the brightness of one act of kindness can open your heart to this healing tradition. The main thing is to do it.