Medicine Buddha Today

Short Stay


Bhaisajyaguru (the Buddha of healing and medicine) on a white backgroundNow we are ready to take a more active role in the healing process. Not only do we resonate with the image and the idea of Menla, we sing his song of health. To start, however, please remember that while Menla is part of the Buddhist tradition, in fact he is independent of religion. He acts as a kind of symbol uniting of all the diverse forces of healing in one human form. And while so far he may have seemed rather abstract, at this point we get the sense that he is just as alive and real as we are. We can also see that he is simply the kindest, healthiest, bravest aspects of us, projected outside and reflected back to us.

When we sing his song we do two things. First, we speak directly to him, and because of the kindness he embodies he is bound to respond to our human needs and to actually come to us in some way. He cannot and willnot refuse.

So, just recall the image of Menla and ask for help with your problem. This is not an exercise in humility. It is an exercise in humanity. Just ask for help and he is bound to respond in some way.

On the outside, our problems may feel like broken parts of our body or life, but the inside of any problem is more the feeling of being stuck in dark energy. Following our request for help, light from Menla’s heart flows like a glowing fluid to those places in our body, mind or life where we feel stuck and need a fresh start. Then that light and washes away the darkness. And as the stuck energies wash away, the stuckness in our problem will open in some way and the suffering will eventually lessen.

As your problem lightens up, you may find a better way to work with or understand it. Or you may work through the karma of that problem in a better, more healing way. However it goes, you will benefit.

Clear MenlaThe second thing we do when we sing that song is that we proclaim those forces of healing as within ourselves. We gain confidence in our innate health and healing capacity. Here, we might be a bit shy. But in fact, as humans, every one of us can be a healer. We just have to put our heart into it and Menla’s heart will come to us and show us we can do it.

When we get to this stage of understanding and practice, we can actually speak his name, Menla, which means something like spiritual essence of all healing, or as we would say in English, King of Medicine. Another name for him in Tibetan, the language that brought his tradition to us is Bhaisajyaguru. And he has a mantra, or power song, which in its Tibetan form goes, Tayata Om Bekendze Bekendze Maha Bekendze Raza Samugate Swoha. This song means something like, “Everything is here. This is how you do it. Medicine, Medicine, Great King of Medicine, All Your Forces Are Here, Helping in The Way I need most. Hooray!” The traditional teaching suggests we speak to him in the Tibetan version of his song, which is called a mantra, and we repeat as needed.

However we work with Menla, it might be tempting to think, “This is just a chant, just a visualization.” But remember the power of symbols, and how even just one thought can change the universe. And just as we wash our body with water to keep it fresh and healthy, in the same way it is helpful to wash our spiritual essence and clean up our karmic residue. Over time we will benefit in some way. No one knows just what form that benefit will take, but the forces of healing will be in motion.